I always have such a hard time starting my posts. My brain synapses fire in 8000 different directions and I’m not sure that everything that I want to say will end up coming together in a conclusive matter… but here it goes…
I’ve been pondering people’s struggles… a lot. I’ve even talked at length with my mentor about it. This past week, after finishing another couple of books with eight others on the go (I seriously have book ADHD – its amazing I ever finish a book!), watching a documentary last weekend (I have an exciting life!), and a whole whack of client cancellations (some weeks go like this), I have felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.
The problem is that no one can solve the problem. Seventy-eight billion dollars are spent on the diet and weight loss industry every year in North America (53% of Statistics are made up on the spot – and while I’ve tried to find the EXACT number – there are too many variables – one indicated if you include bariatric surgeries – it soars to close to $140 Billion in the US alone). So I keep asking myself, “Can anyone actually ever change?”. One book I have finished, titled, Body of Truth, by Harriett Brown does not seem to think so. I read this book twice. I agree with some, but not all of what she had to say.
There are a ton of factors that go into why I feel we are not successful on our weight loss journeys. The first, quite obvious from the dollar expenditure above is that humans (in this generation) want instant gratification. We don’t really want to have to work for it. I don’t mean this as an insult but its one-hundred percent true (and yes, I made that statistic up!). The thing that comes to mind here is all the multi-level marketing companies out there promoting their “lifestyle” changes through various supplements and shakes. My clients come to me at least once a week asking about the “newest” system on the market. I then go research it and find another dozen out there. There are literally hundreds of these systems out there. I have had clients show up for their workouts with me on their second “cleanse” day so depleted that we couldn’t make it through a workout. I always discourage clients from any of these systems. At first, they can have great success but I don’t know very many who want to bring their tubs of meal replacement to the Bahamas with them so that they can stay on track.
Another big problem is our perceived sense of reality. I need a huge kick in the ass about three times a week from either my husband or a friend when I whine and snivel about how I look. Who the hell am I comparing myself to? Well… of course then I have to research it to death (that’s my original trade after all…). Here is a great video I found (by the way – this gal is super cute and has a great, common sense approach). Well, I compare myself to those asshole Instagram pictures of girls twenty years younger than me who have rock hard abs and huge muscles!!! I have been told many times that I may be a bit “naive” about how these women are achieving their bodies. I do think our expectations of how we should look are slowly changing with things such as the Dove campaigns and the Special-K campaigns – LOVE this video!
One of the BIGGEST problems is our food, what we eat, how the food industry produces and markets our food. Its awful, shameful, should be illegal… I recommend this documentary to EVERYONE!!! Its on Apple TV and Netflix. It should be shown in our middle/high schools. I almost blew a FUSE when my oldest daughter brought home homework on the Canada food guide. You’ve GOT to be kidding me. I know the teachers have no control over this, as its required curriculum – but seriously even the US is ahead of us now with their rendition of the food guide, although the grains is still way out of proportion. Our food is being created to be addictive. There are great books out there explaining this phenomenon as well. Moreover, while our food is being created to be addictive, there are some people who are genetically predisposed to be more addicted to certain types of foods (mainly white, processed foods – aka sugar and flours). Some people have the same types of addictions to food as those with a drug or alcohol addiction. I also recommend the book, Food Junkies, by Vera Tarman. She even goes into talking about how so many people who have bariatric surgeries (another instant gratification solution) turn to alcohol and become alcoholics or drug addicts. The problem with the bariatric surgeries most of the time is that these people still have not dealt with the CORE reason of for their obesity. This could be emotional trauma or chemical trauma such as food addiction.
