Last week, I had a conversation that I’ve probably had hundreds of times in my career. A new client came in for weight loss counseling and, as I was taking his diet history, I asked my usual first question – “when do you first start eating, and what do you typically eat and drink in a day?” Like most people, he assumed that I was asking about a weekday, so he had little trouble providing a quick rundown of his usual meals and snacks on a typical Monday through Friday. But when I asked, “do you eat differently on the weekends?” he responded with a groan.
“I try to be good during the week, but by Friday night, I just want to let go. I spend most of my weekend on the couch, and I hate getting on the scale on Monday morning.”
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Every time I have a new client scheduled to see me for weight loss, I have a pretty good idea of how our first conversation will go. The first thing they usually want to know is how much I think they should weigh. The answer is usually less than straightforward (see my post of October 7) and that question is inevitably followed up by a similar, and equally vexing query: “how long will it take?”. I’ve had this same conversation countless times over the years, and my answer is always the same – “it depends”.
Not a satisfying response, I realize, but the rate at which a person will lose weight depends on a lot of things. It’s like a road trip. You can look at the map, determine how many miles you have to travel, figure your average speed and then estimate how long it will take you to get there. That works sometimes. But maybe you come across a traffic jam, or a detour. Maybe you drive through a town you’ve never been to and decide to stop a while.
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