While the cat's away

Not too long ago I ran a group where we’d had a two-week break between sessions. I asked one of the ladies how she’d got on:

“While the cat’s away, the mice will play,” was her answer.

I took a deep breath, held steady and remained quiet. Right there, right then I wasn’t really sure how to play it.

And this is something that I come across a lot: Clients chasing numbers on the scales just to please me.

So what is the problem here? Well, I want them to lose the weight, of course I do, that’s why they’ve joined the group… but as per my business card, it’s all about you. And actually it is. I am often faced with the highly self-judgemental “I’ve been bad” after a client’s had a difficult week, and there’s a real feeling that I should be cross with them, tick them off even. Well I’m not and I won’t… how can I when I’m not them, I don’t walk in their shoes and I don’t have to deal with whatever it is that they’re dealing with?

I also believe that losing weight is about so much more than willpower, so please take judgement out of the equation – be aware that life gets in the way, that old habits are easy to fall back into when things are tough, and that we can often switch into black-or-white mode. Know too that there are numerous shades of grey in between, it really isn’t a case of being on it or off it. It’s more about doing what you can on any given day to change long-established patterns in your life (many of which go way beyond food and exercise). And about creating a healthy and sustainable way forward. Some days are easy, others less so. Some days we can do it, others we struggle. You are doing this for you, not me. End of.

So how did I play it in the cat-and-mouse scenario? Well, I left it and came back to it another week when the moment was right. I seized the day and got the group to reach that very conclusion for themselves. Insights are always more meaningful when they come from clients or from others in the group… mutual support is an extremely powerful thing.

So the long and the short of it is that I am here to share my knowledge, to offer guidance and to help support you along the way… but ultimately it’s you, not me, who’s the cat as well as the mouse.

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