Published on February 23, 2019
“No, I haven’t seen your lipstick. Why do you ask?”
One of the more uncomfortable encounters (for them, not for me) with a weight loss client is when they lie to me . . . and I know it every time. Two of the more common scenarios in which this happens are:
A client will show me a perfect food diary — so meticulously planned, written in ink because they were so sure there’d be no need to erase/change anything, a work of art in both content and penmanship — but they have a significant weight gain. They’ll step off the scale and say, “Impossible. I was perfect;” or, “How can that be? My home scale showed a 2 pound loss.”
In asking questions for more details, they often contradict themselves which forces a client into admitting dishonesty — including adding to their “perfect diary” the things they actually ate vs. what they intended to — without my having to call them out
A client will consistently cancel a Monday appointment: “I have to work late;” “I have to go into work earlier;” “My kid’s home sick from school;” “I’m not feeling well;” “I have a repairman coming this morning;” “I have to bring my car in.”
For the client, each of these lies is a one-off: they spew it and forget it. We, however, keep meticulous notes of client sessions as well as cancellations and reasons given. So, after numerous of these occasions, I show them the irrefutable pattern, to which they feign shock and surprise, but which clearly points to the truth: They’ve had bad weekends and want a few more days to try and lose the weight they know they’ve gained over the weekend.
An article about lying clients wouldn’t be complete without addressing the most common, the #1 go-to reaction from clients who are hell-bent on digging in to avoiding the truth:
“I paid you all this money; why would I lie to you?”
You lie to me because telling the truth feels like giving up control.
You lie to me because you don’t want to disappoint me.
. . . because you’re ashamed that you’re failing at the attempt.
. . . because it’s easier to blame me than accept responsibility.
. . . to avoid accountability.
. . . to avoid making difficult changes.
. . . to feel better about your behavior.
. . . because ‘it’ isn’t a lie to you; you believe it.
. . . because you want it to be true.
. . . to keep from acknowledging a truth about yourself.
. . . because you carry a burden of guilt.
You lie to me because you’ve been doing it for so long when it comes to your weight loss attempts that it’s second nature to you . . . a learned behavior . . . it’s rote response . . . and no one has called you out on it until today.
“If you want to be successful, you must respect one rule: Never lie to yourself.” ~ Paul Coehlo
To lie to yourself is always counter-productive — like deliberately shooting yourself in the foot or taking a fork and plunging it into your own eyes. I guess that’s why it’s easier for clients to lie to me: it’s less painful to them.