How To Ensure You Fail At Fat Loss And Maintaining A Healthy Weight For Life

So, here it is…the first day of Spring. All the cool kids are talking about summer weather, swimsuits, tan lines and looking hot. You claim you want to fit in and to be one of the “in” crowd, but visions of the work and hassle necessary in getting rid of those extra pounds send shivers down your spine.

Your doctor says the excess weight is putting a lot of strain on your heart, and your blood pressure is higher than it’s ever been. Your knees, hips, ankles and low back hurt constantly and the quality of your sleep at night just stinks. Not to mention all of the digestive issues you’ve been dealing with lately…

But come on, that’s just a part of growing older, right? And why should you have to sacrifice your nightly glass(es) of wine, those glorious desserts and your favorite snacks just to please people you don’t really like anyway?

What could you do to give the appearance of striving for fat loss, so that when you failed you can always blame the diet or the exercise program, and yet ensure that nothing changed and you could keep doing what you’re doing and not have to buy a whole new wardrobe?

Fear not, because Uncle Steve is here to help.

And whatever you do, DO NOT click the links highlighted in red for information on how to actually be successful in fat loss…

Rule #1 – Fail to utilize quality social support.

That’s right, Rule Numero Uno!

Don’t engage other people in your efforts. Who needs accountability, friends to lift you when you’re down or struggling or a support network in general?

Just because some silly study says it helps doesn’t mean it will work for you! You’re special, right? And no one is going to tell you what to do!

Social support networks and accountability groups are for those who lack the knowledge, fortitude and desire to embrace the struggle and come out the other side…the same as you entered.

Rule #2 – Fail to embrace new habits.

Just because some smart guy named John Dryden observed that “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us” doesn’t mean it applies to you.

And just because a couple of recent studies have shown that a habit based approach to fat loss (otherwise called a “performance based” approach) verses and outcome based approach increases the likelihood of success by 8-10% every six months doesn’t mean you should adopt this approach.

Nope, you recognize that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and old habits are hard to break, even when your health is on the line, so why bother?

Rule #3 – Failure to get adequate quality sleep each night.

Sleep is over-rated, and you’ll sleep when you’re dead, right?

Who cares that not long ago researchers found that when dieters cut back on their sleep over a 14-day period, the amount of weight they lost from fat dropped by 55%, even though their calories remained the same?

And who really cares that too little sleep sets you up for all kinds of bad choice options, from portion control to high carb cravings.

Nope, sleep is a luxury you can’t afford.

Rule #4 – Failure to control your portion sizes.

You weigh 150, want to get to 125, but you load your plate up like you’re an NFL linebacker and weigh 225.

Why?

Because this is the land of the free and the brave, you’ve done well enough to be able to afford tasty goodies to put on your plate and mostly because you can!

Who cares that managing your portions is as simple as looking at your hands to know how much to eat?

When you’re hungry, all that matters is you satisfy that urge…right?

Rule #5 – Relying on cardio rather than strength/resistance training.

Who wants to be bulky and huge like a bodybuilder or powerlifter?

Not you!

Despite the fact that it’s statistically improbable for you to get that way, why run the risk? Everyone knows that muscle burns fat, and that “bulky” look comes from excess body fat, don’t risk it.

And why the heck would you want a more energy efficient, effective fat burning metabolism? Again, not you.

So what to do instead?

Do a lot of spin classes. Just spin, and spin and spin because sweating equals fat loss…right?

Go running, or even better…jogging! Pound that pavement and break down those joints even more.

Jump on a treadmill or elliptical and spend 30 minutes to an hour trudging away, at a steady pace, because it’s been proven again, and again and again that it’s a pretty useless time waster.

But whatever you do, don’t pick up, push, pull or move with some heavy loads and build those muscles and greater bone density.

I mean, everyone knows that getting off the toilet or out of bed at 75, 80 0r 90 years 0f age is a matter of cardiovascular endurance and not strength…right?

