We all know that journaling food plays an imperative role in the Mindful Living weight-loss protocol. Food journaling makes patients slow down and write down everything they eat or drink. The purpose of food journaling is to increase self-awareness around eating. It is also meant to help health coaches and medical providers gain a better understanding of everyday patient behavior. Just like any other new habit, it takes time to develop. As a provider it is your job to encourage patients to start tracking what they eat. Here are 4 tips on how to motivate someone to start a food journal.
1. Set the expectation of journaling from the start of the program.
Tell your future patients/clients that you will be encouraging them on a weekly basis to journal. If you foreshadow the expectation, they will be less likely to be bothered when you remind them to journal.
2. Be patient
If your patient is ambivalent to journaling, don’t expect them to start doing so at your request. Change does not happen overnight. Take baby steps and be patient. Rather than asking them to journal 7 days in a row, ask them to set smaller goals. Perhaps journaling just one day per week. Then have them gradually increase these goals.
3. Reinforce positive behavior
Positive reinforcement is the backbone to the most effective theories of change. It is important that patents feel celebrated when they come to your clinic. No accomplishment is too small to be acknowledged. Celebrate small wins in order to ensure big ones.
4. Have empathy
This is the most important thing you can do as a health provider. Do your best to understand where your patient is coming from. Put yourself in their shoes. The more empathy you have, the more effective your communication will be. Empathy can only be developed through active listening. Pay attention to what your patients have to stay and help them accordingly.