Nutrition Made Simple Podcast Episode 8: 5 Habits Of Highly Successful Nutrition Clients

Today, Nicole Aucoin and Ashley Osterman discuss five key characteristics of highly successful nutrition clients.

After training over 3,500 gym owners and nutrition coaches using the Healthy Steps Nutrition platform, and helping over 40,000 people make health a way of life through the simple, habit-based approach; there are some key characteristics that the most successful nutrition clients have to see lasting results!

In this podcast, Nicole & Ashley discuss what similarities we see with people who see the best results and the people who maintain those results!


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Habit #1: Keep It Simple

While it’s easy to get excited and want to change all the things, you just need to focus on taking one step at a time closer to your goals.
That step might be trying and prepping a new recipe like Egg Roll In A Bowl. 

Habit #2: Progress Over Perfection

We live in a society where it’s easy to compare and want to have everything right now. The problem is that sets you up for failure and frustration. 
Instead, set short and long-term goals. 
Overnight success comes from YEARS of daily actions towards your goals. 

Habit #3: Find Your Tribe

When we interview clients who’ve lost and kept off 60-200 pounds, they say the same thing; their support system was vital to their success. 
Who are the five closest people to you? 
Do they support or inhibit your progress to your goals? 
Identify those few people who are your tribe and keep them close, you will need them!  

Habit #4: Focus On Whole Foods First

When people think about diets, they think about what they can’t have. All of the sudden you crave more and more. 
Instead, let’s foster a positive relationship with food and focus on what you can have! 
Unsure what whole foods looks like? Start with the first twelve words of fitness: Eat meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit and little starch.  

Habit #5: A Healthy Lifestyle

The great thing about starting at habit #1, Keeping it simple, is that you don’t feel overwhelmed. Your daily actions turn into habits that lead you to a healthy lifestyle. 
At Healthy Steps Nutrition, we believe something as fundamental as nutrition shouldn’t be complicated which is why we focus on a simple, habit-based approach. 
This approach empowers clients to feel confident and create a healthy lifestyle one step at a time. 



They are probably just like you and your family — busy juggling work, kids and all of life’s activities. 
They wanted help creating a plan to get healthy in the new year so they signed up for Family Nutrition Coaching with Healthy Steps Nutrition. 
To inspire other families to make health a way of life, we are documenting their entire journey — starting with an initial meeting. 
If you are curious about how a nutrition coach could help you and your family, watch this video. 
In This Video, Nicole & Jason, The Owners of Healthy Steps Nutrition, Meet The Campbell Family To Start Their Nutrition Journey. 
See How It Works & How They Create A Plan Together By Watching This Video. 


  • LISTEN:  CrossFit, Nutrition & Your Health >>HERE
  • LISTEN: Nutrition, Hormones & Your Health >>HERE
  • LISTEN: The Why Behind Healthy Steps Nutrition  >>HERE

Episode Transcript:

Nicole Aucoin (00:04):
Welcome back to the Nutrition Made Simple Podcast. At Healthy Steps Nutrition, we believe something as fundamental as nutrition shouldn’t be complicated. Which is why we focus on a simple habit-based approach when working with clients. I’m your host, Nicole Aucoin, registered dietitian and founder of Healthy Steps Nutrition, CrossFit HSN, and HSN Mentoring. I’m also the author of the Healthy Kids Cookbook: 100% ‘Kid-Approved’ Recipes For The Whole Family. In this brand new podcast, we will be teaching you how to take one step at a time to become the healthiest version of yourself. Today, Ashley and I are talking about five characteristics of highly successful nutrition clients.

Nicole Aucoin (00:54):
People are more likely to take action around a milestone, like a new year, which is now. The problem is they want to take all the action, and that really leaves you feeling overwhelmed and defeated when you can’t take all the action, all the time. Think about the last time you went on a diet. How much did you try to change at one time? How overwhelming did it feel? Well, at Healthy Steps Nutrition, we have the exact opposite approach. We want you to ditch that mindset and really focus on one thing at a time. Guess what? This philosophy has helped over 35,000 people around the world become the healthiest versions of themselves, by working with a Healthy Steps Nutrition coach.

Nicole Aucoin (01:44):
We’ve analyzed the data from these clients, and really looked at what do these people have in common, and we have found five characteristics. Ashley and I will be discussing them today. We will get to this episode on the five characteristics of highly successful nutrition clients right after this message. Our mission is to empower 4,000 people in the month of January to ditch the all or nothing mindset, and take one step to becoming a healthier version of themselves. Do you know someone that’s looking to lose weight? We would love for you to share this podcast with them. You never know who could use some words of encouragement. Take a screenshot, post it on social media, and please don’t forget to tag Healthy Steps Nutrition, so your friend can find some awesome free help. Also don’t forget to subscribe so that you do not miss another episode again. Ashley Osterman, today we are talking about five habits of highly successful nutrition clients.

