I had many clients come and go. I had some that lasted a long time, and others who gave up after a few sessions. I even worked with one woman for several months that said to me one day - I'd rather be fat than workout. And she liked to smoke. OK - not one of my success stories.
But I can tell you that my most successful clients had these points in common:
1. Their mindset. They were DONE - done with yo-yo dieting and falling off the wagon with food and exercise. They made time for their workouts, stopped making excuses when it came to food and went the extra annoying mile to cook, prepare food, block out time to workout and YES many times blow off other obligations because their health was now #1 - period.
2. They journaled their food intake. Some how seeing just how much, or how little they ate in a day made a huge difference. Or seeing how little protein vs. sugary carbs they were eating in a day. And seeing how little water they drank vs soda, and the like. Also, journaling kept them from eating other bad foods because they knew they would have to write it down and I would see it!
3. They learned to eat slowly. I can't even begin to explain how helpful this was to my clients. Yes, most of them had rushed, busy and overwhelming lives and trying to find the time to STOP, sit down and eat their food uninterrupted, also with no TV, phone or computer was damn hard. Nor did it happen every day, but most days they learned to at least once sit down and eat, and do it slowly. For the days on the run, they learned to sip protein shakes and veggie smoothies - slowly. They learned to snack on their foods - slower. Fully chewing each bite - not taking another bite until completely done with the prior one. They learned to do this even with junk food. They learned to STOP, enjoy and thoroughly chew each and every bite.
4. Stop eating at 80% full. Most of my clients were always on the run. They would eat not really paying attention - and would eat a whole BAG of this or that without even realizing it and the next thing they knew they were STUFFED. They learned to pay attention to what they were eating, put a little less on their plates and start to notice feelings of fullness. Then they would stop eating. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to realize you're fullness. So take the time to slowly eat for 20 minutes and then stop when you are starting to feel full - not stuffed.
5. They had a support system. I often had much higher success with small groups of 2-4 people than one on one. They supported each other. Routed each other on. Had contests on who wouldn't have wine that weekend or over indulge in chocolate. Some signed up for sessions with their kids, siblings, friends or spouse. Having that extra support went a long way. I had others who found support online via FB or MyfitnessPal or other online forums. But a support system helped these folks come a long way.
6. Once my clients reached their goals - they set a new one. They did NOT go back to the way they ate before or back to their sedentary lifestyles. They kept up their workouts - signing up for Tough Mudders, 5K races, joined in group exercise classes, etc.
They had made a lifestyle change and were not going back. I can tell you for those who made a lifestyle change - it took 6 months to a year of commitment before they could successfully do it on their own. After the 6-12 mos it WAS a lifestyle and not a fad. Exercise and proper nutrition had become a regular part of their life.