The Bottom Line

If you’ve made it this far, you know that I’ve been having a little fun and nit-picking ways to fail at fat loss, both in the short and long term.

If you’re serious about losing fat, gaining both better health and fitness and looking like a million bucks, I’d be glad to help.

Just call or text me at 210-884-2072 or email me: Steve@morethanexercise.com

Steve

A Few Things To Remember For Successful Fat Loss

Achieving success in your fat loss goals is simple.

Really simple.

Like “so simple it’s hard” kinda simple.

There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that
likes to make easy things difficult.” – Warren Buffett

Because when people find out how simple it is, they automatically begin doing dumb things to try to complicate, “enhance” or speed up the process. Things I’m going to discuss in the next minute or so.

And it is a process.

Sometimes a slow process, and sometimes a little more accelerated one, but a process nonetheless.

With all of that said, if your goal is to drop some body fat and get leaner, more fit and healthy, there are a few things you should remember in order to maximize your efforts so that the process is as painless, smooth and, yes, as simple as possible.

Fat Loss Happens in The Kitchen

I know I’ve mentioned this about 1,000 times lately, but it bears repeating.

If you’re serious about reducing the amount and level of fat on your body, you must primarily eat and drink an adequate supply of single ingredient, whole foods nutrition in proper portions.

Quality food get’s used for quality fuel, not stored as POTENTIAL quality fuel.

People with too much fat on their bodies always think it’s the workout that does the job.

Wrong.

The only exercise that works for fat loss is “push away’s.”

Pushing your fat ass away from the table.

The Myth of Spot Reducing

Is spot reduction possible? Possibly, but the amount of effort and time needed to obtain even remotely recognizable results just simply aren’t worth it.

Stop doing endless sets of crunches with the belief that you’re somehow flattening your stomach. In reality, you’re likely just doing damage to your back.

Do you know where six-pack abs come from? See the point about the kitchen from the above paragraph.

When your body takes in excess fuel (food) and stores it as fuel (fat), do you get a say-so in where it get’s stored?

Of course not.

So what makes you think you have any authority about when and from where this potential fuel comes from and how it gets used?

Work your entire body and forget about trying to spot reduce. Your body uses fat when it needs it based upon demand and takes it from where it knows best, and there ain’t a dang thing you can do to change that.

Remember, it’s a process.

Your Body Is Like a Swimming Pool

Have you ever watched a swimming pool being filled?

The deep end always fills first, followed by the shallow end.

What happens when you drain a pool?

It drains in reverse order of being filled.

If you’re a woman reading this, when you begin to put on body fat and the first place it goes is onto your hips and thighs, where do you think will be the last place it comes off?

That’s because your hips and thighs are your “deep ends of the pool.”

It helps to remember this when you plateau and it seems that your fat loss efforts have come to a standstill. Keep going and eventually your “pool” will drain.

Your Body’s Fat Loss Efforts Are Like a Roll Of Paper Towels

When you take the cellophane wrap off a roll of 150 sheet paper towels, and remove that first sheet, can you tell a difference in the size and circumference of the roll?

Of course not.

But the more sheets you remove, and get closer to that cardboard paper tube in the center, the more and more you can tell the difference.

Imagine your body as a brand new roll of 150 count paper towels, and each sheet represents 1 pound of body fat. when you drop that first 1 to 20 or so pounds, you’re going to feel better, but you’re not going to appear that much differently. But as each succeeding sheet/pound is removed, changes in your physique become more and more evident, don’t they?

And as you get nearer and nearer to the “core”, other people will begin to notice, which makes the journey that much more enjoyable and doable.

Bulk Comes From Fat, Not Muscle

If you’re a woman reading this and are afraid to lift weights for fear of getting “bulky”, let me allay your fears right here and now.

Body fat makes you look bulky.

Muscle makes you look lean.

Unless you’re willing to take steroids, or have REALLY blessed genetics in terms of muscle growth potential and are willing to train for 2 to 4 hours per day, you will NEVER obtain the type of muscle mass you say you fear.