Ashley Osterman (02:54):
I love talking about these five habits because there’s nothing more that I like to see, is when my clients find their success. And we tend to notice these common trends amongst those highly successful nutrition clients who achieve and maintain their goals.

Nicole Aucoin (03:12):
I care more about how much a client has maintained than what they do initially, because if you’ve lost 50 pounds, but you regain it over the next year or two years, now we’ve gone 50 steps back, and it’s going to be harder for you to lose that weight again. So, I want to just highlight the heck, and we’re going to talk about some stories today. I love stories.

Ashley Osterman (03:34):

Nicole Aucoin (03:35):
We’re going to talk about some stories of some amazing clients that we’ve worked with over the years, combined between us, there’s over 30 years of experience working with nutrition clients.

Ashley Osterman (03:44):
Oh yeah, easily. So, we’ve got quite the amount of information and some really great stories that we hope will inspire you to reach your health and wellness goals.

Nicole Aucoin (03:54):
All right, the first habit of highly successful nutrition clients. Keeping it simple. We have to ditch this all or nothing mentality. And it’s a problem because everything in our culture is instant gratification, we want to see results yesterday for work we haven’t even put in yet. It’s not possible when we’re talking about achieving a healthy lifestyle and achieving lasting results. And it’s not people’s fault because there’s so much marketing information out there that’s confusing. When you go to Publix and you see, lose 10 pounds in 10 days, lose 30 pounds in 30 days. You see, ultra keto diet, but you have to take these pills because of the side effects of the ultra keto diet. We live in this microwave society where we want everything right now, and we have to ditch that mentality.

Ashley Osterman (04:46):
We really do. And you can’t scroll social media, go through a grocery store, or convenience store, without seeing some diet culture, marketing ploy. Diet culture is a billion dollar industry.

Nicole Aucoin (04:59):
They know how to get you. And it’s not your fault that you think that you can do a three-day juice detox or some skinny teas, and you’re going to lose the weight and be successful, but what we’re doing there is just merely putting a band-aid on the surface. What we do and focus on with our nutrition clients at Healthy Steps Nutrition is really laying the foundation for sustainable longterm success. And like I always say, that’s going to take some time.

Nicole Aucoin (05:26):
It absolutely takes time, and we have to really keep it simple and focus on one thing at a time. In fact, when we focus on one thing at a time, we have an 80% success rate of maintaining that one thing for after a year. But you add two and three things on your plate at the same time, which if we think about a diet, you’re adding five things to [crosstalk 00:05:47].

Ashley Osterman (05:47):
If not more.

Nicole Aucoin (05:48):
… To your plate at the same time. Your success rate for maintaining those habits is less than 5%. You’re not going to do it. Maybe you have the unicorn out there that can do it and will do it, but most of the time, especially around the new year when challenges happen, you go zero to a 100 in 30 days, and then you go right back to zero on day 31.

Ashley Osterman (06:09):
Yeah. You try to overhaul everything at once and then you realize these changes aren’t going to stick, I can’t sustain this, and then you just go back to what you were doing before. But in reality, if we focus on just one thing at a time, and we found that one of the habits of our most highly successful nutrition clients are just focusing on that one thing, nailing that one thing down consistently and letting it become second nature. I’ll tell you a story about one of my clients. We had our initial consultation and there were so many things, so many areas of improvement, but I knew the first thing we needed to improve on is we had to get him to start eating breakfast. He wasn’t eating breakfast and that just causes a whole downward spiral effect for the rest of the day. So, his first habit, his first action step was to start eating breakfast.

Ashley Osterman (06:58):
And he looked confused when I told him and he said, “That’s it, just eat breakfast?” I said, “Yeah. Yeah, that’s it. We’re going to choose some recipes. We’re going to make a balanced breakfast. You’re going to set yourself up for success. We’re going to plan how you’re going to do it. And I just want you to eat breakfast and do it consistently.” And I want my clients to say that sounds too easy, or that sounds too simple, because that’s what you need to start off with. You have to lay down the foundation, or the groundwork of your structure, before you start building up upon it.

Nicole Aucoin (07:28):
I want, what you just said, I want my clients to say, that’s it? That’s all you want me to do? Yes, that’s it. That’s all I want you to do. I want you to keep it so simple so that you can walk out of this office and be 1000% confident that you can do what we talked about. And that’s a missing step with a lot of nutrition programs. You give people all this information, you give them a piece of paper to follow a meal plan, and they have no idea on actually how to implement it.

