By: Michael Beiter
I had coffee with one of my friends today. She contracts work with me too.
We met nearly a decade ago when her mom was a client of mine and introduced us. At the time she was a runner and finishing up her postpartum from her second kiddo. We started working together and she got into weight lifting and eating right.
As they say, the rest is history.
She is a model of health and fitness. She is so well versed she coaches others in her garage gym and as a nutrition and lifestyle coach with me and my business.
Over coffees we discussed three big problems our clients run into.
The first is time. The second is boredom. The third is emotions.
"I don't have time to workout. Or prep and measure my food." We hear this daily. For a good while I just flat out denied their claim. But that didn't get the person having trouble with their schedule any closer to where they wanted to be. So I started doing an exercise called the schedule audit.
"Slide me your phone and open your schedule I would say." Then I would pull up their screen time report. This can be ugly and embarrassing.
"You spent an average of 6 hours on your phone last week each day."
4.5 is about normal. I've seen over ten before.
"Do you think if you spent less time on your device you could put some of that free time towards exercise or food management?"
The answers here are obviously yes.
Furthermore, I dig into their calendar. "OK, let's have a look at where you are placing your time. Since you claim to not have any for self care let's find out where it's all going."
Work - 12 hours daily. Family stuff - 3 hours daily. Sleep - 7 hours daily. Commuting - 2 hours daily. Yep, this person does not have the time for self care.
Rather than saying "I don't have time," let's call it what it really is. You don't have your priorities straight.
Your work, family, commuting, and sleep all take precedence on your list of priorities over self care. Ironically, because of this you are worse at working, family stuff, and sleeping.
To get ahold of things you need an hour per day for exercise of some sort, 2 hours for food prep and time to eat. Consider these minimum numbers. Where is this time going to come from? Work first. Too many people think more is better in this department. The research suggests otherwise. Past 6 hours of focused work daily most people make more mistakes, and waste their employers money.
You have the time. You may not have your priorities right and that is normal. Change it and put yourself first. You will quickly learn you get better in every one of your roles once your first priority becomes yourself.
Boredom is next.
"I'm bored with my food choices and workouts."
We hear it daily. The argument for boredom is simple: boredom is the stage right before relaxation where you have a high level of skill and are rarely challenged by eating or exercise. There is only one way to reach this state. Repetition. With hundreds of reps logging your food and working out you will stop feeling anxious or worried about eating and exercising. Like driving, after dozens of trips on the road in different conditions and mood states you will relax every time you're behind the wheel. Eating and moving are no different. Too many people make the mistake of switching their routines up when they get bored and therefore never make it to the final stage: relaxation.
You're bored? Good. That means we have almost made it.
Lastly, emotions get in the way. Dismissing them entirely is not possible. But using facts to dismiss them helps big time. Emotional reasoning is the thought that a feeling is an accurate indicator of reality. "I feel fat, therefore I must be fat."
Let's test your feeling. Ope, you have gained approximately no weight and your fat mass has stayed the same. Your feeling just got disproven by facts.
This is called cognitive therapy and it is the most effective form of therapy to emerge in the last hundred years of psychological research. It can be learned and mastered by anyone. No more believing you are genetically or biologically doomed to depression or anxiety. A lot of the time it's just a matter of you believing your thoughts that have no basis in reality.
Three problems. Three workarounds.