I woke up this morning, turned on the coffee pot and scrolled Facebook. The first post that popped into my feed was one from this cool local woman on a rant about what to eat because everything she reads and hears is so conflicting. Naturally I read down the thread and guess what? More conflicting advice. The only comments in the thread were the ones that said, “I give up, I just eat what I want”.
Why does the simple task of eating, which is something we are supposed to do in order to stay alive, have to be so complicated? Why do we allow the opinions of others to infiltrate our brains constantly? We are so hungry to be thin that logic and reason go completely out the window. Let me give you an example. A program that some folks swear by cuts calories so low that it recommends not exercising. Enter confusion-What? I thought we were supposed to exercise to lose weight and now we can’t? Oh well I guess that’s the key to losing weight since its working for those people in the pictures. I guess it will work for me. I will just do what the program says and then I will look gorgeous.
I have a problem with authority, a big one. I HATE being told what to do without the explanation of why. After hearing the “why” I will then decide if I agree or not. This has not served me well in many factions of my life but, in the capacity of fitness and nutrition it has. I have been on this quest for physical health and strength for 17 years, so you can only imagine all the bullshit I have heard. I have listened to and tried a whole lot of bullshit in the process. Some years back I started researching EVERYTHING that seemed plausible to check for its validity. I could potentially argue both sides of the fence on many things now, the more I know the more I don’t know. That means that there is no simple black and white. The answer we are looking for is in our question. When I am asked a simple question, I unleash a barrage of questions to better understand what is being asked.
When we buy a new device or product, we figure out how it works, read the manual, take care of it. Yet we don’t do that with ourselves. Losing weight is not at all synonymous with being healthy. Most people have dieted themselves into complete physical dysfunction in the quest to look perfect, what a shit show. It seems so unfair. It’s no wonder we are all running around losing our minds with broken bodies and broken relationships with food.
When we don’t know what it is we are looking to do and we believe what is told to us we become susceptible to all kinds of lies and bullshit. The other day at the gym this dude was boasting about this new line of shakes and pills that he just bought from this company “huge pyramid scheme”. He was so excited because he was confident that this time he was going to get “shredded.” I tried to hold my tongue but instead I said, “why did you buy that shit” (the subtle approach). His response, “the guy that won the reebok CrossFit games takes it, I am going to go with what he says” UGH!!!!!! I was so annoyed all day, not at that guy but at the idea that we, as people, are led to believe that those lame ass shakes had anything to do with that guy winning or looking jacked. He is a brand ambassador, all companies have them so that consumers will buy their shit because we believe we will look like that CrossFit dude. Guess what, CrossFit dude has coaches and he is meticulous in his eating and training. His whole life is built around being the CrossFit dude. The shake people paid him to say are the reason he is jacked, and we believe it so we buy the stupid shakes. The shakes aren’t the reason. Athletes and competitors are a different breed. Life revolves around the sport. Everything is meticulously calculated. These people have laser focus, no slips, no falls. Nothing is more important than their goal. They dream of their goal, wake up and everything they do all day revolves around their goal. And we believe that if we just but these shakes, we are going to look like them. PUHLEEEEZZZZZ……Brilliant marketing strategy by that shake company, kudos.
Question Authority. Many things have benefits that are goal specific. There are far fewer things that are harmful to us than we are led to believe. First, it’s important that we understand that we are not at all the same. We don’t look the same, maybe similar, but not the same. We don’t function the same way either, maybe similar, but not necessarily the same. We all have different limiting factors (age, gender, lifestyle, genetics, training age, physical, mental, emotional). Yet we don’t take any of that into consideration. We punish ourselves. Be thin. Be thin. Be thin. At any cost. We expect it to work and when it doesn’t work, we failed. We suck. Why can’t we be thin. If we are thin, we are good and if we aren’t we suck, plain and simple.
Have you ever heard the expression you can’t be too rich or too thin? It based on the concept that we are never done, we are never satisfied, we can never be happy where our feet are. Wow, some quality of life we all have huh?
