A big factor in losing weight is dietary changes. Simple 'calorie counting' or restricing food is often not the best approach however. You need ot eat to heal and nourish the body, but also ensure you are eating the correct amounts and at the correct times.
Anyone that has tried to diet or follow a diet plan know's how hard it can be. But imagine having your coach/trainer/friend watching everything you eat. And if this person knew what you should (and shouldn't) be eating, you're going to be a lot more compliant to your diet plan right?
Any coach or trainer can put together a diet plan for their clients. How suitable those diets are are worthy of another blog post, but the challenging part of any coach is ensuring their client adheres to the diet. Meal tracking can be challenging, who wants to log every item they eat.
This may work well for a few days, but soon the client forgets to log meals, becomes lazy and either way the data is not that accurate.
A meal of roast chicken may simply be logged as 'Chicken'. What use is this for the coach - was it grilled chicken? Fried chicken? How much was eaten? Was it breast or thigh?
Calorie counting, though more accurate, is even more impractical for clients. Sure some people on very specific diets may require down to the gram precision (people dieting for a bodybuilding show for example).
But for most people, this is far to intense. Plus, who wants to carry around scales and measure everything that goes into their mouth? I know I wouldn't, so why should I expect my clients to do this.
Anyone that has used any form of social media would have seen a photo of their friends meal. Perhaps you post your meals yourself? As a coach, it's great when I see a client post a meal that I approve of. I can see exactly what they are eating, how much they are eating, and if there's anything questionable about it (ie, what is that sauce on the side), I can comment and ask. But Instagram or Facebook isn't the best place for me to be telling clients what they should be doing. And I'm pretty sure their friends don't want to see EVERY meal they eat.
However, there is a solution. It's a free app called 'YouFood' (recently renamed from TwoGrand).
YouFood - A place to share everything you eat!
YouFood (until recently YouFood was called TwoGrand), is a free meal logging app setup with the primary purpose of sharing pictures of foods you eat. The app is designed for individuals looking to share meals with people around the world. It actually serves a lot of great purposes:
A lot of people have had great diet success using the app, and with such an active, supportive community I can see why.
So how does it work? It works in a similar way to any other social media app. Open up the YouFood app, hit the photo button, snap a photo and you're done. Already finished your meal and you forgot to take a photo? No problem, the app allows text based entries. Have a big bowl of soup and a photo won't show whats hidden within? Easy, add a caption to explain exactly what the meal is.
You can even backdate entries, or pull images from your camera roll. So if you'd rather log everything you ate at the end of the day, thats possible as well.
As handy as YouFood is for individuals looking to lose weight, the hidden power lies in it's ability to help coaches. How? Well it works like this:
I simply have clients create and account in YouFood, they then follow me (if you'd like to follow me, my username is 'AFCoaching') and in return I follow them.
That way, when I log into YouFood throughout the day, my 'photo-feed' will show all the meals that my clients have logged.
Now its a simply act of going through and 'Heart' (aka 'Like') a meal that I approve of, or posting a comment if I have concerns or questions about a particular meal. Actually, I often will leave remarks even if the meal is great (for example I may say to eat more vegetables next time, or only have one chicken breast not two).
My Clients know that if I 'heart' their meal, that it was a good choice & I approve. If there is no heart, then I'm not happy with it, and if there are comments he knows he needs to read them. Its easy for the client, as everything I do on his page will show up as a notification - just like it would in any other social media app.
Not only does this enable me to see exactly what my clients are eating, but it helps me give the clients real time feedback on their diet. Rather than reviewing a food diary every month, they're receiving feedback on a daily basis.
A perfect example of me telling a client to eat more vegetables!
For the client, it is like having your coach watch over your shoulder at every meal (Yes I do acknowledge that you could easily cheat the system and not log a meal. But just like any coaching program, I can only do so much, if a client isn't willing to change then there is not a lot I can do).
Not only do I follow and track the meals of my coaching clients, my clients follow me and see what I eat. I log all of my meals in the app. I have found this helps big time with clients. How?
I personally believe that photo logging apps such as YouFood will become increasingly popular with personal trainers, health coaches, nutritionists and even doctors. The ability for people to follow the diets of their coach is a powerful tool. More powerful than that however, is the ability for these coaches to track and monitor the diets of their clients.
YouFood allows me to check in on clients throughout the day. If there are any issues with their diet, I can address and correct them immediately instead of waiting until our next monthly review. If you'd like to see how I eat, download YouFood (available on Android and iPhone) and follow me, my username is 'AFCoaching'.
If you have been using photo logging with your clients or coach, please share your experiences, I'd love to hear how it's working for you.
This blog post was written by Alex Fergus. Alex is an ISSN Sports Nutrition Specialist, Fitness Professional and certified Superhuman Coach who continues to expand his knowledge base and help people across the world with their health and wellness. Alex is recognized as the National Record Holder in Powerlifting and Indoor Rowing and has earned the title of the Australian National Natural Bodybuilding Champion. Having worked as a health coach and personal trainer for over a decade, Alex now researches all things health and wellness and shares his findings on this blog. Learn more about Alex's Credentials HERE.
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