I recently began working with a new client. She was hesitant at first to fully commit to the plan I laid out for her, but she slowly begins to open up and take my advice. I naturally tend to offer nutritional guidance when I am training someone. It is part of the job, since results also come from what you eat. I’m not a registered dietician, so technically they don’t have to listen or take my advice, however being a professional personal trainer for almost twenty years, I went through a lot of trial and error in my own life and with clients.
As we run through the exercise programs I designed for her, I talk to her about water consumption and if she is getting enough. Does she know how many calories she is consuming throughout the day (most people have no idea how many calories they consume per day)? Is she avoiding sugars, alcohol, and sodium? It’s a list of what may seem like obvious questions but are often ignored. We have these talks every time we train… whether she wants to or not. I drill this nutritional knowledge into her brain, so she begins to remember it and put it into action.
Low and behold, she does. She starts drinking more water, getting more sleep, and drinking less alcohol (Yes, less. You can’t take it all away from them! LOL!). She even starts a food journal, and I have her bring it to every session, so I can see what she is or is not eating. I make corrections and talk to her about new goals. Then I bring up something else – what this blog is all about – Justification. That’s right, the justification of one’s actions.
This is a term in the personal training world… well, at least my personal training world, where you follow your trainer’s orders to a T and get results. As you keep following the orders/advice/plan, session after session, you continue to get results. You start feeling great about yourself: how good you are doing, how positive your trainer is with you (that’s me!), your looks, the looks you get, the comments you receive from friends asking what your secret is, etc.…
After a while, this becomes a normal pattern. You begin to slip into the old food world you once knew. You begin to justify this slip. “Have you seen me? I look great. I’ve been busting my behind! I deserve a slip here and there; it’s my reward.” Now, don’t get me wrong, a reward once in awhile is perfectly fine, but try one reward meal a week, not an entire cheat day per week.
Once you go down Justification Road, it really is hard to turn around. In fact, it gets worse and worse. You keep justifying your nutritional decisions, until one day, you realize you have completely slipped back. The scale isn’t going down anymore; clothes are tight again. I have seen it many times. I have done it many times. It’s easy to justify when you are doing so well.
When you begin to look and feel good from working out and eating right, stay strong and steer clear from allowing your brain and taste buds to hypnotize you back into fast food fornication. Keep those unwanted calories from showing up in places you have worked so hard to improve. Stay on the path of health and fitness, loving the way it makes you feel: physically, emotionally, and mentally. Remember how awesome it is to hear someone else compliment you on your work, and keep working! Don’t give up, and do not justify bad choices through the goods ones you are making – my new client is going through the same battle, but I’m confident she will succeed.