Is Mindset just a Bunch of Touchy Feely Crap?

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
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Do you ever wonder why my triad is
Mindset Mostly * Nutritional Habits * Movement
in that order?
Do you brush it off and think, bah, this is all that “touchy feely crap.”
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That might work for other people, but….
– I want a program!
– I need someone to kick my butt – or I need to get with the program and kick my own.
– I just need to get serious.
– I need more willpower.
– Diet and exercise are where it’s at – not mindset.
I want to share three separate messages with you, that I have received over the past 5 days, to illustrate why I will always believe mindset is the most important piece – for all of us.  
1. This guy is an over-the-road trucker.
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Not a lot of time to do anything but sit, and drive. The traditional “just eat better” and/or “just get to the gym a few times a week” doesn’t cut it with this lifestyle. It’s not reasonable.  It’s not going to work.  It’s not something he’s going to do.
I prescribe to “do what you can, when you can, with what you have.”
Under that precept, he carries a kettle bell in his truck and had been using it consistently until some old aches and pains started coming back with the cold weather.  
With the pain, the cold, and the early darkness, he stopped exercising.  He got depressed and frustrated.  Because of that, he stopped eating the way he had been.  That made him more depressed and frustrated.  He gained back several of the pounds he had lost.
—   Sound familiar?   —
We talked – only about mindset!  About the fact that winter is coming.  It is getting dark.  It is getting cold.  We have no control over those things.  We do have aches and pains – they are worse in the winter.  We have no control over that.  BUT we can control the way we eat.  We can control our nutritional choices.  We can do what is within our sphere of influence for this one meal, this one choice, on this one day.  We can try to add in some movement (no matter how limited) each day.
2. This girl is a figure competitor.  
Her diet and exercise is a little more “serious” than a typical healthy person’s.  She is routinely on point with both!  Last weekend, though, she sent me a message apologizing.  She had gone to a friends wedding and had too much to eat and drink.  She was horrified at “messing up” and asked if she needed to do extra exercise rather than taking a day of rest as her program prescribed.    

You may not be a competitor but what about eating something you “shouldn’t” have and then feeling guilty?

—   Sound familiar?   —
Here’s my story:  At one point when I was preparing for a competition, I had to drive several hours late at night.  I was tired and kept nodding off.  I stopped at a gas station, went for a short walk, grabbed a coffee, and ate half (yes, only half) an apple to try to wake up.  The next day, when I told my coach what I had done, and why.  Her response was, “Apples are NOT on your program!!  You might as well have eaten an entire apple pie!”
I felt like crap!
As you can imagine, from that experience, this topic is emotionally charged for me.
I will never make a client feel the way that coach made me feel.  Sadly, the fact is, I don’t have to.  We do it to ourselves.
We all, competitor or not, beat ourselves up when we fail to meet our goals.  That’s a complete waste of time – it fixes nothing, but we do it.
We talked – only about mindset!  About the fact that she had a great time with friends and made some life-long memories.  That is nothing to feel guilty about.  That is nothing she now has to “pay for” by torturing herself with extra exercise or fewer calories.
No regrets, no guilt, no extra exercise, no decreased calories.  Today is a different day:  we’re moving forward, not back.
3. This is a young woman who has been in a gain weight / lose weight, diet / give up, spiral for several years.  
She’s “just” a regular person.  She has a job and a boyfriend.  She goes back and forth between eating well and exercising to eating like crap and giving up.  There’s no in between.
To be clear, when she speaks of binging here – it’s not a clinical, eating disorder, type of binging.  That would require professional help:  it is outside my practice and I care enough about my clients to refer them out when that’s the best answer for them.
No, what she’s talking about here, is going into the break room at work and, instead of having 2 cookies and being satisfied, having 3 or 4 cookies, a cupcake and 4 pieces of candy.
—   Sound familiar?   —
Especially at this time of the year.  There are the food pushers “you have to try one of these” and an abundant supply of goodies – everywhere.  We eat just because it’s there.
Pick.  Pick.  Pick.
We talked – only about mindset!  About the fact that there is always food available, and there’s always going to be food available.  That it’s okay to have some of the special treats we love but that we don’t need to eat one of everything on the table.  We don’t really need to eat everything that someone else is trying to push our way.  Rather than saying, “I can’t.  I’m on a diet.” – which you know is always followed by the, “Come on.  It’s the holidays.  One piece of fudge is not going to kill you.”  comments.  How about saying, “I’ve had so many yummy things already, I’m trying to pace myself.  I might try that later.  Thanks!”  What if, instead of walking into the break room, when you take a break, you get up and just go for a short walk?  Get some water?  Do something else…..
AND for every day that you are able to meet your goal, celebrate.  Celebrate!!  Every single day.  Every single decision.
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To be sure, these are very different people.  Different genders.  Different ages.  Different goals.  Different situations.  Yet they share the same obstacle.
None of these individuals is struggling because they don’t know what to do.  None of them
has a lack of knowledge about nutrition, exercise, or health.  Their struggle, is actually with mindset.  The “I’m not worth it; it’s not worth it; I always fail anyway, why bother; it’s harder for me than anybody else; I’m missing out; I messed up; I’m a failure……” mindset.
Here’s another example of that.
One of the ladies I’ve worked with in my private group has made tremendous progress in losing fat/weight, and getting more fit.  She was named her gym’s “member of the month”.  When I congratulated her, instead of being excited, she said, “It’s hard for me to see myself this way.  In my head, I’ll always just be the fat kid.”
Wow!  Wow!  Wow!  Exactly.
We have to talk – about mindset!  Helping people change habits is a short-term answer.  If we don’t amend  what’s driving us, we can’t make lasting change.   Until we are able to look inward, truly acknowledge our internal story, face the reality that it is not that we need to do something new – but that we need to let go of something,  those old actions, behaviors and beliefs return.  Every time.
Think of it this way.  If you plant a seed in cement, even if you water it, you give it shade and sunlight; and you provide optimum care, it won’t grow.  The soil simply isn’t conductive to growth!  That soil is our mindset.  Until we change that, nothing else is going to change.
Mindset IS the most important part.  That’s always been true.  It will always be true.

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