Hi – I am coaching a client on her goal to lose 30 pounds, and we began this process in early December. We coached on her goals, commitment and emotional eating. She did a two-week no flour, no sugar fast, created a food plan and noticed some weight loss in December, then regained during holidays. We coach on her work/life decisions. The last few sessions she has been updating me on exercise, eating and said she doesn’t have any questions. She’s following her food plan.
It’s been about six weeks, and yesterday she came to me with her “data” (daily weight) and said she doesn’t think it’s working. We reviewed her food plan, her 24 hour meals ahead of time, her exceptions (dining out, glass of wine on weekends), and I suggested that food cycling and extending her fast to 16 hours overnight may be tools to add to her protocol.
I held space while she gave me all her thoughts yesterday: She should be allowed to have her wine, it’s not realistic to never eat out, and she’s not an emotional eater eating snickers in the pantry at night. I observed and hear emotions that sound like fear, anger, entitlement, and anxiety in her eyes because she’s thinking “this will never work.” She said that not having results was “de-motivating.”
After our session, she emailed that she wants to go over the food plan and protocol next session, and she wants to know what the overall plan is. I replied that the strategy for losing weight is to become fat adapted by lowering insulin levels in the blood, reducing desire for concentrated foods, and creating an eating plan that will keep you at your natural weight.
This morning I got email asking for more scientific evidence for this plan. She is saying she is confused. Is it paleo? Keto? Why grains? Is it healthy?
One of my thoughts is that “She has coaching fatigue.” She is tired of being coached on her thoughts and wants EVIDENCE. Yesterday I told her that no plan or tool will close the gap between her reality and her goal except her thoughts about it. I am teaching that her thoughts about what she is doing is creating her experience of it, and when she isn’t managing her thoughts, her brain will look for evidence and comfort.
As I write this, I think I have coaching fatigue, too. So I’d like to do my own work on helping her, but I need to do mine.
C: Client requests evidence that she will lose weight with coaching and a food plan/protocol
T: There is so much information to learn when we’re changing our thoughts and habits and relationship with food.
A: Judge my own coaching since December, wonder if she will walk away, doubt my ability to keep coaching her, wonder if I should give her workbook or a copy of Brooke’s book “If I’m So Smart” ; suggest that she join a group for support;
I also have had this thought:
C: Client says “this will never work”
T: Holding space for her to air out all her grief about diets is the most loving thing I can do.
T: Holding space for her to air out all of her grief about diets past and present may frustrate her.
A: Hesitate responding to emails, think about all the resources available, look at all the stop overeating material, wonder if I should create my own book, wonder if I should suggest another program and offer one on one coaching while she’s in it
R: I create frustration for me.
I think I need to be wiling to be uncomfortable here and offer information with love and care. I think my dilemma is that she wants Circumstances (science, credentials, plan) to create certainty and motivation, and I want to satisfy some of that urge. But maybe I step back and simply say “all of those are your choices, and everything works. But you’re the only one who can do it for you.”
What else can I ask myself to show up as a coach who believes in her and also sees her brain creating the urge for information and certainty?