This was originally going to be called “My name is David and I am an ENABLER”, but who’s going to google that?
Anyway, that’s what I do.
It’s a funny thing with this weight loss game. Sometimes you get people who genuinely need to lose weight and get down to a healthy BMI for, well for health reasons as implied when I said “healthy BMI” just now. Other times you get people who don’t actually need to lose weight for health reasons… but they want to because they’re not happy with what they see in the mirror, or how they feel about their self image, or for whatever other reason… they feel that weight loss is the answer to their problem and they’d be happier lighter.
Now having said that and before saying anything else, you had better know and understand by now that I do NOT do unhealthy weight goals, or unhealthy methods of losing weight such as any form of starvation diet. We’ll come back to this a little later.
So sometimes I’ll post a before and after (or before and during, really) photo of a successful client who has followed either my free program here or my DHPT Coaching Via Email program, and you get some nice comments from people on facebook or whatever saying “oh, she had a great body even in the first photo though!”… and often that’s true. You have similar messages coming from the “body acceptance” or “body positive” movement on the blogosphere which is like “your body is fine, you should be proud of it and be happy” as just a default status that applies to everyone regardless of their shape, size, health, level of fitness and so on.
Because “all bodies are beautiful”, right?
It’s a nice thought but in practice… look, if the person aint feeling it, they’re not going to start feeling it just because you try to convince them that they should. Let’s draw an analogy. Let’s say I have a nice piece of hard wood furniture, a dining table or something… and you’re admiring it like “oh that’s beautiful, you should be very proud of it”… well maybe I am, or maybe I’m more like “eh… it cost a few bucks but I just paid the guy and they put it in a van and now here it is. It’s not like I built the thing myself”.
Are you picking up what I’m throwing down? The guy (or girl!) who actually picked up some tools, selected the timber and turned it into something useful and beautiful.. that’s the one who gets to feel pride about this piece of furniture.
Our relationship with our own body is often the same. Some people are fine with what they’ve got. More power to them. Those who aren’t satisfied though, you can tell ’em all the nice things you want for as long as you want, but the best you’re going to get back of them is maybe a sigh of resignation and a “eh, I guess you’re right”.
When you start adding the “wow, if you think you’re fat what must you think about me?” guilt trips into the mix… it leads to some problems. Cognitive dissonance. Not only am I not happy with my body, I feel guilty about it and it makes me a bad person because we’re not supposed to care about body types any more. Right?
The truth is that real body acceptance and positivity comes from taking pride in the body you have created with deliberate and consistent action.
So anyway like I said, I’m an enabler.
Getting back to those before and after photos, they say a picture is worth a thousand words but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. A picture might show the visible changes on a physical level, but it’s only when you talk to people that you might see the more significant change that has taken place. What we are talking about is taking action, doing something that you can be passionate about and take pride in, and forging the identity that you choose for yourself. An identity that may be drastically different from how others see you or how you have previously seen yourself, and pride that may come from some super human feat of strength and endurance, or simply from looking amazing. There will be physiological changes on a hormonal level that allow all of these positive emotional changes to kick in.
So I have a program that not only gives people the instructions on how to physically train towards their goal, but perhaps even more importantly a program that reminds people that “in shape” is the shape their body is supposed to be in. It is entirely 100% OK to want to train towards whatever level of lean, muscular, healthy shape you so desire, and if anyone tries to tell you otherwise they can shut their dirty mouth and mind their own damn business. This is about you, about what is going to make you happy, and about what you deserve. Whatever that is, you should go out and take it. Build it from scratch if you have to.
All people need is someone to tell them “that’s a great idea, you can certainly be successful, and actually I can I tell you how to do it as well”.
That’s what I do.
OH you know what else I enable? Pizza. You don’t achieve health and happiness by stressing out about food with an overly restrictive, unreasonably strict diet. Your plan should include throwing the plan out once in a while and eating purely for enjoyment with no regrets or remorse.