116. Over personalizing feedback

Uncategorized Feb 08, 2021
 

By: Michael Beiter

 

Over personalizing feedback is a problem with nutrition and fitness work. Feedback is necessary as information that tells you what you need to work on if your goal is to lost fat, sleep more, improve a fitness metric etc. 

It goes something like this: 

"I had too many calories this weekend. I know how many I'm supposed to have and still had more. I failed my goal of sticking within my ranges. Therefore I am a failure."

You took the failing part one step too far. You failed your goal for the weekend, not life. Avoid labeling yourself as all bad because you were bad at one little thing. The cognitive distortions at play here include:

• All or nothing thinking

• Labeling

• Personalization

I'm not arguing for ignoring your responsibility in the failure. I'm arguing for using failure as a simple bit of feedback that provides information for you to know what you need to get better on. 

The beautiful thing about digital food logs is they are feedback machines. If you look closely you will see exactly what contributed to eating too many calories. So in the future when you see too many alcoholic drinks and not enough protein or vegetables in your weekend log you can learn instantly: "Next weekend I need to eat more vegetables and protein and drink less if I want to hit my calorie goal." You didn't need your coach to do this: the log is a self correcting feedback loop if you use it like you're supposed to. And because of that YOU become better at eating, not better at asking someone else what you need to do.
This is also known as self efficacy and we love it around here. 

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