CNN: What's the biggest weight loss or fitness obstacle you see people encounter?
Hoebel: Really, No. 1 is diet. Most people want to think it's a fitness thing or a nutrition regimen, and I'm like, it's a mental and emotional thing.
We are in a society where we're exposed to food so much of the time, and what people don't realize is that food is a drug. Chemicals make up drugs; chemicals make up food. Food is the most over-prescribed drug we have today.
Food is a lot of people's therapy -- when we say comfort food, we really mean that. It's releasing dopamine and serotonin in your brain that makes you feel good. And as you (indulge) more and more and more, it can become a little bit addictive. After you do that for too long, it can no longer be a choice -- you really change the physical structure of your brain and it's going to be harder to quit.
(But) the food addiction is only part of it. The emotional issues are the deeper thing, and if you don't fix that, it's just not going to work.
CNN: How do you get clients over mental barriers?
Hoebel: I think what I try to do with everyone is build self-confidence and accountability. You want people to be self-motivating, in a sense.
If you can build accountability and confidence in people, the little switch will go on inside of them. They're going to show up on time. Their diet is going to change. But how you do that -- that is the art form. That's the emotional intelligence you have to have. You have to ask the right questions. These are the intangibles you can't necessarily teach trainers or motivators.
CNN: What's your weakness? You have to have at least one.
Hoebel: Peanut butter -- I can't even buy peanut butter anymore. I had to switch to powdered peanut butter because it's less calories, but that's definitely one of my big vices.
CNN: Any last piece of advice for our readers?
Hoebel: If I could give one tip for people -- it's not an exercise or nutrition regimen. It's to walk your talk and believe in yourself, because at the end of the day, the dumbbell and diet don't get you in shape. It's your accountability to your word.