Monday, July 29, 2013

Eat to Live or Live to Eat? THAT is the question.

Live to eat???

Eat to live?

My name is Nikki Czechowski and I'm addicted to food. I LIVE TO EAT when I really should be eating to live because I am a personal trainer...ain't that a bitch! Can't have nothing nice! Admitting you have a problem is half the battle right? If that is true, then I only have half a battle left. The really HARD half. As a trainer, I preach to my clients all day about diet and exercise and how they can obtain the Holy Grail...aka the body of their dreams. I talk about moderation, protein, whole organic foods, water, cutting out sugar and processed foods, healthy fats, calories in and calories out. I know that if they can stick to the plan that science has mapped out for them, they will achieve their goals. The main problem is, the majority of them, myself included, can't stick to the plan. There are exceptions with some amazing will power and success. But for the most part I watch them try, get some success, fall off the wagon, and then beat themselves up for it. I watch that loop play over and over all day long at the gym. I have a great deal of compassion and my heart breaks for them every time because I'm fighting the same battle. We are not alone, obesity is now considered a disease, so it will be covered by health insurance. Apparently, Mexico just took the title of most obese country in the world away from the United States. Can't say I'm surprised. What do you expect when every meal starts with a free bowl of chips and salsa and a shot of tequila to destroy any will power they might have had when they sat down to dinner....extra guacamole??? Yes please...and you better super size that shit!...and don't forget to cover it in cheese dip...gracias!

I was a tattoo artist before I was a trainer. We would always be eating and they would always say "Give your scraps to the dog...She'll eat anything!" I was the dog. I remember at one point, I decided that I was gonna go on an ice cream sandwich diet. Each ice cream sandwich was 100 calories and there were 12 in a box. I figured I could eat 3 for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That would leave me with one bar for my morning and afternoon snack and one for dessert for a total of 1200 calories. It was a brilliant plan! Eventually I can to my senses and realized I would be highly malnourished and most of my teeth would eventually drop out of my head, so I didn't do it. Truth be told....I still think about it on hot summer nights. At that point I usually run out and get a Cinnabon from Burger King or a Churro from Taco Bell. And THAT my friends is why I'm TRAINER OF THE YEAR! Speaking of which, If you have not had a Churro from Taco Bell...don't. It's for your own good. I have been known to pull out of the gym parking lot and drive directly across the street to get a chocolate dipped ice cream cone from McDonald' of my all time fav's! Am I proud of these facts, HELL NO...I'm ashamed. Am I gonna stop? Probably not, unless I get hypnotized or take a blow to the head and get food amnesia. There have been times in my life where I have gotten it under control. Generally speaking, that's usually a sign that something really bad is going on in my life. Usually a relationship gone bad.

I can't overemphasize enough how much I love food. I wake up thinking about it and I go to bed thinking about it. Every day I start a diet and by the end of most days, I end one. I'm a foodie at heart. I love to cook and generally speaking, I cook really healthy shit. The problem is I eat a family size portion by myself. I almost never buy any unhealthy stuff at the store because I know that I can not have it in my house without eating one sitting. It haunts me until it is gone. Where I get into real trouble is going out to eat. The wheels come off and it is time to get my snack on and no matter how full I am, I always get dessert...Always. My friends and clients know that the way to my heart is through my stomach. It is my love language. Nothing makes me happier than to see one of my clients strolling across the gym with a bag of goodies in their hands for me. I feel really loved in those moments because they went out of their way to think about and take care of me. My friends leave stuff at the front desk at work or on the seat of my Jeep or just knock on my door and surprise me. I'm so grateful for that...the food clearly...but even more about the thought. Every once in a while, they feel guilty for enabling me and say they are going to stop. I beg them not to. Not so much because I want the food. I have money, I can buy that shit all by myself. I think it's because if they stopped, I would somehow feel less loved.

So how do I control my weight and guide others who can not do it by traditional methods? I tell my clients and myself every day, that you got to work out like you eat. If you want to play, you got to be willing to pay the price for it in the gym. After all, it is a simple equation of calories in and calories out. I work out for several hours almost every day. People always say "You must love working out!" My response is usually, "I really love to eat, therefore I workout...a lot!" Again moderation would be best and that is what I try first with every client. That does not work for me. I'm an all or nothing kind of girl. My day consists of working and working out, followed by laying down and eating. I'm traveling at 100 mph or 0 mph. That gray in between area doesn't really exist in my world.

For a long time, I felt like I was a bad trainer because I could not stick to a perfect diet and did not come down on my clients when they failed. I've decided that I'm not a bad trainer, I'm human and I am honest with myself and them. I'm giving them the tools they need to be successful everyday and encouraging them to do it in right way. If that doesn't work for them, then I try to find something that will that is safe and effective.  My clients are human and trying really hard to achieve perfection, but at what cost? Many of them are 5 or 10 lbs away from their goal weight and are killing themselves to lose it. They are miserable because they have cut everything out of their diet that is enjoyable. What is the point of having a perfect body if you are a total asshole because you are hungry?

 When we look in the mirror, many of us only see the flaws. I have been on a roller coaster of weight loss and weight gain my entire life. Even when I was at my skinniest and people were calling me because they were concerned about my well being because I was "too skinny", I remember thinking I was fat. It's the woman's curse. There are certainly men out there with body dysmorphic issues, but it has been much more common in my experience among my female clients. Instead of beating them down for their diet failures, I prefer to build them up for their successes. Maybe they already lost 10 pounds, or can do a push up on their toes or run a mile without stopping. The fact that they are in the gym trying is all that really matters to me. Some have a lot of success really quickly and for some it is a slow lifetime battle. One is not better or worse than the other.

I get asked all the time what is my favorite type of client. I always say without hesitation, it's not the fastest or strongest or the fittest one, it's the one with the most heart. I will kill myself to help them achieve their goals and I live for those moments when they do. They light up and pride beams from their eyes and the smile on their face. There is nothing like it. Gives me chills every time.

I think eating to live mostly mixed in with a little bit of living to eat is ideal and realistic. So everyday, I will continue to try to eat cleaner and encourage my clients to do the same. Some days we will win the battle and some days we won't and that is ok as long as we are healthy and making the effort to be better. Most of my food is nutrient dense and well balanced, but I don't want to live in a world without a glass of wine and a slice of cake, and you shouldn't either. Just be ready to pay the price in the gym when you do. Being at either end of the spectrum can be dangerous. You can't live on shitty food and be healthy but you can't cut out carbs and well... happiness your entire life either.  Everything in moderation is always ideal. Life is about balance. Try to find yours.

SHEW!...that was a long one. Time for a snack. It will be healthy...maybe :)

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