Conversations with Clients
"Stress Is Making Me Fat."
(4 min read)
The following scenario is an example of how a Behavior Coaching Certified Fitness Professional can skillfully address a client who believes that stress is the cause of their weight gain.
Setting: The first Lifestyle Coaching session with a new client.
Coach: Thanks for meeting with me. Let’s start big picture. What’s the goal?
Client: I need your help. I keep putting weight on and I know why.
Coach: Okay. Why?
Stress is making me gain weight.
I read an article about how stress releases hormones
that can make you store body fat.
I think that’s what’s going on with me.
Coach: Okay, I appreciate that. Let’s explore that idea a little further.
Client: Okay. But doesn’t stress make you fat?
Coach: Excess calories are what contribute to gaining weight or fat. Now, stress can absolutely be a catalyst for behaviors that lead to excess calorie ingestion, but viewed in isolation, stress itself does not cause weight gain or fat gain.
Client: Wait. What?
Coach: There are plenty of historical examples of people far more stressed than we are who didn't put on weight because they didn't have access to excess calories. Think about pioneers, for example - tons of stress and constant threats, but they didn't put on weight because they didn't have access to extra food. We do so when we get stressed we have the option to turn to "comfort food."
Client: That makes sense when you put it that way.
Coach: So what we're going to do moving forward is find other ways to manage your stress that don't involve overconsuming calories.
Client: Like what?
Coach: We'll explore different ideas like improving sleep, gratitude journaling, and me-time, to name a few. Together we'll find that one that resonates with you that we can consistently implement to better manage stress. With that done, you'll feel less of a need to turn to food to escape your stress. Does that make sense?
Client: It makes perfect sense when you put it that way.
Coach: Great, now let's continue with our Lifestyle Coaching session. We've got some pivotal things to cover today that will really bring a lot of this into better focus for you.
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