Weight loss. One of the most, if not THE most, common goal women have when starting a fitness and nutrition program is weight loss. I talk to potential new clients all the time who tell me they’re reaching out to me because they want to lose weight. I will never accept “weight loss” as a final goal though! If you’re serious about changing your life, I insist on diving deeper into the reasoning behind your goal, and here’s why.
Weight loss is merely a number
When it comes to weight loss, sometimes we focus too much on getting, or more often getting back, to an arbitrary number. Maybe that number is what you weighed senior year of college, or the size pants you were wearing when you first met your spouse, or your fitness level right before you got pregnant. There’s likely some event or happy period in your life tying you to that particular number. Somewhere along the line, you mentally linked the feeling of accomplishing life’s milestones with your weight. The problem is, the number on the scale probably had little to do with the happiness you achieved.
Why a weight loss-only goal concerns me
A lot of people have the goal of weight loss because that’s what we’ve been conditioned to think when it comes to improving our fitness and nutrition. The problem with this way of thinking though, is that we get hung up on calories and scales, and fail to embrace the hundreds of other benefits we get from eating healthier and being more active. Additionally, a goal of weight loss-only can potentially lead you down the path of dangerous diets and quick fixes (pills, shakes, bottled cleanses, etc.), food obsession, lack of self-esteem, and a jacked up metabolism. Being healthy is a FEELING; not a number on the scale.
What your weight loss goal is really telling me
When a potential client tells me their only goal is to lose weight, I start asking them deeper questions to uncover WHY they want to lose weight. In the course of our conversation, I want to understand their motivation but more importantly, I want my clients to reflect and realize the depth of their own intentions for starting a new lifestyle. Here are some of the questions I ask:
- Why do you want to lose that specific amount of weight?
- When was the last time you weighed that amount?
- How did being at that weight make you feel?
- Follow up circumstantial questions based on their response.
- How do you think your life will improve once you’re at that weight?
Depending on their response, I determine whether they would be a good fit for my program or not. See, my program is not a quick fix. My program is a lifestyle change that requires my clients to have intrinsic (or self) motivation for the long haul. If someone’s only goal is to dramatically lose 15 lbs in 6 weeks for a class reunion, I will not be a good fit for them. My program is intentionally called the Love Yourself Towards Healthy Fitcamp because I don’t want my clients to focus on the scale. Instead we focus on the FEELING of healthy. The feeling of confidence, celebrating small and big accomplishments, more energy, more self-control, and the healing of your gut.
How to develop more meaningful goals
The good news is most people actually have a deeper goal than simply “weight loss” and it’s just a matter of uncovering the motivation for that high-level goal. During my free 20-minute consultation phone call with a potential new client, I intentionally ask several questions to help them uncover their motivation and purpose, such as:
- What are your short-term goals? Do you have an upcoming event?
- What are your long-term goals?
- What kind of exercise programs have you tried in the past?
- What did you like? Why?
- What did you not like? Why?
- Why did you stop? (schedule change, injury, didn’t like the teacher, etc.)
- What kind of nutrition programs have you tried in the past that worked?
- What are your hobbies?
- What kind of support will you have at home? At work?
For more details on why a weight loss-only goal isn’t good enough, please watch this video taken from my Periscope (@belowthefork) broadcast on 4/19/16