Healthy Lifestyle vs Macros/Numbers
Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt writes, “When self-interest, partisan identity, or strong emotions are involved, reasoning turns into a lawyer, using all its powers to reach the desired conclusion.” We all tend to jump to conclusions first and then our reason creates supporting arguments that lock us into our little vision of the world. Discussions can help us see things differently, but remember that we are all biased — so don’t expect your perception to be shared nor received positively by others.
The first thing I let everyone knows is that APP is not about dieting. The service I offer is nutrition coaching. I teach my clients how to make healthy lifestyle a sustainable and lifelong option. I show them how to make exchanges, so they can enjoy having a social life and being around their friends/family. Most importantly I ensure they no longer have an unhealthy relationship with food. On the fitness side of APP Online I design programs based around their goals. Just like I do with my personal training clients. Except I’m not there with poms poms and a mini skirt to cheer you on. I am sure you are glad of that 🙂
At some point almost every client I have worked with will want to know their Calories and or macro breakdown. Rarely and I mean very rarely (athlete are the exception) do I give them the numbers. This will elicit such responses as “How can I understand how to make proper exchanges”, “You want to keep me trapped and dependent on you.” or my favorite “This is how my mind and personality works and since I am your client and paying you, you should give me what I want.” Let’s breakdown these 3 arguments to understand why I will still hold firm.
1) “How can I understand how to make proper exchanges?” – When I first start with a client I explain to them about the Fatsecret app. I want clients to use this so they can track their progress and learn how to make exchanges for foods. If for some reason you really feel you need to know all of the numerical details, there are plenty of websites on the internet where you can calculate it all. My goal however is to get you OFF the numbers and onto the process; to get you to focus first and foremost on mastering fat-loss behaviors.
2)”You want to keep me trapped and dependent on you.” – This could not be further from the truth. I am trying to make you independent and not relying on numbers. If you read What are Calories and How are They Determined then you know that the numbers are not 100% swappable. However despite the facts in front of them, a client will still persist in their fear of food and be shackled by the media’s Calories fiasco. Let me show you 2 examples of why you need to see the numbers as a guide and not an iron wall.
Let’s say I give you the macros for your food. It is your friends birthday and they want to go out for sushi. You look up Shrimp Tempura in your mobile app and see that a medium piece is 16 kcal ( 2/1/0.3). What constitutes a medium piece? That is just too confusing so you put 100 g in your app and get back 145 kcal (18/10/3). That helps except now you have another issue to deal with. How do you know what 100 g looks like? Are you going to ask the waitress to have the chef weigh each ingredient so you can input the data into your app?
My family invites me over to a cookout and my dad is grilling Filet’s. I eat 1/3 of my food for the day to ensure I have some wiggle room to enjoy the extras. I have been waiting all week to get my hands on a nice grilled Filet wrapped in bacon. When I walk up to get mine from the grill I have 2 choices. I can whip out my portable battery operated food scale and make sure I get EXACTLY 150 grams of filet. If it is not then I will perform surgery on that steak until I get my numbers right OR I can just eyeball it and enjoy the day not worrying about whether I am +/- 15 grams of protein. I have a rough idea what the size of the filet will be and what the macros are. This comes from being disciplined and learning what I need for my body, what MY portion sizes look like and knowing that one day of guesstimating will not destroy my progress. I can throw in a beer and some potato salad and still be fine.
I refuse to be shackled by numbers and live in fear of having a healthy social life. This is my goal for every one of my clients. This is where you should strive to be. If you are worried about numbers then you will never learn how to enjoy food AND live healthy.I am not saying that weighing and measuring your food is to be avoided. It is very important to understanding the process and what your body needs. The goal is to eventually move you into the lifestyle phase of your fitness goal.
3)”This is how my mind and personality works and since I am your client and paying you, you should give me what I want.” – I understand and I can relate since I have ADHD. However the way you have approached things is WHY you are where you are and why you choose to use me as a coach. That may sound harsh, but you need to understand that just because you want the numbers does not mean it will help you. This will only make things worse and possibly lead to Orthorexia.
Almost every client I start with, has been shackled and living inside their personal “diet” prison. They have tried multiple diets only to have the results vanish and either go back where they started or heavier. In their heads they blame the old diet and move onto the newest plan touted by some celebrity. Every diet does the same thing, but its the clients lack of adherence that is preventing them from making it a lifestyle. Never once have they sat down and looked at why the have failed. It is their behavior and lack of understanding how their unique body works. The client needs to shift out of the “Diet” mindset and into the “Healthy” mindset with a lifestyle approach.