I guess this isn’t too much of a question but more of a concern. A month ago, I had a client start with me that had previously lost 100 pounds on her own. In 2010-2011, she was in optimum shape and kept it off for 3 years. She since has put on 30 pounds and contacted me to help her stop and lose. The first two weeks, she was dropping pounds and feeling great. She is NO slacker and really puts in some tough sessions with me. I’ve kept in varied, incorporating Boxing, Bosu challenges, weight training, sprinting, etc and I am SO proud of her giving her all. She turns in her dietary logs and is very specific on everything.
Here is where the problem lies. She doesn’t have the greatest support, i.e. her spouse, who she said is morbidly obese, not really wanting to make a change at this time. She tends to sabotage herself once he is eating his meals of choice and falls back into pattern. She is also training for a run on her own of 10 miles happening Oct.4, so she’s been getting some long runs in during her own time, and Yoga. She has a hairdresser that puts her down when seeing her commenting on her weight gain since last time, etc. I REALLY want to help this woman. She did so well on her own and I can see is really hurting and trying to be consistent but is being pulled in different directions. She said she plans to stay with me training, right now she’s been doing 3 days a week and I don’t want to see her regress. I guess I just want to keep it intense for her but don’t know how to keep her from slipping on her own and I am worried for her. She recovered from Back Surgery 3 years ago as well and really is trying.
Sorry so lengthy and no real question, guess I just feel like any input may help.
I am wondering have you considered that intensity may not be the way to lasting change? That constantly entertaining her with various challenges may not be serving long term wellness?
You talk about being proud of her giving it all, but is she proud of herself, or is she just trying to please her extrinsic motivator you? What about intrinsic motivators?
Consider co-creating with her a program that has some emotional component and not just physical. For example, ask questions around what is her most reoccuring self talk, or does she have a technique for eliminating stress in the moment such as a visualization, or breathing exercise, or does she have an enriching home environment, and if not what can she do to make it so? Sounds like some sound coaching might be helpful, or perhaps referring her to a professional who is trained to dig deeper.
Sounds like you are doing a great job at just motivating her and supporting her–and that’s what she needs right now (the intensity should be based on her abilities, and ultimately it will be her diet that results in the greatest change to her weight loss). In addition, I would suggest you also keep educating her on the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise and the role they play in disease prevention. You play a key role in helping her to keep healthy behaviors such as exercise a part of her daily life.
Do you know the reasons for her gaining the weight back? Was it her lack of support from her husband? It could provide you with clues to what is really going on with her. Her environment (lack of support from her husband) will definitely play a role in her success. Ultimately, she will be responsible for her own behavior and her goals will only be met if she is ready to make the changes herself.
The best thing to do is support her and her goals, be positive, and be there for her 100%. Good luck to both of you…
Your doing great! Stay positive when you are around her as I’m sure your doing. She needs you so much right now. Have her practice positive imaging and positive self talk. Be her rock and her constant. She knows how important you are in her life! You are more than a trainer with some people. Stay in it with her. The more encouragement the better and both of your examples will hopefully shine through to her husband. Invite him to come watch or participate for free (but go easy on him if he actually comes). And don’t stop inviting him and telling him how important his life is too and how much better it would be if he was healthier and stronger (but word it in a way he doesn’t know your talking about his obesity and that her just thinks you think he is awesome and could do so much more with a little less weight….be creative) Some people need that friendly push!
Awesome job changing lives! Doesn’t it feel so good!
In good health,
Perhaps you can suggest that she find others to form a support network?
For example, maybe she could join a running group, or take a series of healthy cooking classes and meet people there. Help her brainstorm how she can plug into a healthier community. Although personally I’d drop the hairdresser like a hot potato, we can’t always subtract people from our lives. Sometimes we need to add strength in ourselves, or add others to our support network.
Perhaps she can eat before her husband eats, so that she’s not tempted. She may not be able to change his habits, and she’s not in charge of his habits. But she doesn’t have to do what he does, so she might have to think creatively around it.
A well-coach that I hired years ago to help me manage my health while doing extreme care-giving for a terminal family member taught me something very important about resilience. He didn’t try to trouble-shoot a single thing for me. He said, “Wow. That must be really hard. How are you going to react to that?” Whenever I dumped an issue, he nudged me to come up with a solution on my own. Perhaps do this for your client – don’t solve things for her. Listen to her, and ask really great questions that will help her find the answers for herself.
I love all the responses you have here, as well as your question. That there is compassion, rather than judgement speaks to the professionalism and human connection of everyone posting, I think. It does seem that she is engaged in each of the areas she needs, and she is working hard toward her goals.
I would suggest that if, as it seems, the place where the wall is weakest, as it were, is with social support it might help to enlist aid there. For the obese sense of self worth is attacked from all angles daily. As soon as one gets up one is bombarded with judgement. And on top of that is her closest potential social support who is against change…. well you can understand that… if she changes he bears the burden without her…. and that is really hard.
It is admirable for you to stand with her in a place of non judgement and compassion. But it would be helpful for her to have a greater support net, in addition to that. If you get her involved in some sort of race, as Harris suggests, she has the opportunity to join with a group, or train together with a group, that can help support her in her positive choices.
Yoga is another great place to find this supportive community. You do have to choose your class/teacher/studio well. Try to find her a viniyoga class, or something like that. I would say to avoid the really hot or other classes that are about the strong physical discipline to start.
If you can find her a meditation group that would probably also be very helpful. And I don’t just say meditate… that is good…. but it is doubly good I think if she joins a group, so she continues to develop a network of communities that support her.
If she works with a nutritionist, or with a group like weight watchers there are probably opportunities for support groups, both in person and online. I think these can be really good.
And I completely agree with Janet…. there are a lot of people who do hair. She does not need to associate with someone who does not treat her with kindness.