Home Fitness How to Help Your Clients Make Healthy Food Choices While Sheltering in Place

How to Help Your Clients Make Healthy Food Choices While Sheltering in Place

33 min read

As Coronavirus instances proceed to rise on a nationwide stage, some states have determined to tighten restrictions, and a few people are going again to staying at dwelling. 

What has emerged from this world health disaster is a brand new actuality the place lots of our actions like working, having fun with household time, recreation, relaxation, and, after all, mealtimes and snack occasions are all occurring at dwelling. 

The mixture of studying to construct a considerably structured, productive life whereas sheltering-in-place opens up some unprecedented challenges, together with studying to eat healthily with restricted pantry choices and a psychological health state that strikes us to eat high-sugar and processed meals, often and in giant portions. 

In these circumstances, your shoppers may be battling following their meal plans and staying on observe with their weight objectives. 

As a health and wellness coach who has by no means coached individuals in these circumstances, you may be struggling to perceive the mindset round eating regimen and weight achieve, muscle loss, and exercise whereas in quarantine. Even additional, you may be having points with how to coach individuals by their scenario to come out more healthy on the opposite facet. 

This article is a fast information for health and wellness coaches to perceive how staying at dwelling indefinitely can affect how, when, and why we eat. We additionally present concrete tips for how one can help your shoppers and proceed to be their supporter as they make healthy selections in these new circumstances. 

Coach-Centered Tips for Helping Clients Stay on Track

Let Them Know You Empathize with Their Struggles

Empathy goes a great distance in the teaching enterprise. 

In addition to the anxiousness everyone seems to be feeling due to the stay-at-home orders, the rising variety of instances in our neighborhoods, and having to sustain with work deadlines, your consumer may be feeling defeated or annoyed as a result of they haven’t been in a position to sustain with their meal plan or exercise schedule. 

Let your consumer know that what they’re feeling and the way they’re responding is totally regular. If you are feeling snug with it, specific to them how you will have been feeling with all the things that has been happening. Finally, remind them that they don’t want to really feel alone and that you’re there to help them in order that they’ll really feel assured with their food and exercise selections. 

Do Emotional Check-Ins

Spending a while intentionally getting in tune with what you feel and the supply of these emotions may also help you piece aside how to greatest address them. Asking your shoppers to preserve a “food and mood” journal, ideally one which they’ll fill out across the identical time every day, may also help them get in verify with what they’re feeling. 

Another thought of an exercise you’ll be able to carry our along with your shoppers is the Emotional Eating Scale (EES). Health psychologists developed the EES to assist people establish and separate the various factors which are influencing consuming behaviors and food selections. 

Applying the emotional consuming scale might be a useful exercise for you to perform along with your shoppers. 

You can ask your consumer to fill out the emotional consuming scale by himself or herself, or you are able to do it as an exercise collectively.

How will the EES assist? Often, individuals confuse emotional consuming with starvation, which may lead to overeating. Not solely will it assist your shoppers be extra in tune with the feelings they’re feeling and the way these are affecting their food selections, however additionally, you will come to perceive your shoppers’ responses to food a lot better to make extra pointed suggestions. 

Below is a printable and sendable emotional consuming scale worksheet tailored from Arnow, Kenardy, and Agras’s methodology, which you need to use in your teaching observe. 


Download Emotional Eating Scale Worksheet here


Create Food Checklists with Pantry Foods

Food checklists are a device you need to use to enhance communication along with your consumer concerning life like food choices throughout these making an attempt occasions. They may also help you construct meal plans or food change lists that meet your shoppers’ budgetary wants, entry limitations, and private preferences. 

As a plus, checklists may also help you keep away from doubtlessly uncomfortable conversations about budgetary limitations. 

You can provide your consumer a weekly or month-to-month food guidelines to fill out in their very own time. When they ship it again, you need to use it to construct a meal plan or food change listing understanding that the entire meals you embrace are choices on your shoppers. 

Remember to embrace widespread shelf-stable pantry meals like canned or frozen greens and fruits, nuts, seeds, and dried snacks that your consumer might have on-hand throughout the quarantine. Let them know that in most instances, canned or frozen greens are acceptable options when recent greens aren’t obtainable. 

Help Them Build a Schedule

One of essentially the most difficult elements about staying at house is that each one your common actions and commitments don’t cease. Moving in the identical area twenty-four hours a day makes method for a scheduling catastrophe, the place you’re employed late into the evening, spend a lot of the day chasing the youngsters round, and find yourself skipping meals altogether and grazing all through the day as an alternative. 

Whether your consumer lives alone or whether or not they have three youngsters and a accomplice, a schedule advantages everybody. It provides the times and weekends construction, and from a meal perspective, it helps you intend time for cooking and consuming. 

