Sven worked in entertainment and was well known in Soho. Popular and gregarious, he worked hard and enjoyed his evenings with a wide social life propped up with entertaining clients. He travelled frequently and loved foods from all over the world. He could cook, but rarely found the time, finding it easier to eat out or get deliveries. He was 42 years old, doing well with his career and enjoying his life.

Because of the anti-retroviral drugs he was on, he’s had issues with his digestion, and we’d worked through those first.

But he also had a constant battle with his weight. When he first came to see me, we actually started laughing at all the different diets and regimes he had been on over the years. Quite early on, I realised that getting Sven to cook and prepare his own meals just wasn’t going to happen. So together we worked out a programme that was half eating out, and half having meals delivered from a company that supplied ready made food. This worked well and Sven was really happy with his weight and how he felt. But every time he achieved his goal weight and felt good for a while, it would go wrong. Sven would disappear for a while, start skipping appointments or making excuses and then appear a few months later, with most of the weight back on again.

A lot of weight loss is about psychological coaching. Many of my clients have struggled with their weight for most of their lives, and in some cases, they’re just not mentally ready to be thin. I’m always amazed by the relatives or so called friends who will start making catty comments when someone starts to look after their health, and it’s never more true that when someone loses weight. Sometimes it makes other people feel guilty about their own weight, or perhaps they don’t like the shift in attention when their friend loses weight and gains confidence. But in Sven’s case, it was his own mind that was sabotaging him. Over the months we’d talked about how he’d always been the ‘overweight, funny’ kid at school. Every time he succeeded in losing weight, he would start to doubt himself. He just couldn’t accept himself unless he kept to the old patterns.

Coming back to see me was a big step. We switched up his programme to weekly sessions, and together as he lost the weight again, we worked through his psychological issues and prepared him for how he was going to cope when he achieved his target weight.