Working with overweight clients who have been eating low calorie diets for an extended period of time... thoughts?
In my first year of personal training, I've had a few overweight clients that say they've been eating a low calorie diet for a long time. When I review their food logs, they're usually eating 1200 calories per day or less and refuse to increase caloric intake, despite my recommendations. I've researched metabolic damage extensively and feel like I have a pretty good idea about what's going on, but convincing these clients to be patient and increase their energy intake is a major challenge. Add to that, it is difficult to know when someone is being straightforward and when someone is not telling the truth about what they're eating. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences with overweight and obese clients who say they eat low calorie diets and who are not losing weight.
You can't make people do anything! The one thing I know that rarely if ever works is to make them feel bad or guilty. Perhaps find a good dietitcian and recommend they have a consultation.
Let me say one more time....YOU CANT MAKE PEOPLE DO ANYTHING..no matter how good your intentions are.
Keep trying though in a kind loving fashion. Their subconscious is taking it all in.: ) Good luck.
This is unfortunate. Some one early on your clients experience, a trainer, a friend, the media, reinforced the perspective that 1200 calories was the magic number regardless of other aspects of fitness and of nutritional quality of said calories.
My first approach would be to address the quality not the number. Talk about ingredient choices, focus on more whole foods that work within her "number." Eventually you can get them excited about new meals (which may or may not have a few more calories.) Don't talk numbers anymore, they don't want to talk numbers so don't. Talk food.
Obesity carries with it a fear of change and of control. The client is telling you where their control is. So give it to them. Refocus your education with them onto quality versus quantity and get back to the work of physical lifestyle change. Continue having fun with them being newly and more active. Weightloss is a matter of loving something new and not feeling the pressure of "losing weight" every time you step out the door or pick up a fork.
I was 135lbs overweight not because I didn't like food (in addition to other psychological issues I'm sure :) So get the client excited about movement and about new ways of eating!
I hope this helps, if you have more specific questions please feel free to contact me, this is something I live and breath personally and professionally,
I would refer this client to a capable RD who has experience dealing with clients like yours.
your question goes right to the heart of the complexity of weight loss. As you have researched, a low calorie diet makes bodies really good at living on a reduced number of calories. Other statistics show that even dietitians and nutritionist underestimate caloric content by about 25 %.
One thing is certain for successful weight loss: it has to be paired with exercise. But it cannot be done without caloric restriction and eating the right calories. And let's not even talk about all the emotional components of food that lead to all varieties of disordered eating.
Clients often want us as trainers to be everything rolled into one and then place the blame outside if weight loss is not happening.
I would stay on the exercise side and recommend to our clients to consult with an RD.
It's easy as trainer's to assume that everyone is lying to us, but it isn't always the case. Granted, people don't normally just gain weight without trying (usually unintentionally) but there are a is really simple idea that you can try and work with.
Given that your clients are typical American's and have yo-yo dieted for many years, there is a good chance that their thyroid isn't functioning properly. There is a relationship between thyroid function and resting body temperature. Anything lower than 97.8 temp is considered low and there is a relationship with low metabolic rate. This means it will be hard for them to lose weight. This also means it is testable at home. Try having them do this:
This test is an excellent way to determine thyroid function using basal body temperature (the body's temperature at rest). If the thyroid is running low, the body's temperature will drop below normal while the body is at rest-sleep. This test is done by measuring the underarm temperature upon waking after a night's sleep. For accuracy, the test is performed five mornings in a row and then the average is calculated. The instructions for performing the test are as follows:
•The night before, shake down the thermometer (an oral glass thermometer only), and set it on the nightstand next to the bed.
•Immediately upon waking, without raising your head from the pillow, place the thermometer under the arm.
•Leave thermometer under arm for 10 minutes.
•Move as little as possible in this process; you must remain flat on your back during this entire time otherwise the thyroid gland will be activated and a false reading will be taken.
•After ten minutes, remove the thermometer and record temperature.
•The test is invalidated if you expend any energy before recording the temperature, i.e., getting up for any reason, shaking the thermometer, etc.
Perhaps you have another client you can assign as an accountability partner.
Here is a young lady who is sharing her journey and the strategies she used to get there. https://www.facebook.com/TaneeisFitforLife
here is another young lady on her journey. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5FkshLcNLQ
Hope this helps!
Wishing you much success,
It's important that you stay within your scope of practice and refer out to a Nutritional Expert