Last week I discussed a “behavior change” session with a new client. Her issue was choosing an unhealthy option at her office cafeteria because she wanted to spend more time with her colleagues. Today, we’re going after another “behavior change” issue with a former college football player. Let’s see what happens…..


Me: What area do you want to focus on?

Client: Nutrition

Me: What seems to be the problem?

Client: I think I eat fairly healthily but I find myself overeating all the time.

Me: When you say ‘all the time’ are you referring to all meals?

Client: No. Just some.

Me: Which ones? Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Late night snacks?

Client: (describes eating habits for the past week)

Me: It doesn’t seem like you’re over eating at meals or late at night. You seem to be excessively snacking before dinner most of the week.

Client: I guess you’re right. I have a salty tooth and like pretzels and chips.

Me: Are you eating b/c you’re hungry?

Client: Surprisingly, no! I’m actually not hungry at all. Just bored.

Me: Ahhh. Why are you bored? What are you doing between the time you leave work and the time you eat dinner?

Client: I’m just killing time. I’m waiting for my wife to come home so we can eat together.


Side Note: This client makes most of the meals in the home. He wants to spend time with his wife while they eat. He’s just having trouble occupying his time before she arrives.


Me: Is there anything you like to do that would help kill some time before your wife gets home?

Client: I love playing ‘pick up’ basketball at the fitness center down the street.

Me: Is there a reason you don’t do that after you get off of work?

Client: Now that I think about it, no. I just didn’t think of it until now.

Me: Do you want to do that to kill time? Is there anything else you would prefer?

Client: Honestly, no. I like basketball. I can shoot hoops by myself for hours. I want to try that for the next month.


BOOM! Not only did we figure out his “limiting factor” but he figured out what would be the best “behavior change” strategy. When clients figure out what they want to do and they create the solution themselves it is far more likely the client will be successful with the “behavior change” than if I told him, “You’re bored. Kill time. Go do something else. You like basketball? Go do that for 2 hours.” Same information, different method.


By the end of the session the client agreed to go to the basketball court 2x week for 30 min. Initially, he wanted to go 5 days a week for 1 hour each day. After he rated his possible “success” with this strategy we began to back track. Sure, he could physically do 5 days a week for an hour each day. However, that’s more daunting than 2x a week for 30 min. That “goal” is far easier to attain than the former. This “small” change has done several things:


  1. He know has a method to keep him from over snacking twice a week.
  2. He now is moving for an extra 60 min. a week, minimum.


More moving, less snacking. Simple and effective. And, he came up with it on his own.


Remember, small changes equal big results.



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