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January 14, 2013

“Jill, can I eat this?”

I remember a few years ago when I was meeting with a potential competition client. During the initial session, she asked me if she had to give up ketchup and butter during the prep. I remember thinking how odd this was. NO, OF COURSE YOU CAN’T HAVE THOSE ON A COMPETITION PLAN! :) Lol.

But a simple truth also struck me: people just want to eat what they want to eat and have it elicit results. And they need to ask a coach or professional because if they say it’s ok, then they get permission to eat it. And in doing that, they place the onus directly on someone else–someone who doesn’t know their body nearly as well as they do. Huh.

“Jill, can I eat [insert food item here]?”

I hear this question all the time. Especially now at the beginning of the year, when many are trying out new eating plans and trying to lose those post-holiday pounds. And I get why people ask it–“we” (JillFit/Metabolic Effect) are the experts, and want to get our take on what will work.

And though I hate this…the answer to that question is, I don’t know, and neither will you until you try it out.

At Metabolic Effect, we use a 3 part process:

1) Incorporate food
2) Monitor hunger, energy and cravings for 2-4 weeks
3) Measure fat loss. If you’re losing, you can keep it in. If not, you might need to reconsider the food.

It’s that simple.

And yet it’s sooooooo frustrating.

Some insights on this question:

  • If you are asking me if you can eat x, y, z, you are already missing the point of the fat loss process–which is, YOU need to do the work to find out what will work for you. I won’t know if it will work for you either unless we try it out. Be systematic about it. Choose a food, incorporate it and then sit back and see. Stay aware. Adjust accordingly.
  • You ask this question because you want someone else to take the reigns on your results. I understand this too. It is infinitely much easier to put your faith, money, trust into someone else, an expert. However, that only gets you started. Sure, I can give you a meal plan that 90% of people will get results on, but that last 10% is up to you. You will need to introspect, ask questions and yes, try things out to see if they work for you or not. To do this, you must have a certain amount of self-trust.
  • The main problem with putting the results of your fat loss process in the hands of someone else is that you never learn–you use a meal plan as a crutch–something you need, or else you don’t know what to do. Again, I get this because I relied on meal plans for a long time. I went through periods of 100% compliance on competition plans, got great results, only to inevitably fall off big time because it was too depriving and my entire world revolved around Tupperwares and how much protein I still needed to get in that day. I was distracted by my plan to the point that if I was off it, I considered myself a failure, and if I was on, I was “good.” All in all, a dangerous place to be–associating my dietary compliance with my self-worth.
  • We hate not knowing what will work. One of the needs of the human brain is certainty. And yet, when it comes to diet and exercise…we just don’t know. This frustrates us. It makes us impatient. However, if we want sustained fat loss, the answer will always be in the gray, in the nuance. There is no such thing as black-and-white when it comes to fat loss. Ugh. But still, a simple truth.
  • You can eat anything you want. Of course you can. But the key here is assuming responsibility for the results you’re getting (or not, as it were) as a result of eating what you want. So when people ask me if they can eat something, I always say, Of course! Nothing is technically off-limits. But the simple truth is that some foods bring us towards fat loss, and others further away. It’s your job to find which ones do which.
  • Let’s stop looking for the perfect plan, and spend the time creating our own plan. Your friend might have gotten great results on The Cookie Diet or The Starbucks Diet or The Twinkie Diet, and yet you might not. Why? Because we are all uniquely different–different metabolic considerations, psychological sensitivities and personal preferences. So instead of searching for that perfect plan, let’s start creating it. How? By testing: 1) Incorporate. 2) Monitor. 3) Measure.

So next time you want to ask an expert if you can eat something…think to yourself first…ok, I know my body better than any professional. So I will try it out, monitor, measure and then adjust as necessary. I CAN DO THIS!!!

Your results are YOUR business.

No one else can assume responsibility for them, even someone you pay. An expert can provide guidance and help you ask the right questions, pointing you in the right direction, but they can never do the work for you. If they try to, they become a crutch that you need to rely on. And I don’t know about you, but I hate relying on anyone for anything :) So my only option is to learn. What will YOU do?

It’s your choice. Eat it or don’t. But know that ultimately, if you want sustained fat loss, the more you attack the process head on, the more successful you’ll be in the long run.

Good luck! You know I only dish out the tough love because I love you :) oxox, Jill


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