It’s very likely that many of your wellness coaching clients have weight management on their radar screen. It’s also very likely that while they’ll mentally put the blame for the excess empty calories on their dinner and desserts, the reality is often a very different story. Yes, of course our choice of dinner and dessert matters. However, consistent habits the rest of the day can often make enough of a difference that the evening choices (while still important), are less (negatively) impactful.
The key is to establish simple, positive habits throughout our day. Let’s look at a “typical” day in the life of one of our clients:
- Wake up: Cup of coffee with creamer and a muffin (the “healthy” name for cake in many cases)
- Mid-morning: 2nd cup of coffee and a few mini chocolate bars from the reception desk
- Lunch: Burger, Fries and soda
- Mid-afternoon snack: Another soda and a candy bar (disguised as a “healthy brand bar”)
So now we reach dinner with a total of (almost) zero nutrients, loads of caffeine and maybe just a few extra calories. Regardless of what choice is made at dinner, we’re in trouble. However, what if we (gradually) built the following habits:
- Wake up: Full glass of water while getting ready for work and then a smoothie (greens, yogurt, fruit) on the way to work. If caffeine is a must, then enjoy it early (remember – caffeine has half-life of 4-8 hours so we want to start that clock as early in the day as possible)
- Mid-morning: Great time for an apple and a refill on the water. If craving something crunchy, a handful of whole grain granola will do the trick.
- Lunch: Salad/olive oil with protein source included and maybe a slice of bread with peanut butter if desired.
- Mid-afternoon snack: Handful of nuts and a single square of real dark (90%) chocolate. Add a cup of decaf green tea if a second round is needed.
Now it’s dinner time. How are we looking coming into the final turn? Very minimal caffeine so we’ll sleep better tonight, plenty of fluids, nice mix of Proteins/Carbs/Fats, outstanding levels of nutrients and controlled but adequate calories so no hunger pangs. Now if we stumble just a bit at dinner, it’s still a good day!
There will be dozens (hundreds?) of opinions about the details above. The key is to focus on the habits – the things we do over and over and over. If your client is currently on schedule #1, then it’s unlikely you’ll see immediate interest in #2. However, if your client is open, one change every couple of weeks will set up a successful, consistent pattern just a few months down the road.
Our lives are a reflection of those habits we perform day in and day out. Dial in a smart daytime food habit and the outcomes will follow!