We are nearly 1 month into 2020 just about the time that the new year new me motivation starts to wear off and people start to drop there new regime in favour of their old routine. So I think now is a pretty appropriate time to talk about the consequences of change.
Log onto any one of the popular social media platforms, and you'll be inundated with advertisements all about change. Change your body, your eating habits, the foods you consume, your sleeping routine become a better and probably "slimmer" version of yourself.
Your interaction with gravity does not affect the kind of person you are. Being Slimmer isn't always better.
Change is always placed upon a pedestal as being really positive, but I want to take a moment to talk about the darker sides of change. The things that most trainers don't like to talk about or are even unaware of.
Over the years, I have spent in the fitness industry. I have become aware of an increases variety of what I would call eating disorders. Developed as a result of what started as "healthy Change". Only later to develop into the restriction of certain food groups based on a false premise. Anxiety around eating with others to avoiding all social eating situations. To binge eating or earning your food via rigorous exercise.
When it comes to the general public nutritional change is likely the most important when addressing obesity and health. Yet this can be the most detrimental with miscalculated.
Recently I conducted a little bit of research in our training facility by asking the question "What is health?" Most people identified physical fitness and eating what they considered healthy food to be what defined health. In other words, the body and its absence of illness and pain were deemed to be healthy. I would struggle to disagree with this; however, I would like to also include mental health in the equation.
Here are my reasons why.
The response to this stress comes in the form of systematic overcompensation, and the corresponding physiological adjustment that takes place after that as a result. Adjusting any habit causes stress to the body above its usual level.
Your body is a self-regulating organism that at all times, is alternating cascades of hormones and physiological mechanisms in an attempt to maintain a level of survival. How we think and react to situations plays a role in the cascades of hormones in a similar way to physical danger.
This is known as Selye's General adaptation syndrome.
Selye noted that regardless of the type of shock the rats were exposed to, a similar set of symptoms could be observed shortly afterwards, indicating that the reaction was not to a specific stimulus but part of a more general response to stressful situations.
Selye went on to identify three distinct stages of general adaptation syndrome — the initial alarm reaction stage which occurs shortly after the stressful event, followed by a resistance stage, during which body's Autonomic Nervous System resists the impact of the stressful stimulus, and finally, if the stress continues, the exhaustion stage, when the body fails to cope with the distressing stimulus.
Thus I would conclude that mental wellbeing has the ability to affect our physical condition and therefore should also be considered as a fundamental principle of "health" and addressed with the same level of seriousness.
Nutrition is a complex subject sure, but the basics of fat loss, muscle gain, general weight loss and general weight gain aren't to difficult to understand. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that the majority of people understand how to elicit these with themselves or others. The Mind is, however, far more complicated, I believe that when providing clients with advice, this is something that should perhaps dictate the type of information given.
Stress and the management of stress are apart of the myriad of challenges we coaches fact when trying to induce positive adaptations within clients.
Currently, I personally feel that the fitness industry merely is creating psychologically, detrimental eating habits. That achieve the goals of weight loss or muscle gain but leave the client trapped into a mental battle between ultra restrictive eating regime and the fear of regression. Ultimately leading to exhaustion and then giving up.
While I'm willing to admit I do not have all the answers to this I want to urge all coaches to consider the psychological impact of the information you are presenting to your clients, consider the problems 2,3 even 10 years down the line. Ask yourself if you're really helping in the long run?
I want to conclude this by saying that stress is essential when it comes to causing positive adaptations; it's the dose that makes the poison.