Baptism of fire

I remember when I first started in a Health Club many years ago and I had a consultation with a new client.

When I asked him about his goals I was a little taken back by what happened next.

He went to his bag and out from it he pulled a copy of Men’s Health magazine. He held the magazine and pointed to the bronzed Adonis on the front cover.

‘I want this guy’s body’ he said.

In my head I was thinking ‘this is something one would do in a barbers’.

This was one of my first consultations and turned out to be quite the baptism of fire. The rest of the consultation was spent managing expectations and understanding why he wanted this man’s body.

I mean the chap on the cover looked great and I could see the appeal. In my teens I would have had copies of these magazines and trying to emulate the model on the cover. Thinking this is what I need to look like.
Needless to say I never came close (partly because the info in the magazines was so confusing). Partly because of what I’m about to tell you next.
His goal, although endearing, didn’t make sense. He wanted to look like someone else!

I had to the explain to the portly, middle aged gentleman sitting in front of me. The professional model on the front cover had spent years training and nourishing himself to achieve that physique. It was his job to look like that.
Also the model would take extra steps in the months leading up to the shoot. Lighting, tanning, makeup and airbrushing would do the rest.

I told him that ‘the guy on the cover doesn’t even look like the guy on the cover!’

I explained to the gentleman that it would be prudent to focus on himself and getting his body to the best it can be. And we agreed on goals that were going to make him feel good about his body, improve his confidence and health.

This instance wasn’t a one off. I noticed more and more guys were proposing the same thing in consultations. And I know why. It’s because we are constantly subjected to these images of physical perfection. Magazines, advertisements, commercials etc. And we compare and contrast. We look at other people’s chapter twenty and compare it to our chapter one. This seldom feels good and it seems so far removed and unobtainable we become apathetic.

Now, if you didn’t already know; comparison is the thief of joy! So don’t do that! It’s not going to help. Yes you can appreciate the time and effort these people have devoted, but that is all.

When setting your goals concentrate on improving yourself. Becoming a better version of you, then put your energy into the small steps to achieve that. Things like:

*Eating better, without dieting or feeling deprived.

*Being active, no matter what shape you’re in now.

*Ditching the food rules, dropping the fad diets, and conflicting advice. *Building fitness into your life, without it taking over.

*Achieving and maintaining your goals, even when life gets busy.

Which will see you:

*Losing the weight/fat you haven’t been able to shed for years.

*Building physical strength and confidence in your body.

*Gaining mental confidence, no longer hiding your gifts and talents.

*Letting go of food confusion, learning what to do, how to do it.

*Getting off the diet roller coaster once and for all, and never looking back.

So, stop comparing yourself to others and start comparing yourself to your previous self.

A misunderstanding

We humans will do anything to avoid feeling a certain way.

We will drink, smoke, and eat certain things (that we know we shouldn’t) to help us avoid negative feelings. For example, you’ll temporarily feel better when you have the ‘junk food’, the cigarette, the booze, the biting of nails (my forte).

But that would be an incorrect assumption/correlation. The first sip, the first bite, the first drag. They don’t work that quick, from a biochemical standpoint.

What you are actually doing is changing your state, distracting yourself from a busy mind. The interpreted thoughts which turn into feelings of worry, all fall away. Your mind begins to quieten. The concerns and stressors subside. There is calm.

It’s not the vice! It’s the environment and ritual that lead to a change of state. Like Pavlov’s dogs.

You return home after a day’s work, open a bottle, recline in your chair and take a sip.

You leave your work go to your smoking area, fire up the cigarette, and take a puff.

Return home, take from your cupboard the chocolate bar, and have that first bite.

annnnndddd relax. 

This ritual you repeat for years and years. And over time you make the erroneous assumption that it is the booze, cigarette, junk food you need.

You become dependant on that thing because you’ve incorrectly assumed that is the vice that is causing the relaxation.

The reality is you could substitute that acute vice for something that’s not long-term detrimental. This would positively impact your health and wellbeing in a big way.

A non-alcoholic drink, a vape, a less energy-dense / higher nutritional value food

Working these substitutes into your ritual will cause a massive shift. You can expect extended life expectancy, a better quality of living, plus changes to your weight and physique