All great responses. I would only add that you need to reinforce to your client the absolute need to be patient. 1-2 pounds/wk weight loss is what the research suggests is the maximal effective rate. So it takes time. Try to help your client recognize that all of the magic rapid weight loss approaches are not based on research, they’re based on marketing.
All of the above answers are great.
You may want to try some tactical strategies for emotional strength and resiliency. You want the client to have more energy to accomplish his daily work and enjoy his social
life. This means getting him connected to what he values most in his life and how having more energy will allow him to live a more fullfilling life.
You do not need to do the work here, he does. Ask him to write a mission statement, something with an emotional pull. It can be several sentences or one. Ask him if he will share it with you.
Does his statement illicit excitment from him, or is it just a rote response. The mission statement is his touchstone during the challenging times ahead. Something he can use to pull him forward when he is discouraged. Make sure he understands that this is not easy work, but that having a heartfelt intrinsic value attached to the work will help him sail more smoothly.
You’ve received great insight from the others on exercise and nutrition starting points and things to consider.
I would add this, be sure to lay out clear, easily attainable goals.
He has probably tried losing the weight before and not been able to. He’s probably not even sure working with you will change that. After all, all his experiences have taught him that he CAN’T lose weight.
Find out why he wants to lose the weight. What has he tried before? Why has t it worked? Why does he think this time will be different? What does he think he may have to give up or change to make that happen? Is he willing to do that? How? What will make this time different? What will he do differently? And what can he do today to get closer to that goal?
It’s as much about understanding his motivation and his obstacles, as it is what he wants to achieve and knowing how to get there.
Enjoy the learning process. I often find that I learn as much from my difficult clients as they do!
I think the others have good points with regard to the physical work that needs to be done. This client came to you for help, so that is a great first step, and one that I, personally would embrace. Try to build a rapport and make a connection with him–he needs the support and you are a catalyst for helping him make some changes that will lead him to better health.
In addition, I would look at the individual aspects of your question:
If he does not eat well, perhaps you could guide him with a few healthy options or give him some suggestions to make better choices when at work. A little planning on his part could help.
If your client is busy, and we all are, than perhaps you could put together an exercise program that he could manage to fit in on the days that he does not train with you. Make it specific, and give him homework. Let him know that he will see immediate benefits of exercise such as better sleep, reduced stress (a good benefit for him), and more energy. Once he starts seeing changes, this may help his motivation level.
Ultimately, yes, it will be up to him to make these changes and we can only do so much–your client has to be ready to make those changes. But, you are a good influence to get him started down the road to health.