Recently we started a small group at Castro Valley Fitness. It’s a group of people who want to start thinking about nutrition and their body in a different way.
Through years of coaching people through the process of “losing weight” I started to see problems.
I thought it was important when I started the group to lay our nutrition philosophy out there so that it was clear that we are going to be doing something very different here. I wrote this up and I thought it would good, and possibly kind of ground-breaking, for many people to read, so here it is.
By the way, if you’d like to see the kind of work we are doing in our group, just reply to this email and we can talk about it. The group is open to anyone but we’re limiting it to 10 people total. Here we go:
“What do you want to do?”
I’ve had some version of this conversation hundreds, if not thousands, of times in my years as a personal trainer. If I had to pick the one thing I hear most, this would come in second. (We’ll get to number one soon.)
People just reflexively say, “Lose weight” as if it’s the only goal worth attaining. In reality I think people just say it because they’ve been told over and over throughout their lives that it’s what they SHOULD want. That goes triple for women who are told in many ways from the time they’re little girls that the most valuable thing they can be is small and pretty.
In this group we reject these notions.
We will talk about nutrition here, but that is only a part of it. We are going to talk about why, “I know what to do but I just can’t do it” is the number one thing I hear most.
The reality is that we really do know the vast majority of what we need to know about nutrition. Don’t believe me? Let me ask you a few questions:
What has more nutrients, an apple or a candy bar?”
Should you eat fruits and vegetables?
What has more nutrients, fried chicken or grilled chicken?
I’ll bet you knew the answers to those questions and I’ll bet you think I’m kidding when I say that you don’t need to know much more than that. I’m not. This is the level of knowledge most people need to have a pretty healthy diet. Society at large does not have a knowledge problem on this issue.
Now you may be asking yourself, “If that’s all I need to know, why is this so hard?”
The answer to that is 42.
Now I’ll bet you’re really confused.
Unless you know about The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.
In that phenomenal book (one of the funniest ever written) it’s revealed that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42. The problem is that no one knows what the actual question is.
Kind of like nutrition.
We are asking the wrong question.
We are focusing on weight loss when we should be focusing on something else.
I’ve come to believe something after all this time and all of the conversations I’ve had over the years. I’ve come to believe that most of the time, weight loss is actually damaging. I know that you’ve been told quite the opposite but stay with me for a minute.
What have you all been told all these years? If you can’t lose weight it’s because you’re weak. Unmotivated. Unfocused.
What you haven’t been told is that losing weight and keeping it off is incredibly hard. Even harder if you have a job, a family and anything in the world you’d like to do other than prep and weigh food.
How about what happens psychologically when you lose weight in an unsustainable way (keto anyone?) and what happens emotionally when you gain it all back. Now you have the double whammy of feeling like a failure because you couldn’t sustain an unsustainable lifestyle and feeling valueless because of your size.
Does this sound empowering to you? Does this sound healthy to you?
If everyone tells you to lose weight so you can be healthy and happy and the whole process of losing weight is unhealthy and makes you unhappy WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE REALLY DOING TO OURSELVES?
I’m not even going to get into what happens physically when trying to lose weight causes us to stress LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE TIME WE THINK ABOUT FOOD OR EAT ANYTHING AT ALL!
THIS IS NOT HEALTHY OR EMPOWERING!!!
You might be a little confused now. What’s the point, huh? Why try? I’m going to ask you to think of things a little differently. Instead of focusing on your weight, I want you to focus on what you really want.
Do you want to be healthier? Focus on that. Do you want to feel fitter? Focus on that. Here’s the thing:
when you focus on what you really want you have a
much better chance to achieve it!
Oh, and if you think you really want to just lose weight, you’re wrong. You want what you feel losing weight will get you.
That’s what this group is going to focus on.
What we really want. Not what we’re told we should want.
We are going to focus on things that actually empower us, not make us feel small.
We are going to focus on things that actually make us healthier, not things that stress us out and demand disordered and unsustainable activities like most diets do.
We are going to focus on ways we can start living a more full and vital life RIGHT NOW.
Let me be clear about this: We will not talk about weight loss here. We will be doing check-ins every week that may reference goals we have set. None of those will involve weight loss. If you agree to this and still step on your scale each day you will be sabotaging what we are trying to accomplish.
Let me clear about this, as well: You may, in fact, lose weight in this group but you may not. Either one of these things is fine as long as you are advancing in the work we are doing.
Success will not be measured on the scale here. We are forming a new model. One that will ultimately be a lot more rewarding than a mere number that society tells us reflects our personal worth.
We will be concentrating on the process of being healthier both mentally and physically through focusing on things that empower us.
I know this approach may seem foreign to you. That’s OK. It’s only by stepping outside of our comfort zone that we can truly achieve what we are trying to achieve.
If you still don’t know about this, I want you to ask yourself what focusing on weight loss alone has gotten you. Has it helped you in any way?
I am so excited you are a part of this group. I truly believe that getting this information out there can make the world a better place and you are at the center of it!
Once again, if you’d like to hear more about about our group please let me know. Thanks for reading!
Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness at 2861 Grove Way