The newest employee, Lauren Palm, and I sat down for a coaches meeting last week and discussed the power that comes with an unapologetic attitude when dieting and when working with a coach to accomplish athletic goals. After our discussion we both wrote a reflective piece on the topic in efforts to help our clients embrace the mindset, and suggest ideas for other coaches striving to teach this mentality. Here’s what we each had to say. Enjoy! #daretoeat
We’ve all been there- left feeling guilty about something and feeling like the only way to feel better is apologize and punish ourselves before someone else does…
The thing about apologizing is that it insinuates some wrong was done, or some mistake was made. Saying sorry has it’s time and place, and probably isn’t even said enough in today’s society, but there is one place it doesn’t belong – in the fitness and nutrition industry. Apologizing for something you ate insinuates that there are “good” and “bad” foods and that you made a mistake or did wrong. As coaches, we need to reinforce to our clients that there are no “good” or “bad” foods, only choices; and it is those choices that either do or do not get you to your goals.
No one person’s goal or body or lifestyle is the same, so how could we possibly say that something is “good” or “bad” for everyone across the board?
The thing that is unique to our industry is that the clients who come to us know they aren’t where they want to be. They are unhappy with some aspect of their body. They KNOW there is a change that they want to make. They are motivated and have made the decision to do something about their situation. The people that are the most motivated are also the ones most susceptible to being unnecessarily hard on themselves. They also have most likely tried multiple other things before coming to us and in certain situations we are even a last resort. They have seen a lot of things fail and they are starting to think nothing will work. When someone is in this position, they are usually also questioning their own abilities. They may be thinking they are the problem or they are doing something wrong. As coaches, we know that this usually isn’t the case; rather they just aren’t properly educated on HOW they should be doing things. We need to remind ourselves though, of the vulnerable state of mind they are in. Just because WE know they can do it if properly educated, doesn’t mean they know that. They’ve tried everything with no success so when they have minor setbacks, they beat themselves up about it. They are down to their last straw, they are fragile. Some of us may have even been there before.
As coaches IT IS OUR JOB to recognize when a client is becoming self-sabotaging like this. Something in society has told our clients that when they eat something fried, or dipped in chocolate, or (heaven-forbid) something they absolutely love, that they have done something “wrong” and “will never get to their goals that way”. IT IS OUR JOB TO CHANGE THIS PERSPECTIVE. Have you ever had a client come to you apologizing for a night of snacking or an untracked family cookout or a takeout date? It’s almost as if they feel the need to punish themselves before their coach does… are we as coaches facilitating this type of client/coach relationship? Are we, without realizing, doing something that is indirectly making our clients feel they are doing something “punish-worthy” when they have cake at a birthday party? Or are we working to change it? Are we working to educate them on how to make choices that will get them to their goals AND allow them to eat the things they love?
Upon graduating college and entering the real world, I feel as though I entered the world of social media simultaneously, pioneering my way through Instagram and oversharing on Facebook. At first, Instagram was a fun way to make photos look cool, but the more and more I delved deeper into the tool, I not only discovered it was a unique hub to connect with people far and near, it was also a place to find the latest news in the world and social trends.
One trend I noticed was this idea of living unapologetically. One of the people who I first saw write about it was Jen Sinkler, who at the time, I’d heard about through my kettlebell friends. From 2013 onward I’ve seen this concept grow and inspire many people to own who they are, especially women in the workforce.
Today, Lauren and I wanted to touch base on how living unapologetically should be a mindset one puts on with regards to fat loss and/or when setting out to crush a goal. Last week during a coaches meeting we spoke about the fact that as summer heats up, our clients can feel challenged by backyard barbecues, weekend getaways and celebrations, while dieting.
And we get that. What we don’t get, and what we don’t want our clients to assume they should do, is apologize for everything, after the weekend.
Most of the email check-ins we receive post weekend or post-vacation commence with, “Hi Guys! I am so sorry, but I’ve fallen off the wagon….”
“Hey! I totally owe you an explanation…”
“I’m so sorrry I didn’t hit my numbers this weekend…”
And after some discussion here’s why we are writing this piece:
You didn’t do anything wrong.
You made decisions to drink some cocktails with family.
You enjoyed more food than usual. You put your diet as priority no. 8 this weekend en lieu of a top 3 priority.
To start, know that our clients’ progress, effort and results do matter to us. We are here to help them when they are most motivated to crush your goals. We are here to help our clients strategize pre-weekend and talk about the aftermath if something goes awry. But as our clients know, we are not babysitters. And further, it doesn’t offend us if they eat more calories than planned on.
Second, when clients apologize to us, it’s not going to help them. It won’t undo the choices they made. They can and should let us in on why they didn’t check-in or stay on track— for instance, a client has once said something to the affect of “Hey! I am sorry I went radio-silent. I was on a trip with family and had spotty wifi. I was probably a little bit over calories, but only do to guesstimating. I made the best (or worst!) decisions at the given moment.”
At Crossroads of Fitness, we not only help manage people’s CD (calorie deficits) but we work from the inside out, giving mini-homework assignments weekly, to help our clients reflect on why they make certain decisions (even the decision to lose weight), what they want to gain with the program and through discussion, we work on how they talk to themselves. The transformation starts from within.
So today, for coaches out there and for anybody working on a specific goal with a coach, try not to apologize to your coach. It will not help you. If you are working with a coach who will get “mad” at you for anything, and you feel something you did warrants an apology, perhaps you need a different coach.
To practice dieting unapologetically here are a few things we preach at CROF:
- Commit to a program and the steps defined to achieve the results. Don’t commit to the idea of the program.
- It is OK to go over your calories, or take a day away from tracking, if you are ready to own the decision/ it’s the best decision for you. Just remember to follow the 3 rules at CROF:
- Let hunger be your guide
- Reach for protein when you can
- ENJOY the food you’re eating
- If you aren’t sure what you’re eating, listen to your body and eat slowly.
- Try to eliminate the words “good” and “bad.” There are no good or bad foods— only a total amount of calories. There are no good or bad days, when you commit yourself to a mindset of doing your absolute best each and every day in the present moment.
- When you promise yourself to stop apologizing, you veer away from making decisions you’d event want to apologize for in the first place 😉
When it’s all said and done, the mind is the most powerful tool for fat loss, or any athletic goal. And as we all know there are no “good” or “bad” foods, apologizing for certain actions can promote and idea of “good” or “bad” days, which perpetuates the cycle of yo-yo, on/off dieting. We want consistency for our clients. We want them to get comfortable finding moderation. All of that starts with owning your decisions. So start today by committing to making the best decision you can, in each present moment.