“Oh Cathy I’m so sorry, you’re going to hate me!” is a line I’ve heard many times over my years as a personal trainer. My first thoughts are usually has something happened to my car? or have they said something bad about me? or signed me up for knitting classes? It is usually followed by an explanation of how they did they dog over the weekend or since the last time that they have seen me and like a bold child was ready for a scolding!
I used to get frustrated with this as I know it is hampering their progress but I started thinking there must be a reason for this behaviour. And if so does my response impact on future behaviours? Why should you be sorry to me? Your choices over the weekend will not impact my personal results! Am I supposed to scold you and tell you your useless and can’t do anything right? What is that going to achieve? Is my negative response supposed to be powerful enough to shame you into not doing it again? Hardly! My job is to build up your confidence, make you feel good about your progress and guide you on how to achieve your goals.
So you messed up…OWN IT! Accept that it happened and move on. Any player or athlete will tell you if you dwell on a mistake in a match or competition it can affect your overall performance and ultimately the end result. So you took a shot and it went wide. Learn from it? Question is how off target were you? Did you have your eye on the target and momentarily lose focus and had a few drinks? You may have missed that shot but you were still in the game! Or did you take your eye off the target completely and turned your back because you didn’t want to see where it landed? This lead to a whole weekend of poor food and drink choices that you suddenly felt guilty about because you had to report to the coaches office for game analysis.
The former is a blip which in life is going to happen. There are moments in your life where you are going to want to socialise, treat yourself to a nice meal or eat sweet food. THAT’S LIFE! The important thing here is that you acknowledge the choice you made and you get back to good habits as soon as possible. I detest words like slipped up, messed up, bad, stupid etc. There are all negative reinforcements that make us feel bad about ourselves. Unfortunately people then decide “sure f*** it, I’m always messing up what’s the point?”
And this is where people close their eyes and ignore the damage they are doing to their bodies for the short term satisfaction of biscuits, booze and bad food in general. The cycle continues ignore the issue for a time, try to change it for a time then F*** it I messed up I feel s***, I quit!
My advice to anyone who has a hard time sticking with a healthy food and active lifestyle is to:
1) Admit you’re worth it. For many; family, friends and work come first. And yes work and relationships are very important but no one is going to look after you unless you do. So you might not have the time to spend 3 hours a day in the gym do 20minutes at home. Sweat it out in while the baby is sleeping or while the dinner is on. Get creative- if you’re going to meet friends try an activity together.
2) See the positives. So you had four biscuits today but it’s two less than yesterday and 10 less than last week. Its progress! Or you used to sit down all day but now you are jogging (kind of). Instead of focusing on the amount of times you stopped think about the amount of time you are moving! Give yourself credit for every attempt to a healthier, happier you!
3) Do not compare yourself to Betsy! You don’t know Betsy, yeah Betsy from work does Crossfit and squats 90kg but how long has Betsy being exercising? Does she have to go home to a house full of screaming children and cook and clean for everybody? Does Betsy want to lift to become strong or lean? Betsy might be able to squat 90kg but can she do push ups as well as you can? Her goals may be different to yours, her body type might be different to yours. So why compare.
4) Social media is not your friend. Again comparisons are not efficient. Hairdressers hate it when people come in and show them a photo and tell them I want Jen Anniston’s hair! Your hair might be black and now you want it a caramel blonde. It looks good on her because of her skin tone, her eye colour etc. What are you expecting? That because the girl on the screen is smiling and has an awesome body that she is happy? The amount of Instagram stars that come out and say “for this photo I took 30 shots and tried several filters,” or “look how easy it is to make my body look better if I turn this way or the lighting is this way”.
5) Go off feeling. Do I have more energy? does my skin feel as irritated? Are my close looser? Did my thighs tighten? These are all little changes you can notice about yourself to see if things are working. Try not to jump ahead and think in six months I’m going to look like Gigi Hadid and everyone’s going to be so jealous. Are you Gigi Hadid? NO? well chances are you’re not going to look like her. It’s like asking Santa for Elsa and Christmas morning comes and you get Anna. Well Anna is still awesome but you got your hopes up so much for Elsa that you were disappointed. Embrace how far you’ve come in those six months, give yourself props for the little victories and be happy in yourself.