Almost every trainer can relate with the frustration of wanting their clients to lose weight. As you encourage and support your clients to the best of your ability, they can often infuriate you by saying they blew their nutrition over the last week and never made it to the gym.
When this happens, it is obvious that the problem does not lie in the exercise program or nutrition plan but in the mind of your client. The only solution for most personal trainers to this problem is to continue offering encouragement and hope the client makes that change.
Any change in life brings both positive and negative consequences. Even something such as winning $8 million on the lottery will bring some negatives (e.g., people befriending you for the money, publicity, etc). However, regardless of the negative aspects, not many people would turn down this if given the choice.
Losing weight is not as clear cut as choosing to win $8 million. For one, it is not luck but an effort that will allow a client to achieve his goal weight. The next major factor is that the benefits of not achieving your goal weight often far outweigh the benefits of achieving it.
Here are a few examples of the pros and cons of losing weight:
| Positive Consequences
|| Negative Consequences
||People will judge you
||Need to buy new clothes
It is the relative balance of the positive consequences versus the negatives consequences that determines how much “motivation” the client shows.
The Key to the Mind: Your Subconscious
The mind and how we think is very complicated, but it can be simplified to being comprised of the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious mind is the thoughts and things that come to your awareness. The subconscious mind is the activity of the brain you not aware of. It controls and processes all of the information you receive, and it runs the body.
For success in any endeavour, the subconscious mind must be in tune with your conscious desires. It is the role of the subconscious that will determine the outcome. If the conscious mind determined success, then any goal you said you wanted to achieve you would easily attain, provided you knew how. This is not the case.
The subconscious is where all your previous experiences and beliefs are held. These can be thought of as the writing on the wall of your mind. Whenever you try and act consciously, the subconscious first checks with the writing inside the mind to see that this is something you really want to do. For example, if you thought, “I am going to jump into that fire,” the subconscious would check with what it has written down in your mind about fire and influence your decision. This is obviously vital in this example, and the writing in your mind on this subject is fairly clear, “Fire burns, burns hurt... do not jump in.”
However, what happens when a more neutral thought occurs that has conflicting writing on the wall? For example, if you said, “I want to lose 10 pounds of fat,” the subconscious writing on the wall may read, “You need to do this, you'll feel great,” but at the same time, there may also be thoughts saying, “You cannot lose weight,” beliefs saying, “You will become unpopular among your friends at work” and memories saying, “Thin people are arrogant” and “You don’t deserve to be thin.” These would all conflict with the conscious, and ultimately, these thoughts, beliefs and memories would determine your behavior.
The Subconscious and Losing Weight
When someone is trying to lose weight, there are many factors influencing his goal. For the majority of people looking to lose weight, especially long term overweight people, you will find the subconscious has a number of reasons why it feels it is best for them to stay overweight.
These can be for all sorts of possible reasons, but they will mostly stem from events in the past. An example could be if the client has experienced a previous trauma with the opposite sex (e.g., divorce), they may protect themselves in the future by staying overweight. Sometimes people may be punishing themselves for something they did.
Another common factor is that people find an emotional comfort in foods, which causes them to gain weight. If this is the case, you will find they will struggle greatly when you take this food away, because you have taken away their emotional support. This equates to taking a smoker’s cigarette away.
Whatever the influence may be, and the list is almost endless, it is important for you to not guess at the cause but to help clients identify it for themselves, and then apply EFT and other strategies to resolve the problem.
Emotional Freedom Technique and Other Techniques
To develop the mind set, first identify possible blocks. From this point, the application of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is the fastest way to removing these.
EFT is a branch of energy psychology, the fastest growing aspect of psychology today. It was discovered in 1980 when Dr. Roger Callaghan was treating his patient for an intense water phobia. She complained in the session of stomach pain, so he told her to tap under her eye as knew the energy meridian of the stomach ended there (from acupuncture theory). To his surprise, the lady’s fear of water disappeared.
From that point on, he began studying this phenomenon and went on to create a new branch of therapy called energy psychology. A student of Dr Callaghan, Gary Craig, a Stamford engineer, trained under him and then advanced the theory and made it accessible to all by creating EFT.
EFT is a system that involves tapping on certain acupuncture points with your fingers while tuning into specific negative thoughts. The system is based on the premise that “a disruption to the electrical patterns of the body is the cause of negative emotion,” so EFT works by realigning your electrical energy system associated with different thoughts by tapping on the point of the body used in acupuncture.
