Every now and then a truly remarkable client comes along, and NB was one such client. Not only did she lose 3 stone but she lost it in 7 months (some of it over Christmas) and kept it off.
NB is a busy mum with a young child. She has a responsible part-time job and a partner who works away for some of the week. She has a lot to juggle. When she first contacted me she’d been promoted at work and felt that the time was right to lose the baby weight that had just never gone.
With a BMI of 27.8, NB was in the middle of the overweight category and wanted to lose around 2 stone, which would take her into a healthy weight.
She also carried her weight around her middle and had a waist measurement that meant that she was at a substantially higher risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
She had edged into size 14 clothes and wanted to get back into her size 12s… size 10 would be a bonus.
How we worked together
NB ultimately came to me for 14 sessions. I started out by sending her some paperwork to give me an idea of what she was eating and drinking, of her lifestyle and of her likes and dislikes. We then met to take her measurements and discuss her health, diet and lifestyle in greater depth. On the back of this I sent her an initial analysis of the situation as things stood (what was good and what needed some focus) and some goals, both short- and long-term.
We met weekly for 2 months and then every fortnight before dropping down to once a month. Our final session took place after a 2-month gap. Each meeting involved a weigh-in, a discussion of how things had been, a review of last time’s goals, some new goals to be going on with and information about a weight-loss-related theme. I would follow this up with notes, sent by email.
Every client is different and there is no one-size-fits-all programme. NB and I spent time on:
* Fats – the good, the bad and the ugly
* Carbs and blood sugar – quality not quantity
* Protein – free calories and an easy way to keep hunger at bay
* Variety – why it’s important and where to go for inspiration
* Eating away from home – planning ahead and making good choices
* Hunger and fullness – tuning into the body: eating when hungry and stopping when full
* Chewing and eating mindfully – a free and powerful weight-loss tool
* Step-counting – what constitutes an active person and how to get there
* Standing and moving around – important for anyone with a desk job
* Strength training – vital for maintaining/increasing muscle mass and controlling blood sugar
* Habits and change – understanding them and making them work for her
* Keeping the faith – weight loss is not linear and some weeks will see no change on the scales
* Rewards – the non-food/drink variety
What she took away from working with me
NB lost 3 stone in the end. This was where her weight stabilised under her new regime. She was delighted and truly surprised, not least because she’d got into her size 10 clothes… I actually encouraged her to investigate size 8s as her trousers looked loose the last time I saw her. Speaking of loose, it was fascinating to watch her emerge from baggy clothes to a much more fitted look.
Using the information that I’d given her, she went from being in the middle of the overweight category on the BMI scale to the middle of healthy weight, a fantastic achievement especially as her waist measurement is now below the magic 80 cm, reducing her risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Her body shape has changed and her body fat percentage has fallen.
She took back control of her health and found a new way of eating and living that really works for her and her family. She has more energy (no more 3 pm sugar slumps), is happy to leave food on her plate, is back into the sports and fitness that she enjoyed as a student and is more confident in general.
What I took away from working with her
Weight-loss is a project that requires both time and commitment, more than many clients initially realise. NB was remarkable because she took it seriously from the start and really got to grips with it. She put new habits in place and worked hard to establish them. This paid dividends after just 2 months as we were able to taper our sessions.
The planners lose weight: NB is a planner, is organised and makes things happen.
I really came to appreciate the importance of open-mindedness: NB was an interested and engaged client with a can-do attitude. She tried pretty much everything that we talked about… it wasn’t all for her but she tried it.
The massive difference a supportive family makes: NB’s partner joined in and also gave her a Fitbit and Nutri Ninja as gifts. Her parents, meanwhile, looked after her child and treated her to a day at their local health club every now and then.
And last but not least, I learnt that you just never know: NB is softly spoken, smiley and a bit of a giggler, but inside there is a core of steel and oodles of determination… not obvious on the surface but there nonetheless.