This will be funny…but true

I’m lucky to train almost daily with three nutritionists. By the way, these fine people went to college, published papers and make a living not just counseling people but making menus for a variety of patients in hospitals. In other words, they didn’t take a one-hour course and put the shingle on the door.


The other day, Ashley was struggling with her clients. Which ones you might ask? All of them.


All of them share the share issue: they can’t “hear” Ashley when she gives them honest and intelligent advice concerning diet and/or exercise.


I willing to bet you can’t either: you can’t hear me when I tell you to do reasonable training or when Ashley gives you some insights on appropriate food selection.


It confounded me until my mind connected a class I had in introductory Theology. The usual joke I toss in here was that St. Paul was my instructor and we laugh at my age.


Teaching people something new always runs into two barriers. Every word, concept and symbol carries with it meanings. Ludwig Wittgenstein clarified much of this in the last century, but those of us in fitness, health and performance deal with it daily.


There are two kinds: steno and tensive symbols. Steno (to remember what it means spell it backwards: ONEts) symbols have ONE meaning. Tensive symbols need a bit more information to clarify the meaning.


The best example I can use is what I am working on: my desk. I have never heard anyone ever say something like this: “She is sooooo desk.” Desk means, well, “desk.”


“Bad” is a good example of tensive the past few decades.

“This is a bad movie.”

“That movie was bad.”


Well, was it good or bad? Depending on how you say “bad,” the meaning changes. “Dog” is a great example, too:

“She is a dog.”

“He trained us like dogs.”

“I’m dog tired.”


Oddly, the other day, my vet said she couldn’t do my dog’s nails, his name is Sirius Black, because he was “crocodiling.”


You won’t see the point yet. Let’s use one more example:


Sit your parents down and say the following:

“Mom and Dad the word “Gay” means “happy.” I just want you to know I am gay.” “It’s because of you and the way you raised me, I’m gay. I want the world to know that I am gay.”


There’s no judgment here, but even if you tell someone “gay means happy,” using gay in a sentence shows you a steno symbol.


And now, back to my point:

Fat loss clients have a steno symbol when it comes to diet (or any word that refers to food or nutrition) and training programs (or any word that sounds like workout or exercise).


Diet means “starvation, rabbit food, self discipline, horrible existence.”

Training means “Sweaty mess of goo and vomit on the floor and horrible existence.”


If you say to a typical person: “We are going to learn to shop better, cook healthier meals and use food as rocket fuel,” they will hear:


“Starvation, rabbit food, self discipline, horrible existence.”


If you say to a typical person: “We want to teach you move better so you can feel better, look better and live better,” they will hear:


“Sweaty mess of goo and vomit on the floor and horrible existence.”


The steno symbols of diet and exercise get reinforced every time you see a television ad discussing a 12-week program guaranteed to rip or shred or punish your fat for its audacity for clinging to your body. It’s a rare week when we don’t see a magazine article or book claiming to give you your dream body by eliminating, detoxing, or expunging fat through a strict diet approach.


To deal with this, we need some time to overcome this issue. Reasonable diet and exercise trumps insanity. The last thing most people need is for training programs to make them feel worse! The first step is to get people to “hear” that they have an unexamined steno symbol for diet and exercise. The next is to allow them to try a reasoned approach to food, food choices and food preparation and fundamental movements in the gym setting.


Yes, it will work, but it takes some illumination on the part of the client or athlete.


But, once they do, you will be gay.

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