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So, Your Client Wants to Lose Weight by Sharon Graham

Jun 5th, 2009 | By | Category: Wellness Coaching

Coaching Clients through Weight Loss

weightlossscaleby Sharon Graham

Sooner or later, (if you haven’t already), you’ll encounter a client who wants to set a goal for losing weight.  Here are seven straightforward guidelines to help you as a coach partner with your client so that they reach their goals and conclude that you are the best coach in the world!

1.  Determine Commitment

How serious are they?  How truly committed are they to making the necessary lifestyle changes and doing what they need to do to become healthy and well and reach a comfortable and reasonable weight?

Are they willing to make important and lasting lifestyle changes such as getting rid of their sodas, and fried foods, and beginning to work on a consistent exercise routine, for the sake of their health, and NOT just to lose weight to look good at their class reunion?  Determine how committed they are on a scale of 1 to 10.  If a client is less than a 7 or 8, it’s doubtful there will be much success.

2.  Set Realistic Goals

Be realistic and reasonable when setting weight loss goals.  Ask the client what they believe to be a comfortable and reasonable size for them to wear.  For men, that would be their waist size; for ladies, their dress or pant size.  If a woman says she wants to wear a size 6, explore with her the last time that she wore that size.  Be prepared for her to say, “When I was in college.”  She’s now 52 with grandchildren and wears a size 16.  At least for a short term goal, that is not realistic or reasonable.

Setting such a lofty goal will only bring discouragement and disappointment.  Begin with small, believable, and attainable goals.  Once that goal is reached, set a new goal with a bit more “weight” to it.

3.  Become a Serious Water Drinker

It is impossible for someone to lose weight without drinking adequate water.  That is not an overstatement.  Someone can do all of the other disciplines to a “T”, but if the body doesn’t have adequate hydration with pure water, it cannot mobilize fat and toxins out of the body.  Think of a stagnant pond on a hot, humid summer day.  Nothing is moving.  That parallels the body when someone chooses not to drink water.

Water also helps the body to feel full so that a person decreases the amount of food they’re actually eating.  A person desiring to lose weight should be drinking at least half of their body weight in ounces per day.

4.  Eat Foods in their Natural State

Eat foods that rot or spoil, but eat ’em before they do.  Think of the way God made food in its original state.   Traditionally the food our ancestors ate was picked, gathered, hunted, trapped, or caught.  There were no boxes, packages, or fancy wrappings.  Another name for the best foods to eat is Superfoods.  I call them God-foods.  Foods such as fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, legumes (beans), eggs, lean, clean meats such as free-range turkey and chicken, hormone free beef, lamb and venison are some great options.  Fried foods, hydrogenated fats, artificial sweeteners, sugar laden pastries, and cereals are NOT part of God’s eating plan.  (See for a list of Superfoods.)

5.  Control Portion Size

Portion size is critical to losing weight.  Bigger is not always better. Maintaining a healthy weight means eating the right foods in the right amounts.  One of the problems we face today is that we are confronted with huge portions in almost every eating situation. As a result, we have come to view these huge portions as normal or a great value. They are not.

Have the client first determine how much they actually are eating.  They might be surprised when they begin to honestly calculate their portion sizes.  Work with them to establish goals of measuring their food for a specific time so that they can learn what it means to eat a healthy portion size.  One serving of protein should be about the size of your palm.  One serving of veggies should be the size of two fists.

6.  Exercise

Everyone probably knows this, however it bears repeating since it seems everyone is NOT doing this.  One can never obtain lasting, healthy weight loss without regular and consistent exercise.  The body was designed to move, and most Americans need to move more, not less.  Coaching a client to establish a routine habit of exercise can be one of the most rewarding benefits to both client and coach.  Explore what the client likes to do for exercise and establish goals around frequency and length of time to exercise.  If they’ve never exercised, then begin with 15 minutes, 3 times a week.  Then increase to 4 times a week.  Next, increase the time to 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week.  An optimal goal is 45 to 60 minutes, 5 to 6 times a week.

7.  Think Thin

Proverbs 23: 7a says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”  If one is to reach success in any area of life, many agree that the success first must be realized in the mind.  Our own thoughts can sabotage our very finest efforts.  Coach your client to see themselves as a thin person.  Have them bring out a pair of jeans that they haven’t worn in a while, but could realistically work toward wearing them.  Have them picture in their mind how they’ll feel when they’re comfortably wearing those jeans.  Suggest they dig up old photographs of their thinner self and put them in a place as a reminder of what they’re working toward.  Have them reflect back to what they did then that was healthy that they could begin to incorporate into their lifestyle today.

Coaching a client to reach their weight loss goals will reap meaningful rewards.  And who knows, you as the coach might gain a smaller waist in the process.

photo: (juliagriggshavey)

Sharon Graham is a professional lifestyle coach and a wellness authority who coaches a broad range of clients in how to achieve and maintain wellness.  She is also an author of a recently released e-book on wellness, a blogger (The Coaching Pair), a public speaker, and is currently compiling a cookbook.  (Click here for bio.)

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