Our Greatest Nutrition Challenge
Many of you reading this are struggling. I’m struggling myself some days.
Some of my industry friends have lost their gyms. Our industry as a whole has been decimated. Clients who need hands-on help are in pain with no where to go. Or it’s less options and higher costs.
Grandparents haven’t seen their grandkids in four months or more.
Innocent Black people are still being murdered by those who swore to protect them.
People have lost their jobs and their homes.
And many from our most fragile generation have died.
What a truly sad and awful time in history.
And yet professionally I have an obligation to help people eat better. It can feel so irrelevant at times when all this is going on, but that’s my profession and I take it seriously. For those who rely on me, I’m there for them.
And I have the gift of a kid and a wife to focus on; and I can for most of the time, ignore the news and the problems of the world, trying to help my kid avoid peeing in her pants. And if I do that, it was a good day. Trust me, I am doing my best to eat right and exercise in this crazy time. And I’m doing an OK job. My workday has shrank from 8-10 hours to about two. Anything beyond that and my kid has to watch muchos Netflix. My training and cooking times compressed even more, just like many of you.
Think about this.
Before the pandemic, about 1/3 of Canadians were overweight. And of those people, most will be gaining weight each year. Very few actually stop and lose weight, probably b/c it’s extremely difficult to actually change how you eat. And the food industry gets more and more vile. And economically, more people are poor, and the poor and even the middle class have a harder and harder time eating healthy. The diet industry is still predatory. Sometimes I think it’s a miracle that a single person on the planet is in good shape, with all the obstacles in our way.
Now it’s Covid Times. Everything is harder. Most people are eating worse, and more people than usual are gaining weight. The commonality of it gives people an excuse to proceed.
In my practice I have seen the mighty fall. No one has been immune to setbacks. Not the guy who lost 100 lbs and tracked his food for 500 days straight. He had a setback. Not the diabetic who finally changed his relationship with food. Setback. The National Champions in my roster left adrift with no direction or personal identities.
Where is line between self compassion and determination? Lately I don’t always know. I’ve always had an inherent ability to know when to push someone and when to back off. Even at age 15 as the captain of a team, I knew. But sometimes lately I don’t know when to push a client or whether to admit that they have too much working against them to succeed.
But then I think – it’s not the outcome that matters, at least not right now. It’s whether you keep fighting or not. That’s what I want to see. It’s like Rocky says
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
This was written in 2006 and IMO the world is a lot worse off than it was then. .
Rocky wasn’t a real person but he taught me a lot about getting up when you’re beat down and the odds are against you. And if you think this is all Hollywood bullshit, check out the things in common with Rocky and my successful clients. Oh ya, by the way, there are some successful clients right now.
- Self compassion. The key to learning from mistakes and also the key to resilience
- Resilience. The ability to weather a storm. Never quitting.
- Boundaries. If you feel something, say it. Say no to people you love. Stick up for yourself.
- Asking for help. Getting support.
- Adaptability. Your coffee table is actually a workout bench.
- Positive mindset.
- Growth mindset. This means it’s ok to make mistakes.
- Mastery. Learning how to squat and not dry-out chicken breasts.
So after all this, it’s all the same stuff. Change is still change. Weight loss is hardly about food. It’s about psychology. It’s a slow and arduous process that many are too hard on themselves to endure. Change needs the same things in Covid times as The Before Times, but we need more. More help, more clarity, more self compassion, more coaching, more journaling, more weighing yourself and more batch cooking. And less cookies in the house. More healthy hobbies, more catharsis, more recipes, more singing, more foam rolling, most stand up comedy, more colouring and more reps of light weights when you don’t own heavy weights. More greens powders, more chewing, more broccoli, and more buying from farmers.
Only you can decide when to sooth yourself and when to make the difficult choice. It’s harder than ever now to make those hard choices, but it’s not impossible either. If you can keep fighting even if you are going backwards, you are going to be ok eventually. Make a small change today and pat yourself on the back. Repeat.