We are taught for most of our lives that some of us are sporty, and the rest of us aren’t. We like to perpetuate this belief because it allows us to be lazy, to hide our inactivity behind labels such as ‘bad genes’. We flip through magazines and sigh, ‘I’ll never look like that’. And for the most part, we’re right. Not because you didn’t hit the gene jackpot, but because you’re comparing yourself to someone you are not.
Our bodies, like our minds, hearts and souls, are all different. Each of us has a physical form that has different strengths and weaknesses. You could see your body as a metaphor for your life as a whole. In fact when you look at your training as a journey of self discovery that will continue through your lifetime, you’re getting close to the truth.
You may never look like the supermodel you stuck up on the fridge to stop you eating what’s left of last night’s pizza, but if you focused on training your body to be strong and fit, and nourish it with food that feeds its purpose, you’d be surprised at how beautiful your body actually is. Once you begin to experience being able to use it for physical activities, you’ll be inspired by what it’s capable of, and want to continue nourishing it and treating it well with exercise. We often see our athletes come to us with extremely low expectations – they want to lose the weight they’ve picked up over the last five years sitting at a desk. Then, when they start working hard and eating well, they are not only pleased with the results but filled with a sense of possibility that they never had before because they didn’t believe their bodies were built to be this strong, or fit, or capable, and because of all those things, beautiful. They take on challenges they’d never dreamed of: marathons, triathlons, dance recitals.
As you train with us, and your form and function starts to shape and develop, so you will get a better understanding of how your body is built, and what it is capable of. Knowing your body is as important as knowing your self and mind, for it’s within your body that these other two are housed, and through your body that they are expressed. When your physical form is strong and fit, so your outlook on life seems to follow suit. Working and conditioning your body is an in-built emotional healing system.
Next time you see an image of a body that makes you feel bad because it seems unattainable to you, rather ask yourself, what is attainable to me? When you begin the process of body conditioning and discovery, other bodies will appear beautiful as opposed to intimidating, for you will identify with the journey that person has taken to get there, and appreciate the story of hard work that their body tells.
PEOPLE AND FOOD
A lot of people have, or have had, a complex relationship with food.
What you put in your mouth, chew and swallow, seems to be both complicated and simple.
Objectively and from a distance, how can something so primal and basic, be so complicated? The thing is that a person’s relationship with food is entirely subjective, and so are their issues. It’s difficult to understand how elements such as control and self-esteem can be linked to food when you yourself don’t suffer from those problems.
Seeking Comfort in Food
On the flipside of this sympathetic position is the fact that people seek comfort in food too easily. Had a bad day? Eat some chocolate. It’s cold outside? Have a pizza. There’s nothing overly complicated about this other than the craving of a short term fix combined with a lack of discipline.
Portion size has also become a problem.
People feel the need to not only finish what is on their plates (even though they may be full), but sometimes to go back for ‘seconds’ simply because they made too much food. Once again I would argue there’s nothing complicated about this, there’s only a lack of short-term discipline.
As a gym owner, I’m exposed daily to the effects proper and improper diet has on the shape of people’s bodies as well as their performance. Diet, especially in terms of body fat, is without doubt the primary influencer. If you can’t shed fat and you exercise regularly, you’re either eating incorrectly or you’re eating too much.
I understand that the relationship with food can be complicated psychologically, but the practicalities of it day to day are simple.
It ultimately comes down to taking responsibility for your food decisions. Plan. Be an adult about it.
If you plan your meals, particularly that they consist of the correct balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, together with the actual amount of food you make, you’re a long way to taking the poor food decisions you’d ordinarily make out of the equation.
If you don’t put foods containing sugar in your shopping basket, they won’t be in the cupboard tempting you. If you measure out the correct quantity of food, there won’t be leftovers in the pan that you feel you need to eat.
It’s amazing to me that people can be acutely aware that they’re eating too much or not eating correctly – I’ve had people tell me this all the time over the years – yet they’re not disciplined enough to that the responsibility of changing it.
If you want to control your diet, you need to take control of it. People seem to be able to understand that in order to get a promotion or have a successful relationship, they need to work at it, but the same doesn’t apply to the consistency of good food choices.
Ask yourself every meal (and the snacks in between) if what you’re eating is benefitting you or comforting you. Is it going to benefit or hinder your athletic performance and your long term health?Ultimately, don’t be short sited when is comes to your meal choices and what you eat. Plan. Be responsible. Take control.