HomeClient ChroniclesBest Practices – Positive comments to negative reactions

Best Practices – Positive comments to negative reactions

Client Conversations

During our training sessions, I like to keep conversations to a minimum (and lite) as I realize your time is valuable, and I want to get you RESULTS fast.   There are times when our conversations are insightful, and those ‘teachable moments‘ mentioned throughout teacher education appear.


Most often through our conversations, (sometimes I act as sound board), you come up with perspectives about your lifestyle, your choices, and the choices you see others make in their own lives.

Often we compare your thoughts and habits before they started on this fitness journey to where they are now.

One particular client always comes with great insight into her training, and what she views as perceptions and judgements that others try to place on her.

She has adopted a more healthy lifestyle which includes eating real food, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins, and training regularly.
She is often frustrated, or slightly annoyed by the comments others make when she chooses to eat these kinds of foods.

Her issue is that if others around her eat hamburgers, fries, nachos and other items that I would not consider ‘everyday foods’, yet, no one every comments on what they eat.


This client is a long term chronic ‘dieter’.   She trained intensely for a very long time on extremely low calories.  She works in a restaurant and found herself picking at various sinful foods during the day as she thought it ‘would not matter’ to have a bite here and a bite there as she did not eat very much in the first place.  She tried to ‘eat well’ (what does that mean?), but it was sporadic, and very, very restrictive.

Since we have been working together we have changed her approach to nutrition, and modified her training. We have increased her calories, changed her perspective on food as fuel for her workouts and extremely active lifestyle, and implemented a structured eating plan where she will actually ‘eat’ rather than restrict herself.

The Result

  • Mentally she has changed her relationship with food.
  • She lost weight. Approximately 30 lbs.
  • Starting size of 10-12, adding weight training has transformed her into a size 4-6 (or sometimes smaller)
  • Friends have noticed her results.
  • Family/friends/co-workers now comment on her eating habits/training habits.

The Comments

They say, as reported by my client, “Wow, you look so thin, are you sick?”  Or they see she has muscles, and everyone wants to know what her secret is.

At work, instead of eating a nacho here, and a French fry there, she pulls out her vegetables, or power packed protein meal and others make comments.
She perceives these comments as judgmental, and negative.

Various comments, such as:

“Why are you eating that?”

“Your too thin, you need to eat more.”

“You really like eating that way?”

“Why don’t you have some of this [insert food here]”

She is frustrated, as she has made a positive change in her life.  She committed to a different lifestyle, more balanced, and has shifted her relationship with food.  These foods make her feel amazing, yet others around her, continue to comment on her choices.

She views it as a lack of support.

If she decided to eat a hamburger, fries, and washed it down with a beer, no one would say anything. If she walked in with an iced cappuccino, from Tim Horton’s no one would say anything. Yet, because someone put cream in her coffee and she refused it as it needs to be with milk, they make comments.

Since she is choosing differently, which is outside the norm for others in her life, who may not live this way, comments/observations are made.

The Reality

It is people’s expectations of you, which need to be adjusted, and for them, it will take longer for them to accept the change. But if you hold your ground they will come around.


[bctt tweet=”First they will criticize you; then they will ask you how you did it.” username=”AllisonEthier”]


This bump in the road always come up at some point.  I want to empower you with what to say in order to minimize the comments.  I want you to NOT to view these questions and comments not as judgments, but from a lack of understanding, and education about good quality eating.

It is your reaction and response to their questions, can either come from a positive place or add more fuel to the inquiry fire.  Most times, the comments stem from interest in what they are doing as they see the results, but it is difficult for them, to understand, or accept, as it requires change.

My client had already been eating different before anyone really saw a difference in her. So she is IN the change, while others just NOTICED the change.

The point here is to accept that others will say something once you shift you eating, in a way that requires you to say ‘no’ to certain food offerings if you are trying to achieve a goal. This is not just in a restaurant situation, but also at dinner parties, or spontaneous celebrations or social events with friends or family. With that, comes comments, and of course you will have to defuse these comments to allow others to understand what you are willing to put up with and what you are not. Your reaction is putting limits on what others say to you when it comes to your eating and training habits. The point is to give a response that allows the person to understand what you are doing, but not so detailed to welcome discussion of it. I want my clients to be able to put the kibosh on the conversation and shut it down if needed. Usually a change in your eating habits does spark a conversation about fitness, and nutrition, but yet, I don’t want it to be about what my client is specifically doing.


“You look different.”
Thanks. All in a good way right? 

Why are you eating like that?
It makes me feel good.

You really like what you are eating?
It gives me lots of energy, and I feel strong.

“Your too thin, I think you need to eat more.”
“Are you eating enough?”
I eat lots, including lots of carbs. Thank you for your concern.

Why don’t you eat some of [insert food here]?
I love that [insert food], it tastes amazing, but I don’t feel like eating it today.
You enjoy.

“You have amazing willpower”
I don’t look at it that way. I still eat everything you eat. Just not everyday.

“You look thinner”
“You look really thin, are you sick?”
I lost weight, thanks for noticing.  I have been working really hard.

“What is your secret, what pill are you really taking, as I need that”
Hard work. That’s it. And a great trainer – go see them. He’s their info.

“Are you working out?”
Yes, it gives me lots of energy. My coach is great.  Would you like her number/email?

“Is this what you wanted?”
Yes, all self inflicted.  I have so much energy, and I am so much more productive in my day.

If all else fails, blame me.   Blame the trainer.
We have no problem taking the blame.  None.

Say – “I am responsible to my coach and she will kill me” or something of the like.
This usually works.

Work hard. Be amazing.

Your Coach,


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