When I go to meetups and women find out that I’m a personal trainer the first question they always ask me is,
“What do you think of X diet? I’m trying to lose weight and my friends lost a bunch of weight on X diet. Do you think it’s any good?”
To be honest I have no clue what diets are trending and what is the current fad right now. I have never followed a diet myself and I don’t recommend any specific diets to my clients.
Shocking. Yes, I know.
But all over my Facebook feeds are debates on what is the best diet for for weight loss or the macro split if they want to lose weight AND build muscle at the same time.
“What happens if I have X lbs to lose will X diet work better for me or X diet?”
Why you're stuck = analysis paralysis
One thing I noticed with all this availability of information on the internet and public participation in forums about health and fitness is analysis paralysis.
There is so much debate, opinions, and suggestions in forums that threads can run upwards of over 100 comments over a simple question.
It is literally debated to death whether white meat or dark meat is better for you if you want to build muscle.
People don't take action until they have a definite answer or drum up all the reasons on why they are right and they are satisfied that they won the debate.
Are you the same way?
You keep sitting or postponing a diet or a workout until you researched out the perfect diet/workout rep scheme that works for your body type/work schedule/travel schedule/lifestyle/weekends BEFORE you even get started?
The danger of procrastination
We risk our happiness and our health by not taking any action towards bettering our health and fitness until we figure out which one is the BEST one.
In the book called Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz calls this being a maximizer.
We focus excessively on reading more and learning more about the pros/cons of this diet before starting it.
We are paralyzed by fear of making a wrong choice, following the wrong diet or starting on the workout program because we’re not sure if that is the one that will get us the results we are looking for.
We spin around in circles focusing on the wrong things, debating on the minutiae and more importantly, we forget to take action.
This is why we keep asking which diet is better or which exercise is better and what workout program we should do.
Why we keeping looking at our Facebook feeds, asking our friends and co-workers, and browse our Instagram instead of taking action towards something.
You will make mistakes
Let me be honest and say it’s more important to get started on something instead of nothing.
You will make mistakes, you will make a few bad choices but you will learn from it then make adjustments to get back on track to your health and fitness goals. This beats mulling it over and over again in your head because you may find out that what you thought would happen would not.
For instance when I was working with my coach years ago he put me on a no-carb diet for the first month to reset my insulin sensitivity.
My first gut instinct was OMG I'm asian! We live, breathe, and die with rice. Nice fluffy jasmine rice that keeps me company at every meal.
I thought of the torture it would feel not to eat rice and how eating would not be the same without rice on my plate. My brain concocted up so many reasons why I would not be able to go carb free for a month.
After complaining about it for a day I tossed out my bag of rice and I avoided chinese restaurants like the plague. One month went by and I survived!
Now I rarely eat rice but maybe twice a month. From working with my coach I've learned how to control my hunger and cravings with intermittent fasting.
My dissatisfaction with body and cardio
When I was in highschool I was part of a couple of sports team, swimming and track and field.
The only exercise I got was swimming 5 times a week and running around the track. I was not lifting any weights.
My coaches did expose me to the football weightlifting room during the season but the machines were old, rusty, and just too awkward for me to even start lifting. Besides I had no idea what I was doing so I was not going to wander into the weightlifting room by myself and start lifting.
When I got to college I was still curious about weights and experimented at the University of Hawaii gym where I was a student.
Did I know what I was doing years ago when I started in college?
Hell no! No clue. I was super intimidated by it all but figured if I embarrassed myself no one knew who I was.
But what I did know was that all the cardio I was doing was making me look skinny and scrawny and I wasn’t getting those shapely curves I saw in other college women.
I started off jumping around from machine to machine at the university gym.
Doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that hoping no one I know would spot me because I felt so ridiculous and made awkward faces while doing a set.
It took me years to figure out that there is an order to this thing called weight lifting.
There was a reason why some women got incredible results from lifting versus skinny, scrawny me who did random exercises and had no clue what I was doing.
And get this, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as personal trainers back then otherwise I would have hired one to teach me.
What happens when your excuses pile up
So you’re reading this going yeah yeah I know I should do X, Y, Z to get reach my health and fitness goal.
But I bet your mind is coming up with a list of very good excuses on why you haven’t started on X, Y, and Z,
“Work is very stressful right now and I don’t have time to think about my diet.”
“I travel a lot for business and all there is to eat is Arby’s and fast food.”
“I know I eat like crap and it’s my fault.”
And the consequences are small and imperceptible right now. You don’t see how it takes a toll on your health and how you feel about your body in the long run.
Miss a gym workout? No problem I’ll go on Friday.
Ordered takeout tonight for dinner? That’s okay today was very busy I deserve this.
Ate half a pint of ice cream? It's the weekend, I'll burn this off on Monday.
You start drinking an extra cup of coffee and grab a candy bar in the office breakroom to get you through the day because you’re low on energy when the afternoon fatigue starts setting in.
Days, months, and years pass and the scale goes up. The little things add up.
Your waistline expands, something you swear that would never happen to you when you were younger.
You risk throwing away a potentially great life
There is a HUGE life-threatening risk from being dissatisfied with your body image.
You focus your energy to become fixated and envious of other women who have the body you dream of having instead of living your life.
You become unhappy with the way clothes fit you and you start to hate seeing yourself in pictures instead of feeling beautiful and confident.
You start saying no to opportunities because you don’t have that bikini body for the beach gathering with your friends instead of going and forming life changing relationships.
Or you skip out on summer vacation this year because you’re uncomfortable in your own skin instead of celebrating your hard work and your accomplishes so far this year.
Maybe you even turn down that invite to go to a special occasion event because that dress you love no longer fits you or you just bulge in the wrong places so you’re gonna have to pass.
Who are you and what have you become?
What happens is that the identity of who you are starts to cement because when you do nothing to improve the way that you look you begin accepting it eventhough you’re not happy with the way you look.
Borrowing an analogy from one of my favorite mentors,
“It’s as if we got on the wrong highway 500 miles ago, just realized we’re going the wrong direction, and we shake our head and shrug, realizing “I guess this is where I’m going.”
That is what happens when you keep making excuses and postponing change that you know is good for your self-confidence and your long term health.
Our language becomes,
“I’ll do it later.” to “It’s fine, whatever…I don’t even want that.”
You initially wanted to change your body because it has become the source of your unhappiness and you’re dissatisfied with the way you feel and look.
But because you didn’t take action or you gave up halfway through the process you postponed your diet or your workouts to wait till it’s a better time to deal with it.
Then it turns into acceptance where you start believing that’s just the way it is.
You accept that you will always carry an extra 15lbs or that you just have the type of body that has a slower metabolism or you will always have love handles.
You accept that that's just the way it is.
And I’m here to tell you to raise your standards and stop believing that!
You can have your own incredible body transformations when you stick to a program and diet that works for you.
And you know what?
You may not be ready for a personal trainer and that’s fine don’t hire one.
Or you may be truly happy with the way you look and I’m extremely happy for you!
But if you’re unhappy with the way your body looks or you feel tired all the time or you just don’t have the energy to do what you want, I want you to take action TODAY that will take you closer to getting the body you dream of and improving your health.
What are you waiting for?
Even if it’s small steps I want you to take action because you have the ability to improve and change every aspect of your life. When you take action it means you can confidently rely on yourself to get anything done.
You have faith and trust in your abilities and yourself to achieve what you want.
And that is super important. You build confidence when you do things that affirm who you are.
Don’t wait till tomorrow to do something. Start today.