Something I have to point out on reflection of 14 years in the fitness industry… and something that does ruffle my already fluffy feathers!
Women being disempowered by an industry that is supposed to be empowering them and making them stronger. Not making them weaker and more insecure.
There is no conspiracy. Whilst of course there are plenty of charlatans, as well as lazy, uneducated trainers out there, I believe most trainers are conscientious and genuinely want to help their clients.
The problem is what is being taught as “best practice”.
Using short term “tools” as “lifelong” management strategies. It is SO short sighted. We are not robots, we have to manage human behaviour and stop being ignorant to it.
Pretty much every approach to fat loss is giving women the illusion of control, but is slowly destroying their self control, their trust in themselves, and their ability to think for themselves.
Probably the biggest complaint you’ll hear from women struggling with their weight is something along the lines of…
“I’m good for a while, and then it all goes to shit!”
Whether it’s fitness industry advice like counting calories, or one of the millions of diets from the weight loss industry, the underlying messages your brain receives from every one of those methods are:
1. Your body can’t be trusted. Don’t listen to it. It must be forced into submission. Ignore your hunger and stick to the numbers / rules. Do not deviate.
2. YOU can’t be trusted either. You’re emotional and irrational and must be told what to do. Stop thinking for yourself, it’s dangerous. Stick to the numbers / rules. Do not deviate.
We now have an entire generation of women who need precise numbers or specific rules for every conceivable situation in life to reassure them that they’re on track. That they’re being “good”. That they’re making the “right” decisions.
If you think I’m going to take my scales to the restaurant to weigh my food and eat exclusively out of tupperware you’ve got to be KIDDING ME!! But that’s what people are being reduced to!
You are not an professional bodybuilder in the very FINAL phase of your comp prep.
– Should I allow myself a taste of my friend’s carrot cake over coffee?
– Should I allow myself to relax more at my Dad’s birthday this weekend?
– How do I relax on holiday without being obsessed, but also without destroying my progress?
Most women have no idea how to navigate these situations. They have no idea how to “do life”.
So they get caught between either being “good” – sticking to the numbers, or following the rules precisely. Or being “bad” and having a blow out. Followed by guilt, remorse, anxiety about the damage they’ve done, and a real struggle to get motivated and “back on the wagon” again, because “What’s the point? It’s all fucked anyway!”
The solution is twofold:
Firstly we need an approach to nutrition that educates and navigates the dichotomy of fat loss. An approach that creates the physiological effects we’re after whilst working WITH your psychology instead of AGAINST it – something I’ve spoken about at length before.
Secondly the mindset shifts that enable you to make confident, intelligent decisions around food without being an obsessed, anxiety filled, fitness perfectionist whose happiness depends on whether she’s had 6 almonds and not 7 or 150g of chicken not 168.4g!
That requires personal growth in two key areas – your identity, and your values. Effective decision making in life is about being values driven, not rules driven.
If you need precise rules and numbers you don’t trust yourself and you can’t think for yourself. That is disempowering.
If you have clarity on your sense of self and your values, you can navigate the many grey areas with ease and confidence.
THAT’S how you have it all – the body, the business, AND the lifestyle.