What Our Most Successful Weight Loss Clients Have in Common
We've been very fortunate to have many clients lose substantial amounts of weight and create lasting changes in their relationship with food. That said, there are a few common themes amongst those who have had the greatest success losing weight and keeping it off.
1) They have a support system of friends and family. You may have heard the studies that having an obese friend makes you gain, on average, 17 pounds. While we aren't saying you should ditch your friends in order to lose weight, make sure to surround yourself with family and friends who are supportive of your goals. The support of loved ones is an essential part of a weight loss journey, or any lifestyle change for that matter. Someone telling you "just one bite can't hurt" and bringing you treats or “non-compliant” foods is not being a good friend. Seek out those people who will accompany you on a run, serve a few “on-plan” options at their barbeque, and most importantly, be a cheerleader for you every step of the way.
2) They cook and try new recipes and foods. If all you're eating is a romaine salad with grilled chicken, yes you'll be eating "on plan" but you'll also most likely feel bored, restricted and unmotivated. That's certainly not an enjoyable lifestyle and will inevitably lead to you falling back into unhealthy habits. Our clients who willingly and enthusiastically try new foods (or condiments, spices, etc) and experiment with the recipes we provide are undoubtedly the most successful. We often provide healthy "makeovers" to our clients' favorite meals so this becomes an enjoyable and sustainable lifestyle, not a depressing "diet".
3) They prepare ahead. Our most successful clients realize the importance of planning, planning and more planning! They do their weekly grocery shopping on Sundays, prep ingredients and meals in advance, send us the menu for any restaurants they plan on visiting, and map out their workout routine for the week. If they have a social obligation where compliant food may not be an option, they eat their meal beforehand, or bring a healthy dish to share. They keep apples, crudités or nuts in their bag so they don't get caught in a "snackmergency" situation. When traveling for work, or heading out on vacay, they make sure to pack a cooler of healthy foods, a scale, and supplements. Perhaps most importantly, they clear their homes of processed, packaged "junk" and replace it with plenty of whole real foods. They make sure they always have the ingredients on hand to make simple, compliant and delicious meals.
4) They consistently remember to check in. Our job as coaches is to be your support system and to hold you accountable. Our clients who are the most successful are always on time with their weigh-ins and meal photos. We never have to nag or chase them down. They are 100% committed to the accountability piece of the program, and fully understand its importance and value. In fact, the American Society of Training and Development did a study on accountability and found that "you have a 65% chance of accomplishing a goal if you commit to someone, and if you have a standing accountability check-in with that person, you will increase your odds of success by up to 95%!"
5) They let go of their old ideas of what is "healthy". We've had clients who think weight loss is simply about "calories in-calories out". We've had clients who think a diet cola or a "fat-free" breakfast bar is an acceptable choice. Research in weight loss has come a long way. We now know that healthy fat is nothing to fear, and that these packaged "frankenfoods" and diet beverages actually lead to weight gain, inflammation and cancer. You need to be willing to ditch the diet tips you read in Prevention Magazine 15 years ago and realize that eating real, whole foods the way nature intended is the best way to achieve sustainable loss.
6) They ditch the idea of "well it worked for me before". Okay, maybe the Atkins diet worked for you ten years ago. But obviously it wasn't sustainable or you wouldn't be calling us. Our bodies change as we get older, particularly women who have hormonal changes and childbirth to navigate. Set aside your past experience and be willing to see how your body responds to real food and healthy fats.
7) They make the time to exercise. Although the exercise piece is just part of the weight-loss puzzle, its importance for overall health and wellness must not be undermined. Exercise improves cardiovascular health and immune function, increases bone density, strengthens, tones and lengthens muscles, improves flexibility, metabolism and digestion, lowers body fat and BMI, and releases endorphins to help manage stress and improve mood. Regular exercise leads to better food choices , both short and long term, and helps you feel in control of your health.
8) They eat mindfully. Our most successful clients take the time to create delicious, compliant meals, and mindfully enjoy them. They pay attention to when, where, how and why they're eating. They plate their meals and sit down at the table, eating slowly and savoring each bite (or sip). They wait at least 20 minutes before going for "seconds" to allow their bodies to register the signal that they are full. These clients take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a delicious "treat meal" on occasion, but plan for it ahead of time, share in the experience with family or friends, and most importantly, do not feel "guilty" afterwards!
9) They maintain a positive attitude. We know that weight loss does not just magically happen overnight, but occasionally someone may feel disappointed if they are not losing at the rate they initially expected. Our super-successful clients recognize that not all days (or even weeks) will look the same - some will feel incredibly easy and others may be downright difficult. The clients who persevere, stay the course, and maintain a positive attitude not only reach their goal, but maintain it. Often our mind is our most powerful weapon!
10) They do not deviate from the plan. We provide our clients with detailed meal plans, shopping lists and recipes for each phase of their program, specifically developed with their goals in mind. Our most successful clients follow their plans "to a tee", understanding that they are not to be deviated from aside from rare or extenuating circumstances. These clients read their booklets thoroughly and ask questions in advance so they can fully understand and embrace each phase of their journey. They don't take shortcuts or make excuses, they rarely ask for exceptions or modifications, and most notably, if/when they do experience a "slip-up", they are always forthcoming and honest about it so we can immediately help them "right the ship".
We see time and again that when our clients commit 110% to the program, are radically honest with us and themselves, surround themselves in a net of support, and maintain a positive outlook, they will reach their goal and achieve lasting success. When that happens, nothing makes us happier.