What my successful clients do…. and don’t

This week’s post came about while I was swimming the other day. I really enjoy swimming for several reasons. First of all, you can’t swim with your phone, so no one can get ahold of you. Secondly, it does wonders for my mess of a back. And last, but not least, it allows me time to myself to think about where I want to go in my personal life as well as with the business. I often come up with my best ideas when I’m swimming.

Anyways, as is the norm in this business, there had been a recent headline out in the news talking something about how the sugar industry manipulated the system and made fat look like the culprit and singular cause of the obesity epidemic. Hey, it’s a good headline you have to give them that. Unfortunately, it’s the same old song and dance. Sugar is bad! Fat is the devil! Carbs are the real enemy! But, but… fat has…. like…. so many calories… it has to be the bad one! It all had me remembering a classic Seinfeld episode where Elaine keeps gaining weight and Newman is super pumped about this frozen yogurt shop that serves up this amazing frozen yogurt that is fat free. Anyways the premise is that it’s too good to be true and that there must be fat in it. Of course Kramer is involved and blunders the whole thing up, but I’ll just let you YouTube the episode. For the record, that episode originally aired in 1993.

So this all got me to thinking about a particular client of mine who has been doing really well lately (and from day one really). That led me to thinking back on all of the clients I’ve had since I opened the doors to Feel Good Nutrition (now Feel Good Nutrition and Fitness) in March of 2011. What was it about the one’s who were/are  successful in not only the short term, but the long term as well? And why didn’t all of my client’s reach and maintain their goal weights? Had I failed them in my counseling? Were they just not ready to change even though they thought they were? Was it a combination? Or was it something else altogether?

My swim that day was a bit longer than usual because I really just got kind of lost in my thoughts for a while pondering all of that. Obviously I want everyone I work with to be successful in their health journey. So I decided to think positively and focus on the successful ones. What was it that they did that allowed them to succeed? Well, here’s what I came up with during my 25 yard zig zag.

  • They listened to my advice and actually adhered to it. Now I’m not trying to come off brash with that, but I’ve unfortunately given out advice or recommendations for more people than I care to remember that was in one ear and out the other. Then 2 weeks later they come back and we look at their progress towards the goal(s) we had set and I get something along the lines of “Well this last 2 weeks just hasn’t been typical. There was a,b, and c and x,y, and z that don’t normally happen.” Then 2 weeks later it’s the same thing. Over and over again. That’s particularly frustrating. Now, I understand shit happens. I live a life too. But there are ways around it that I would lay down and they just weren’t picking it up, man.
  • They weren’t perfect and they were cool with that. This one is huge. I see so many people stick to a diet to a “T” and then they go to a party or something, have cake and ice cream, feel like they’ve blown it (they haven’t), and say “to hell with it”. Ahhhhhh!!!! One meal or day isn’t going to make or break you and I drill that into my client’s heads. As a matter of fact, I love it when I see someones food log and it includes a peppering of pizza and popcorn or some chocolate and wine. They aren’t depriving themselves and that’s crucial for long term success.
  • They were aware of what they were putting in their mouth. I was talking the other day to my friend on the phone and he had recently started casually logging food just because he was curious. He’s only recently started this, but my hunch is he’ll lose at least a few pounds. How do I know this? Because often times after meeting with a new client and explaining that in order for me to know what to fix with them, I need to see what they are currently doing. And it almost never fails that they come back to me (remember, I haven’t given any advice yet) and remark at how they’ve already lost a bit of weight. It’s because they’re finally paying attention. Mindless eating will bite you in the ass…. and give you a bigger one too. Let’s say you mindlessly finish off that bag of Doritos everyday at lunch and you mindlessly scoop out of the ice cream container after dinner each night. That’s a couple hundred calories at lunch and at least a couple hundred more at dinner. So for the sake of math, that’s roughly an extra 500 calories a day. And that’s pretty easy to do by the way, especially with the types of foods I just described. Make the change to still have it, but be mindful and only have a few extra chips and a couple of spoonfulls of ice cream and you’ave cut 250 calories. That could make the difference in the course of a year of weighing an extra 15-20 pounds or not. Think about it.
  • They were consistent and stayed the course, even when it got tough. As I mentioned earlier, I know that life happens. Loved ones can get sick or die, jobs can be a bitch, kids can get out of control, you travel a lot for that bitch of a job, etc. But the successful ones make it work one way or another. Sometimes they go the other direction and gain a bit of weight, BUT they hop right back on that train and get back to it, knowing that these bumps are inevitable. What this all boils down to is mindset. I often get out a sheet of paper when working with a new client or one who has hit a plateau or gained back some weight. I draw a simple x-axis and y-axis. The x-axis is time and the y-axis is weight. What I first draw is a straight line descending from left to right and say “this is how most people think of weight loss”. Then I flip the sheet over and draw the same graph. But this time the line is squiggly. Up, down, small changes, big changes, and flat lines. From point A to point B on each graph, the end point is the same. The only difference is the journey getting there and I think that is really important to know.

Okay, so this week’s post wasn’t necessarily as funny as I like to make them, but sometimes I just have to be real. Til next week!

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2 Comments

  1. Christine Wilson

    This post is so true. Since I started paying attention to what I eat and exercising at least 3 times a week, sometimes 5, I have lost 27 lbs. since the end of March. I still enjoy an occasional dessert or a few chips, but, I am mindful of a serving size and weigh almost all of my food. I just make better choices.

    • admin

      Thanks Christine, glad to hear this rings true with you! That means you’re doing it right 🙂 Congrats on your success so far!

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