What happens to professional sportsmen after they retire?
Well, you might have watched a footie match on the telly when some player from yesteryear pops up as a pundit and you opine: “whoa, he’s let himself go a bit.”
Not all sportsmen (or women) turn to fat once their playing days are over, of course, but the sight of those that do is all the more startling because you’ll most likely remember them from their slim-line heyday.
My Weight Loss Client
Anyhow, I mention this because just recently I have been treating a former professional sportsman for weight issues. After years of training and following a strict diet, he found his weight ballooning after retirement.
I can empathise with this. As some of you may know, I used to box as a professional; once I quit the ring I turned to industrial-scale eating and within six months bloated from a fighting weight of below ten stones to more than 13. I only had to see myself in photos to recognise I needed to do something.
My client’s fat accumulation had been more gradual than my own but after a few years away from his sport his weight had increased by more than 25 per cent. He’s now well on the way to reclaiming his ideal weight.
Happily, for us therapists, ex-sportspeople who have “let themselves go” generally respond well to treatment because they tend to have a mindset predisposed to achieving physical results.
In other words, they are normally “easy” clients.
All they need to recognise, in essence, is that their weight gain is not an inevitable consequence of no longer competing at a high level.
What Triggers Weight Gain?
What is more intriguing to the therapist, though, is what it was that triggered their weight gain in the first place.
And the usual answer is the psychological impact of a life-changing event – ie retirement from their chosen profession.
Once the structured regime of being a lauded athlete is removed, an uncomfortable void can set in. The anxiety associated with this feeling of emptiness can manifest itself in conditions that include overeating. Others might turn to gambling or alcoholism in a bid to stem their anxiety. There may even be some who embrace the full trinity.
The priority for the therapist is to address the anxiety that is driving such unhealthy habits as overeating and this is best done by combining cognitive behavioural therapy with hypnosis, enabling the client to regain psychological wellbeing.
Weight Loss Hypnotherapy for Non-Sportspeople
Not all weight-loss clients, of course, are former professional sportspeople. But there are many whose weight gain follows a similar pattern – is a consequence of some other life-changing event – parenthood, marriage or bereavement, perhaps.
Such events can alter a person’s psychological mindset and change that person’s habits.
Again the therapist helps by rebuilding the client’s awareness and mindfulness thereby promoting wellbeing. It can be helpful (but not always essential) to be able to identify what event might have triggered the lifestyle change – even if the lifestyle change has taken time to evolve into making harmful choices. It might be, too, that there has been more than one life changing event.
Weight Loss Hypnosis For Those That Believe They Are Naturally Obese
There is another kind of weight-loss client that the therapist needs to be able to identify – not one whose condition is a result of lifestyle changes.
This is the client who believes he or she is a natural-born a fatty. They assume that being overweight is in their DNA or other such nonsense. The reality is that they have been mentored into obesity by indulgent parenting. They were fat as kids and have grown fatter in adulthood.
In such instances, the therapist needs to go further than rebuilding mindfulness. The therapist needs to construct from scratch a whole new mindset. The client has to be convinced that their weight problem stems not from some inbred inevitability. The client needs to know that he or she has a choice. They themselves have the key. And ultimately they have to take responsibility.
It is our job to convince them to grab this responsibility. And as we all know, some clients are more challenging than others. We can make a difference, though. Remember that it is success that makes our work worthwhile.