This is a rewrite of a facebook post that proved really popular with some more detail and thought put into it.
Very often in health and fitness we see statements like:
“The key to weightloss is X”
“You have to give 100%”
“You just need to be strong!”
The problem is, all of those reduce weightloss (and by extension health, because health has been reduced to a single metric in those people’s minds) to a single factor problem that’s 100% changeable. That just isn’t the case. Take a look at this systems influence diagram, drawn from this project’s data. If you can answer all of these influences (not necessarily strict problems) in one sentence, congrats, you are a wizard.
The other issue with those statements is who cares? They are nearly always reducing health to a single metric, body weight. I’ve stopped caring about weight except as a reference point when people want to use it. I want to help people unravel their fuckedupness (which we all have), build on they are great at (which we also all have), accept the parts that are outside of their control, and see what happens. Weight is a really important issue to many of my clients, but to be a good coach I feel like I had to let go of it being important to me, and that’s a step so many fitness people need to take.
Lastly, we need to engage with the fact that any level of change or commitment can result in positive results, with clients seeing measurable progress with as little as 40% compliance, which in most circles folks would feel ashamed of. This awesome piece of research by Precision Nutrition shows that half assing it works.
This is important to me because due to health stuff I recently put on a bunch of weight. And you know what, I really struggled with being a fitness coach who had unwanted body fat. But fuck it. Nothing that is great about me changed, I just shifted my position in societies expectations. That’s not my problem, but I am really grateful that I had learned to be kind and understanding and accepting as a coach, so I could apply that to myself.
We really don’t know how the human engine runs without shame as a driving factor, I for one would like to find out.