Furthermore, remind shoppers to carve out time to exercise. Not solely will it assist them reap the advantages of bodily exercise for his or her health, however it would additionally assist them relieve stress

If you don’t present a meal plan as a part of your teaching companies, encourage your shoppers to construct their very own weekly meal plans. These needs to be in-line with a practical estimation of the time allotment for food prep and consuming. 

Help Your Clients Focus on the Experience of Eating (Eat Like the French)

Most of the trendy world has huge entry to calorie-dense, flavorful, and ready-to-eat meals like ultra-processed snacks and quick food. However, some cultures reply in another way to the trendy food surroundings. In the US, for instance, there’s a huge give attention to the health results of food as a result of we’re conscious of the ever-growing prevalence of overweight and obesity. Interestingly sufficient, the give attention to the health results of food over the expertise of food may be one of many issues. 

As a comparative instance, France has the identical entry to processed and quick food, however the prevalence of weight problems is nowhere close to that of the US (42 p.c as opposed to 10 percent in France). Why is that this? Several researchers have in contrast the best way Americans view food with how the French view food in search of solutions to how to higher strategy food. 

Researchers found that the principle issue that influences the consuming habits of French individuals is how they view food. While individuals in the US place loads of give attention to the health results of consuming, the French focus extra on the expertise of consuming. The French:

  • Spend extra time consuming, often with others
  • Focus on food in moderation
  • Focus on high quality (versus amount)
  • Emphasize the thrill of the second   
  • Eat smaller parts and snack much less

Some would say that this strategy may be very related to a aware consuming or intuitive consuming strategy.

By serving to your shoppers benefit from the expertise of consuming, their thoughts is targeted on the style, aroma, and texture of the food and on the interplay with others as they eat, quite than on other stressors in the environment. At the identical time that paying extra consideration to the expertise of consuming helps get their thoughts off the anxiousness that surrounds the coronavirus pandemic, they’re making the lively connection in their mind that they’re ingesting food, which can even assist them really feel fuller.

You may also help your shoppers give attention to the expertise of consuming by making the next three recommendations:

  1. Plan meals and their components: Help your shoppers take into consideration the meals they’re making, the flavors and textures they may expertise. 
  2. Set a meal schedule: It provides shoppers construction in their day, provides them one thing to look ahead to, and helps to keep away from unplanned snacking. 
  3. Start with small parts: Some individuals are so used to senseless consuming and overeating that they aren’t conscious of the feeling of feeling happy (quite than overfull). Eating in entrance of the TV, for instance, can anchor starvation and consuming behaviors to stress-free, which may intrude with regular hunger signaling. Here is a useful resource you need to use to assist your shoppers know when they’re full and have had sufficient.

Remind Your Clients to Accept Their Emotions and Food Choices 

The fashionable world has by no means skilled something just like the coronavirus pandemic earlier than. It is unrealistic for any of us to count on that all the things will work like clockwork. Anxiety, boredom, stress, and feeling overwhelmed are regular responses to the scenario, and these feelings, along with bodily and financial limitations, will undoubtedly have an effect on consuming and exercise habits. 

If they don’t observe their meal or exercise plans precisely, encourage your shoppers to settle for that they’re having a traditional response to the scenario. The feeling of guilt that may ensue from “breaking their diet” will solely add to the anxiousness that they’re doubtless feeling. At the identical time, ask them if they need your assist to modify their habits to promote healthfulness. If they verbally specific their need to change their habits, supply encouraging phrases and tips and instruments like those provided above to assist get them there. 

Learn what it takes to be a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant

What Influences Food Choices While in Quarantine?

The components that affect food selections whereas in quarantine aren’t essentially totally different from the components that affect food selections throughout the remainder of our lifetimes. In different phrases, psychological, financial, and physiological components have all the time and can all the time affect food selections. 

The distinction is that we’ve got by no means lived by a time the place we’ve collectively had to take away ourselves from conventional society to guarantee our wellbeing. 

As a end result, it’s naturally troublesome for coaches to wrap their heads across the reasoning behind their shoppers’ food selections. 

While there are quite a few advanced components at play, right here we describe 5 important components that affect the food-related selections individuals make whereas in quarantine at dwelling. 

Physical Access to Food

To have the life like choice of consuming food, you will have to have bodily entry to that food. For instance, think about you will have a yearning for a Caesar salad. No matter how a lot you need it, if there isn’t any lettuce in the fridge and your groceries gained’t be delivered till the subsequent day, then you definitely merely can not make your self a Caesar salad. 

Why is that this essential to you as a coach? By being conscious of what your shoppers have entry to at dwelling whereas they’re in quarantine, you can also make life like suggestions for what they’ll and shouldn’t eat. It isn’t sensible to advocate that your consumer eat a spinach and apple smoothie each morning if their native grocery retailer hasn’t been stocking spinach for 3 weeks. 

