One of my neighbors approached me this morning as I returned from the gym. We have spoken a few times in the last 6 years, but are not close. She lives a few homes away from us and I wave and smile when I see her walking her dog or working in her front yard.
Today I was unloading my gym bag, etc., and she hailed me from the street. I guess she has noticed my gym comings and goings and noted my sleeker physique (her term – how thrilling!) and wanted to ask me what I was doing to implement such changes. We are about the same age – she just turned 56 – and she was curious about what I have done to achieve my present results.
Exercise, exercise, exercise – getting my ass off the couch or from behind the desk and moving more. That is always my basic premise, onto which I add that I spend 6 to 7 days per week every week doing resistance training or lifting weights. Today, I finally feel like I can say I am lifting weights a couple of days per week.
She was really disappointed. I know because she said “oh, I’m really disappointed. I was hoping it was all diet.”
From there we proceeded into a discussion about my dietary changes. Protein shakes 2 or 3 times daily, a decent meal that is lower in carbohydrates, high in protein, and uber generous with the green salads and vegetables. Fruit because I like it, or if I am going to supplement food because I’m hungry or simply desire a snack. Kind of boring. I accepted it long ago – my eating habits are actually kind of boring.
Then she said “oh, that sounds really bland.” Well, it is kind of to really bland. I am a bland food-consuming type of person anyway, only I am retraining myself to eat bland food that is heavier protein and lots of plant-based food and mostly limiting or while trying to eliminate my carb- and sugar-aholic tendencies.
I explained there are no shortcuts for me to lose weight and overhauling my lifestyle was the only choice in the matter. A benefit – not a goal – of overhauling my lifestyle is a sleeker physique. And the choices are simple, not very glamorous, and involves hard work, discipline, more hard work, consistency, buckets of sweat, lots of tears, maybe even a little blood, and did I mention even more hard work with added discipline? It’s not easy. There is not even a walking bridge from here to there – wherever our individual “there” resides.
She says at age 50 her body began disintegrating. Problems with her foot, surgical rebuilds on a knee and a shoulder, something else with her back. Her metabolism or something else changed when she turned 50 and she suddenly began gaining a lot of weight and developed asthma and sleep apnea, had foot problems, then the knee and shoulder issues, a broken elbow, multiple instances of sprained wrists.
Not sure what to say to all that. I suggested she consider joining a gym and hiring a trainer – mine is fabulous, yet after listening to her I was suddenly reluctant to refer her to him. There are classes aimed at mature folks. But she was not interested in real solutions; she wants the magic bullet or the mythical pill that changes her life. Gym is expensive and time consuming; her life is so busy. Fatalistically sure that trainer is going to not be able to teach her enough to slow the disintegration of her body. Her intimidation and embarrassment would not let her do a public class. Cooking is a hobby, eating is an art form, and no way could she eat in the ways I have adopted at the present time for any length of time.
Okay then – there’s your answer. If you are unwilling to change anything that could potentially have a positive impact on your life, I really have no constructive advice or suggestions left to offer.
Sleeker physique or not, there are really good reasons why I would be a disaster at trainer J’s job and others achieving success as trainers. In no way does this mean I hold them in the same respect and esteem as I do fab trainer J, but they are patient, they are kind, they are able to compartmentalize their personal feelings and still work with the client. Or they are far better than I at projecting those qualities consistently enough to be successful in working with clients. In other words, they have skills I simply do not possess.
Having worked (unsuccessfully) with other trainers prior to J, I know it’s mostly his nature, skills, and abilities to make this stuff make sense to me. It’s as much a personality match between us as anything else. But I also now have a better sense of how to choose a trainer that will work with me toward my aspirations and objectives, as fuzzy-muddy as they may be on the steps of the journey. I also feel more confident and capable of articulating my fuzzy-muddy thoughts about the overall better health quest in a relevant manner. And if there is a future trainer that cannot or will not be capable of working with me in ways that make me feel successful, I know how to release them from my realm.
And my neighbor? She told me again how great I look and to keep fighting the good fight. I watched her limp down and across the street home, her little dog prancing along beside her. But for the wiser choices I have made it could be me, without the prancing yorkie. I am glad to be the one working hard learning to lift safely and sanely, to not having any physical impairments to overcome.
For all my present-day heartache, I am on the right track and doing it for the right reasons. And it’s okay if I would be a disaster as a trainer/coach for the average person. My skill set is different than those in that type of caring profession. This does not make me a bad person. Despite my deficiencies in being able to share what I know and have learned, I am still a good person. I work at it, even when it feels like I’m not.
And believe me, knowing that, believing that is supersize progress.