A trap is something you are caught in and which keeps you from doing what you want or need until you are free. There is a pervasive myth that motivation is what makes the difference with fitness. Over the years we have discovered this isn’t true.
After analyzing successes and failures over many years our experience points more toward simple but powerful traps. These are what bind us and make it feel so difficult to change even things we truly wish to change. This is what we think fuels the unrealistic search for secret solutions and magical cures. Rather than realizing one is trapped they feel the need for almost epic sized answers to make change possible.
As we have pointed out in the past, change builds on change and momentum gets you there…unless you are tangled in something you are not fully aware of. Here are the top three traps we have catalogued from reviewing countless clients.
Food = Energy
Weakness = Low Energy
Low Energy = Hunger
Somewhat surprisingly being out of shape has one big thing in common with quick fix dieting as well as over exercising – all three make you weak resulting in low energy/lethargy. This leads directly to that natural chemical push/urge to eat to gain energy and in time to fat retention. Thus weakness is a major thing to avoid. Strength not only gives you stamina (keeps you from getting tired) but also it utilizes calories AND provides you raw energy stored in your muscles cells. The less weak you are the more natural energy you have on board and the less low energy phases you face.
Eating because you enjoy it is just a way the brain is trained by evolution to seek energy plain and simple. Your bad habits, weakness of will etc are not the problem, they are simply ingrained from repetitive bouts of low energy. Factor in the blood sugar crashes of poor food choices and you are caught in a cycle of high and low energy roller coaster disasters.
Answer: Avoid poor rest patterns, push yourself when you want to but pace yourself. Eat food for fuel NOT to lower your nervous energy levels. Exercise for strength but don’t abuse it just to try and burn fat and lower nervous energy. Pace yourself with activity and make it enriching by trying new things all the time and varying the quantity and intensity – stay away from over reliance on hamster wheel behaviour.
Always looking out and seeking answers in copying others and envying what they have is a disaster with health and fitness. Our metabolic states and physiology are always in motion and they are inherited, unique combinations of genetics, the saying “comparison is the thief of joy” holds very true here.
What works for one body type can be a cause for complete failure in another. How your personal characteristics and lifestyle interact with nutrition and physical action is where your answers lay. Others may suggest things that worked but they will only hold meaning in a general sense. Specific choices must be consistently based on how you are doing, chasing someone else’s dream can become a nightmare.
Others can fuel inspiration but when you are down to the daily works stick to watching personal responses. The idea that you love the look of an athletic individual shouldn’t make you feel like a failure in the back of your head. You need a clear vision of yourself and what success will actually look like and feel like for you. This leads to an actual fulfilling and sustainable outcome rather than a fleeting fantasy that never really came to be.
The Elusiveness of Time
This is perhaps the worst trap of any and all traps. This is almost a prison of denial which destroys more health than we care to count.
“I don’t have time” is a trick we play on ourselves to avoid change. Saying we lack time is like saying you can create time. Even the old “make time” is inaccurate because time is not something you have any control over. Time waits for no one and lack of fitness destroys health as time passes. Saying you don’t have time means it isn’t a priority. It doesn’t mean you are politely saying it doesn’t matter…if it didn’t matter the issue wouldn’t keep coming up.
As a trap this one is insidious and there is no easy way to break out of its hold. Try this simple advice and feel your brain hiccup.
Not allowing yourself to repeat the lie by replacing the truth does help…in time. As well, cancelling something relatively important and ‘taking’ time to do something concrete towards your change (like exercising and food preparation) helps reboot your programming. Additionally, making a commitment and being accountable to honouring the commitment will reach in past your rationalizations and help keep you properly directed. Just remain clear, don’t soften the facts or muddy the waters – if you don’t have time you haven’t taken it and used it as needed.
Until next time be well,
Andrew and Tierney