The Big How-You-Do-Anything Myth
By Joan Kent, PhD
Have you heard it? It's been around a long time: "How you do anything is how you do everything."
Whoever came up with that statement – bad grammar and all – obviously never worked as a fitness trainer or nutritionist.
3 Clients Who Disprove the Myth
• What about Kathy the stockbroker? She was a fearless cyclist but, by all accounts, a rather cowardly stock broker.
• Or Debra, whose lack of progress in our weight-loss program made our supervisor say, "I don't understand. She trains well." For this client, training was easy. She worked out regularly and was down for the intense workouts, too.
For years, she'd been using her workouts to compensate for bad food habits, trying to burn her excess sugar calories in tough fitness classes.
Nutrition, on the other hand, was a serious challenge for her. She complained about the nutrition guidelines and sabotaged herself constantly.
• Rachel was a successful attorney and a partner in a thriving law firm. At first, she was not successful at creating healthful meals, but she got on the right nutrition track pretty easily.
Exercise was a tougher obstacle.
You might wonder how someone who gets into a good law school, makes it all the way through, passes the notoriously difficult California bar exam, and becomes a successful lawyer could possibly have difficulty fitting exercise into her life.
But exercise was completely new. Making time for it was new. Prioritizing it, working her appointments around it, even waking up a few minutes earlier to squeeze a quick workout into her busy day – were all new.
Rachel didn't realize she could use her professional skills to launch her fitness "career."
In fact, when she started working on a new case and knew her schedule would be hectic for 6 weeks, her plan was – really! – to skip her workouts till the 6 weeks were over.
She didn't see the impact those 6 sedentary weeks would have had on her fitness, especially so early in her program. You can't take 6 weeks off and just pick up where you left off when you quit. You'll be back at square one – only frustrated.
It was slow going, but we finally rooted Rachel's fitness program solidly in her schedule. She started with one day a week, and occasionally 2. Moving to 3 days a week took a long time. But she did it and got great results.
If the how-you-do-anything cliché were actually true, why would these 3 clients do one thing so well, but not the other?
Saving the Worst for Last
When I ran a weight-loss program in Silicon Valley, many participants were engineers. Over the years, we had some excellent groups who followed instructions and achieved their goals and some clueless groups.
The clueless groups couldn't manage anything pertaining to the training program.
They never showed up on time and were up to 45 minutes late. They'd forget their workout equipment: heart rate monitors, cycling shoes, water bottles, towels, and more. They were undisciplined about training between the scheduled studio sessions as required. They failed to log their food as required. Some couldn't even focus on the training.
People who performed their jobs with the same haphazard incompetence would be promptly fired. But these folks all had jobs and seemed to be good at them.
Apparently, the way you do anything is not the way you do everything.
So How Can This Help You?
What have you done with great success? Use any victory, small or large.
Are you great at planning your day?
Make the most of in-between moments – spare blocks of 5 to 15 minutes, for example. Find some stretching or strength exercises you can do standing or seated, in office attire. (Yes, they exist!) Fit in a short, intense cardio workout first thing in the morning, or in the evening.
Are you a good "just in case" person?
Pre-pack your gym bag and leave it in your car, even on days that seem too busy for a trip to the gym. You never know. And if it's packed and ready, you'll never forget a key item.
Are you disciplined enough to get up 15 minutes early?
Wake up, use the bathroom as usual, and go directly to the kitchen. Eat real food. It's much better than waiting and grabbing some convenient junk, like a granola bar, as you run out the door.
Bonus tip: Stop buying granola bars.
Are you bold enough to change your breakfast?
Try dinner foods for breakfast (not pizza and beer, please!). Seriously, start your day with protein and vegetables. See if you don't notice a difference in your energy, mental focus and appetite.
Are you good at pre-planning meals?
Prepare lunches and snacks on the weekend, enough for a couple of days. Repeat that midweek.
Many examples can be found in whatever we do well. Assess your wins. Which skills made them possible? Apply those skills to fitness and food.
Then it's easy to make them part of your life – in a way that's already comfortable for you.
Maybe the way you do anything will become the way you do everything.
If you're looking to maximize your health, your moods, your workouts and more, perfect. That's what I do. Just visit www.LastResortNutrition.com and grab your free Empowered Eating Consult. Discover how easy it is to put a plan in place that gets you the results you want.
Brought to you by Dr. Joan Kent, best-selling author of Stronger Than Sugar: 7 Simple Steps to Defeat Sugar Addiction, Lift Your Mood, and Transform Your Health.