I’ve been a fitness professional for over 30 years and I’ve yet to witness a woman who lifts moderate to semi-heavy weights 30 to 40 minutes 3 to 4 days per week look anything other than fit, lean and sexy.

Muscles Burn Fuel…Lot’s Of It

Muscle is active tissue. Kind of like an engine on constant idle.

Idling engines need a constant supply of fuel.

Quality food gets used as fuel for an idling or operating engine. Not stored as fat.

More muscle means a higher energy demand.

Get the picture?

Strength is Life Saving

Being weak can get you killed, especially from a fall.

Being strong is a good thing.

Being strong also tends to equate to strong bones, which is a good thing.

Strength comes from lifting and lowering, pushing and pulling, squatting and deadlifting and moving around with heavy things.

Do more of these sorts of things with heavy things and get strong.

The Bottom Line

All of these things, when done appropriately, will lead to success in fat loss.

They’re simple, doable and repeatable.

And if I can help you with any of it, please do let me.

210-884-2072

Steve@morethanexercise.com

 

Yer Uncle Steve

 

The 7 Biggest Mistakes of Successful Fat Loss

Everybody, or so it seems, is on a quest to lose some level of body fat. I mean, it’s Spring Break with Summer right around the corner. Who wouldn’t want to be leaner, to look better in scant warm weather clothing, or a swimsuit or, dare I say… naked?

But that desire can quickly turn to anxiety, frustration and despair if one or more of the following “Deadly 7 Mistakes” is made in the process.

These potential fat loss killing sins appear in no particular order of significance or level of importance, because each on their own can wreak havoc on your fat loss efforts, and when combined with one or more of the mistakes can, and will, shut down your fat loss efforts completely.

Fat Loss Mistake #1 – A reliance on too much cardio or running.

I’ve talked about my disdain for running as an effective method or tool for fat loss many times over the years. You can read some of those pieces here, here and here.

I’ve pointed out that a number of “authorities” with a bunch of fancy letters after their names have done scientific studies stating that, not only is much of the cardio activity people perform NOT beneficial for fat loss, it actually does more harm than good in terms of oxidative stress, cardiovascular damage to the heart and more. See more on that here and here.

Regardless of those data, people still argue with me.

Why?

One reason I believe is because they just love the escape of running.

Whatever…

The second is a little deeper and goes something like this:

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument”-W.G. McAdoo

I’ve engaged people in serious discussions about the potential hazards of running (heart issues, joint degradation issues, stress fractures, etc) and discussed at length that, from a fat loss standpoint, steady state, aerobic activity/cardio is useless in terms of fat loss, and their response is, “I’m still going to run.”

Fine.

Just don’t ever ask me about losing body fat again until you’re willing to quit doing this useless activity all together.

Fat Loss Mistake #2 – Failing to Take Some Time Off From Intense Training

I don’t care who you are, you cannot train at a high level of intensity for an extended period and expect to continue to lose fat and not get injured or sick. People in Hollyweird who get in shape for movie roles do so in a matter of a couple of months under the guidance and tutelage of a fitness professional, a personal chef and most likely a medical professional…i.e., a doctor.

I’m betting you don’t have all of those conveniences.

More than 4 to 6 weeks on a high intensity or heavy lifting routine will take a toll on your body. Your joints will ache, your appetite will wane, your sleep will suffer and you may get very ill or be more susceptible to illness.

It can also create undo stress on the body, which leads to an increase on cortisol and effectively thwarting your fat loss efforts.

Taking a few days to a week off and doing some other form of exercise like walking, biking, swimming, hiking, etc. can and will have a restorative effect on both your physical and mental state, so do it!

Fat Loss Mistake #3 – Failing to Get Adequate Sleep Per Night

There have been literally hundreds of articles written and dozens of studies performed on the importance of sleep as it relates to fat loss. In fact, a quick Google search on the terms “fat loss and sleep” returned 2,720,000 results.

Here’s a sample from just one study: “Researchers found that when dieters cut back on sleep over a 14-day period, the amount of weight they lost from fat dropped by 55%, even though their calories stayed equal.”

