I speak to potential clients all the time, and they’re just like you. They feel like they’ve tried everything, they want results, and they don’t know if it’s going to work out. I get a lot of the same questions, but the most common one that comes up is some version of, “What is your client success rate?”
When people ask this, they’re looking for results on the scale. They want to know how much weight my clients have lost, and if they’ve kept it off. They want a guarantee. They want to be told, “Drink this… buy this… try this and you will lose weight.” And while trying, drinking, and buying sometimes works for some people, someone else’s scale results don’t guarantee your success.
Tune in this week because I’m sharing some of my deeper thoughts about results and how I interact with my clients’ goals and results. We’re looking behind the question, “What is your client success rate?” and I’m discussing why so many people’s brains thrive off of this kind of guarantee, and why I’m not in the business of giving it to them.
This is Weight Loss Success, with Natalie Brown, episode 115.
Welcome to Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you’re a successful woman who is ready to stop struggling with your weight, you’re in the right place. You’ll learn everything you need to know to lose weight for the last time in bitesize pieces. Here’s your host, certified life and weight coach Natalie Brown.
Hello everyone. I’m not sure if you know this but I meet with every single one of my potential clients before we work together. When I say meet I mean on Zoom. But still, I really like to have a conversation about what they’re dreaming of creating for themselves, about what their vision for their future self is and why it matters to them. I like to know what they’re struggling with, what obstacles they are bumping up against and what kind of help they’re looking for. It’s really actually one of my favorite things.
I have had conversations with women and a couple of men all over the United States and the world, people from every kind of background, culture, family, career, industry, education, age group. I have heard their concerns. I’ve listened to their stories. I’ve been privy to their struggles and a witness to their dreams. And it feels like such an on honor to share that little half hour of time connecting with them. It’s part of why I’m so connected to what you all need to hear on the podcast and why you feel like I’m sharing thoughts that are in your head.
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’ve tried everything. They are all looking for a solution. They all doubt it will work. And they all think that’s because there’s something wrong with them. I get a lot of the same questions but one in particular that comes up often is some version of this. 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. They’re probably different than what you might be thinking about results. When people ask me that question, what is my client success rate, they are looking for scale results. They want to know how much weight my clients have lost, if they’ve reached their goals and if they’ve 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’ve all experienced doing drinking, buying and trying different programs and plans and seeing scale results. Not always of course, there are certainly plenty of empty promises out there based on profit. But the guarantee of weight loss if you do x, y, z, 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’re going to commit time and money or something, you want to be assured somehow that you aren’t wasting your time or money. But I think the biggest reason behind this question is a desire for reassurance that they won’t come face to face with failure again.
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, and embarrassed, and ashamed. And that all feels terribly uncomfortable. They don’t want to feel that again so they want me to tell them that they won’t.
One of the ironic, I think, and fascinating things about this question to me is that for the vast majority of them, one if not all, or at least most of the things they have tried in the past came with a guarantee or promise already. So, they looked at the success rate or they were told the percentage of success and they bought in and they tried it. And 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.
Here’s why I don’t like to answer that question and I think it’s the wrong one to be asking. First of all, 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. I support it. I’m there for it but it’s not my place. I’ll go into a little bit more detail on this in a minute. Without a spreadsheet of who wanted to lose what and they’re progressing toward that, which I think is somewhat irrelevant, I can’t really track percentages anyway.
Second of all, hardly any of my clients lose all the weight they want to lose in the three 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. You should not be losing 50 or 100 pounds in three months. For the rest of them three months just isn’t the timeline. Sometimes it’s six months, sometimes it’s 24, it takes as long as it takes.
Thirdly, I do not want to take 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.
Lastly, 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 they 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 five pounds, or one pound, or even 14, they will either make it about how they are broken or the program is. They will not own their ability to create the results they want. And I think that’s a detriment, not help.
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 that we see now. But there is so much more to weight loss than the scale. And that is where we typically go wrong or at least one of the ways. There are so many ways, so many things wrong with the way we approach weight loss. 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 and 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 the weight, were they successful at losing 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’re 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 the scale, it’s a useful tool. I’m in the business of weight loss obviously, it’s a useful tool in an arsenal of tools we can lose 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.
If the only thing you want to focus on is the scale and the number going down, by all means, do. There are a million programs and plans that can absolutely help you achieve that. My program just might not be your jam. In my opinion the scale number is somewhat 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 wholly 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 all 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 looking into and understanding all of your many food rules is a big part of creating that result. And then you free up all that space in your brain without the food chatter to think about other things.
One of my clients had never meditated before working with me and she has now gone more than two months not missing a day of meditation. I have my clients incorporate a short and sweet meditation practice into their days in order to really foster presence and connection to their bodies and focus on feeling more love and gratitude for themselves. And I think that’s such a fun result, doing anything consistently for two months every day that you have never done before is amazing.
This is just one of the results this client has created. She has also started to feel her food choices come from a different place, a calmer, more loving place. Now, imagine if your food choices came from that place. I think for a lot of us our food choices come from a more punishing place, or a desperate place, or an, I don’t give a crap place. So, she’s noticing that she’s connecting to herself, feeling love and making choices from there which turns out makes completely different food choices, that energy.
She’s also talking to people about what she’s learning and how it’s going which is really huge for so many of my clients who hide what they’re going through. They don’t tell anybody that they’re trying, just in case something goes wrong, they fail or they quit. And then those same people judge them for it. And as a result of these other things she’s doing, these other results she’s creating, she’s seeing the scale go down for the first time in two years, strategic byproduct.
I think for her it’s a strategic byproduct of that connection with herself, fostering that, nurturing that, developing that. That will make such a difference. I have clients who have created the result of feeling love for their bodies for the first time in their lives. Clients who for the first time are experiencing not feeling deprived on a plan and they have found a way to eat forever. Clients who have seen their parenting and their 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 plan from one of criticism and judgment to one of compassionate curiosity so that they can learn and move forward. I think all of that and the scale changes because of it. Imagine if you loved your body, how you would treat it. Imagine if you didn’t feel deprived and you found a way that you loved eating forever, you wouldn’t quit, you wouldn’t stop doing the things that are working. Imagine your relationships changing because of you changing your relationship with you.
The scale changes as a bonus almost because of all of that that I just mentioned, 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 as a list of things, a number of measures of progress, not just the one, 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. 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’re working towards your goal you’ll 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 and not just ahead at how much further you want to go.
I also want to tell a little story I heard from Jon Acuff, he’s an author, one of my favorites. He lives in Nashville and he asked one of his musician friends, what the most important thing that a young musician would need to know was.
And the friend responded, “How to back up and unload a 12 foot trailer. Because if you are going to be playing small gigs on the way to your eventual stadium tour where you’ll have a team of roadies to help you, you’re going to need to know how and be willing to do some of the little annoying things that no one else will see, that go unnoticed but are just as critical and important as the visible on stage fun parts.”
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. It will often be subtle but totally recognizable if you’re paying attention and you know what you’re looking for. And of course, if you want help on this journey, I’ve got you. I have a band new Love First Weight Loss group starting in May. And I’d love for you to be a part of it.
If you want some help defining what results you want to create, I’ve got you with that as well. Head to itbeginswithathought.com/apply and hop on a call with me. I’d love to hear where you’re at and help you figure out where you’re going. I’ll see you soon.
Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you want to learn more about how to lose weight for the last time, come on over to itbeginswithathought.com. We’ll see you here next week.