One of the biggest and most common of problems is getting clients to stay on a healthy diet, after all, why waste money on a trainer if you’re going to ruin the whole thing by eating junk food? Doesn’t make sense really. A classic example of a client not following a healthy diet happened to be a doctor who specialized in weight loss surgery! Hard to believe, right?
The doctor in question is David, he contacted me claiming he needed to lose a lot of weight. I set up a time for him to come down to the gym to look around and meet me, then decide if he`d like to sign up for some training sessions. At this time of course I had no idea he was a doctor. He tells me this little detail when I meet him and is concerned his patients won’t take him seriously when he’s advising them about weight loss. After all, would you take advice from someone who is heavier than yourself concerning weight loss? No, of course you wouldn’t. So, his fear was well founded.
It was very interesting chatting to him about weight loss, he goes on to tell me that most people who come to him are looking for the easy option rather than actually even trying a healthy diet. He also tells me he only believes in this kind of surgery when all else has failed and it’s a matter of life and death to the person concerned.
Before he will even agree to consider any weight loss surgery he advises and recommends certain steps to try to avoid this. Listening to him, he clearly understands this whole thing, but can’t do it himself it seems. This is without doubt one of the strangest situations I’ve dealt with so far during my years as a personal trainer.
He believes weight loss surgery isn’t the answer for the average person who is looking for a quick fix, simply because he doesn’t believe it changes the way people think about food. He says people must train themselves to realize they don’t need to be eating all day long. Now that’s kind of funny coming from a guy who clearly doesn’t follow his own advice! He goes on to admit his weakness is chocolate and will easily consume up to 10 bars a day!
He continues “I really try to make them the understand the importance of diet and exercise, and that they really need to consult with a nutritionist and personal trainer who can both help them without resorting to surgery. I believe as a country the United States is literally eating itself to death with no signs of this ending anytime soon. We must stop people from seeing food as their comfort cushion, like the saying goes eat to live not live to eat, so you see Nigel, I really need to lose the weight to add any credibility to my words” this guy seems to be genuinely nice, so I feel sorry for him and promise to help get the weight off him as by this stage he’s already committed to buying 20 sessions to start with.
He says he gives the patient a three month time frame in which to show they are serious about trying to lose weight by recommending a structured diet, sadly he went on to explain only around 30% follow this, he says everyone seems to have some kind of comfort food or drink that they aren’t willing to cut out, such as chocolate, fried food, beer and wine etc. he confirms he likes all those comfort foods! This might not be so easy; I know from experience when someone had these kinds of addictions it’s very difficult to break the habit of a lifetime.
Sadly, it proved to be the case, as David trained with me for a total of 6 months regularly, but with very little weight loss to show for his efforts. It just wasn’t meant to be as he couldn’t control what he was eating. He claimed he never felt better but eventually he lost interest and gave up altogether.
I hear from him occasionally from time to time threatening to make a comeback, but I highly doubt it will happen. He will just settle for being the overweight doctor-who continues to advise people on weight loss-that sadly can’t follow his own advice.
Any trainers reading this experienced anything like this? This case is a little extreme but getting many clients to follow a diet certainly isn’t and can be the downfall to the whole training program.