I love meeting new clients and having a conversation about what they are dreaming of creating for themselves, what their vision of their Future Self is and why it matters to them.
We talk about what they are struggling with, what obstacles they are bumping up against, and what kind of help they are looking for. It is one of my favorite things.
I have heard their concerns, listened to their stories, been privy to their struggles, and a witness to their dreams.
I am meeting with people every week who are just like you.
They all think they are the only one. They all feel like no one gets it. They all feel like they have tried everything. They are all looking for a solution. They all doubt it will work. They all think that’s because there is something wrong with them.
One particular question that comes up often from my client’s is some version of: what is your client success rate? And I think it would be interesting to look behind this question at why people ask me that, and to share some of my thoughts on results.
When people ask me that question, they are looking for scale results. They want to know how much weight my clients have lost, if they have reached their goals, and if they have kept it off. They want a guarantee or a promise.
They have heard so many times, from so many sources: do this, drink this, buy this, try this and you will lose the weight. And that, on occasion is true…we have all experienced doing, drinking, buying, and trying different programs and then seeing scale results.
There are also certainly plenty of empty promises out there based on profit. But with the guarantee of weight loss if you do XYZ-that does work. People do see scale results when they follow the program and do the things it recommends.
But scale results alone, do not tell you the efficacy of a program or plan. And someone else’s scale results based on a particular program or plan cannot guarantee yours.
It makes sense that people would look for a guarantee or a promise of results. If you are going to commit to something, you want to be assured that you aren’t wasting your time or money.
I think the biggest reason behind this question is a desire for reassurance that they won’t come face to face with failure again.
Feeling uncomfortable in our progress
Every single one of the people I talk to has tried many things…and over and over they feel they have failed.
Really what happened is they have failed to sustain the changes. And they then view themselves as a failure and feel inadequate, embarrassed and ashamed. And that all feels terribly uncomfortable. They don’t want to feel that again, and so they want me to tell them that they won’t.
One of the ironic and fascinating things about this question is that for the vast majority, one if not all of the things they have tried in the past, came with a guarantee or promise. So they looked at the success rate and they bought in and tried it.
They then eventually failed and ended up on a call with me, wanting to try something else with yet another success percentage that tells them they won’t have to feel uncomfortable again.
Why scale results are not helpful
Here’s why I don’t like to answer the question of what my client’s success rate is, and think it’s the wrong one to be asking:
1- I don’t focus on, decide, or keep track of my clients number goals-that is for them to do with love for themselves, if they want to. Without a spreadsheet of who wanted to lose what and how they are progressing toward that which I think is somewhat irrelevant, I can’t really track percentages.
2- Hardly any of my clients lose all the weight they want to lose in the 3 months they spend with me. For many of them, it would be dangerous and unhealthy if they did because it would require them to take extreme measures. It takes as long as it takes.
3-I do not want to take over responsibility for my clients results or learning. I don’t want to make promises and have them then rely on me telling them what or how to do things to create success and rob them of the opportunity to educate themselves on themselves.
4- What my clients have created for themselves, has no bearing on anyone else. Meaning, even my clients who lose the weight they want to and make the shifts in their lives that they set out to-that will not and cannot determine what someone else will do. My clients create the results they do wholly based on the work they do. They own it, it is theirs.
Telling someone that 90% of my clients lose 15 pounds or more will create an expectation for someone coming in-and then if they lose 5 pounds or 1 pound or even 14….they will make it about how they are broken or the program is.
They will not own their ability to create the results they want.
Relationship with you and your body
So let’s talk about results.
It’s easy to say that the result we want to create is a certain number of pounds on the scale-less than the number we see now. But, there is so much more to weight loss than the scale.
And that is where we typically go wrong. When we look at our experience with changing the scale-most of us have evidence that it is possible. We have white-knuckled our way through some program, we have gone all in on some eating trend, we have lost weight.
