Give your clients a Diet Diary. I don’t need to tell you that for most clients, weight is a key metric that they want to reduce. As 80% of weight loss can be due to diet changes ask the client to give you a detailed account of their food and drink intake for a week following your initial consultation.
A Diet Diary will aid in supporting your client
They should be honest and include everything they eat or drink in their diet diary, along with how much of everything they eat or drink. This should include main courses, snacks, chocolate, cake, and alcohol. The key is honesty, but honesty in this case is relative particularly when it comes to portion size.
Take photos of portions sizes of common foods or meals to show your clients when explaining the diet diary, as a small portion of potatoes or a cheese sandwich can have wildly different meanings to different people. Were the potatoes swimming in butter? Were they deep fried? How large are your small plates? Was the cheese pre-cut? Thick cut? low-fat? Was there chutney on on the sandwich?…
You could give them a copy of the Food Portions template to help with their portion explanations, or laminate photos of common portions of common foods.
You need this detailed information in order to evaluate the types of food they are eating, the quantities, and calorie intake.
Calorie intake calculation websites
You can use the data from the diet diary to work out whether they are consuming the right kinds of nutrients, and whether they are eating the right number of calories in order to sustain/increase/decrease their weight whilst undertaking your fitness programme.
You should then work out roughly how many calories they are consuming for each day during the week, the ratio of macro and micro nutrients, and any other obvious problems with their meals. There are various free websites that will do a calculation based on the foods you enter into their forms.
Monitor your clients’ diet diary and help motivate them
You could try signing your client up to one of these sites and allow them to enter the diet diary information themselves. You can have access to this to monitor their intake. A quick email congratulating a client on good meal/snack choices mid-week can really give them a boost and is a great motivation for them to keep up the good work and not to falter.
You can find an Diet Diary template in the Personal Trainer Business Forms and Templates pack for you to customise to your needs.