The stages of change.
13 years in the game of getting folks in shape and I'm still learning. My most recent lesson has been around the 'stages of change'. It's something I have been aware of forever but never really sat down and thought about in the way that I have done training and nutrition.
You see, my job is to help people and I used to think that handing out the scientifically proven best training and nutrition plan was the way to do that. I was ignorant to the fact that no matter how amazingly perfect (if there is such a thing) the programme is, if it is not followed then it might as well be an embroidered copy of War and Peace. It becomes much closer to the 'perfect' plan when I start to take peoples habits and behavior into account.
If Big John is currently eating 5 kebabs a week, 3 pizzas, 15 pints of beer and having a fry up in a morning for breakfast then telling him to go to a obsessively clean and calorie controlled diet is like asking some one to take their one rep max bench press and bang out a set of 20. It ain't gonna happen. It takes time and baby steps.
'How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.'
Obviously to get Big John eating a salad at lunch with his work colleagues is much closer to optimal than his current burger and fries but if it pus him in a socially awkward and uncomfortable position, stresses him out and ultimately forces him to do something that he won't maintain then it IS NOT optimal. So lets get him to turn his burger into a fresh meat filled deli sandwich, his fries into veg and his cola into juice or sparkling water. Now we have a sustainable habit that can be maintained for a life time because he feels comfortable doing it. He'll lose weight and feel better.
This kind of habit introduction is a tiny step in the right direction and the aim as a coach is obviously to better that and turn the sandwich into a hearty salad and that is MUCH more likely to happen if Big John is happy, slowly losing weight and seeing results from his program.
There's a hundred examples I can think of regarding habitual change and I could list them all but I know the folks that read this are smart enough to get this jist from this one example so get cracking and find the easy marginal life long healthy habits you can fit into your day.
More love, more fitness. No bullshit.