When someone can’t stick to a healthy eating and regular exercise routine, it’s not because they’re lazy or lack discipline and willpower.

 

 

I’ve been engrossed lately in the psychology and physiology of fitness and how the two influence each other. One of the profound lessons that I have learned over the 10 years of being a trainer and former therapist, is that when someone can’t stick to a healthy eating and regular exercise routine, it’s not because they’re lazy or lack discipline and willpower. I believe that if we are to discover the reason why it doesn’t stick, we have to be willing to take a deep dive into our past, our patterns and most specifically into our inner selves. 

Never Underestimate The Impact Of A Pivotal Moment

All of us have moments in our lives that write on the slate of who we are, and who we become.  It is important that we acknowledge this because a moment that is a 10/10 for me in terms of my reactions, may have little to zero impact on you (of course that is mostly due to context). I can walk into a room and see a man stand up and stretch, tucking his shirt into his pants and it has no effect. Another person can walk into the same room, but who had as a child walked in on her mother having an affair with a man who was tucking his shirt into his pants in her mother’s bedroom, may now have an enormous reaction to the very same moment. When it does, it changes who we are. 

The deep and sometimes scary work that has to be done if you truly want to change, is on yourself. 

In relation to food and exercise, maybe you grew up in a family that didn’t encourage exercise, or had a father who pointed and laughed at overweight people. Or perhaps you were told that only skinny people are successful and so your mother weighed you everyday. Maybe you were put on a diet when you were a child or you noticed that you father no longer offered you a hug when you felt sad. Perhaps one of your parents acted like a child and you had to grow up quickly and take on that role and there was no time to play outside and be a kid.

All of these examples I just listed are true stories that I have heard  every year from different clients, desperately wanting to change their health and fitness, but not being able to make it stick. What I’m learning is that it’s not just a new diet and a basic exercise plan that will help change your health. The deep and sometimes scary work that has to be done if you truly want to change is on yourself. 

It’s kind of like investigative reporting.

Investigative reporting uses tips and sources to uncover important truths. Sometimes they spend months and even years researching. It’s the same process when trying to figure out why you can’t stop over eating, or why you keep defaulting on that gym membership. The journey isn’t a short one and certainly not without its bumps along the way, but it will lead you to a happier and healthier self. 

TIPS

You are already giving yourself all the tips you need for change, you just need to start paying attention and start asking the deeper question of why. 

  • You overeat when you’re not hungry. (Why am I eating? What just happened?)
  • You avoid conflict at all costs and keep uncomfortable thoughts to yourself. (What am I afraid of? Is my life in danger or does it just feel like it?)
  • You stress eat. (What’s the story that I am telling myself that is causing this stress?)
  • You cancel your workouts when you’re not feeling motivated. (Why am I relying on motivation? Do I feel worthy of happiness and health? If not, why?)
  • You withdraw because you feel unwanted. (I feel unloved, why? Am I unlovable?)
  • You shut down because you feel inadequate. (Why do I feel like I have to be perfect? What story am I telling myself? Will I be rejected if I’m not?)

SOURCES

Use some sources to educate yourself about where you need to start digging. This is the investigative work of moving daily for all of us! Below are some of the recent books and talks I have read and listened to, that have profoundly shifted my life and allowed me to figure out why I do what I do so that I can continue to grow.

Books:

Robert Sapolsky – Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers

Brene Brown -Daring Greatly  

Gabor Mate – When The Body Says NO

YouTube:

Why Exercise Is SO Underrated (Brain Power and Movement)

The Power Of Vulnerability by Brene Brown

Listening To Shame by Brene Brown

The Secret To Motivation: Mel Robbins

When The Body Says No, by Dr. Gabor Mate -My Review

TED Talk – The Biology Of Our Best and Worst Selves by Dr. Robert Sapolsky

If you have any feedback on any of these talks/books and how they’ve changed your life, I would love to hear in the comments below!