Yesterday I was in our local nutrition store to meet with the owners and discuss our mutual goals for our clients/customers. Its important to me as a nutritional coach as well as personal trainer that I have a reliable source for my clients, so I like to use due diligence when selecting a local business I can trust my clients wellbeing with. The owner was asking a variety of questions regarding my stance on nutrition and he gave me a case scenario to answer.
Case: You have a client who comes to you and needs to lose over 25pounds and is completely deconditioned. This particular client never eats breakfast, eats lunch at fast food restaurants almost everyday and dinner consists of beer and leftover pizza. They know they have to lose this weight because they are at risk for Type II diabetes in addition to a family history of cardiac disease. What is your course of action for this person, how are you going to counsel them and fix this?
My answer: One habit at a time. Period. You can’t overhaul someone’s life in a week. That is pretty much a set up for failure as it all becomes totally overwhelming. The problem with all these “ weight loss” centers and solutions is they attack the problem with a sudden death type approach. It might work in the short term but it rarely works in the long term. For anyone to adapt new habits they have to learn how to set behavior based goals. In the book “ The Power of Less”, author Leo Babauta emphasizes focusing on one habit at a time so that you can focus all of your energy on creating that one habit. According to Babauta sticking to one goal has an almost 80% success rate, once you start to add on other goals that success rate drops below 20%. How do you eat an elephant…one bite at a time! It sounds so simplistic but it works and it is the truth. Often times the difference between success and failure is the ability of the client to dial in to change one bite at a time. The problem with this concept of course from a marketing standpoint is change comes slowly and not quickly, and we all know that our culture loves a McDonalds solution to any problem.
This week while you are contemplating making positive change, write down one specific goal (known as outcome goal) and then write down your behavior goal for the week. Your outcome goal might be to lose 5 pounds this month. How are you going to get there? This is your behavior goal. What one habit can you work on this week to help you achieve that 5 pound weight loss? Is it making sure you eat breakfast, or is it going to the grocery and planning out your lunch for the week? Is it simply packing your lunch on Monday, Weds and Friday? One small change every day, each week will add up to the big change you seek and that change will now be not just temporary but woven into your new lifestyle choices. Change is hard for all of us, myself included. Sometimes changes I think should work for me do not and back to the drawing board I go. None of us has the same genetics, the same freedom or the same income to achieve our mutually similar goals. You have to find what works for you in your life and not what works for some celebrity with unlimited resources.
As a Nutritional Coach and a Fitness Professional, what I know is this. No one person is the same there is no cookie cutter approach to human success. We need to listen more, judge less and understand that each individual has a unique set of circumstances that can only be addressed…one…bite…at …a time.