I’ve discussed willpower A LOT lately. I’ve heard several comments, “Can you just force me to not eat it?” “Can you slap it out of my hand?” “Can you make me not do that?” “I don’t understand your willpower.”
I am not the sweet personal trainer/nutrition expert that is going to let this go. So, the real question here is WHY CAN’T YOU MAKE THIS DECISION FOR YOURSELF? I just totally hollered at you. I sorta apologize.
When I get a new client, the first thing we do is disect some of the real issues with their eating and workout routines. Are you in pain and struggling to keep things consistent? Can you not say no to certain foods? Are you eating foods that are harming you instead of helping?
I will give you fair warning here: I am not going to sugar coat this AND I’ve had a coffee, 2 dark chocolate squares and an energy drink (sugar free of course) this afternoon so SHIT’S about to get real.
I might be the best trainer and nutritionist on the planet but you will not succeed unless you do it for yourself. Period. I can even come and cook your meals and feed them to you but if you want to cheat, you will. If you want to look a certain way, then go work on that. Hire someone that knows their stuff and guides you through it. (I might know someone.)
If someone wants to hire me to tell them “what to eat at every meal”, I never accept them as a client. Now, I can teach you how to do it for yourself and teach you the proper proportions for your goals and so on. And I can guide you through your struggles to where you are the happiest person on Earth.
One of my favorite clients of all time is a long haul truck driver. He drives for 10-12 days at a time, 12 hours a day. He tries to get a hot meal every 3-4 days. All other meals are prepared by himself in the truck with an occasional fast food meal at lunch. We broke it down to one thing - his anxiety with choosing foods correctly to meet his needs. Now, what kind of nutrition coach or person would I be if I stopped this awesome guy from eating whatever he wants every 3-4 days when he stops for a hot meal? Um, no. You eat a good meal! And let’s keep the “other” meals in check. This guy rocked it all. He meal prepped for his truck. He made better decisions when stopping for breaks. He kept in touch with me daily. If he had a moment of panic, he reached out. The result? He learned what worked and what didn’t for his unique needs. He learned how to put foods together in a way that helped him. He lost around 12 pounds in 2 months. He felt tons better. I actually could hear the “happiness” in his voice when we spoke. Not once did I slap anything out of his hands or demand that he stop something.
The difference is that he was ready to listen and willing to give it a good effort. I am beyond proud of him and I hope to meet him in person one day! Yep, he is an online client. He works strictly with me via his phone and computer.
Back to my questions above.
Are you in pain and struggling to keep things consistent?
Okay, this is easy for me because I deal with this exact issue every single day. I run a large autoimmune program and have many clients that are dealing with autoimmune issues. I myself have several autoimmune diseases that I am treated for. There is NO nice way to say this but chronic pain sucks ass. It truly zaps energy and your mind. I am fortunate to have figured out a way to somewhat control my mind during the day and allow the pain to sorta take a back seat. Now, that is not always ideal and if you don’t know your body extremely well, you might hurt yourself even more. I never allow my pain “to completely disappear” either. As in, I don’t take so many pain killers or substances to where I can’t feel the pain. I am in the gym 9 hours a day, lifting weights for clients, teaching classes, demonstrating moves and so on, if I think a joint is fine (because I can’t feel it) and do something directly on it, then I will injure it further. It’s a vicious cycle. I have just learned to manage the constant pain. My best advice is to do something everyday no matter what. Big or small. A small stretching routine on your “bad” days will help you tomorrow. Or a solid weight lifting routine on your “good” days is helping those joints tremendously. You just have to readjust your plan and be flexible. Whatever you do - don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay if you can’t do what you planned. You are doing the best you can.
Can you just force me to not eat it?
My answer is always - NO. I can’t make anyone do anything. Trust me, I know. Nor do I want to. I’ve told this story a zillion times in my writings. I had a client that was very close with his 80 year old ailing grandmother. He would visit on the weekends and help her with chores and such. All she wanted to do was bake his favorite cake. Every single weekend. He was mortified that he had to eat this cake every single weekend and ruin his goals. After some talking, I realized that he was baking the cake with her, helping her measure and it was his all time favorite cake from her. They would sit and talk and laugh while baking. My simple response - “You’re going to give your grandmother this. She is sick and her last wish is to bake something for her grandson. You are going to show up and eat that damn cake. If in 5 years she isn’t around, you would give anything for a piece of that cake.” So, we readjusted his calories for the week to include cake! He did 10 minutes of extra cardio several times a week to account for the large amount of cake! Eat the cake people! Just adjust somewhere else. If you truly have an “issue” with something, then slowly drop it. Or drop it cold turkey and never pick it up again. My dad did this with french fries. I suggested he eat them once a week but it just fueled his desire for them, so he cut them completely out. This is an internal item within you. Make up your mind and prove to yourself that you can do it.
Can you slap it out of my hand?
See above. I can give you the tools but I can’t make you do anything. But, trust me when I say that I would like to slap some people occasionally.
I don’t understand your willpower.
This is an easy answer for me. I want to feel and look my best so I make the decisions to be stronger than food. I have no desire to put crap into my body and feel bad afterwards. I prefer to feel better. Like I said above, I know my body very well and I make the decisions for my body so I choose good food. If I make a bad decision, I don’t worry about it. Tomorrow is a new day and I get right back on track.
Willpower is a decision from within. Either you have it or you don’t. Now I can show you the ways and give you the tools but you will never succeed until you are truly ready. The good thing? It gets easier and easier over time and with practice!
So, what will you choose to change today? Leave me a comment and I look forward to watching you grow and succeed!