Obviously clients has their own perspective of meeting goals and hopefully these were established when you started work. Education on all the different ways to measure progress may help. Unfortunately as unreliable as scale weight can be in measuring true progress, people tend to focus on this. Education on what scale weight means, along with education on optimal body composition might help too. While continuing to measure scale weight and inches, you might incorporate multiple measurement methods at specific time points to help this person put scale weight in perspective. How has your energy level improved? How are you sleeping now? Are you clothes fitting differently? Are people commenting to you about the way you look? What can you do now that you couldn’t do the last time we did a progress check (performance, such as push-ups), etc. You may have to dig deeper and figure out what is really motivating this person, because scale weight can be a real disappointment! Hope this helps.
Fortunately for me, I have finally gotten it through to most of my clients that the scale does not tell the whole story! It’s possible for your measured weight to remain the same, while you’re slimming down, especially if you’re losing fat and gaining muscle.
The problem with the scale is that they measure everything (fat, muscle, bones, and organs) The scale can’t tell you what you’ve lost or gained, which is important information if you’re trying to lose weight…and by weight, what we really mean is fat.
Knowing your weight in pounds is helpful when you start a weight loss program but I believe more importantly is knowing your Body Fat percentage which you can take by using the skin caliper method or a bioimpedance device.
Whether or not the client’s goal is weight related, when we do an initial assessment I always focus on lean mass. Increasing it perhaps or maintaining it. When change is encouraged, we don’t emphasize a body weight goal but a body composition goal.
I tell my clients to expect little weight loss and maybe some weight gain in the first couple weeks of training because I won’t starve them into a lower dress size. They are often eating more frequently and drinking more fluids than they were before during the initial stages of weight management programs. Changes in body weight can be surprising, especially if they don’t have much excess adipose tissue to burn off.
So if they become disheartened by slow or no weight loss I always listen. Then I’ll suggest that we measure body fat and review goals. Did she exercise according to plan? Did he start eating smaller meals? Have her measurements decreased? If these things have all happened then the scale is misleading us once again because these are successes that over time will add up to big changes in his or her body.
Emphasizing the lean weight early on as healthy and strong helps. It’s hard to fight the scale and it’s almost arbitrary changes. Most clients can relax, regain their trust and stay the course as long as we emphasize and they can recognize their successes along the way.