That’s why this is the wrong question.
What we really want to know is not; did they lose weight, but rather; what did they learn or gain in the way of skills or tools, in order to lose it and maintain it?
If the only thing you have to do is follow a meal plan-you are not learning or gaining anything. If all you are focused on is what or how much to eat or not eat, you are not building skills that will help you navigate your relationship with yourself, with food, and with your weight maintenance in the future.
That is ultimately what weight loss is about, not food, but relationships…specifically your relationship with you and your body.
So that has to be a consideration when looking into weight loss solutions and that is the right question…
will this help me change my relationship with myself, my body, and food?
If the answer is yes…then you know you will be able to create results for yourself on and off the scale.
I’m not anti scale. It is a useful tool in an arsenal of tools we can use to see what’s working and what isn’t. But ONLY using the scale as a measure of results…excludes so many more important facets of this process.
In my opinion, the scale number is inconsequential and weight loss is instead a strategic byproduct of doing the work to change your relationship with you.
You do that work, you change how you take care of yourself and how you feed yourself as well- and the scale number can’t help but change.
So what do I consider results? How do I define results? What counts as a result if we’re not only focused on the scale?
To me it’s about measures of progress all along the way and having multiple data or focus points. Some of my favorite results my clients have created along the way-cutting out the food chatter in their heads; so all of the “what should I eat, I shouldn’t have eaten that, what am I supposed to eat, I really want to eat that but I can’t”-all of that noise.
Really understanding all of your many food rules is a big part of creating that result. And then you free up all of that space in your brain to think about other things.
I have my clients incorporate a short and sweet meditation practice into their days in order to foster presence and focus on feeling more love and gratitude for themselves.
Try to make your food choices come from a calmer, more loving place. Talk to people about what you are learning and how it’s going. This is huge for so many of my clients who hide what they are going through just in case something goes wrong, they fail or quit, and those people judge them for it.
Seeing real results
I have clients who have created the result of feeling love for their bodies for the first time in their lives.
Clients, who are not feeling deprived on a plan and like they have found a way to eat forever.
Clients who have seen their parenting and relationships with their partners change because of the tools and skills they have learned.
Clients who have changed the conversation in their head after eating off a plan, from one of criticism and judgment to one of compassionate curiosity..
All of that…and the scale changes also. Because all of that impacts your life and your day-to-day experience immediately-even more than the scale moving.
We don’t typically notice the scale results impacting our day to day for a while. But when you are looking at results in a more expansive way, you don’t have to wait for the scale to change enough that you notice. You get to start feeling the progress right away.
In order to have an expanded view of results, we also need a clear and broad idea of what we are wanting to create and accomplish…outside of the number on the scale.
Looking towards the future
I encourage my clients to think about what they want life to look like in the future…specifically. What do you want to be doing? What do you want to be thinking-about you, about food, about your body? What do you want to be different? What do you want to feel like when you wake up in the morning? How do you want to relate to your family and friends? What do you want to eat when you go out to your favorite restaurant?
If your brain offers you general ideas like-I want to be healthier or I want to feel confident…just be specific about what healthier will look like in different moments of your day or in different areas of your life.
What will it look like to get dressed when you feel confident? How will you show up in your life when you feel confident? How will your relationships change when you feel confident?
That way, as you are working toward your goal, you will be able to check in in multiple ways…how’s it going in terms of your healthier goal? What has changed? Look back to zero at how far you’ve come, not just ahead at how much farther you want to go.
So don’t forget to give yourself credit for all of the perceived minutiae of weight loss. The day in and day out of planning your food and assessing your plan. The days in a row that you meditate.
The small decisions stacked on top of each other that add up to big changes in you and your body and your life.
Expand and define what results you want to create.
Give credit for the little things. Measure your progress in more than just scale numbers.
How do you measure changes in your relationship with you and your body and food? Only you know.
If you want some help defining what results you want to create…I’ve got you.