MY PROCESS + SELF-SABOTAGE
When I first started working with clients I ran into the following situation quite frequently. I would have a great first meeting with someone, they seemed enthusiastic about making health changes and I would outline a program for them to follow. A week or so after this meeting I would follow up with the person to see how they were doing. I would often receive no response. I would give it some time and then I would follow up again. Often no response or something very brief followed by no contact after. I took it pretty hard at first, thinking I was doing something wrong or more specifically that there was something wrong with me. What I later learned was that I couldn't have given these people more perfect advice. A part of them just wasn't ready to hear what I had to say and so they decided to ignore me or make excuses or run to another health professional who was going to "fix them". Some people refer to this as self-sabotage and it comes in all shapes and forms. I have to admit, there probably were times that I screwed up and gave less than perfect advice, but 9/10 times this was not the case. To be perfectly honest, it is usually not that difficult to figure people out and within a few minutes the picture starts to become pretty clear about where people are out of balance in their lives. Let me give you some examples.
A) Guy in his 40's who wants to lose weight. He eats out 4 nights a week and consumes numerous cocktails each night. His sleep quality is terrible. He works out at 5am, 5 times a week. This guy would probably lose 10-15 pounds in 4 weeks if he stopped drinking, dialed back the eating out, and skipped his 5am workout in favor of an extra hour of sleep and/or a more restorative yoga sessions. I explain to him that alcohol, lack of sleep and over training is impacting his hormones in a negative way and that hormones play a major role in weight loss. I also explain to him that when eating out you are often exposed to low quality food and I suggest eating at more farm to table restaurants, since I know this is part of his job and he will need to "entertain" on some level. Most people can only handle 1-2 major changes at a time so I start with alcohol and sleep. I ask him to cut back on the drinking and I tell him to sleep-in a few days a week. Do you think that worked?
B) Girl age 27 who has digestive problems and skin issues. Has done numerous cleanse and detox programs and has seen minor improvements, but the issues keep popping up. Works a stressful job at a PR firm where she is required to respond to emails in almost real-time. Has a beach house with friends (at the time of our meeting) and lives with her boyfriend in NYC. Her boyfriend drinks 3 nights a week and doesn't eat very healthy. I explain to her that her gut needs time to heal and she will need to avoid anything that irritates her gut, namely gluten and alcohol, for a period of 6 weeks. I explain to her that she needs to eat balanced meals three times a day, stop skipping meals and stop "cleansing". I also tell her to incorporate gut healing foods like bone broth and I instruct her on a few supplements which will help her digest food more effectively while her gut heals. She isn't really sure what contains gluten so I review that with her and give her alternatives. I explain to her that stress can impact digestion and teach her a few breathing exercises which can help reduce stress. I gave this girl more than a few changes, because she was really enthusiastic and said she could do it. I said okay, but if you feel overwhelmed, stick with just avoiding gluten. That alone will go a long way. Do you think she was able to avoid gluten for more than a week?
I have made an effort to weed out these types of clients and situations by using a screening and intake process for all prospective clients. Of course all of these interactions in the past were meant to happen and something was learned on both ends, but going forward I don't want to waist my time and more importantly the time/money of the client if they are not really ready (and able) to make the changes necessary.
The process normally goes like this:
1. When someone inquires about my services I schedule a 15 minute intro call to find a bit more about them, tell them about my process and answer any questions. This alone helps me weed out people that aren't really ready. You would be amazed how many people can't "find" the time for a 15 minute call (that is free). Perfect example of self-sabotage.
2. If it seems like a good fit for both parties and we decide to move forward with scheduling a consult I send them a series of intake questions. Covering topics such as - what you eat, how often you exercise, sleep quality, digestion, biggest stressors in your life, things that may prevent you from implementing the program, etc.
3. I also send a letter which outlines the blood tests I think the client should ask their doctor to run. This requires a bit of work on their end since they have to go to the doctor and have blood drawn.
If people make it through all these steps I know they are serious and things usually work out great.
I send this email because I thought it would help outline how I work with people but also to help you identify places in your life that you are sabotaging your health, on all levels - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.