Ashley Osterman (07:51):
Yeah. And you need to know, to be truly successful and to see those successes long-term to actually maintain your hard work that you strive and achieved, you need to be able to focus on one thing at a time and get those foundations in place first. Nicole, I think that brings us to our second habit of our most highly successful nutrition clients, and this is so important. We need to strive for progress, not focus on being perfect.

Nicole Aucoin (08:20):
Life happens, things happen and it’s okay. But I think one of the things that we want to strive for with progress is finding the bright spots. We have to find the things that we’re doing well, so that, that positively reinforces those habits and behaviors, and it gives us motivation to continue. I’ve had clients in the past and there was one client I was working with a few years ago and she would call it, let it rip. She would be so strict during the week, and we worked really hard to find this middle ground and this balance where if she wanted a treat during the week, okay, have it, and then let’s move on, instead of, I want to be 1000% perfect until Friday at five o’clock, and then Friday at five o’clock till Monday morning, I am going to let it rip. And she would go off the walls with nutrition.

Ashley Osterman (09:05):
Oh, goodness.

Nicole Aucoin (09:05):
And then she would get really frustrated, I’m not seeing the results that I’m looking to see in, the problem was is she was this all or nothing, right? This all or nothing mentality. And when we work with nutrition clients, there’s a reason why we test biometrics. Right? We want to test weight, body fat percentage. We want to test measurements to see those wins, but we also just as important look at the non-scale victories, how are you feeling? How are you sleeping?

Ashley Osterman (09:31):

Nicole Aucoin (09:31):
How are you moving better? How’s your mood? How’s your energy level? There’s so many other factors. How are your clothes fitting?

Ashley Osterman (09:40):
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nicole Aucoin (09:41):
I had a client that I was talking to today and he said, “Nicole, I have to get a whole new wardrobe. All of my clothes are falling off.” And he said, “I put on a shirt that I had three years ago,” and he said, “I could wrap it around me twice.” He’s lost 80 pounds. So, it was pretty incredible. But he’s like, “I don’t have any clothes that fit anymore.” And that as a nutrition coach is exciting, right? It’s like, yes, you have to invest more money in clothes, but you’ve reached this point where you’ve worked so hard and now you can see, physically see a difference, but that didn’t happen overnight.

Ashley Osterman (10:11):
No, definitely not. And I think as humans, we are really our most toughest critic. We can be so hard on ourselves. And if you’re working with a nutrition coach, nutrition coaches are truly the bright spot engineers. They can pull out bright spots in places that you might easily overlook. But if you’re not working with a nutrition coach, and you’re not seeing bright spots, just take a moment, think about our holistic framework, think about all areas of your life and highlight the successes even if it’s you ate breakfast this week, or you moored for two days this week, highlight and celebrate the heck out of your accomplishments because when we are celebrating and highlighting our accomplishments, and being proud of what we’ve done, it gives us the motivation to keep pushing the needle forward.

Nicole Aucoin (10:57):
I think that at the same token, we have to find those positive things, right?

Ashley Osterman (11:00):

Nicole Aucoin (11:00):
Not even if it’s just an accomplishment, but we have to find areas of gratitude.

Ashley Osterman (11:04):

Nicole Aucoin (11:04):
Because when you see positive things, you’re going to see more of those things. You always hear, do you see the glass half empty or half full? And if you are the type of person that sees it half empty all the time, you’re going to see a lot of things half empty versus, is it half full? Okay, now I’m starting to see the bright spot, or the positive things in all aspects of my life.

Ashley Osterman (11:24):

Nicole Aucoin (11:25):
So, you have to be intentional and this takes practice. And I think for everybody seasons of stress, it can be easy to see things half empty sometimes, but you really have to be intentional about finding those bright spots and that will give you motivation to continue and really focus on progress over perfection.

Ashley Osterman (11:44):
Yes, absolutely.

Nicole Aucoin (11:45):
The next one I love to talk about, because this is one of my favorites. You have to have a support that is going to positively reinforce what you want to accomplish. If your spouse, significant other, coworkers, are not on board, it is going to be so tough, if your roommates are not on board and there’s all of these things that you love that you’re tempted with around, it’s going to be easy for you to fall off track. But if you have that positive support system it’s going to help you be more successful longterm, we’ve proven it with all of our nutrition clients. So, let’s talk about what happens if you don’t have someone on board, how do you get them on board?

