By Terri Klein
Whether you’re a life coach, a nutritional expert, a yoga instructor or the operator of a boot camp, at one point or another better than fifty percent of your clients come in and say that they need to lose weight. For some the extra pounds have been a life long struggle. Others just have an event they want to lose a few pounds for, and still others have gotten some sort of wake-up call from their physician. Whatever the reason, the approach that we each take is a reflection of our own expertise and chosen profession, and we are each able to contribute something of value to help them with this goal.
One simple fix that can be easily conveyed to every client, as well as to those around us in every facet of our lives, is cutting out sugary drinks. The movement to limit soda is gaining traction nationwide, with everybody from prominent city mayors to public health advocates to celebrities joining in. Stop the Pop and Kick the Can programs are leveraging the power of multi-media and social networking to spread the word. Moms around the country are getting involved on Facebook, posting a now-familiar photo of the different drinks that their kids are consuming and calling for an end to the sugar frenzy. As wellness professionals, we should be embracing this opportunity. Not only is it a health awakening that we are in a unique position to help with, but also a good opportunity to get our names into the public eye.
The most important mission of the national challenge to cut sugary drinks is education. Far too many people drink soft drinks mindlessly, unaware of the fact that they are adding needless, empty calories, raising their glycemic load and quite possibly increasing their appetite – they may even think that they are hydrating themselves. They do not know that the average can of soda contains ten teaspoons of sugar; if they realized that every time that they drink a fountain drink it is the sugar equivalent of eating a candy bar, they would be horrified. When we are speaking with our clients, it is part of our responsibility to make them aware of this type of information – it will improve their athletic performance, their nutritional wellness, and their overall sense of health.
The American Heart Association has proposed that cutting the national average soda consumption from the current ten cans per week down to three cans per week by the year 2020 would have a dramatic impact on the national obesity epidemic, the high incidence of diabetes, and other health issues that have been connected to sugar consumption. Take the opportunity to discuss your clients’ soda intake when discussing their health and fitness goals to ask questions about how many sweetened drinks they are consuming; advise them about the risks of soda and the benefits of focusing on healthier drinks such as water, milk and unsweetened fruit juices. Joining up with local organizations that are promoting sugary drink bans in schools is a great way to not only promote a healthy agenda, but to advance the reputation of your business as well.