I’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of clients over the past year. The most rewarding thing about this is the experience I have in mapping out a strategy to achieve their goals and steering them back in the right direction when they go off track. This is coaching.
Occasionally in the middle of this journey a client may ask “Can you please teach me how to calculate my calories, protein, carbs, fat, etc. because I do not want to gain weight again?”. This is usually the ‘grey area’ that my role as a coach becomes misunderstood as a “human food/fitness calculator”.
When I strategize a fitness/weight loss program for a client, my main goal is to have my client walk away from our work together with the tools to not only maintain their new bodies but to have instilled a new way of living being able to make healthy choices – eating nutrient dense food, being more active, and eating regularly.
Bad habits such as inactivity, relying on processed food as a regular nutrition source, overtraining, not being able to deal with stress, consuming too much sugar, consuming too much alcohol, and snacking should all be kept in check after being so stringent with a fitness program. It’s the implementation of these new good habits and the letting go of the previous bad ones that really distinguish the success of a true weight loss program.
It would also be a lack of complete professionalism to just give ‘calculation tools’ to a client to manage their own fluctuations in weight. To begin with, and speaking from my own perspective, I have read numerous textbooks and have spent countless of hours studying the effects of training and nutrition (and combining both to work synergistically) in the human body. This process of learning is never ending.
As I work with new clients, I learn different things because everyone is a different case and reacts to dieting protocols differently. To have a lack of understanding of the science of nutrition is like playing Russian Roulette. In fact it is usually the individuals that attempt to “calculate” calories or macronutrients that have the least success in losing weight.
To me, a diet coach’s role is about breaking the whole “dieting” mindset. It’s NOT about the program. It is about the client and the implementation of a new lifestyle. Basically what happens AFTER the program is done.
This new lifestyle should not have weight fluctuations (pregnancy and health issues aside) otherwise the journey with my client would not be a truly successful one. Scott Abel, one of the leading dieting coaches in the world, compared this scenario to a barber using the fanciest tools and equipment to give you the most amazing haircut. Would this still be an incredibly talented barber if all of your hair fell out after a few weeks? Of course not.
So if you’ve ever completed a successful (and lasting) weight loss journey enjoy the process. Enjoy the learning. Enjoy the way your body changes. Break the dietary mindset. Stop counting and start living.