Living on Purpose: Change the way you measure success
Vail CO, Colorado
Missy sat across from me with a look of frustration.
“I feel fat! I try to lose weight, but I just can’t,” she said.
This isn’t the first time I’d heard “can’t” from a client. In fact, “can’t” is a recurring theme. Today “can’t” focuses on the health and wellness area of Missy’s life, but I have heard it from a variety of clients as they describe many areas of their lives.
People joke about having a life coach to tell them to how to live … but that’s not how it works. Life Coaches don’t give advice or have all of the answers. The entire process of coaching is powered by the relationship between the coach and the client. It’s a very personal process that progresses based on the client, the situation, forward movement and accountability. Missy’s story is a great example.
“What’s going on with your weight?” I asked.
“For the past three months I’ve been regularly working with a trainer and am still gaining weight,” she said.
Having been a personal trainer, I have heard the complaint about gaining weight and instantly connecting that to getting fatter.
“How much weight have you gained and have you had your body fat tested?” I asked.
“I’ve gained eight pounds and had my body fat tested when I started working with my trainer. Maybe I should get it tested again to see where the extra weight may be coming from,” she said.
“That’s a great idea. When will you have that done?” I asked, looking for accountability.
“I’ll call today to schedule an appointment for body fat testing within the next two weeks,” she said.
“How are you feeling about your workout program? Besides the measurement of weight gain or weight loss, what other ways do you measure how well your program is going?” I asked.
Missy replied, “The scale I use to monitor my success is based on weight loss. If I am losing weight, then I feel successful.”
“In grade school the teachers monitor their students in several different areas including comprehension, behavior, computation, etc.,” I said. “What other criteria can you come up with to rate your workout program, besides weight loss?”
Missy thought about it for a moment and said, “I could measure the amount of enjoyment I have in my workouts, the increase in strength and endurance, and the ease in which I am able to enjoy non-gym activities like biking and hiking.”
“How could you expand your rating system to regularly include not only your weight, but these areas as well?” I asked.
“My trainer has suggested logging my workouts in an exercise journal where I track my workouts, what I eat, water intake, my weight and measurements. I could include my enjoyment factor as well to include how I felt during and after the workout. Then I could look at trends over time to see how I have progressed,” she said.
“What will it take to get this habit started?” I asked.
“When I leave today, I’ll stop by the bookstore and get an exercise journal. I’ll make sure there is room to log when I complete my workouts and note the details including how long, how often, how much weight I lifted, which body parts I worked, etc.”
“That’s a great first step. Once you have the book, will you make the commitment to use it?” I asked.
“I will begin using the log tomorrow and will bring it to our next appointment,” she replied.
“So by our next appointment you will have an updated body fat measurement and an exercise journal with two weeks filled out. I can’t wait to celebrate your progress!” I said.
Coaching Challenge: If you feel discouraged by your fitness progress, what scale are you using to indicate what success looks and feels like? If you base your success on weight loss alone, create at least three additional ways to monitor your progress. This could include your weight, food and water intake, enjoyment, strength increase or decrease and endurance. Create a journal to log your progress in a three-ring spiral notepad. Simply date your entry, list your criteria (enjoyment, endurance, food intake, etc.) and rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 as the highest. Look for progress over time in all areas.
Sheri Fisher is a Life Coach who lives in Grand Junction. Her practice, Living On Purpose, focuses on personal and professional coaching. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. Sheri can be reached at email@example.com or for more information, visit http://www.coachwithsheri.com.