Tis the season for food guilt, health shaming and misinformation memes! Here’s a few tips to deal with the influx of “1 serving of mashed potatoes = 30 minutes of running, 1 piece of pie = 300 burpees” crap you’re seeing today (or will see this weekend).
1. Let it sink in: these memes are total bullshizz, based on averages and guesstimates that are unlikely to represent you. Unless you’re hooked up to a machine, NO ONE can tell you how many calories you’re burning.
2. They promote a potentially dangerous and disordered way to think about food and exercise (very similar to the calculation process observed in those who suffer from eating disorders). A system of checks and balances might work in terms of overall consumption over a period of time, but not for individual choices and one-off days.
3. They are over-simplified and don’t tell the whole story: your metabolism increases when you overeat meaning you’re burning more calories for awhile (the body takes care of itself amazingly). You also burn calories through daily activity: more so than just your workouts. In fact, most of us burn far more calories OUT of the gym than in. (did you know your brains use approx 20-25% of your caloric intake a day?)
Calories in and calories out is a tricky matter and not as simple as the “experts” make it out to be.
4. Unless you’re eating 10,000+ calories in one sitting (AND continue to do so for days on end), you’re unlikely to gain any “real” weight this weekend. The bloat, poop and water will take care of itself in a day or so, and if you go back to your normal habits (NOTE: YOUR EVERY DAY NORMAL HABITS. No extremes), any weight gain will take care of itself too. Believe it or not, a few days “over” on the scale won’t kill you, break you, or even be noticeable to ANYONE but you.
Weight gain AND weight loss is about consistently engaging in activities that promote either over time. It NEVER boils down to one meal, one overeating session or one holiday. Thinking this way can throw an otherwise AWESOME program WAY off track: two extremes do not equal balance.
And if you DO end up gaining an additional 1-3lbs due to Thanksgiving business, good times and yum yums? SO THE EFF WHAT, lol. It’s not a big deal, EVEN if you’re on a weight loss mission. Just go back to what you were doing that feels good and supports your goals. Bam: you’ll be right back where you were. And loving yourself - not hating yourself - along the way can be mega beneficial to your overall success.
But stressing about it? Going extreme? Getting frustrated? Overthinking it? ALL things that zap the energy you need to get back to doing YOU. And the more you allow yourself to fester in these emotions & thoughts, the less likely you are to get back “on track”.
So ditch the infographics, misinformation, food shaming and guilt promoting pics and quotes. They don’t serve you, don’t help you in the long run and aren’t necessary. Plus, as stated, total bullshizz.
Bonus? All those extra treats mean hella full glycogen stores. Use them to power your workouts, have more fun and enjoy life like the bad ass you are.
NO GUILT. NO SHAME. NO JUDGEMENT. These things are not required to get where you want to go, nor do they cater to your greatness.
And you are GREAT.
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Thinking about things differently…
Let’s say you have a client who desperately wants to be lean but seems unable/unwilling to do everything possible to get to their goal.
A popular way to deal with this: blame the client. Point out their lack of willpower. Get frustrated with them. Remind them that they can do it, but that they’re getting in their own way. Provide them with mantras to motivate them. Etc.
This works for some people.
An alternative approach, however, could be slowly starting to get to the bottom of their leanness goals. It could be reminding them that there’s more to life than body fat percentage. It could be focusing more heavily on fitness goals and less on aesthetics. It could be asking them to look at the life they WANT to live rather than the life they HAVE to live to look a certain way. It could be focusing on self-esteem boosting and confidence building in the body they’re in. And more.
Weight loss obsession and distorted body ideals absolutely affect clients negatively. Sometimes the solution to “helping” them is less about getting them closer to aesthetic perfection and more about moving towards bad-assery and acceptance. Working what they got.
Weigh in! Trainers and clients: anything you can recommend that has worked for you to promote body peace and fitness over aesthetics?
- Said NO one. Ever.
Promote what you love. Live by example. Help people feel WORTHY and empowered so that they WANT to take care of themselves, with or without weight loss. But pointing out someone’s weight, criticizing their body and communicating how “unhealthy” YOU think it is only makes YOU feel better. Maybe more righteous too. All the science, research, date and information in the WORLD doesn’t justify being mean.
This kind of motivation (IF you can even call it that. I don’t), is popular but does and has done NOTHING to curb obesity or promote health, for the individual or for society. But it does make other people feel bad. Shamed. Less than. Angry. Humiliated. Sad. Hopeless. And a whole whackload of other emotions that you can’t possibly wrap your head around unless you’ve been there. Not exactly the ideal circumstances to promote positive change. If we’re going by numbers, we’re not doing so hot health wise and weight discrimination is at an all time high.
The more passionate we are about something, and the closer it is to our identity, the more likely we are to distance ourselves from things that don’t suit us: weight is one of those things and mocking is a distancing behavior. It has little to do with those being mocked, and everything to do with reinforcing the self-image of those who do the mocking.
So, while it’s very easy to judge others and use the veil of “health” to mask what would otherwise be inappropriate and rude comments, remember that few people hate themselves healthy. If health is your bag, your thing and your passion? Promote the shit out of it. If the goal is to inspire health in others, then be the example. Talk about what you do, what you love, and why it’s important to YOU.
And remember that tearing down people doesn’t make you a more formidable health warrior. It makes you a bully.
And all the science, research and information in the world doesn’t change THAT either.
I asked him to think about the most “sensitive” way she could tell him his penis was too small, his nipples were too big or he wasn’t muscular enough for HER liking. And if he couldn’t come up with a way she could express those things without him feeling even the LITTLEST bit bad about himself, then it’s likely he won’t either.