I am a personal trainer.   I empower people to discover movement and exercise they enjoy, that focuses on their long term health goals and can continue despite what life may throw at them along the way.   I totally believe in hydration, rest,  movement and changing our internal self belief.   Currently I see my industry pushing nutrition as the key player for clients success.   I am not convinced so went out on a wee research mission to help me decide.   The following is my opinion and summary.   I hope it starts new conversations for you.

80% Nutrition – 20% Exercise… I am not convinced.

These days google healthy food and you get  144 million hits in about .24 seconds!

How on this earth can you possibly decide which result is the perfect one for you.    I have been working with women for over five years in the fitness industry.   Every day we are all subjected to massive marketing campaigns, ideas, theories, fads, diets, campaigns for less sugar, more fat, no diary, more diary, channels of food shows,  billions of recipes books, lists of superfoods, lists of cave man foods,  eat raw, eat natural, quite sugar, lists of supplements, what we are deficient in, what food will cause cancer, arthritis, disease and death,  Everyone has an opinion, media, newsfeeds, blogs and family and friends all sharing their opinions on food! We are completely inundated with messages about food, nutrition, hormone response, body function, disease, obesity, how we are eating wrong, eating too much of this and not enough of that.   We shouldn’t eat this with that or mix that with this.   Eat that in the morning, and this at night.   Don’t have this after a certain hour and don’t go to bed within so many hours of that.    Good Golly it’s all just a bit overwhelming.  I might just have to sit down with a big bag of potato chips and take a break from it all.

So I did sit down , ok minus the chips but I was tempted and can totally see how easy it would have been to say arfeckit! I have in the past.   And many of the ladies I work with share this is what happens for them when they think of food…. In my opinion this occurs because we are just completely overwhelmed!   We just have too much information to filter.   OVERWHELMING… Too many thoughts on food.   And that leads to at some point sneakily or not so sneakily eating whatever is close to hand to comfort us,  and if we are feeling just a little bit vulnerable then each food message gets through our filters wonderfully, evoking emotion and reaction,  mostly negative and feeding our insecurities that we are not fit enough, trying hard enough, beautiful enough, skinny enough, shapely enough, healthy enough, we won’t look good enough at that special event and so on and so on.   Then before you know it while on this emotional spiral you have reached the bottom of the packet of chips, chocolate or another wine bottle and then race to stuff the evidence into the rubbish so you can’t beat yourself up for it.   Then the battle begins as we wage war on our guilt and woes which no doubt releases a tonne of hormones that are not conducive to getting any body feeling the best they can feel.   When finally the process reaches you to that place of “ I will be good tomorrow”, ok maybe Monday, really it will probably be when you get back from that holiday, hold on let me count how many weeks until that special date.. oh golly.. negative chatter overload and I need another sit down.    Look down at the watch to see that all this exhausting mind chatter has taken up about a total of 10 minutes!

In vain to unravel this for my fabulous ladies I poured a large glass of water, took a couple of deep breathes and sat down to do some pondering on the tornado of thoughts that I had in the past and so many of my clients still do when it comes to food!  And here’s what I came up with.

  1. We live in an era that has progressed faster than any other era known to man kind with an abundance of information at our finger tips and technology to tell us things we never knew.
  2. Our bodies have not evolved as fast to always keep up with the amount we have to process
  3. We still have the same body systems we had thousands of years ago that need fuelling to function and do the activities we want each day
  4. Our brains seem to be the part of us that has to deal the most with this fast evolution
  5. On average we have 50,000 thoughts a day (can you imagine in cavemen time someone sitting then using an abacus to count each thought a woman had in a day – proof of point four – it is our brains that have evolved!)
  6. Wouldn’t it be magnificent if we could use those 50,000 thoughts for good not evil
  7. Every body is different and imagine if we could take time to work out what our body needs to function in this new era
  8. Imagine being kind to ourselves and eating what we needed, when we needed it and enjoying it.
  9. Imagine if we had so much energy we could do all the activities we wanted and felt so good about ourselves that we were by our own definition were healthy, fitter, strong and happy?

Thanks to my nephew I found this cartoon.

Caveman Cartoon

It was a great distraction for me not to eat.  And I didn’t feel hungry while I was busy.    I pondered why cavemen lived only a third of our average age today.    I doubted it was the lack of great food!  And then felt my head shaking wondering how on earth the fitness world decided that adopting this method of nutrition was going to prolong our current lives?

