I recently sent a referral to a friend who decided she was ready to have sessions for weight loss. As she and I went back and forth through email, she admitted that one of the things holding her back was that she didn’t know who she would be after she lost the weight. Since this friend has only known me for a few years, I shared my own weight loss story with her, along with a picture of myself from 10 years ago on a trip to Walt Disney World- the picture that I call my “before” photo. I told her that it was true, the person that I am today is nowhere near who I was 10 years ago, but that I wouldn’t have it any other way!
It is very important to remember when our clients come to us that they have very good reasons to hold onto their old behaviors, habits, relationships, even the excess weight. They might fully grasp that when they change one thing, the rest will follow- and this is both exciting and scary!
This is why the “benefits form” is so important to use on your first session. In addition to getting your clients excited about the benefits of making the change, it gives you insight into what is truly important to them. What are they going to get out of the change? Why is that important to them?
For some clients, you might notice that they struggle to come up with benefits- you might need to sit down with them to be sure they are ready to do the work. At the bottom of the benefits form, the statement “if I get better, I stand to lose_____” becomes a powerful “aha” moment for people being honest and forthcoming. It’s helpful to discuss what they think they stand to lose right at that first session- and also very powerful to review with them at the end of your work together. Sometimes on that last session, they realize that what they were so afraid to lose wasn’t worth keeping in the first place. In other situations, they find a replacement for what they thought they were going to lose. As an example, when people mention the sense of safety they get from their extra weight, usually by the end of the sessions, they have new skills to actually keep themselves safe, rather than the false sense of safety provided by their extra padding. Isn’t that interesting?
It is true that if I knew then what I know now, I probably would have been more fearful of the weight loss journey that I began in early 2008. I have a whole new set of friends, a new spiritual community, a new career- but thankfully the same husband (in a happier, healthier marriage), the same home (which is regularly filled with friends and laughter), and the same family (which I have a better relationship with), and of course the friends that I had before are still just as special to me as the new ones! While so many things are new, like I said, I’m also so much more fulfilled, happier, and healthier. So when someone says to me “I don’t know who I’ll be when I lose the weight,” I can honestly tell them that it’s true- when they change that one thing, the rest will follow- but, oh the possibilities!!