4 year olds have no problem telling you what they want. If you give them a forum they will rattle off countless wants, needs, and must haves. The only time articulating what material things they would like to acquire becomes a challenge, is when they actually have the opportunity to get what they want. You take them to the toy store, they look around at what appears to be every toy known to man, and they come back to you with this blank look and say “I don’t know what I want.”
This problem happens to adults too. The moment comes for us to make a decision, but the world presents too many options for comfort. Most people can pump out a top ten list of all the things they want from life, and more specifically from their bodies, but in the end, we are simply like children wandering through aisles of neatly stacked colorful boxes, with no ability to take action.
When I asked my team of Reactive Trainers why they thought it was so hard for people to lose weight, and more importantly keep it off, the group came to a unanimous decision. There is something inhibiting people, and it’s well beyond the physical.
“I think there are a lot of mental and psychological elements involved that people are just not ready to face.” said Physical Therapist Iris Del Rosario. “People tend to underestimate the effect that traumatic life events can have.” For many people this seems to be true. Negative and or positive life events have the ability to alter behaviors. These altered behaviors in turn can effect ones mental well being, and then the cycle continues.
“I am that person.” says Nasm Certified Trainer Natalia Proscinski. “I believe we are all on a mental journey, and my journey was always paved with the question, will I ever be good enough? If I messed up one time it would send me back.”
All of this baggage brings us to the idea of readiness. Maybe it is our expectations that are off. Maybe we are expecting things from ourselves, but the reality is that the timing is just not right. One of my favorite thinkers, Deepak Chopra says, “Desires are seeds waiting for their season to sprout. From a single seed of desire, whole forests grow.” Is it possible that all of our wants, needs, and must haves are all seeds that are waiting to sprout, but just so happen to be planted in the wrong soil?
How can we prepare ourselves to reap the rewards of all the time we put into self improvement? “People underestimate the amount of hard work involved when it comes to making long-lasting changes to their bodies.” said Youth Exercise Specialist, and Team Leader Reygie Puangco. “Preparation is key, and a large part of that preparation involves understanding what type of sacrifices will need to be made.”
Seasoned Trainer and Reactive newcomer Justin Deguia said, “People are not educated enough when it comes to weight loss. They don’t give themselves an adequate amount of time to learn about all the changes they are going through, both physically and mentally. There are also social pressures that people are simply not prepared for.”
The mental journey that one goes through is riddled with self expectations. The standards we create are enough to bring our progress to a stand still, but compound that with what society expects of you, and you could be blasted back to the stone age. “There is an ideal body type that we are exposed to, and it creates expectations that are unrealistic for most.” said Certified Personal Trainer Brittany Bechtold. “There is not enough content out there that emphasizes how different we all are both physiologically and psychologically.” The media is making modest efforts to depict varying types of people in different roles of society, but most people don’t seem to have access to information that explains how differently their bodies may behave compared to others. Most of us are left thinking that if that worked for Madonna, it should work for me, and if it doesn't work, it must be because there is something wrong with me.
The fact of the matter is that navigating through the world of weight-loss can be tricky business. There are many factors that influence our success, and how we experience the process.
Here are Team Reactive’s Top Ten Tips to help you on your mental journey to weight loss.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. (Natalia)
- Listen to your body. (Brittany)
- Appreciate how far you have come. (Justin)
- Surround yourself with positive people. (Reygie)
- When you indulge do it with love. (Basia)
- Make time to recover and rejuvenate. (Iris)
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. (Basia)
- Become a student of the game. (Justin)
- Proper preparation prevents poor performance. (Regyie)
- Growth includes set backs. Just make sure there are more steps forward than backward.(Team)
Team Reactive regularly gets together to do a “Brain Dump.” This sharing of ideas creates opportunities for digging deeper into the needs of our clients, as well as discovering new ways to connect with them on a daily basis.