pushing away

Participant resistance was such a big part of running a weight-loss program, I didn”™t even realize it was a thing to write about (if that makes any sense). It just went with the territory.

“Resist” has many synonyms: oppose, battle, combat, duel, fight back, put up a fight, defy, struggle against, stonewall. Why would someone join a weight-loss program — and pay lots of money — only to do these?

Participants resist in many ways. Below are only a few examples of actual participant behavior during the 13 years I ran a program combining athletic performance training and a robust nutrition plan geared to weight loss and ending sugar addiction.[wlm_private 'PRO-Platinum|PRO-Monthly|PRO-Gratis|PRO-Seasonal|Platinum-trial|Monthly-trial|PRO-Military|30-Days-of-PRO|90 Day PRO|Stages-Instructor|Schwinn-Instructor|Instructor-Bonus|28 Day Challenge']

Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Jeffrey was our first participant. He got used to having my full attention and turned petulant when other participants joined. From that point on, he continually criticized the program and stopped following instructions. When I said peanut butter was okay to eat, he ate a 1-pound jar in a day.

John was in the program for almost a year before he lost any weight. Once his weight started dropping, he told me that, at first, he wanted to prove it wouldn”™t work, so he made sure it didn”™t.

Kathy complained about hearing sugar addiction info in both a live class and a webinar, instead of realizing she heard it twice because it was key. After a private consult, she waved to me from the window of Pete”™s (the coffee place) while eating. Based on Pete”™s menu, draw your own conclusions about the food.

Kimberly was a vegetarian, miserable, touchy, and quick to anger. She masked it with a phony-soft voice but complained to management about everything (especially me). Even her doctor had told her she needed protein. I knew on Day 1 she”™d never finish the first quarter. She didn”™t.

Tom was an alcoholic who reacted to the rule about avoiding alcohol with a strange grin. He dropped out and rejoined over a year later. He reacted to the alcohol rule with the same grin, dropped out again and never came back.

Shelly was in sales and said she had to drink with clients. She had many reasons she couldn”™t get around drinking. She never lost weight until she did the AIDS ride from San Francisco to L.A. (without alcohol).

Kristin”™s attendance at trainings was poor. Because it was a progressive, periodized training program, not a drop-in class, she didn”™t progress. She also wanted detailed menus instead of guidelines. When we didn”™t supply menus right away, that became her excuse to eat pizza, drink wine, and never keep a food log.

When we developed menus, she complained they weren”™t specific enough. She wanted to know precisely what SHE should eat every hour of every day. She gave me The South Beach Diet and said our nutrition program was just like it. It wasn”™t, but I never understood why she didn”™t just follow that diet instead of eating nachos and drinking margaritas. Or what any of this had to do with never logging her food intake as instructed.

So why do people pay lots of money and then resist? Here are a few reasons.

Addiction defies rules of reason and logic. It”™s a complex topic, very briefly covered in a previous post (Sweet Tooth or Sugar Addiction: What”™s the Difference?). Alcohol can sabotage weight loss, as covered in another post.

Sugar Addiction
See above. People will go to extreme lengths to avoid giving up their favorite foods. Lots of blame gets thrown.

Not Taking Responsibility
They”™re overweight because of a spouse”™s work schedule. Or they go to restaurants frequently. Or they never learned what to eat as kids. Or… fill in the blank.

Plausible Diversion
Registering and paying for an expensive, intensive program showed their sincere desire to lose weight. If they didn”™t lose, it was the fault of the program, not because they never did the work to make it happen.


These stories aren”™t pretty — and they”™re crummy memories — but they”™re 100% true. If you have a similar experience with your students, maybe something here can help you start them moving in the right direction.

Joan Kent

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