You might be thinking
“Yea, yea, i know, I’M sabotaging my success, I get it already!”
Well, in this case, you’d be wrong about what’s about to go down.
Look, I’m not a fan of pointing the finger and assigning blame to external factors, but there is some shit you gotta deal with. It’s not going to be fun.
I don’t want excessive preamble, but I mean it — reading this might be really painful. I have the luxury of being blunt from afar, but you have to live this first hand. To some extent, I’ve been saving this one so you get used to how I speak and communicate. It should be less of a blow, considering all of the inflammatory stuff I’ve said so far. But it might sting.
To me, this is some of the REAL REAL that you gotta address in your life if you want to be successful with fitness (and especially with food).
You go home for the holidays; your mom is ecstatic to see you. She’s made your fave fave from your childhood [insert delicious indulgent nonsense that your mom or grandma makes] and beams with glee at her own thoughtfulness. You feign a smile and gratitude as you have a sinking feeling of the obvious contradiction between your goal and the proposition in front of you and the inescapable tension that always seems to arise when you turn down the food.
You are, after all, turning down their love. See, to them, being a “bit bigger” is actually healthy. It’s a sign of heartiness and resilience. They don’t understand why you want lose weight. They don’t understand your goals. Every time you lose a couple of pounds and get on your way, they complain you are “getting too skinny!” and insist you eat again to return to the shape theyare comfortable with. And so you bend, once again.
And that weekend breaks your progress and sends you tumbling back down the hard won ladder of progress. You slip back to where you were 6 months ago and feel like you are starting over.
Not you? We got more…
You come from a long line of “bigger people” you’re just born that way! Nutrition and exercise isn’t a consideration because they are known to be ineffective. You are determined at birth how big you will be, and the evidence is overwhelming. After all, your WHOLE family is a little big….maybe really big
But you have a friend who was the same and succeeded! “They were lucky; they’re just starving themselves. Do you want to starve yourself?” as they layer the somewhat obnoxious amount of butter onto that slice of bread.
They laugh and hassle you as you wake up early to go for a run on the weekend.
Not you? Imagine this:
You get off work and immediately the texts start flowing in, “yo, happy hour at the bar!” “dont be lame, come have a drink, you never hang out!”
And you go, “just ONE DRINK!” — next thing you know, you’re catching up, having a blast, realizing you can push back that early morning meeting and catch a few extra minutes of sleep and have another cocktail (or 4). The next morning you’re a bit hung over, hop on the scale, see a +5 and recall all the bar food that got thrown in the mix. You swear you have to cut down on the week day social outings.
Not you? Imagine this:
You get home from work and your spouse has graciously prepared dinner (bless their heart, they work too! You just got home late). It’s your favorite, lasagna with extra cheese. You dig in to a big slice, happy to forget the day and spend some time with your loved one.
It’s the new year, so you bring up that gym membership you bought, “hey, do you want to go to the gym with me after work tomorrow night?”
“I dunno…I’ve been really busy at work, I don’t have energy after a long day”
“Ok, well what about Saturday morning?”
“Well, we planned on seeing Jenn and Chris Friday night. We’ll probably have some wine, no sense in trying to wake up early and exercise”
As you help yourself to another slice, you silently contemplate if your social fabric is just based on food and booze. When was the last time you did something….active? It’s been 8 years since you were in that softball league and you feel the weight of inactivity creeping in.
“What about a midday hike? You know, sleep in, then just go for a walk…the weathers been awesome!”
“You know my back has been hurting…I don’t think that’d be any fun…”
None of these are you? That’s outstanding! Because this is the stuff I see all day every day as people try to navigate their fitness, self-improvement and goal setting. Where they NEED a supportive community to help undergo the initial steps of what seems near impossible, they receive instead a defeated disinterest, encouragement for counter-productive behavior or active cynicism against such ideas.
And the call to action ALMOST seems like you have to disown your friends and family (you don’t!) but there is a constant pressure to put your needs secondary to the peacefulness of the overall pack. To disrupt the consensus is to become an outcast.
For many people, this hurts too much to even acknowledge — the rationalizations I’ve heard require mental gymnastics of the most elite variety. But I want to be your shield. I want you to point to me — I’ll gladly take the blame as you venture out boldly to do something that no one else supports! You can always say, “my coach says…” and as your extra pounds melt away, your back pain goes away, your life improves in quality that you never thought possible…your friends and family turn their cynicism into jealously, then curiosity…then they want in.
Being a leader of fitness in your circle is hard. Obstacles are at every turn. But YOU could be the catalyst to change the lives of the people around you and everyone gets a boost for your courage
If you’ve made it this far, congrats — this isn’t easy stuff to think about if it’s a pernicious force in your life. So I gotta ask — which one is it? Did I leave one out? you can vent here safely, promise.