Ashley Osterman (12:26):
Nicole, I think it’s important that your support system really understands the, why? That’s behind your goals. And we talked about this a lot in our last episode, but you really need to think about why you want to achieve what you’re striving for. And that comes down for a lot of people, maybe feeling more confident, wanting to have more energy, wanting to be a better role model for their family. Thinking of that why, and sharing it with your support system, because let’s be honest, if someone loves and cares about you, and they know something is important to you and understand the emotion behind what you’re trying to accomplish, of course, they’re going to support you.

Nicole Aucoin (13:05):
Ashley, you were sharing a story recently about one of your nutrition clients who had a work meeting.

Ashley Osterman (13:10):

Nicole Aucoin (13:10):
And he told one of his coworkers that he was really trying to eat healthy in the season, and work really hard to lose some weight and get healthy. Tell me what happened, because I think that story is so cool, because it goes beyond just your close inner circle, it’s the other people that could potentially derail your progress.

Ashley Osterman (13:28):
Yeah. Yeah. We were working on trying to stay on track during the season, and sometimes especially in a work environment, it can be a lot of food and temptations that are brought over the holiday season, the new year, and one of the strategies that we talked about was just being open with his coworkers and explaining that he was still grateful for the gifts and treats around the holiday season, however, he needed to stay on track to reach his goals. And not only did they support him, they also are helping encourage him now on his goal. So, when he’s at the store, they’re telling him, Hey, I’m watching you. What are you having for lunch today? Hey, I’m bringing in this platter for lunch. I got grilled chicken for you, that way you can stay on track. And they have turned into another layer of accountability and support for him, which is going to do wonders with his progress towards reaching his goals.

Nicole Aucoin (14:17):
Which is amazing, because he had a tough conversation, or what he thought would be a tough conversation and really has turned into a positive situation with additional layers of support, which is amazing. So, you have to have a support system that is going to positively affect your progress towards your goals and making sure that you’re giving yourself that extra accountability that you need to stay on track. The next one is probably one of our favorites, right?

Ashley Osterman (14:41):

Nicole Aucoin (14:42):
We at Healthy Steps Nutrition strive to foster a positive relationship with food. And what that means is we have to talk about what can add in instead of what we have to take away.

Ashley Osterman (14:54):
Yeah. We always talk about adding things to the plate. We don’t want to promote the diet mentality, restricting, you can’t, avoid, restrict, no one wants to hear those words, and when you do, you want more of it, let’s be honest. Like I mentioned before in our last episode, treats can definitely be a part of a healthy, balanced diet, but if we take stuff away and we foster a negative relationship with food, really you’re setting yourself up for an unfortunate experience. But when we’re adding things in to the mix, like adding more whole foods, eating more veggies, drinking more water, we’re focusing on a positive relationship with food. And we tend to find that by adding those whole foods in, you end up eating less of those processed foods.

Nicole Aucoin (15:38):
Absolutely. We have to foster that positive relationship with food and getting everyone at home on the same page is really going to help. Nutrition clients that have family members eating something completely different than they’re eating, it’s going to be tough to stay on track. So, if everyone’s eating the same thing, it’s going to be so much easier, and we want to talk about adding things in instead of taking away. Yes, of course, you’re going to end up taking some stuff away, especially processed carbs and sugar, but if you’re adding more vegetables and you’re going to fill up on that first. I think when we’re talking about successful nutrition clients that really are able to maintain those results for a long time, it’s not just following a piece of paper.

Ashley Osterman (16:21):

Nicole Aucoin (16:21):
It’s really understanding how to craft balanced meals, no matter what situation you’re in. Are you traveling? Are you out to dinner? Are you at a friend’s house? Are you home? Do you just have leftovers? How can you make a balanced meal and stay on track with what you have available to you? And when you can do that, it really sets you up for success and really comes down to the last thing. It builds a healthy lifestyle instead of a restrictive diet.

Ashley Osterman (16:50):
Yeah, it becomes second nature. And if you listen to our last podcast about lifestyle, Nicole gave such a great example for us. We did a day in the life on our social media and we never track our food, I don’t log, but we had to do it just to have it for the information for social and turns out we were pretty on track. And it’s just what we normally would eat throughout the day, our regular meals and our snacks. And it’s because we’ve built that foundation of healthy habits where it’s become a lifestyle for us, like second nature.

Nicole Aucoin (17:21):
You have to have a healthy lifestyle and lifestyle encompasses all different things, right? We want to have those healthy habits, of course with food, but also who we are surrounding ourselves with, and exercise. All of those things really come together to help you become the healthiest version of yourself. And at the end of the day, that’s our goal, right?

