The other day I had a coaching session with a guy who, in his words, “wants to lose a shit-load of weight”. He’s a big boy and needs to drop something in the vicinity of 40kgs (88lbs). After nearly an hour of conversation around diet, lifestyle, training and all the other getting-in-shape (type) stuff, the conversation got interesting. We’ll call him John.
John: Oh yeh, I forgot to tell you that next weekend I have a wedding on.
John: I guess I’ll need to have a night off.
John: Well, obviously I don’t choose the menu and I’ll have to drink a bit.
Me: You don’t have to drink at all. You choose to drink, despite your need to lose weight.
John: (awkward pause)… Well, I won’t drink heaps but it’s pretty tough at a wedding.
Me: No it’s not.
John: (shifts in seat, looks uncomfortable)… Why?
Me: I’ve been to a hundred weddings, never drank alcohol once, wasn’t a social misfit and had a good time. It’s nothing more than a choice and an attitude.
John: Hmm… (seems unconvinced, still looks uncomfortable and appears to be formulating some kind of argument)
Me: And by the way, you can decide what you do and don’t eat from that menu.
John: What do you mean?
Me: Well, you’re morbidly obese and you’re here because you need to lose weight, so you can avoid the soup, entrée, dessert and bread rolls and you can choose the healthiest main course.
John: Sounds exciting.
Me: So, is it excitement or radical weight loss you’re after?
John is not alone in his thinking. In fact, he’s in the majority of people who consistently rationalise choices and behaviours which are at odds with their health and fitness goals. Like many people, morbidly obese John feels like he is ‘missing out’ when he doesn’t celebrate certain occasions with excessive food and alcohol that his body doesn’t need. Until he changes his thinking (his rationalising of counter-productive behaviours), his physiology will always be at the mercy of his poor psychology. There will always be another wedding, party, birthday, reunion or function.
And John will remain fat.
And yes, he’s okay with me writing this post because I’m telling the truth.