ASK ANT - Bread, Body Image and Fad Diets
Here I’m going to share my thoughts (not necessarily the right answers, cos hey, I don’t know it all)
But the BIG ideas and concepts that will drive you to great success in your fitness
Look, what stops all progress is FRUSTRATION
So let’s dive in to the main frustrations and how I believe they can be solved
Q: I find myself eating bread/toast all the time and can’t break the habit, how can I fix this?
A: In my experience with many clients, bread is just considered a staple part of the diet.
“rationalising unhealthy eating is what our brains are amazing at”
This is why when you’re hungry you’ll eat ANYTHING
So to fix a habit, I think you should change the underlying belief.
For example, if your belief is ‘I’ve always eaten bread, it’s always part of my weekly shop’
Then when someone like me comes along and says, ‘hey, don’t eat bread and you’ll lose fat’
IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW INTELLIGENT MY ARGUMENT IS!
Because your brain instantly rationalises the bad habit and says things like:
> But it’s wholewheat, that’s healthy right (and you carry on eating bread)
> I can’t live without my morning piece of toast, it sets me up for the day (again, carrying on the bad habit)
> My whole family has toast in the morning, I can’t be the odd one out (….eats toast)
And on and on….
Understand that this habit won’t be changed until you change the core belief
And this applies to anything, not just bread!
So if the core belief is ‘I’ve always eaten bread’
Then to change the belief ADD on a nullifying statement
Literally PROVE yourself wrong
“I’ve always eaten bread (adding on…) and that’s why I’ve always struggled to lose body fat”
Or (to quickly answer another question about hating the gym and save myself some time…)
“I’ve always hated exercise and so I skip the gym (so add on….) and that’s why I’m lazy, continually gaining body fat and fail to reach my goals”
But I’m just sharing what works for me.
Some legendary folk can just change a habit cold turkey
That ain’t me, or most people for that matter
So be aware of your beliefs around a single action that you KNOW is an issue for you and try adding a nullifying statement
Don’t try this on a larger concept like your psychological worries about always looking fat in the mirror….just use this for little habits like having less sugar and stuff
EXPECT this to be hard, to feel like a lunatic having an internal argument
That’s what it takes!
If you want to be a different person, start taking different actions.
Q: (not a question but a great point….) The biggest frustration for me is unrealistic media images of women! Even my 6 year old daughter sometimes says she is fat.
A: Let’s call this external pressure to change, and yes, it’s a huge issue.
I’ve experienced this looking at huge athletes and bodybuilders like Arnie, because no matter what I do, I’ll never be 6’4 and massive
This is a tough question to answer, but my thoughts and personal beliefs are…
- The media will never stop doing this, sex sells, magazines want nice cover models, it’s just something we have to learn to live with - they should represent all body types to make it real, relevant to more people and so we can all relate….but at least on TV and print (which are pre-internet old school media) I doubt they will.
- Frustration comes when we measure progress by an ‘outer score card’ - instead we should have an ‘inner score card’ and compare you to YOU
- Parenting wise…. I have no experience, but my hunch is that to help children growing up with unrealistic role models we should all be pushing them to compete with themselves instead, for example (and staying within what I know as an example)….the kid does 2 press-ups yet is disheartened they can’t do 100 like the athletes on TV…. We gotta help them see that last month they couldn’t do a single press-up so they’ve actually had a million percent improvement.
- Maybe the pressure is REAL, I.e. Skinny bitches are annoying you BECAUSE you’re overweight, then focus on the improvements you can make. Don’t focus on the gap between you and the perfectly portrayed body
- If the pressure is UNREAL, I.e. You’re ALREADY in shape yet you feel like the ‘ideal’ magazine cover body is unachievable for you, then reflect on the progress you have had and pat yourself on the back. Way too often I personally can have amazing gym records or lose body fat yet I look in the mirror and think ‘not good enough’ - this isn’t the media issue it’s my own mindset - I gotta be grateful for what I have
So to summarise my thoughts:
Score yourself by yourself, realise that somewhere in the world there is always someone bigger/leaner/stronger and it sucks, but if it’s realistic that you could achieve the same then use it as inspiration, if it’s unrealistic to consider as a goal then start being more positive with the improvements you have made (or stop watching/reading that shiz altogether!). And teach the same to children.
Q: My biggest frustration is never getting results because I’m drawn in to short term fads, yo-yo diets and wasting my money on these gimmicks. How can I fix this and get a more long term mindset?
A: Short answer: be patient
Long answer…..have a true purpose to what you do….
I’ve always believed that motivation is a goal attached to a purpose.
Thinking “oh I want to lose 3 stone by March” is ONLY a goal
It has no purpose, therefore no power, you’ll give up when shit gets tough
SO a short term fad that promises 25lbs lost in 4 weeks is sexier, you know you can stick it out for 4 weeks…what could go wrong?
Well, the fad diet that you do to the letter DOESN’T ACTUALLY WORK and you end up getting bitter, losing money and wasting time.
Which then pushes you away from a long term, correct approach to nutrition and training…
….until the next painful moment you don’t take your shirt off on holiday, or someone makes a fat joke at your expense.
That gets you fired up and you look for the fastest possible fix.
And on the failure cycle goes.
It’s one of the toughest things to go through personally
And one of the most disgusting things about the fitness industry.
So getting a goal isn’t good enough
Your goal must have a purpose
For example, “I want to lose 3 stone by March BECAUSE if I don’t I’m going to get diabetes and die”
Extreme example, but that goal has a fucking purpose behind it
What’s your purpose?
I can help my clients set goals, but the purpose has to be extracted through questions such as:
> How long have you been overweight?
> Did you realise you’d been overweight that long?
> What does being overweight stop you from doing/being/having?
> What would being in shape allow you to do 12 months from now?
> How does it feel knowing you can’t do that right now?
Ask yourself these things, seriously write down the answers and self-evaluate
Because truthfully you’ll be stuck in a short term yo-yo diet cycle if you don’t have a goal driven by a purpose.
So what’s your purpose?