I had a client who talked his best friend into starting a work out program with him. They signed up for some training sessions to learn how to get started and had a few consults with the dietician. The friend put up a lot of resistance to coming in to workout. He wanted to leave after a short time when he did come in. And he didn’t want to change his behavior when it came to diet change. They had a Sunday ritual of going to a sports bar to watch football, basketball, baseball, whatever was in season. And they ate wings and fries, etc. Drank beer and watched sports all day most Sundays. The friend did not want to change anything about those Sundays. It turned out that they consumed around 50 wings each at these outings, that alone was about 3600 calories. They would go through two or three baskets of fries, 1000+ calories each. They often had 5 or 6 beers, a few appetizers, and finished the last hour drinking soda so as to be less impaired to drive home. Which I don’t think would be all that effective, but did add a lot of calories. All in all it was about 7000 calories each on one of their two days off with no exercise at all. The client attempted to cut back on his eating at the Sports Bar. But the friend let be obvious that he was not happy about it. When the initial instruction sessions ended, the client stayed on his schedule pretty well. The friend dropped off the radar. I don’t know if the friendship ended or if the client gave in a little on the Sundays. But the client did really well on his own.
I tread lightly in such cases. It isn’t my place to interfer in client personal lives. I do try to get clients to enlist their family and friends in supporting them. Usually the support is minimal. Occasional extremely supportive. Luckily, it has rarely been more undermining than neutral or supportive.