Increasing Client Compliance in My Nutrition Practice

Holistic nutritionists in private practice know that motivating clients to comply with recommendations can be a major challenge. Practicing nutritionists can benefit from the mentorship and business advice offered by the Edison Institute of Nutrition for issues like overcoming resistance on the part of the patient and other common problems.

There are effective strategies you can use to encourage your clients in their quest for a healthier body and a healthier lifestyle. Start by asking open-ended questions during the initial meeting to determine how nutrition fits in with your client’s overall lifestyle and health, and then design a program with simple, attainable goals. It is important to remember that noncompliance is your client’s problem, not yours. Your job is to give clients under your care the tools to take advantage of your recommendations.

These are some scenarios that you may face along with solutions you can try to inspire client compliance.

  • Situation 1 – Getting the Client to Buy Into the Program

This client wanted to lose weight but she did absolutely nothing for six weeks. She was now due for a follow-up consultation. During the follow-up meeting, the nutritionist asked questions designed to get at the root of the problem, such as:

  1. Are you really serious about losing weight?
  2. What steps have you taken toward achieving your goals?
  3.  Why is complying with the recommendations difficult for you?
  4. What can we do going forward to change the situation?

While answering the questions it became clear that the client had problems in other areas of her life as well, and she felt out of control. She had previously adhered to a well-known weight loss program, and following the nutritionist’s current recommendations for a low GI (Glycemic Index) diet proved confusing. After the consultation she agreed to weekly meetings to keep her on track, she started cleaning up her disorganized home, and she began an exercise program – all steps designed to take control of her life. She then began comply with the program and she achieved the weight loss she desired.

  • Situation 2 – Lack of Information Leading to Noncompliance

This client seemed motivated and ready to change her eating habits and lifestyle to achieve her goal of following a low protein diet to manage here renal disease. It is recommended that people with renal disease eat just enough protein so that the compromised kidneys can remove urea, a waste product. Protein is needed to build muscle and repair tissue and is found in meat, dairy and seafood as well as other foods.

The client was told to eat only one ounce of protein during dinner, but elevated levels of urea in her urine showed that she was not in compliance. To solve the problem, the nutritionist demonstrated how to determine the correct portion size. The client was surprised to learn that one ounce of protein was far less than she believed, and she then adjusted her eating habits accordingly.

  • Situation 3 – A Need for Planning Ahead

This client was frequently invited to dinners and other engagements at restaurants and at people’s homes. The client was following the recommended diet at home when he was on his own, but in social and business situations he ate what he was served. The nutritionist helped the client solve the problem by having him plan ahead when one of these situations arose.

When he was invited to a restaurant, he made the effort to find out how menu items were prepared, and he made the appropriate dinner item choice before entering the restaurant. As a guest in a friend’s home, he was not aware of the ingredients in the dishes served, so he asked in order to avoid an awkward situation at dinner.

If the menu items were not appropriate for his diet, he ate at home and enjoyed the veggies and salad at dinner. Sometimes he asked for an accommodation from the hostess (no cheese, grilled meat only, fish instead of steak). The extra time commitment was well worth the effort to stay on track with his diet recommendations.