Ashley Osterman (17:41):

Nicole Aucoin (17:41):
We don’t want to promote a super strict restrictive diet. We want to meet you where you’re at. Focus on one thing at a time to help you be more successful, and this goes against many diets out there.

Ashley Osterman (17:54):
Yeah, it really does.

Nicole Aucoin (17:56):
It’s a counter diet culture. It’s against so many diets, but in reality, long-term success comes from daily actions, not some crazy thing that you do overnight.

Ashley Osterman (18:07):

Nicole Aucoin (18:08):
So guys, these are the five habits that we have found after working with thousands of nutrition clients who have been successful, but also been able to maintain their success, because as we mentioned before, we want you to see success, but more importantly, we want you to maintain that success for the longterm to reach your health and wellness goals, and foster a healthy relationship with food through a healthy lifestyle.

Ashley Osterman (18:34):
I love it.

Nicole Aucoin (18:35):
So, tip number one is keep it simple. Focus on one thing at a time. Number two, strive for progress over perfection. We don’t have to do this all or nothing mentality, we just need to find the bright spots and look at not only biometrics, but also non-scale victories to see those progresses. Then we want to look at support system, who are you surrounding yourself with that is positively reinforcing what you want to accomplish and what success looks like to you? And you really need to talk about your why? You have to get to that why. Next we want to talk about fostering a positive relationship with food, whole foods first. Instead of saying you can’t have X, Y, and Z, eat more real foods first.

Nicole Aucoin (19:19):
The simplest form, shop the perimeter of the grocery store minus the bakery, right? Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, eat more vegetables, load up half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, then go to your protein and save your starch for the end. When you eat your vegetables first, you’re going to help fill up your stomach and you’re going to be more satisfied with less of the carbohydrates. Our world is in a crisis due to obesity, right? And it comes a lot from the processed carbohydrates and sugar that we’re consuming. And we have to really educate ourselves. How do you read a nutrition facts label? Do you understand exactly what you’re eating and what you’re putting in your body? Because every single bite that you eat either fights or fuels disease at the end of the day.

Nicole Aucoin (20:05):
And we want to set ourselves up for success and prevent chronic disease in, and how we do that is those daily actions. And the last thing really ties into all of that is that healthy lifestyle. So, what are you doing every day to foster a positive relationship with food and a healthy lifestyle over a restrictive diet? And when we look at all of these things, it really sets clients up for longterm success to be able to not only maintain, but inspire others around them to do the same thing.

Nicole Aucoin (20:36):
Well, I hope you can take one step to becoming the healthiest version of yourself and implement one of these characteristics. While it seems crazy you can actually be more successful when you slow down and take action with just one thing at a time. At Healthy Steps Nutrition, we always say you don’t need a restrictive diet, you need a healthy lifestyle. And if you want to be successful long-term you really need to invest time and energy into making your health a priority. Quick fixes are too good to be true. I can tell you countless stories of even the quickest fix that comes to mind, bariatric surgery, regarding patients who lost weight, but then actually regained it all back because they never changed their lifestyle. Long-term success requires you to be intentional about your health and taking care of your body through what you eat, sleep, stress, exercise, support system to create a healthy lifestyle.

Nicole Aucoin (21:40):
It’s time to flip the switch and keep it simple, hence the Nutrition Made Simple Podcast. In order to see lasting results, you really need to slow down and focus on only one thing at a time. Sometimes clients tell me it’s tough to know what that one thing I should be focusing on. And that is where coaches come in. Nutrition coaches are there to guide you every step of the way, and most importantly, keep you accountable so that you can create a healthy lifestyle and become the healthiest version of yourself. Next week I am so excited to be sharing a story of one of my nutrition clients, Moose. He’s a captain for the Pompano Beach Fire department, which is a pretty physically demanding job. And a few years ago, he woke up and realized I need to do something. He was over 330 pounds and decided enough was enough.

Nicole Aucoin (22:36):
We share his journey of losing 70 plus pounds so far, and really the ups and downs and helping understand progress is never a straight line. But we talked about three key things that have helped him throughout the year stay on track. And goodness, he tells you some of the different diets he’s tried, and he’s tried everything. But he finally is investing in his health with a coach and really making his health a priority. You do not want to miss this super inspiring story. Before we go, are you loving this podcast? Our mission is to empower 4,000 people in January to ditch that all or nothing mindset and take control of their health by listening to this podcast and changing one thing at a time. Please, don’t forget to share this podcast with a friend who might need some words of encouragement. Also, don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review. Thanks. See you again next week.

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