Friday, December 12, 2014

The Lies We Tell

Growing up, I never wanted to disappoint my parents. I was never pressured to make straight A’s in school or anything like that, but I was always encouraged to do my best at what was asked of me. The problem was, I wasn’t crazy about school. So, if I liked the teacher and the class seemed somewhat interesting, I would normally do fine with grades. If the class was boring or if I had a teacher I couldn’t click with, my grades would suffer. There wasn’t a lot of extra effort to pull the grades up early on. When midterm grades would come, I would frequently hide them because I didn’t want my parents to see how bad some of my grades were. My hope was that I could get at least a “C” in the struggling classes by time the final report cards were out. I would even go so far as forging my parents signatures on midterm reports just to avoid having to tell my folks I had a “D” or worse.

My father, rest his soul, could see through me like glass. Even if he let me think I had gotten away with the crime, he was normally 3 steps ahead. Sometimes he would play along, sometimes he would bust me. The end result was still the same: it never paid to lie and I never came out on top.

Thankfully, I’ve grown out of that nonsense. But there is still that part of me that hates to disappoint people. Now, it’s more of a conscious effort to be forthright about things, even if the short term truth is unpleasant.

As this pertains to my clients and weight loss in general, being honest and forthright about problems can be just as scary or misguided as what I used to go through when I was in school. Most people are sincerely good people. They want good things to happen to them and they want to do good things to and for others. Not to mention, most people want to please others with their actions.

Unfortunately, weight loss is a tricky endeavor. It’s commonly known that most of usunderestimate how much we eat and overestimate how much we exercise. Case in point, several studies have been done with dietitians where they have to estimate (without the use of measuring devices) the caloric content of random food selections. They’re usually off by over 20%!! That may not seem like much, but if you’re trying to eat a 2000 calorie diet and your accuracy is as good as theirs, you could consume more than 2400 calories a day. In a week, you will have gained nearly a pound of fat! So, if the professionals who arguably know the most about food are inaccurate with their guesses, how do you think everyone else fares?

With clients, I see varying degrees of similar issues. Some clients will fall all over themselves to give you every gory detail of what’s happening with their diet. These are usually the easier ones to help. Others may only give a glimpse at the truth of what’s happening. By unveiling the truth about what they eat it’s like having them invite me over to their homes, perched on their shoulder watching every morsel that gets consumed. Not likely!!

Somewhere in the middle is the majority. Those who know what they need to do, they know how to fix it, they just haven’t acted on it. And as long as I’m not asking them to come clean, they can get by without admission of guilt. Sadly, guilt shouldn’t be associated with how we eat. Food, in essence, should be celebrated. Yet as we all well know, even good things can be overdone.

So my challenge to you is to indeed come clean. Be painfully honest with yourself about anything you consume that has calories: fruits, vegetables, candies, sugary drinks, cream and sugar in your coffee or tea, etc. You don’t have to live every day of your life with a measuring cup. However, it may take getting reacquainted with measuring your portions to get a realistic idea of what a true serving size looks like.

Ultimately, you have to be honest with yourself. Clients can (and have) told me all sorts of things about what’s happening with their nutrition. Fact of the matter, most people just forget. Unless you’re taking the time to journal everything you’ve been eating, you’re not likely to remember. For instance, that sandwich you got from Panera yesterday had a nice smear of mayo on it. That mayonnaise just added nearly 100 calories to that sandwich...from a condiment!!!

The other issue is some people just don’t know how to be honest about their food. It’s the dirty little secret they can’t fess up to OR it’s the disappointment they may have to face if they have to admit it. This goes back to my previous comment about how the desire to please can interfere with what we admit to.

If you’re struggling with your weight loss, remember it’s the lies we tell ourselves that can lead to the most damage.

We’re here to help!