I had lovely time last Saturday at a picnic celebration with a few of my online clients who had just finished their first or second round of my fitness programme. I’m super proud of all they’ve achieved and I’ll be sharing details, including photos, here this week.
One of the things we got talking about was the meaning of my mantra, “mostly healthy, most of the time”. This was sparked by one of proggers astonishment at me joining everyone in a few cups of fizz.
Thinking back on it, it must have looked hilarious. First she yelped in surprise that I was having a “drink” and then I yelped in surprise that someone was surprised that I was having drink…We kind of worked each other up into a frenzy of surprise!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge drinker. But I do tend to have a glass of wine or maybe two (or beer if I’m in a pub) a couple of nights most weeks and I’m more used to people who know me raising an eyebrow (“No, I’m not up the duff”) when I turn down a tipple. So this was a bit of an eye-opener about the way some of my clients view me.
I suppose this is quite a common experience for fitness trainers.
A couple of weeks ago a post by my friend Erron Dussard (who is a super-fit PT) came up on my Facebook timeline showing a photo of the pizza he was about to chow after finishing a triathlon. Seemed like pretty standard post-event behavior to me, I didn’t think anything of it. Then a comment appeared, I’m guessing from one of his clients, expressing surprise that he was “human”.
The people I coach probably get sick of me repeating my “mostly healthy, most of the time” mantra, so I had thought they’d realise that, although I eat generally “clean” and don’t sink a load of booze every night, I do sometimes eat sugary things and have the odd drink. But clearly there are still some who don’t “get it”.
So, I thought I’d write a post about what “mostly, most of the time” means. I’m not going to lay out specific rules for what it should look like for you, but the general principle is this:
The condition of your body will reflect what you eat (and drink) most of the time, not what you consume occasionally.
If you eat pizza every night you will most probably look and feel like you eat a lot of pizza. If you eat a pizza occasionally (or only after finishing a triathlon!) you will probably look and feel like someone who doesn’t eat a lot of pizza.
If you drink several glasses of fizzy wine every night, you will probably look and feel like you drink a lot of fizzy wine. But if you drink fizzy wine only on special occasions it is not going to have much of an effect on how you look and feel (at least not after the next day anyway!).
Other health conditions aside, of course.
Every now and then someone I’m working with will announce to me that they’ve decided to eat 100% clean for a while. I always counsel against that. It’s not reasonable or realistic to expect perfection from anyone, including yourself. With that kind of attitude someone who eats well all week and then has one off-plan snack at the weekend could end up feeling like they’ve failed, even though they previously might’ve been practically living on that kind of food. How demotivating would that be? They should be feeling they’re doing great! Mostly healthy is enough.
Don’t try to be perfect, but don’t think that if you trough it up every day it won’t show on your body.*
Mostly healthy, most of the time works for me, and it’ll work for you too.
*Unless you’re one of those “genetically gifted” folks who can eat anything seemingly without it having an impact your shape. But even then, you’ll probably feel best on “mostly, mostly.”