I concluded that what we are consuming is probably not the key to success?   I think simplicity is a key.   I think being kind to yourself and learning when you eat is an opportunity to nourish yourself is a key.    The women I have been training for over five years mostly have one thing in common, they come in thinking they are here to see me for weight loss, it doesn’t take long until they realise that they really signed up to feel good, feel healthier, more energised and more alive.     To get to this place it’s not 80% nutrition and 20% Exercise.    Our equation is more like 50% thought processing and self belief, 10% Water, 10% Rest, 10% Nourishing,  10% Movement and 10% Connection.   But that’s another fact sheet for another day.

For now focus this week on simplifying how you eat.  Be kind about eating.
Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Each time you eat is a time to nourish and be kind to yourself
  2. Nourish so you can perform the activities you want
  3. Nourish for enjoyment so you can focus your food thoughts on positive thoughts
  4. Aim for food that is not in wrappers or that contains ingrediants you cannot pronounce
  5. Choose delicious vibrant colours and nice looking food that makes you feel hungry
  6. Include some occasional foods (food with wrappers) that you love and can savour
  7. Sit down undistracted so you have the opportunity to appreciate your food
  8. Slow down and savour flavours and to work out how food makes you feel physically and mentally
  9. Listen to your body to work out what and how you want to eat
  10. Work on developing a “The Healthy ME Plan” for nutrition, by experimenting on what works for you.

harbor (1)

I love celebrating women’s good news.

But here’s the thing I have to declare I have a wee bug bear that I have to share….

Too many women feel they can only celebrate success if the scales tell them to do so.

You see every week I hang out with the most extraordinary women who work incredibly hard all week hydrating, nourishing, exercising, appreciating and enjoying their life.

They jump on the cardio equipment with me or online in one of our groups and share  they have more energy,  feel fitter,  feel healthier, feel stronger,  are relaxing more and are feeling good.   Sometimes they are feeling great.   Their faces light up and the smile beam from ear to ear as they share this good news.

Then the dreaded question (dreaded for me…).  Are we weighing today?   I feel my body shudder… I feel my whole body  do a small convulsion and I am the one weighing not the weighee .. I seriously feel like one of the executioners from game of thrones…  Because I know that in exactly two minutes the result can make or break my beautiful LeapStars day.

I do because my clients ask and it’s expected that a trainer who is supporting weight loss will weigh but I have realised I have done it reluctantly and in the end probably doing is as a disservice to my authentic self.    I haven’t weighed myself for years.   I stand on the scales for my medical professionals to work out dosage – but I never look.   I let other things determine my mood for the day.    I let my clothes and bra size tell me how I am doing and if I am track.

It hasn’t been an easy journey,  I have relapses,  especially on good days,  especially when I feel so good maybe I should seek some validation from what I knew for 25 years … Maybe the scales will tell me something better than I feel.     After all the world seem to put an huge amount of weight – excuse the pun – on the result too.   You don’t need to look far to find good new headlines of “she lost x amount.” It’s everywhere – society, media and throughout my industry

So I take my clients off their cardio equipment and watch silently in horror as dread starts to fall over their faces,  as they take their shoes and sock off and gingerly stand by a piece of glass, with nuts and bolts and some beeping buttons.     They rush to the loo,  take of another layer and mumble how they shouldn’t have eaten breakfast.    And I have encouraged it – for five years I have been part of this ridiculous ritual.    Before that I was asking others to do this for me it 25 years of terror or joy depending on the number flashing back at me.    And then we celebrated if it went down and grappled with the disapproving look down the nose of someone else if it went down.

My ladies do nothing more than weigh there self esteem.     If the number is up or down or bang on the same does it really reflect how you are?  Where you are at?   We know when our clothes are tight,  when we are dehydrated, when we puff at the top of hill.  From where I stand weighing is a pretty inaccurate measure of how you really are.

Wouldn’t it be a good day if we paid attention to what is happening to what is happening IN your body, in your life and focus on what we can change because of real tangible things.   What if we paid attention to habits and what you are doing consistently to make real change in the way you live and feel.  What if we measured our water intake every day and it makes our body feel instead of jumping naked in secret on the scales!!

It’s time to create real change!  We need to get real.  We need to do the small things regularly,  measure them in real ways,  understand the result, and adjust if we don’t feel happy about it!   Then we will really celebrate!