Other problems include our emotions and our lives in general. We are too busy and too sleep deprived. Don Saladino – a celebrity personal trainer in New York stated on a TV program I was watching (I do occasionally make it past 8:00pm) that his biggest secret to weight loss is SLEEP. One of his male clients lost 9 pounds in ONE MONTH by adding 90 minutes of sleep to his night!! There is a TON of research out there on sleep and weight gain. I know myself, if I am tired – LOOK OUT CARBS – oh my word… I will devour any sort of sugar left in my path… My Mom (who is a part of the generation that did all the latest diets – along with all of my clients her age and now have damaged metabolisms and are stuck on the 1200 calorie a day regimen – side bar: you should see the look in their eyes when I prescribe them 1900-2200 calories – they almost pass out!) often talked about how she would tell her weight loss clinic or group or whatever – about the tiredness and always felt “silly” or that she was alone in that problem and how she couldn’t control her appetite if she was sleep deprived. Flash forward 20 years – OH we have HORMONES that get f#*ked up if we don’t get enough sleep and we eat like there will be no tomorrow (now they just have to figure out how to get these hormones in control – common’ science people!!!).
Emotions. I wrote about this a while back. You have to deal with your shit before you’ll get anywhere. Again, Brenda Turner in her response to the huge ass Nicole Arbour (may karma come to you bitch)… she talks about how so many people wear their battle scars on the outside in the form of obesity. I don’t believe that all obese people are obese due to emotional issues. I see there being a HUGE problem with food addiction, which I believe to be more chemical but can certainly be an emotional issue in and of itself. In this video however, she is talking more specifically about abuse, etc. I have clients who deal with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-esteem, self-confidence issues… the myriad of emotions that create toxicity within our body. Toxic thoughts create toxic chemical reactions within our body. If you are constantly telling yourself that you are worthless, fat, ugly, stupid, etc. Your subconscious does NOT know the difference, it may as well be the person standing across from you yelling these things. I’m a firm believer in that you become what you think or believe. Trust me, I’m a work in process as well…
So back to how I will pull this all together… I often hear the statement, “Why am I not seeing results?”. My answers can be summed up as follows:
- Are you working hard enough? That is, are you putting in the time at the gym or with some sort of exercise routine? We are so much more sedentary than ever before. One hour of exercise at the gym is NOT enough… walk – move around… park further away, go for small walks – keep your body MOVING… 1 hour at the gym is only 4% of our day!
- Are you being consistent? This relates to number 1. You can’t exercise 5 days one week and 1 the next and expect results. You need to be CONSISTENT!!
- What TYPES of food are you eating and HOW MUCH?? We always under estimate how much of what we are eating. Try using a food tracker for a few days to see where your macronutrients are falling (calories, fat, protein, carbs)
- BE CONSISTENT!!! Again, you can’t eat clean all week and then binge on the weekend… you’ll ruin ALL of your dedicated eating. Instead, as I’ve said before follow the 80/20 rule. 80% clean and 20% for joy and pleasure – whether you plan that on a micro level (80% of your daily meals, 80% of your week, month… ).
- SLEEP!!! Get enough – if you don’t your hormones will be out of whack and you’ll not burn fat the way you should and your appetite won’t be regulated the way it should.
- Deal with your SHIT! All the emotional baggage. Divorce, affairs, abuse, cancer, death, special needs, children, depression, anxiety, eating disorders… the list goes on. Until you deal with what is holding you back in your life emotionally, change will be almost impossible to achieve. Mental, emotional and spiritual health is paramount to fix first before you can be consistent with all the rest.
… But mostly I want people to know that they are not alone in their battles. Each and every one of my clients battles – I become so attached to them and want to take away their hurt and solve their problems as if they are my own children… it keeps me up some nights. I want to find THE ULTIMATE solution to the very problem I opened with. But for now, I don’t have all the answers… just the ones that are close to my heart. Knowing that hopefully if I can provide them with enough easy to digest knowledge, the right tools, the best support that I can, a place to vent or cry to that is not attached to them in other ways such as a family or friend – a place of “unconditional support” and confidence, that everything will be ok. Not perfect, but ok. We can achieve great things through small steps, common sense approach, long-term changes, and mostly through finding even the smallest of things to be grateful for when the world seems to be crashing down on us.