I’ve been coaching fat loss for three and a half years. I thought it might be time to share my thoughts on the subject, and specifically the psychology behind what I do. For the #Daretoeat Program, it’s much more than simply coming up with the calorie numbers for people to follow.
But first, what the heck do I actually do?
Well, if you’re not one of the 300 people I’ve coached, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about when I introduce myself as a “Fat Loss Coach” and to be honest, I hate the title.
You see, I don’t work with “fat” people. (Side note: I hate the term “fat,” unless I’m referring to the macronutrient). I work with highly motivated individuals who rarely have trouble getting into the gym. In all honesty, most of my clients probably workout too often, and managing their training style/programming/class schedule is a major component of the #DTE series.
But yes, I work with fit individuals. I’ve coached several well-known fitness instructors for photoshoots. I’ve helped moms lose post-baby weight. I’ve helped young professionals get their pre-college body back and I’ve helped women in their sixties find peace with food.
But how do I do this you ask? Read on to find out more!
But first, one quick thing…
As an [online] entrepreneur, I believe in picturing your business as a brick and mortar shop, always. In my imaginary world, if #Daretoeat existed in one physical place (and not the Netherlands, Mexico, Canada, California and 40 other states), it would be a small, low-key, under the radar shop where people who walk by aren’t really sure what it is. However, when they come inside it feels kind of like going to the esthetician: private, hands-on and individualized service. And then of course, it would be adjacent to a really cool strength gym!
3 Ways I help People (get leaner, smaller, slimmer, trimmer etc.)
- Accountability and Strategy
This is obvious: I set calorie guidelines for my clients. I also set protein guidelines. If they master the calories and then hit the protein metrics, they will lose fat. I coach myself through bikini competitions and these are the only things I worry about, too!
The research doesn’t lie and a calorie is a calorie. Whether it’s 400 calories of white bagel and cream cheese or 400 calories of paleo-approved bacon and veggies in coconut oil, it’s the same. Sorry!
I help people find their appetite’s natural rhythm with low, medium and high calorie days to begin the program. After all, if you think about your week as a whole, you probably eat less on Sunday than you do on a Wednesday when you exercise intensely, right?
Once we have those days set we have a kick-off call where we discuss the client’s “Rough Draft meal plan.” The rough draft meal plan is an exercise when the client creates one example of how they plan to hit the numbers I’ve calibrated for them. The plan must be very close to what they already do, align with the numbers, be realistic to their lifestyle and include foods they look forward to eating.
This exercise is crucial so that:
a) I can see inside their brain and their natural inclinations and make some suggestions/give helpful hints once I know what they like
b) get a better understanding of their nutritional knowledge
c) help guide them into the program. I don’t just send them numbers and say, “Well, good luck! See you at Week 12!”
After the ball is rolling, my biggest role for most of my clients is accountability. People make decisions differently when they have someone to report to daily. But that isn’t the only reason why accountability it such an important piece of the puzzle. Read on to learn the second way I coach!
2. Being the Voice of Reason
There’s so much that goes into why we eat, when we eat, how we eat, how we feel about how we eat, and more.
And because of all those psychological, social, emotional reasons etc. it’s easy to let the science get cloudy. It’s easy to eat to believe what your neighbor Suzy says about how you should be approaching your fat loss goals, when you want to lose fat more than anything and the #daretoeat program is only helping you lose 1/2 a pound to 1 pound a week (what is scientifically proven to be a sustainable rate of fat loss).
That’s when I come in.
The weekly phone calls I set-up with my clients allow me to keep them on the straight and narrow, focused and remind them to trust the process.
“I always say this but I’ll say it again…. If we could all lose 10 pounds in a week, I would not have a business and we’d all have six packs.”
Through daily email check-ins, weekly phone calls and weekly weigh-ins/progress updates, my clients stay focused, on task and feel like they have me in their back pocket anytime they feel down, stressed or confused about their nutrition.
On top of the one-on-one communication, the #Daretoeat Program involves a weekly learning sheet. The weekly learning sheets sometimes have homework assignments, reflective exercises and videos that cover everything from meal timing, to “good” carbs, to “healthy fats,” to meal prepping etc.
It’s so easy to get frustrated, to want to take the fat loss pill or order the juice cleanse. I keep my clients from giving in and help be the voice of reason behind hard work.
The other time I’m there as an accountability buddy is in the early stages of progress photos. I can *always* see a difference between the “before” photos and the Week 4 updated check-in photos because a) I don’t see my clients every day like they see themselves, and b) I have a trained eye.
Nine out of 10 clients say they cant see a difference at week 4, but they feel better and I am the voice of reason to get them to keep pushing.
3. Motivation inspiration
This is the most open I’ve ever written about my coaching, so I’m going to be a bit vulnerable with you now, and share the tough side of coaching…
…….when it *doesn’t* work.
Trust me when I say, the only time a client has NOT seen success is when they do not follow their program consistently.
If the client can honestly say that they’ve tracked/measured/weighed every calorie for over 6 weeks and not seen measurements decrease, the scale go down, or clothes get looser, then I suggest they go to the doctor. They begin to blame me sometimes, but when I suggest they get their thyroid checked, the truth comes out….
“I had two weekends when my tracking was probably a little off.”
“I haven’t been tracking the stuff I snack on after dinner” etc.
And let me say a few things about this to other coaches out there:
a) if they are going over calories, see if you can talk to them about why. It isn’t always that they are unmotivated, or that they gave up because they were at a bar and drinking, or because they are slackers…. sometimes the numbers you create as a coach can be too low, especially if the client’s output is extremely high, or if they’re being dishonest about their daily double workouts. Anyone would have trouble with adherence if they felt like they were starving all day.
b) Clients will blame you sometimes. You have to trust your coaching and be their friend, even when they point the finger at you. If you know the science, you know that science doesn’t lie.
c) Be honest with your clients and give them tough love when they need it. They will appreciate it more in the long run.
The hardest part for me is when I feel like I can’t help anymore. Or at least it used to be. I’d have clients “forget” to check-in, clients who’d go overboard on the weekends, and then come to me in the middle of week 7 after 3 “good” days, and express anger towards me that they didn’t see 1 to 2 pounds lost.
And it sucks! It sucks because in a lot of cases, the people who want to see changes in 3 days are the ones who give up when they don’t see it. I can tell 100 motivational stories, send them articles to read, offer more phone time etc, and some people just won’t commit.
But here’s why it doesn’t bother me any more: if they don’t commit, that’s OK! It’s not going to affect me or my business. I’ve learned over time that *almost* more people are obsessed with the idea of losing weight, more than with the actual act of fat loss. Remember that.
If you are a new coach and want help, or someone who does want to get leaner and stronger, do not hesitate to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org