What is the answer? It’s not as difficult as you may suppose. While constructing your consumer’s meal plan, you’ll be able to ask them to check out the components and make word if there may be something on the listing they don’t have at dwelling and can’t simply entry. If there may be, ask them if they’ve an in depth different or make recommendations and swap it out. 

Another choice is giving them a weekly or month-to-month guidelines of meals the place they’ll verify off the entire food gadgets they need to embrace in their meal plan. We will focus on these methods in additional element under. Everything on the meal plan needs to be acquainted and straightforward to entry. 

Cost and Budget-Related Factors

Related to bodily entry to food is financial entry. Even in case your native grocery retailer is well-stocked, if shopping for blueberries, kale, and natural salmon will put your consumer over funds, it isn’t life like for her or him to perform the meal plan sustainably. 

Talking about financial limitations along with your consumer may be troublesome. The greatest method to tackle these points is taking the same strategy to the one talked about above. For instance, if your online business mannequin contains offering food lists, you’ll be able to ask a consumer, “Is there something on this food list that you cannot access for practical or cost-related reasons?” That method, your consumer can reply with out specifying the rationale for which a sure food could also be troublesome to entry. 

Emotional and Mental Health Factors

It is essential for coaches to contemplate the psychological health and psychological components that affect what we eat whereas in quarantine circumstances. 

The stress, anxiousness, or boredom individuals are experiencing might have a major affect on their food alternative. In some individuals, sure emotional experiences lead them to eat extra, whereas in others it makes them need to keep away from food altogether. 

Some of the feelings that affect consuming habits embrace:

  • Joy
  • Resentment
  • Excitement
  • Discouragement
  • Relief
  • Shakiness
  • Sadness
  • Eagerness
  • Uneasiness
  • Worry
  • Frustration
  • Loneliness
  • Boredom

Keep in thoughts that the connection between power anxiousness and food doesn’t all the time lead to weight achieve. In some individuals, food-related anxiousness along with the need to be healthy and slim can lead to eating disorders like anorexia nervosa. If you observed your consumer has a critical consuming dysfunction, it’s important to encourage her or him to search assist from a therapist or psychologist specialised in these areas. 

Biological Factors

Out of the various factors talked about right here, that is maybe essentially the most easy. If we boil all of it down, food is the device our our bodies use to meet organic wants. In addition to vitality, food additionally gives molecular constructing blocks for tissue, elements wanted for hormones and intracellular communication, cofactors for enzymes to work correctly, and hundreds of different capabilities. 

The sensation of starvation is the physiological response to our physique’s want for dietary elements, whereas the feeling of fullness is (in common) the best way our our bodies inform us that we’ve got had sufficient. 

For essentially the most half, organic components usually won’t alter considerably whereas in quarantine. Unless your consumer is performing roughly exercise or is unwell, you’ll be able to assume that organic wants haven’t modified considerably. 

Social Factors

People don’t eat food merely out of organic inertia. Food is likely one of the most essential expressions of culture, social connection, moral issues, attitudes, and beliefs. 

Personal and household consolation meals are an excellent instance of the social and emotional significance of food. Comfort foods are these which are related to a aid of misery. Comfort meals fall into four main categories: nostalgic meals, indulgence meals, comfort meals, and bodily consolation meals. When individuals select consolation meals, they’re placing the expertise of consuming, the reminiscences meals convey, and the fast sensations over the impacts of food on nutrition and health. The function of consolation meals is so highly effective for some those that it’s even seen as a type of self-medication

In a scenario of power stress like some individuals could also be experiencing whereas at dwelling, your shoppers could also be consuming consolation meals extra typically. Since most consolation meals have a tendency to be extremely caloric and sugary, the overconsumption of consolation meals might lead to weight gain

Other social components embrace the autonomy individuals have to select their food. For instance, in case your consumer shouldn’t be the one who cooks at dwelling or buys the food in quarantine, she or he might have had to negotiate selections concerning what to eat. 

As a health and wellness coach, it’s your decision to have a dialogue along with your consumer to establish the totally different social components which may be influencing their consuming habits. Remind them that the social components which are influencing their consuming and exercise habits whereas in quarantine could also be very totally different from the components that usually affect their consuming selections. 

Main Takeaways

cThe COVID-19 pandemic has come to change our lives abruptly. Just because it has doubtless had a number of results in your life, it would have additionally affected your shoppers’ lives. 

The present scenario affords an excellent alternative for you as a health coach—you’ll be able to assist shoppers navigate their new circumstances and nonetheless assist them prioritize their health. Offer helpful and sensible data and instruments they’ll use to perceive why their eating regimen and routine has modified and assist them adapt their wants to get again on observe. 

Ultimately, nevertheless, bear in mind to empathize along with your shoppers. The human connection you forge with them might make a major distinction in how they address the stress and anxiousness that affects their consuming habits. 


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