Saturday, July 18, 2009

Beyond Exercise & Healthy Eating

You hear it all the time, typically from those who are "in shape", "all they have to do is eat less and start working out". If it were that easy then most people wouldn't have the weight problems to begin with. New research is suggesting that therapy for emotion based eating is necessary if results are to be had by many who struggle with weight problems. It's just not enough to give someone an exercise plan and diet when the actual problem is rooted in the psychological and emotional realm.

I can attest to this reality as I have seen it in a large number of the 100s of people I have worked with over the past decade. Regardless of the exercise routines, information about food etc. etc. the vast majority are unable to reach and sustain their fitness goals. I'm not saying this to be negative, it's just reality. The reasons for this are many but the first and foremost reason is deep down they themselves don't really want to make the necessary changes for any number of reasons. Oftentimes they are at the gym or seeing me for tacit reasons such as "I know I need to get in shape", "my spouse wanted to join or wants me to do this". They aren't doing it because they really want to themselves. It's by and large paying lip service to working out and eating right. The reason I say this is because actions speak louder than words and when you really get down to it they aren't ready or willing to take those actions. When someone needs to lose 40 lbs and they say they can only workout 3 times a week for maybe an hour they are either very confused and uninformed about what it really takes or they just really don't want to lose those pounds. It's not a high priority despite what they say.

What has to happen in these cases is that someone should be sat down with and the real reasons why they don't exercise enough and have poor eating habits need to be identified. It needs to be a no nonsense conversation that is truthful and doesn't hold anything back. Next the actual specific changes they want to make need to be detailed. This goes much beyond "I want to lose weight". It has to be specific and measurable as in "I want to lose 40 lbs by this coming January 1 and I want my bodyfat to be 20%". Then they need to be told what will be required to make those changes in that time frame. They have to then affirm that they are either willing and able to do what's required or adjust the goal to something more attainable based on their willingness and ability to commit. After this they need to identify strong emotion driving reasons why they want to make the changes needed to achieve this no matter how hard those changes may be. This is the point at which they may decide they aren't really ready to change, which is fine because then they won't waste their time doing something they aren't really totally on board with.

What's next is the part of the equation that most never address and that is their support for what they are doing.....this is an essential component that is ignored most of the time. I will address this next time...