I met with a new client for the first time last night and things were going great. We were talking about what kinds of goals she wanted to accomplish, her reasons for wanting to get back in shape and getting healthier, the fact that her husband was fully supportive and is even planning on starting to workout with her so they are both on this journey together. And then she asked me the question that most every new client I’ve ever met with asks me in some form or another…
Her eyes got wide and I could hear the fear in her voice as she said, “I like wine! I usually have a glass or two in the evening… will I have to give that up?!?”
I’ve heard this question so many times over the years, just replace wine with ice cream, burgers, fries, pizza, cake, cronuts, donuts, milkshakes, the list goes on and on. Pretty much anything people are into, that is the first question they ask, “do I have to give it up?!?”
I think when I was a freshman trainer and still wet behind the ears my response was something like, “of COURSE you have to give it up!” Looking back I now see not only how foolish of an answer that was in terms of expecting clients to eliminate one of their favorite things in the world from their life, but also how unrealistic it was that even if they DID give something up… it would be sustainable.
Here is my answer to the question of, “Do I have to give up (fill in the blank)?”
I always suggest that they just begin working out with me once or twice a week, whatever it is we have decided on. I go on to say that I want them to start paying attention to what they are eating and drinking… usually in terms of tracking their food either by just writing it down or using one of the many apps and websites available that will calculate everything out for them; calories, sodium, fat grams, etc. Oftentimes what I find is that after even a few workouts, people automatically begin to change their habits, they start to just naturally make better food choices and they begin to realize that whatever that vice was that they were afraid to “give up” seems less desirable now.
Now, I am certainly not saying that they don’t or won’t still want it… but maybe not as much, or as often; and suddenly the FEAR of having to ELIMNATE something is no longer an issue. This also becomes an opportunity to look at their food journal and what their daily caloric intake looks like and say, “Okay, you WANT (whatever it is) and it is ‘this many calories’… can we adjust something else to make this fit into the plan we have to get you to your goal?” Sometimes it’s a matter of showing them the math. Are they willing to skip their Venti latte in the morning for a glass of wine at night? Are they able to add another workout a week to counteract the fact that they have to have a piece of cheesecake every Wednesday? Whatever it is, it then just becomes a rational, calculated decision that they have some say in… not their trainer just telling them NO!