My client is a breast cancer survivor, not willing to give up smoking, is holding all her fat in her stomach and abdominal region. She is limited by shoulder usage due to previous injury. She also has a very poor diet, is working on changing some, and increasing water intake. She lives on frozen dinners, and packaged foods, which we’ve gone over several times. Recently, I’ve gotten her to do her first 5K, walking, and now she is jogging as well, with strength training. Just need some ideas to help her because she is in a danger zone with the body fat and still smoking.
This is situation I have found myself in a few times. It really comes down to “is this client really ready to make changes.” She has already put up defenses and said that you can not make her do anything that she doesn’t want to do, despite their ill effects on her health. That makes the relationship tough for the start. My first advice is patience. There is no good way to say this to a client, but her control issues and survivor mentality really need to be addressed by a qualified therapist or doctor. This may not be something you feel comfortable bringing up so then we move to the next option. Do no harm.
Be easy on her and introduce her to basic activity as you’ve already done. There is no magic bullet with this client. The fact that you’ve gotten her to walk and jog is a testament to your relationship with her. The rest will happen as she begins to trust you more. Again, she has dictated her willingness to change, and those boundaries and wall will only shift with time and trust.
You’re doing amazing, keep perspective, keep patience, and focus on successes not the other aspects that aren’t changing quick enough.
Hope this helps, if you are looking for more specific exercises let me know. But I think reenforcing what you’re already doing is the important part.
yes, there are clients that seem to be resistant to all the suggestions we make. Yet: they keep coming back to us for training, and while there may be a lot of room for improvement when they are not with us, during the hour under our tutelage we have the ability to make a positive change.
You mention that she is already working on changing some things about her food intake, and that is cause for praise. I tend to constantly administer CPR (constant positive reinforcement) and try to step easy on what can turn into nagging. I am sure you have pointed out all of the unhealthy behaviors, and I am also sure that she already knew about it beforehand.
You have already made significant progress and should not forget that you can only help her to the extent that she wants to be helped. You are a very positive influence in her life, and she would not continue to see you if she did not feel that way.
HI DAWN,I THINK KARIN AND SEAN HAVE BOTH MADE GOOD POINTS. I JUST WANTED TO ADD THAT I AGREE WITH YOU HER FAT STORAGE IS NOT GOOD. EXCESS FAT IN THE STOMACH AREA HAS BEEN RELATED TO HEART, DIABETES, CANCER AND, SO ON. I HAVE READ THAT MANY PEOPLE WITH FAT STORAGE IN THIS AREA ARE INSULIN RESISTANT. WOMAN CAN BE AFFECTED BY HORMONAL CHANGES DUE TO ” CHANGE OF LIFE ” THAT CAN CAUSE THIS AS THE STATISTICS SHOW. I WOULD PERSONALLY ENCOURAGE HER TO TRY AND UTILIZE COMPLEX CARBS IN HER FROZEN DINNERS. HOPEFULLY WITH YOUR PATIENCE AND ENCOURAGEMENT SHE WILL REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF FAT IN THE STOMACH. BEING A CANCER SURVIVOR USUALLY MEANS THERE IS A 5 YEAR WAITING PERIOD BEFORE YOU ARE CONSIDERED A SURVIVOR. WITHIN THAT 5 YEARS, YOUR OWN MORTALITY COMES INTO THOUGHT. HOW A PERSON DEALS WITH THIS A GUESS. EACH PERSON IS DIFFERENT. BUT, IT WILL AFFECT THEIR BEHAVIOR AFTERWARDS. PLUS, THERE IS ALSO A PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTOR OF LOSING A BREAST. AS THE OTHERS HAVE SAID, BE PATIENCT, ENCOURAGE HER. AND, I THINK IF YOU CAN BE EMPATHETIC IT WILL BENEFIT IN REFERENCE TO YOUR PATIENCE AND ENCOURAGEMENT. IT CAN BE FRUSTRATING AT TIME BUT, YOU MAY BE THE BEST THING IN HER LIFE AT THIS POINT. GOOD LUCK. BRIAN ROZZI
You have one of those tough cases–the client came to you for help and support but needs to be ready and in a state of action to change. You’ve already made some progress on the cardio and strength end, which is great. Keep encouraging her efforts!
I would also keep encouraging her to eat whole foods over packaged foods. (My philosophy is hard work and whole foods!). Try to have her swap some packaged items for fresh fruits and veggies, lean sources of protein, healthy fats, and whole grains. I try to not only encourage my clients to eat more whole foods, but I always also explain the reasons why and the great benefits. More energy and disease prevention are only two great motivating benefits of eating healthy and clean. Since her diet plays a huge role in her success, she may want to try tracking her calorie intake if she doesn’t already.
Overall, she has to be ready to change, but remind her that this is a marathon, not a race! She is in this for the long haul, so those small changes will add up to long-lasting health and well-being.
Good luck and keep motivating her,