Here’s the bottom line: Get more sleep.

Fat Loss Mistake #4 – Placing Too Much Emphasis On Exercise Rather Than On Nutrition

You may or may not have heard the saying, “You can’t out train a crappy diet.”

I don’t care how you try, poor eating habits (poor quality nutrition, excessive reliance or consumption of sugar and processed, starchy carbohydrates, skipping meals, etc) will shunt or negate your fat loss efforts in a heartbeat.

Doing so will put you into the dread “plateau” where time ceases to exist, all food tastes like cardboard and thoughts of successful fat loss are but a dream.

I’ve said it many, many times, but it bears repeating: “Exercise is a really crappy way to try to lose fat. Fat loss happens in the kitchen and around the table.”

If you’re serious about fat loss, get your nutrition in order:

  • Quality over quantity.
  • Eat foods like God makes them.
  • Stop drinking calories and consume more clean water.
  • Manage portion sizes.

It’s really just that simple.

And I am not lost on the irony that simple and easy are not synonymous…

If you want more specific guidance on this topic, read The Plan. You can also email me: Steve@morethanexercise.com

Fat Loss Mistake #5 – Inadequate rest periods between sets.

In today’s world, we always feel rushed, don’t we? However, when you’re in the gym, you need structure…a game-plan…to reach a specific target.

Timed and specific rest periods are a huge factor of that game-plan.

Proper lifting technique, and by proxy safety, are a factor of capability. Being unable to perform a lift adequately, either because of inexperience or weakness, is excusable and can be corrected over time through proper lifting techniques, principles and guidance.

Being too tired to perform a lift adequately and safely is inexcusable and primarily a factor of ego and/or poor instruction.

Listen to me on this:

  • You do not have to do everything in the gym at breakneck speed or in an “AMRAP” fashion. Oftentimes getting through quickly has no added benefit other than making you tired.
  • The word “rest” is not a bad word. It’s actually one of the most beneficial and important words you should learn to use and embrace! It means recovery, and that’s HUGE in terms of fat loss success and overall health, fitness & wellness.
  • Slow down. You’re a human being, not a human doing.

As my friend, Jim Laird says, “Rest more!”

Fat Loss Mistake #6 – Failure to Manage Stress

Volumes have been written on this subject. I’m no expert, but I know this:

  • Stress is self-imposed. You cannot buy it at HEB or WalMart. It’s manufactured in your own noggin from your perceptions of events.
  • Stress creates cortisol, and excess cortisol halts fat loss. End of story.
  • Poor nutrition cause stress levels to increase. Better nutrition causes it to decrease. Supplementing with minerals can make a difference. These are the best: http://myo2meds.com/
  • God can handle it better than you can. Give it to Him. (Matthew 11:29, Matthew 6:25, Philippians 4:6-7)
  • If your stress levels are that overwhelming, please consider quality counseling and care.

Failing to adequately manage stress means forgetting about losing body fat, because the two are mutually exclusive.

Fat Loss Mistake #7 – Listening to Too Many “Experts”

“Too many cooks spoil the broth.” – Old Saying 

You know what they say about a dog that chases two rabbits?

He’s easily confused, catches neither, goes hungry and looks silly while starving.

Listening to too many “authorities” when you’re trying so hard to achieve fat loss is an easy trap to fall into. Everyone has an opinion. The problem is, we all know what opinions are and they all stink.

If you’ve hired a fitness professional, nutritional coach, or other professional in the field of lifestyle change, listen to them, and them alone.

If you’re getting results, stick with them. If not, then it’s time to re-evaluate and decide whether to move on or not.

This is brief, rather simplistic view of some of the most common mistakes I’ve seen, and continue to see, from people who are interested and/or invested in personal fat loss. Hopefully, if you’re struggling, they will cause you to reflect, regroup and take a more successful approach toward your goal.

They are also easily corrected, provided one is willing to make the necessary adjustments to do so. Read The Plan for some ideas on how.