When your electrical pattern is disturbed, you could talk about an issue until you are blue in the face, and it will not resolve the problem. Similarly, this explains why sometimes illogical thoughts can prevent people from achieving their goals.
EFT can be used on any thoughts and memories from the past that still cause negative emotions when you think about it now. Using EFT, you can now remove the emotional charge on those thoughts. As well as using EFT for this, you can also apply it to present/future issues and emotional connections. When the mind is cleared of these blocks, your clients will be able to go on and lose weight.
The success of EFT is due in part to the startling results that can be achieved using the technique and also by the fact that the processes involve no pain or need to bring up any painful memories.
The Theory Behind EFT
The premise of the theory is summed up by its discovery statement: “The cause of all negative or unwanted emotion is a disruption to the body’s electrical energy system.” This is inherently different to the way traditional psychology would view emotions. They would see it as: distressing memory -> negative emotion.
EFT would say there is a vital intermediate step: distressing memory -> disrupted electrical energy system -> negative emotion.
To dissolve the negative emotion associated with the memory, you do not need to treat your memory but instead realign the energy in your body. In EFT, you are tapping on the meridian points on the body (see below). The meridian points are where an electrical pathway that runs through the body ends. Think of it like an electrical lead going from one part to the other. This can be easily imagined as if you bent your finger right now. To do this, an electrical signal is sent through your nerves from the brain to move your finger.
EFT and Losing Weight
To ensure the electrical system associated with the negative emotion/issue is being balanced, you will need to say certain statements before the tapping and during. To lose weight, your client must resolve the emotional blocks. Picture the problem of losing weight as a table top. The many blocks contributing to the problem can be thought of as the legs to this table. The tabletop may have many table legs underneath, which represent different emotional contributors. The idea of EFT is to collapse the emotional issues, or the table legs, to the point where there are not enough to support the table. In other words, if you collapse enough emotional issues under your problem, you will resolve it.
Some of the table legs are thicker than others and thus more important to resolving the issue. Sometimes there may be just two or three legs, and sometimes you may need to break down more than 20.
Many of the table legs to a problem are previous memories of events that happened to you. These show up in your behavior today by influencing your thought processes. These may be rational or irrational thoughts. Being scared of a tiny spider that couldn’t hurt you is a very real fear to many people, but it is also irrational. Your previous memories (table legs) can also be irrational and will affect you today.
An irrational thought is in your mind because there is a disturbed electricity field associated with it. Therefore, you must use EFT to resolve the issue as it will likely not respond very well to conscious rationale because the cause of the problem is in the electrical pattern within the body.
One of the great benefits of EFT is that it can be done on your own, and clients can often make great progress from just a few minutes a day.
Once the negative blocks are removed, you can include techniques that develop the positive aspects of success. This includes using visualization techniques, positive self talk/language and activating the Law of Attraction. Please note these techniques will be useless unless the negative blocks have been broken down first. Only when this is done will clients be able to successfully overcome them.
Using EFT with Clients
Trainers who are interested in ensuring their clients get results should look to visit the referenced articles and websites below. This will allow you to broaden your knowledge about the topics covered. It is highly recommended to download the free EFT manual by Gary Craig.
For immediate use with your clients, ask them the questions below. They are designed to get clients thinking about their current situation and their thought patterns. They are not intended to solve their problems or unearth specific table legs but simply to get them thinking. Please refer all of your clients to a suitably trained professional for any sort of treatment or therapy.
- When did you gain your excess weight, and what was going on in your life at that time?
- What is the downside of achieving your goal weight?
- What s the upside of staying where you are?
- Why are you struggling to achieve your goal? Why are you letting this stop you?
- Callaghan, Roger. PhD. Originator of Thought Field Therapy, http://www.thoughtfieldtherapy.com
- Craig, Gary. Emotional Freedom Technique, DVD. www.emofree.com
- Craig, Gary. Emotional Freedom Technique: The Palace of Possibilities, DVD.
- Craig, Gary. Emotional Freedom Technique: Theory of Past Memories Influence Upon Current Day Goals, DVD. www.emofree.com
* Many of the concept discussed come from Neuro Linguistic programming (NLP) principles. Please see relevant NLP sites including those of the original creators John Grindler http://www.johngrinder.com and Dr Roger Bandler http://www.richardbandler.com