I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Earlier in Spring I decided that I needed to get out of the rut I'd been in all winter. Thanks to some work and family drama, it was a bit of a long, miserable winter for me and I was feeling decidedly blah.  Thanks to my penchant for emotional eating, I'd also put on about 3 kilos - so I was feeling out of sorts and out of shape. Since I know that exercise for me is the equivalent of therapy, I took a friend's advice and signed up with a personal trainer for an eight week stint. I figured her pushing me would not only lead to emotional results but also help me shed those kilos and just give me a good kick start into summer, when I tend to be more active anyway. I was still going to the gym three times a week, and walking with my son twice, but I really felt I needed a bit of a jolt of energy.  To say that hiring her was a luxury is an understatement as it took me several weeks to save up the money for her sessions.

Sadly to say, somewhere around week four it all went a little bit pear shaped. The usual trainer got replaced with someone else, there was no accountability (eg they never tested, weighed, or measured me again), they changed the time of my session (which was determined by my work schedule so not really negotiable) and the new trainer didn't so much push me as she just annoyed the heck out of me. A personal training relationship is an intensely personal one, in so far as you need to both respect them enough to listen to their instructions, and like them enough to want to listen in the first place. I wasn't terribly happy with the whole thing, but having committed the time and money I was loathe to just give up (in hindsight, this was stupid - I totally should have spoken up.)

Around week six I decided to jump on the scales and see if at least the needle was moving in the right direction. It hadn't. I jokingly commented to the (new and crappy) trainer, "I must have gained and lost the same three kilos every week for the past six weeks!"

Her reply?

A look of disdain, bitchy tone of voice, and, "It's amazing the lies we tell ourselves, isn't it?"

I was left speechless. Literally stood there with my mouth hanging agape. I didn't have a witty reply and so I just turned on my heel and left.  I then fumed the entire way home and for most of that day because her comment got under my skin in a big way.  Clearly, that I was going to personal training should have been an indication that I was in fact facing up to the truth of my weight gain? That it was her job to help with my weight loss endeavour (and it wasn't working so I commented on it) should have been an indication to her that we needed to step it up a notch. So many things about her remark were hurtful and upsetting.

I eventually chalked it up to her not knowing me, and not knowing my story and how hard I've worked in the past three years (and continue to work). Often we make judgements when we don't know the back story, and I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. That being said, she's there to motivate, and her comment was hardly motivating - so I decided to call her on it. Tell her my story. Explain that in an effort to lose AND KEEP OFF close to 70 kilos, a 3 kilo bounce is almost nothing. Explain that I was feeling physically and emotionally crap, hence why I started this program. Explain that I'd worked hard (literally) to afford this, and it was important to me that each session count.

You know, basically say - I didn't appreciate your comment, you're a personal trainer, and the key word here is personal so I'm going to tell you this so that you can get better at what you do.

I walked into my next lesson, and before getting on the treadmill, I said, "Listen, I just wanted to let you know that the comment you made last week was really hurtful. I'm not sure if you thought it would be motivating, but it ended up upsetting me. I'm not sure you know my story, but I've worked really hard to get here and this 8 week venture was meant as a pick-me-up. Comments like that just drag me down."

She looked at me, bitchy sneer and all, and said, "Oh I KNOW your story, you've lost a heap of weight, supposedly you go to the gym a bit, yeah, I've heard. I still think the lies we tell ourselves are amazing." She then turned and walked away. I didn't have the best workout ever, as I wasted most of my energy on fuming and gnashing my teeth.

Needless to say I don't think we are going to become besties any time soon, but even so I can't help but agree with her on some level. We DO tell ourselves very convincing lies, about all sorts of things. The sausage roll we had for lunch isn't as bad as the burger and chips we might have had. The exercise I was going to do today (but it was too cold to do it) I'll do tomorrow. The boyfriend who treats you terribly is going to change, he really is. I can eat anything I like as long as I exercise like a crazy lady.  If only I could X, then Y will happen. You get the idea. Us humans are mighty talented at feeding ourselves a whole lot of mental rubbish which we then believe - because we know exactly how to frame it in the right words so it's very convincing.

Even if I agree with her in principle, in this specific case I wasn't lying to myself. I KNOW I need to lose those kilos, I KNOW it's my lack of effort that means they're still hanging around, and I even know what I (really and truly) need to do to get rid of them. However, the lie I'm telling myself is that engaging her services continued to be a good idea several weeks after I knew it wasn't going to work for me.

The lie she's telling herself is that she's a good personal trainer who motivates her clients with bitchy looks and cutting remarks.

No prizes for working out which one of us might have an easier time of dealing with the lies we tell ourselves.

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