And as always, I’m here to help and assist if I can: 210-884-2072 or Steve@morethanexercise.com

Until next time,

Yer Uncle Steve

Health, Fitness & Why I No Longer Do “Transformation” Events

Sometimes the fitness business sickens me.

Maybe it’s because I’m old, and have been in the business for so long, that I’ve become cynical and jaded. I’m not in it for the money, although I have no qualms about earning a living from what I do. And I don’t fault guys & gals who are fellow fitness professionals from making moderate to very good incomes from it.

I just grow so weary of the hype, the “half-truths” (which are a “whole-lie” where I come from), the empty promises and the misinformation.

Take for example the money making, “front end offer” of the Transformation Challenge/Contest.

In my opinion, people are often sold a bill-of-goods with respect to a “rapid fat loss” program; are subsequently placed on a calorie restrictive, carb deficient nutrition program and introduced to an exercise regimen that would make a Navy SEAL puke.

For 6 to 8 weeks…

Please understand: many, if not most, of these programs deliver on their promises. In essence, they do exactly what they are promoted to do. People lose 10, 15 even 30 pounds of weight over the course of the program. I know, because I’ve personally promoted and run quite a few of these programs.

But then the program ends.

Now what?

Typically, folks gain back a substantial amount…or even all…of the weight they lost.

And that just isn’t right.

Does every coach and fitness professional known to man offer up a follow-up program to help people keep the gains they made and to continue to progress?

Sure.

But people, when lacking a challenge or some extrinsic motivational force, invariably go back to their previous habits and comfort zones. Plus, their bodies fight against them to put the weight back on.

We need look no further than “The Biggest Loser” to see evidence of this here, here and here.

And I could no longer live with that.

For me, making money up front, and not being adequately able to help enough people maintain their new-found health and fitness was depressing, frustrating, stressful and quite upsetting.

So, I no longer advocate or promote short term “transformation” events. I only promote lifestyle changes and long-term, committed efforts to better health, fitness and wellness.

Health vs Fitness: Why It Matters in Terms of Fat Loss

I’m a black & white kind of guy. I like things simple, straight forward and to the point. I don’t like to beat around the bush, waste time or chit-chat.

As a fitness professional, I want to be known as the guy who says what he does, and does what he says. The guy who walks the walk, and talks the talk…so to speak. I want to be the guy who makes a promise, then delivers on it.

Maybe even over-delivers…

So, in that vein of simplicity, I want express what I think are the differences, as well as relationships, between health and fitness and why they matter to fat loss success, both in the present and long term.

Health – The collective efficient, regulated and well-working functions of the body. This includes blood flow, respiration, nerve response, digestion, elimination, hormonal function, weight management, eyesight, brain activity and so much more.

Good health is primarily a function of consistent, simple and supportive nutrition habits, although good sleep and quality exercise habits play a role in good health.

Fitness – Your body’s capability to perform a physical task. Running, jumping, walking, climbing stairs, doing push-ups, doing pull ups, getting off the toilet and so much more. These are all examples of physical capabilities that involve your bodies muscles, bone structure, joint integrity, connective tissue quality, proprioception, spatial awareness, etc.

Good fitness is primarily a function of consistent, simple and supportive exercise habits, although good sleep and quality nutritional support plays a role in fitness.

Here’s where I jump ship away from a bunch of my fitness colleagues (but not all of them) and make some pretty bold claims:

  1. If your goal is fat loss, you never need “workout” again. That’s right. If you simply want to drop body fat, it’s as simple as manipulating both the quality and quantity of the sources of food and drink that enter your body.
    Don’t believe me?
    Have you ever been in the hospital, or been really sick for a long period of time?
    My wife had her appendix removed a couple of years ago. She dropped 17 pounds in the 3 days she was in the hospital, and another 12 the following 4 days at home.
    Exercise was not a factor of her fat loss.
    A lack of calorically supportive nutritional supplementation, however, was.
    Losing body fat happens in the kitchen and around the dinner table.
  2. If you want to be healthy, you must eat supportively.
    Depression, diabetes, arteriosclerosis/atherosclerosis, many mental issues, anxiety, digestive or elimination issues and a whole host of other maladies can be traced back to poor or insufficient nutrition.
    Hippocrates was right when he said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
  3. If you want to look good and move well later in life, you simply must maintain muscle mass.
    Physical strength is crucial to life, and that strength comes from muscle and bone density.
    Getting out of bed or off the toilet at 80 or 90 years of age is a factor of strength, not cardiovascular endurance.
    Maintaining an upright position in life is a matter of strength and bone density.
    If you want either of these, you must perform some form of resistance and/or strength training.
    Lifting & lowering weights, using resistance machines, bands, bodyweight exercises are all crucial to strength.
  4. If you want to feel good, look good, move well and live fully, you must do all of these things on a consistent basis.
    The steps are very basic and simple:
    A) Eat foods like God made them. Unprocessed, single ingredient whole foods. No added anything.
    B) Drink clean water often.
    C) Sleep: Your primary recovery tool. You do not get better or healthier by how hard you work out. You do so by how well you RECOVER from your workouts. It also helps regulate hormones, alleviate pain, restore bodily function and so much more.
    D) Lift weights or do some form of resistance exercise to maintain and/or build bone density, muscle mass and connective tissue strength.
    E) Do some walking to get some cardio conditioning in. No need to go crazy here…really.

That’s it.

Seriously.

If you have doubts, or questions, write me: Steve@morethanexercise.com

Let’s talk about it.

And if you’re interested in just how to tie it all together, come train with me…

Steve

What’s Eating AT You Is Killing You…

What’s Eating at You Is Killing You… And You May Not Even Recognize It!

I met with a lady a few weeks ago who expressed a desire to begin training because she had a goal to drop some body fat and improve her level of health and fitness. She is married, 42 years of age with 3 kids and a part-time job.

“I just want to feel good again, Uncle Steve, to have more energy and to look forward to each and every day, like I used to” she said, rather forlornly.

I could sense the despair in her voice, so I inquired about her medical history. Things like dis-eases, medications she took, and so on.

She said, “I have IBS and fibromyalgia, and I get migraines often. I take Lomotil for my IBS, Lyrica for my fibromyalgia and Aleve when my migraines come on strong.”

Wow…Where to Begin?

First, please let me pre-empt what I’m about to write by stating that I am NOT a doctor of any kind, I don’t pretend to be nor do I prescribe any kind of therapy or medical advice. I also realize this piece will probably not make some people very happy with me…

So be it.

I am, however, a 56-year-old, 33-year veteran of the health and fitness field and I’ve worked with hundreds of people from all walks of life in that time. I’ve read countless books from a myriad of authors on various “dis-eases” from arthritis to cancer. There are some common themes that arise again and again in dealing with people who suffer from certain gastrointestinal dis-eases and dis-stress and their related symptoms.

Please understand that I am differentiating between dis-eases like IBS, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis and so on verses other intestinal viruses like giardia (giardiasis), Hepatitis A, salmonella and/or similar food or water borne dis-eases.

I also empathize and sympathize with you if you have any of these issues. The difference that you and I may have is not that I don’t believe you may have the dis-ease, it’s that I don’t think that the cause stems from an outward influence. In my humble (and yes, questionable opinion…please hear me out to the end of the article before deciding which) these issues are a manifestation of internal strife, stress, repressed anger, forgiveness issues, resentment, unfulfilled promises or something akin to these.

I guess, in essence, I’m asking what came first: the dis-ease or the emotional/mental issue.

Secondly, I’ve found that people with these types of maladies often lay claim to them and wear them almost like a badge. In the case of the woman I interviewed, she referred to them as, “MY IBS…MY fibromyalgia…MY migraine headaches.”

To me, it’s the difference between telling a lie and being a liar, or stealing something and being a thief. One is what you have experienced, done or did, the other is what you are. It may seem like semantics, but it’s deeper than that.

