Sunday, February 28, 2016

What is your motivation?

Anybody that knows me knows the way to my heart is through my mouth. I love food damn it... There I said it! I love healthy food, junk food and everything in between. I love fitness and it is my work and play. I always say "I workout so I can eat more." I tell my personal training clients "You have to workout like you eat to maintain your current body. If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in." It's simple math for the most part. Now there are other variables, like eating protein and carbs to build muscle. And some foods require more energy to metabolize etc. Food quality is important. I also say that you shouldn't do any program or diet that you can't maintain for life. I firmly believe this to be true. I myself have tried every diet and failed. I watch my clients jump on trendy diets and get immediate results, followed by a plateau. Once they hit this plateau, they fall off the wagon and go back to their poor eating habits. They gain all the weight back plus some and feel like a failure. I prefer them to make small changes that result in small improvements in their body and be patient. THAT is a hard sell.

We all want instant gratification. I like going to Mexican restaurants because the moment you sit down, there is chips and salsa upon arrival. No questions asked. I immediately dig in and devour a basket... or two of chips. I'm full when my meal arrives and stuff it my mouth anyway.

That's how we all want diet and exercise programs to work. Big results in a small period of time and we never want those results to taper off. We want the waiter to come by with a fresh bowl of chips in the moment our current bowl gets low. At some point, you will get full and you won't be able to cram another chip in your mouth. At some point your body will adapt by lowering your metabolism etc, and your weight loss will slow down dramatically.

When my clients don't eat well, I have a great deal of empathy for them because every single day, it's a struggle for me too. I just have the good fortune of working out for a living to keep my weight under control.

I'm 42yrs old. For the majority of my life, I have worked out hard for vanity. I wanted to look good in and out of my clothes. I think that is why most people do it. I call it "the woman's curse". Let's face it, we are crazy ladies :) Think of all the extra time you would have in your day if you weren't obsessing about every calorie you put in your mouth or every dimple that lives on the back of your thighs. And it's not only the ladies. Most men work out to look good as well.

In my personal experience, for the most part, the people who have the least amount to lose have the greatest body dysmorphia issues. To most people, THEY are the goal. But all they see when they look in the mirror are flaws. They say, "I just want to lose 3 more pounds." And I almost always say, "How much of your life and happiness are you willing to sacrifice for those 3 pounds? And even if you do it, you will find a new flaw to obsess over." Maybe that makes me a bad trainer. But I think fitness and life for that matter is about more than a number.

Again, I have empathy. I go in and out of phases of being THAT girl. As I have gotten older and failed every time in my effort for the perfect body, those phases are fewer and far between. Because I burn thousands of calories at work daily, I can pretty much eat anything I want and maintain a decent (not amazing) body. And I do. People would be SHOCKED at how much food I can cram down my throat.

As I get older and wiser and my health insurance rates rise as my coverage goes down. I'm thinking more about food and fitness from a health perspective. I don't want the health related issues that come from a poor diet, not to mention, I want to slow down the aging process as much as possible. We all know that our skin looks better when we are getting the vitamins and minerals we need that aren't available in junk food. I always say "I want to change my own diaper if it gets to the point that I need them." I know wholeheartedly if I stopped working out or got injured, the weight gain would be fast and furious! And it has been in the past.

Most of all, I want to be a good/better role model for my clients. I want to be a walking example of the benefits of a healthy relationship with exercise AND FOOD! It's not about starving yourself or cutting out specific food groups. It's not about eating 100% clean and never enjoying a piece of cake. It's about everything in moderation. It's about getting the majority of your calories from good, nutrient dense foods while still enjoying a glass of wine or a couple pieces of pizza from time to time. I'm a fan of the 80/20 rule. Calories from healthy food 80% of the time and 20% from living a little. 100% clean is not fun for anybody #hangry and it just isn't reasonable or sustainable.

I think my change in perspective... wanting to change my own diaper and be an inspiration will probably help me more than trying to fit into a smaller pair of jeans ever could. Maybe you aren't trying to be a role model. Maybe your goal is to play in the yard with your grandchildren now or one day. If your motivation has been a number on a scale, and you have failed time and time again.... Maybe it's time to find a new motivation.