This one is for MC
After my last 2 posts of distilled wisdom I thought that this week I’d best bash out something shiny and new for you all Having pondering exactly what shiny and new stuff to share for a couple of days I received a lengthy text from one of my personal training clients – hence forth referred to as MC – thoughtfully suggesting that I might like to devote this post to answering her query so I’m going to do just that
Attentive readers will note that while answering a client’s query in a post is completely new and shiny the wisdom contained in this post isn’t
To put things into context for you MC had a great start to the year, hitting the gym regularly (sometimes up to 5 times a week) and paying careful attention to nutrition, particularly monitoring comfort eating. Needless to say MC made great progress on this regime Things have changed recently as MC now has professional exams approaching and with less time available for working out has cut back to 2 sessions a week for the duration of the exams.
Here’s what’s bothering MC “although I am not so badly comfort eating….I still find that I’m picking up the wrong things and making the wrong choices…any thoughts on will power? Plus any comments on how to continue motivating myself”
I’d normally just talk through this with a client so it’s quite interesting to be sitting here on my own typing it
We are creatures of habit
Remember this fantastic quote from John Beradi?
“Habits are more powerful than momentary desire. Habits are more powerful than information. Habits are more powerful than guilt. And only a concerted, conscious effort to override habits will lead to success.”
Earlier in the year MC was fully focused on training and nutrition – a conscious and concerted effort was being made. With MC’s conscious and concerted efforts now primarily focused on those pesky exams old habits are now reasserting themselves. It’s all perfectly normal and understandable
Clearly there is an internal conflict but it’s simply a manifestation of the war between the habits The old habit says “Exams bad buy comfort food” and the new one says “Eat nutrient dense foods you’ll have more energy and better mental focus for studying and be slimmer and sexier.” Which one is loudest depends on where we are placing our conscious and concerted efforts
There are a number of practical strategies to help the situation – my favourite is to write a shopping list Do it when your conscious and concerted efforts are focused on the right choices, get into the habit of only buying off the list and simply don’t buy anything else
I’m in the habit of never buying certain foods – HobNobs for example Very occasionally I ‘fancy’ a HobNob so much that I actually buy a packet, which I then eat rather swiftly but trust me if I bought them every week and just put them in the cupboard I’d ‘fancy’ them a lot more
It’s worth noting here that the longer you maintain a new habit the more ingrained it becomes so you can relax your conscious and concerted efforts without relapsing Then you can go change another habit, just for fun
Look closely at the language MC uses – “I still find that I’m picking up the wrong things and making the wrong choices.”
The use of the phrase ‘still find’ suggests to me a possible lack of responsibility for your own actions At what point in the process does one ‘just find’ you’ve made the wrong choice? Is it when you’re unpacking the shopping –“Oh no I’ve bought Ben & Jerry’s again” or not until you serve dinner – “Damn I’ve made chips again” or not until late at night when the doorbell rings and you ‘just find’ you’ve ordered pizza again Some of you may think I’m being a bit picky here but I’m not This is in fact so important that I once wrote a whole post about it I’ve written about taking responsibility before too .
The reason for the poor choices may be habitual but it’s still YOUR choice Take responsibility for it
I’d say MC has plenty of willpower
MC is studying – a lot – still working out twice a week (previously MC quits completely when exams roll around) and despite a few bad choices hasn’t fallen back into old eating habits either. That takes willpower, quite a lot of it It’s just spread over more areas than earlier in the year thus the slight step back in the comfort eating department
It’s important to mention that we all slip back from time to time. It’s normal. It’s okay. What is not okay is indulging yourself emotionally by ‘feeling bad’ about it or any other such nonsense – just think different thoughts When the initial wave of silly thoughts has subsided simply logically assess the situation and move on Not convinced you can control your own thoughts? Go read this Simple, though not easy, obviously What to do? Persist :).
Again; I’d say MC is motivated. Studying, training, still being aware of nutritional choices – if there was no motivation none of this would be happening
That said, sometimes we all feel a little flat. Even me Remember this?
“This week’s post finds me fighting hard against the desire to hibernate for a wee while Not quite a full on slumber until summer, more of a snuggle up cosy on the sofa for a few days with a warm blanket, a hot chocolate and a lot of DVD’s affair Alas I’ve got a blog to write, followed by Shoulders and Triceps and personal training clients to attend to so any hibernating is going to have to wait until the weekend ”
When I feel like this I take responsibility and either get on with it or indulge myself. I usually just get on with it but that’s just my choice, it’s not the ‘right’ one, just the one I chose
Everything is completely fine MC is doing really well and with time it’ll just get easier. MC knows where I am if more support is needed but for now that’s all I have to say on the subject I’m going to go and look for some amusing pictures to go with this now – you can hit the ‘Like’ button on the left please