Having a label for something and identifying yourself with and/or by that label are very two different things. One is empowering, and one is not. One creates a fighter, the other creates a victim.

You are not cancer, or fibromyalgia, or Crohn’s or anything else. You are a human being currently who may be undergoing and suffering from the effects of one or more of those things, but you are NOT those things.

Don’t own or wear that label.

3 Layers of Communication

In dealing with the young lady with whom I referenced earlier, and in order to assist her fully, it would obviously behoove me to know more about her personal situation, her injury, family and medical history, as well as the level of and how she handles stress. But that isn’t always possible and, like I stated earlier…I ain’t a doctor.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t help.

Folks who have issues such a IBS, fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis and so on (at least from what I’ve observed over the years) ALL have one thing in common: some sort of past repressed trauma or emotional pain that, in my opinion, has now manifested itself as the dis-ease they currently struggle with.

I know that’s a bold statement, but in my experience it has always proven true.

Things like:

  • A family member or close acquaintance who emotionally, physically or sexually (or possibly some combination, thereof) abused or neglected them.
  • The death or loss (perhaps from traumatic event, abandonment, a move or divorce) of a close friend or family member during the emotional developmental stage of their life. (ages 2 – 7)
  • A traumatic event, like an attack or attempted rape while at work, or assault while at work or at home, school or perhaps an event or function.
  • Some other type of strong emotion inducing event, like the theft of funds or personal property without consequence to the other party.
  • Anything of this nature that causes a painful flood of negative emotions for the involved individual.

As you can imagine, these types of events gnaw on us. How can they not? They slowly eat away at us, churning our guts into knots unless they are dealt with effectively.

When I’m dealing with an individual who has tried for years, and sometimes decades, to get their weight and/or health under control, I must do two things in order to be fully effective in helping them achieve what they desire:

  1. They must know that I care. You may have heard the quote, “People don’t care how much you know until they first know how much you care.” I could be the best personal fitness professional or strength coach on the planet, but if the person with whom I am interacting doesn’t think I have their best interests at heart, none of that matters.
  2. I must gain their trust. Trust takes time to build, and seconds to lose. If I want to be an effective coach for people, I must build relationships of trust and goodwill by proving myself to be worthy of trust. This takes time. Not to brag, but there is a reason I have clients I have worked with for 10, 15 and 20 years. I’m understand that I am in the relationship business, first and foremost.

I’ve also learned over the years in dealing with people that if I can get them to open up to me, even if it’s just a little glimpse, about issues from their past, they can make huge strides in eradicating limiting beliefs and issues from their lives.

I discovered many years ago that there are three basic levels of trust in communication with folks that allow for openess, and they are: Will Talk About, Won’t Talk About, and Can’t Talk About items.

  1. The first level is “Will Talk About.” These topics of discussion are characterized by things people will talk about pretty much right away. These are things they are comfortable in discussing, or only mildly embarrassed by.
  2. The second level is “Won’t Talk About.” These are subjects characterized by things people won’t talk about right away, either because of embarrassment or possibly cultural issues.
  3. The third level is “Can’t Talk About.” These are subjects characterized by things people can’t talk about, either because the memory of them is too painful and they’ve “forgotten” it, suppressed it so deeply their subconscious mind won’t let it emerge or they know it, but just can’t talk about it.

The “Will Talk About” level of communication happens almost immediately. Heck, I was in line today at the Post Office to buy stamps and in 5 minutes I learned that the lady behind me had dropped 153 pounds over the course of the last year and a half after a gastric bypass, that she was a 46-year-old grandmother of one and she dated 65-year-old man who owned a bar and looked like the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in The World.”

She was obviously comfortable enough with me to share these things!

From my experience, the “Won’t Talk About” category of communication takes a little longer to establish. People will often open up to me on these subjects anywhere from two days to two months after we’ve met, usually in hushed whisper tones and right after they exclaim “you can’t tell anyone about this!” then often immediately followed by a nervous laugh.

