Yes, I know it’s “the good, the bad, and the ugly” but really, who wants to hear the truth stated so bluntly? I think these days the majority of people need things as politically correct as possible. As a trainer, I make some semblance of a living from telling people things they don’t want to hear. While I don’t spend every second of my day berating clients for everything they do wrong from poor eating habits to improper form, I also don’t spend all my time pretending to be Pollyanna and find only the good things to praise. It’s my job to help people become better, healthier beings. That requires me to break them of their bad habits, point out flaws (yes, sometimes even character flaws), and tell them things they don’t want to hear. Much like setting a broken bone hurts, so does coming to someone like me when you know your fitness needs an overhaul. But I think we can all agree that the results of both, if done correctly, far outweigh the temporary misery required for improvement.
The real question here is this: can you hack it?
Of course everyone wants to hear positive things, things that may or may not be true but things nonetheless that make one feel good about himself or herself. I won’t disagree that positive reinforcement can help a person become more confident and as it were create a different persona. What I do disagree with, though, is encouraging something that may threaten one’s life and health in the future. There are amazing people, men and women alike, who are talented, brilliant, caring, beautiful, and so many other wonderful things yet at the same time they are sometimes overweight or even severely underweight. In order to maintain a relationship with them, their friends spout a continuous stream of “you are fine just the way you are” when that is not the case. In essence, they are lying to them by omitting and ignoring the problem that is staring everyone in the face. At this point, it’s fine for you to throw your phone across the room or slam your laptop shut and stomp away from my “meanness” but when you are done with your “I can’t believe how shallow she is” tantrum, I’ll be here waiting. Let me defend myself against the wild accusations that are undoubtedly flying against me right now.
1. This has nothing to do with looks. (Just in case you didn’t get my message earlier, go look at all the positive things I listed that some people with weight issues have going for them, both inside AND outside.)
2. I am not suggesting you walk up to every obese person and enlighten them as to just how overweight they are. Why? Well, because it’s rude and unkind on a whole new level, duh!
Oh, wait, you think I just contradicted myself, don’t you? Ya know, when I mentioned before how friends aren’t being truthful when they convince those who struggle with weight that they see just fine (suggesting that is not healthy to do so).
Here is where the “bad” gets addressed, right along with the “good.” If you are into tearing people apart, this isn’t for you. For the rest of you who see a problem but just aren’t sure how to address it, read on.
Sometimes it is necessary to take the people we care about the most, sit down, and point out the thing that will hurt them most. It’s not because we don’t love them, don’t appreciate their many qualities, or just want to hurt them. But in all honestly, how can anyone sit by and watch another eat (or not eat) themselves into an oblivion of health issues and and say nothing? Or worse yet, tell them they are ok?!? Yet a look around at the people you encounter most would show otherwise.
Let me cut to the heart of the matter. The issue is not how people look or how they perform in any capacity but rather the struggles, both physical and mental, that will continue to shroud individuals for the rest of their lives even they are allowed and even encouraged to gloss over the way they see their lifestyle choices, eating, and overall health.
No, I don’t revel in having to point out flaws in my clients and I certainly don’t enjoy telling complete strangers that everything they are doing is wrong after they have come to me to ask why they have cellulite, flabby bellies, and jiggly thighs. But what they can all attest to is that the fact that I don’t leave them hanging on the negative. I always ALWAYS offer a solution, even if it’s as simple as “we can beat this. Just give me some time to put together the best options.” And when I say “we,” I mean just that. While I do have the unpleasant task of pointing out things that no one wants to acknowledge, I look at it as my duty as their trainer, and just as a trainer in general, to be there every step of the way to help clients overcome these issues. I cannot force anyone to keep fighting to become healthy but no one can ever accuse me of giving up on them.
Back to my original question…can you hack it? Are you ready to face your issues and permanently take control? Are you willing to stop making excuses for yourself and to stop allowing yourself to think and be told you are ok as you are? Deep down, we all know we aren’t “ok” (yes, I’m including myself in that one because NO ONE is exempt from problems) but it takes guts to own up to it and start to repair the damage. So this year when you start to make your resolutions, don’t pat yourself on the back and give yourself an easy out. Make this year count. Make 2014 the year you take your health back and go from “ok” and “just fine” to “OMG! Who is that?!?”