What about the radical notion of first accepting ourselves as we are and starting where our feet are with realistic expectations of what we are capable of in our lifestyle with all assets and obstacles considered? I will not be thin, that’s not really my body type, nor does it interest me. I don’t want to be hungry. I am better suited to be strong. It keeps me happy, focused and challenged. That’s what works for me. I found what works for me because I eventually took the time to question shit. Let’s go back to CrossFit dude, I told you that his whole life revolves around his goal. Well, one of the hats I wear is a competitive bodybuilder. My life absolutely is focused on my goal When I am in the months prior to a competition I get that laser focus, and everything becomes secondary to that goal of the stage. I sacrifice my social life, sleep, leisure time. Now what if people see me at the gym and think “I want to look like her” the amount of suffering I do isn’t worth the tradeoff for the average person, It shouldn’t be. This is my life and my existence. The same as the CrossFit dude. I don’t have to go to a job at a desk for 8 hours a day my schedule and my whole life. Everything except for my teenage girls are moveable.
This social shit really seems to fuck our brains up badly. We look at folks who look good and assume they are better than us. We want what they have. We put them on a pedestal. Again, we suck because we aren’t them. This external focus is the reason why we are unhappy and stuck.
I was at a seminar with Dr. Layne Norton last year and he said something brilliant. He said we already have a diet, we have food that we eat every day, that is our diet. What we want is improve the diet that we have. It was like a bomb exploded in my brain. What an incredible concept. He was right. The reason we change plans and abandon ship so frequently is because we are always listening to what worked for someone else and trying to reinvent the wheel when all along the answer is simple and its right in front of our faces. The issue as I see it is that we live in a society of immediate gratification. Everything is on demand and delivered to our door and somehow, we expect our bodies to respond in the same way, but they don’t, unless of course we do some outlandish shit and fuck them up. But again, if it made that chic at the dry cleaners thin, we are all in.
Sitting here writing this, I was just thinking about how many fad diets I have heard of over the years, Herbalife, Isagenix, Shakeology, Medifast, Ideal Protein, Nutrisystem, Keto, Atkins, The Cabbage Soup Diet, The Grapefruit Diet. How many can you count right now? How many of those diets are actually designed to improve your long-term health and appearance? Long term results don’t happen in a short-term time frame. Then I thought about what I read, the research, the scientists, the doctors in my field. If I dropped any of their names in here, chances are nobody would know who they are. Why? I will tell you why, It’s because they speak the truth and the truth is not sellable, it’s not sexy. What is exciting about telling folks that you are moving more and eating high satiety foods in an optimal way…That’s not catchy, it’s boring. Who wants to hear that this is going to take time and require effort and sacrifice? NOBODY! Give us the body we want in 21 days. You mean eat these prepackaged meals and don’t work out? Where do I sign up? I can totally do that. Does it really matter if the person selling you this shit doesn’t have a single credential? Hell no. Who need credentials when they have those awesome before and after pictures of people who achieved the body of their dreams in just 21 days?
What Dr. Layne said is true, we already have a diet, we just need to make the one we have better. Unfortunately, this concept isn’t sexy, its not exciting, not at all brag-worthy, it won’t make us cool and it takes time. I need to say here that I am just like all of my clients, same broken thought patterns, same issues with expectation and body image, I just have a relentless thirst for knowledge and disdain for authority. I understand the struggles we all go through and that’s what really pisses me off. I see a common issue among clients most start with this urgency and unrealistic expectation. These are my “yo yo dieters” In this case my job is education. These are people who make progress once they realize that the process has value, they don’t need to suffer during the process and that health takes priority over weight loss. Eventually these folks make progress, but first the unlearn the lies.
I have also noticed another type of client. This is the person who comes and wants to learn, has no expectations. These are the people who are generally more comfortable with who they are, they are more grounded. These are the people who make gradual, consistent progress physically without suffering. I guess that makes sense, right? Those with a sense of urgency are the ones who are uncomfortable in their own skin. They are suffering and just need someone or something that will make the pain of not feeling good enough go away so they latch onto whatever will make it go away the quickest. If that’s true then shouldn’t the process address the feelings of inadequacy? If it doesn’t then we can’t ever really be satisfied. We will say things like I still need to lose that last 5 pounds when the problem is really that we still don’t like who we are even after losing weight?
And here in lies our biggest obstacle. Improving our bodies involves becoming mentally and emotionally fit as well. This is the foundation of our house and no house can be built on a broken foundation.
We all start this journey where our feet are, you cant start where you aren’t, get honest. If it took you while to get where your feet currently are you should plan on it taking awhile to get them somewhere else. Some of us have been at this awhile and some are just starting. Either way the process is the same, gradual improvements each day.