Neither of these folks generally have any real hurdles or road blocks to obtaining their health and fitness goals other than the establishment of better habits and routines. It’s the 3rd category of communication that subverts or stifles people in their attainment of what it is they want.

“Can’t Talk About”

In his great book, Broken Children, Grown Up Pain by Paul Hegstrom, he asserts that, “Despair. Emotional isolation. Self-loathing. Immaturity. Abusive actions. These are just some of the damaging fragments that remain embedded within our personalities, behaviors, and souls when we are broken as children. The memory of the past may seem distant and clouded, but within its scars deep wounds remain that continue to inflict pain upon our adult lives–and often end up spilling into the lives of others.”

These memories may be so deeply repressed as to remain unrecognized or seemingly unknown to the individual. They can also thwart progress or cause a yo-yo or rollercoaster effect of continual short-term success and failure. For example, you drop a few pounds, then self-sabotage, gain all of the weight back (plus 5 pounds) and start the cycle all over again.

Sound familiar?

The resultant confusion, frustration and anger from self-induced stressors due to the inability to effectively deal with these emotional issues can possibly lead to other health complications, like the aforementioned maladies I described. Or they may be there already, further complicating the process.

If I can gain someone’s trust, so much so that they can open up to me about these issues and confront them head on, it begins to clear the roadblocks so that their progress toward better overall health, fitness and wellness begins.

The 22 Laws

Greg Anderson, long time cancer survivor and author of the book, The 22 Non-Negotiable Laws of Wellness understands that stress is a killer.

“The problem isn’t stress, it’s toxic stress.”

Did I mention that Mr. Anderson had only one lung when cancer metastasized in his remaining lung, and he was subsequently given 30 days to live?

That was in 1994.

How did he survive, and then go on to thrive? One of the 22 resources he utilized was forgiveness. It would take me too long to describe it here, so get the book and read it, but let me state this about forgiveness: it equates to healing.

And we can all use that.

The Bottom Line

The Native Americans “knew” that we feel from our guts.

Have you ever heard any of these terms or phrases?

“Gut instinct?”

“What does your gut tell you?”

“Go with what your gut says!”

Have you ever been in turmoil over a situation at work or home and because of it your guts were in a knot. You couldn’t eat, possibly you had diarrhea, vomiting or just felt nauseous.

What caused it, other than the internal strife and stress from your own mind and emotions?

The turn of the century naturopathic doctors and chiropractors understood that the health of the gut determined the overall health of the body. This is becoming more and more apparent to “modern” medical doctors today, as evidenced in these recent articles and studies:

And there are dozens more studies and research papers that infer the same thing: your overall level of health & wellness is tied directly to the health of your gut.

Therefore, is it such a stretch to imagine that filling the gut with our bodies stress chemicals (adrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrine, etc) as well as junk food, sugar and drugs to counteract the symptoms of dis-ease can lead to further complications or even cause such dis-eases as IBS, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and more?

Could it be possible that managing your hormones and stress levels with good nutrition, breathing techniques, forgiveness, prayer, quality sleep, exercise and more could possibly heal your body and restore you to good health?

Or are you just doomed to a life of misery, drug dependency and certain early death?

This approach I’m advocating may not apply to you or even work.

But what if you tried it for longer than a month and it did?

How much safer in both the short and long term is this approach verses drugs with possible side effects?

How much happier and more satisfied with life would you be if you dealt with the emotional and mental issues that possibly plague you now, and have been ruling your life and mind for as long as you can remember?

In other words: When would NOW be a good time to get started on your healing?

Steve

P.S. Here are some resources I recommend for reading. I also recommend you find a good Christian counselor to help you work through your issues. I know one saved my life… 😉

Broken Children, Grown Up Pain by Paul Hegstrom

The 22 Non-Negotiable Laws of Wellness by Greg Anderson

Avoiding Mr. Wrong (And What to do if You Didn’t) by Steve Arterburn

What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey

Healing The Broken Brain by Elden Chalmers, PhD.