One of the most difficult conversations I have with a client is the one in which they tell me they’re doing awesome, making great choices consistently, their head’s in the right place, and they feel good —but the physical progress is literally not there. Whether they’re just floating around the same body composition stats that they have been for the past month or they are actually going in the opposite direction, it creates the perplexing discussion of,
“Seriously, I am so on point with my nutrition and wellness.”
“Ok, that’s a great place to be! I’m excited for you. What’s the disconnect then? Why aren’t we seeing results?”
The bottomline is there is a disconnect. It’s not just a phenomenon that is at play against them, and only them. It’s not that they are unable to optimize their physique. They are not too old. Most likely, they do not have a hormonal issue or other disease.
In wellness, I like to think of the way I choose to eat as being Progressive or Idle. If I am eating in complete favor of my health, wellness, and body goals then I am enjoying a Progressive Meal; the food I am consuming is progressing me towards my wellness and physique ideals. Instead, if I am intentionally indulging in a treat meant pretty much for pleasure and satisfaction, rather than fuel, then I am experiencing an Idle Moment.
Did you catch that? Idle Moment. I used to call it an Idle Meal. Even an Idle Occasion. Like a dinner out on the town, a holiday meal with family, or a party buffet as we just experienced with the Super Bowl. Then I realized, this could be culprit. This line of thinking could be the ultimate disconnect!
When simplifying wellness and nutrition with my clients, I summarize,
“You should aim for 3-4 Idles per week for balance.”
So, we may begin plotting and strategizing for the week ahead:
“Ok, we have lunch being brought into the office on Tuesday from that awesome sandwich shop downtown, and they have the best homemade kettle chips and warm chocolate chip cookies. I’ll use that as my first Idle.”
“Then Thursday, I am meeting my two best friends out for appetizers and drinks after work. That will be my second Idle.”
“Friday is always pizza night with the family. We do always get breadsticks and cream cheese sauce too, sometimes a side of boneless wings. That will be my third Idle.”
“Saturday, I’ll be good. I will be at my kid’s tournament a majority of the day, but I just won’t eat while I’m there, or I’ll bring some fruit and a cheese stick from home. Then Saturday night I know we’re double-dating with my brother and sister-in-law. I’ll choose healthy options at the restaurant, because I want to enjoy Sunday brunch. Sunday will be my fourth Idle. Then I start fresh on Monday!”
“Yea I can do this, my Idles fit perfectly into my weekly plans.”
At fist glance, this seems to be a wonderful, thought out, even mindful plan. Every eating choice, beyond the ones mentioned, would be wonderfully in line with optimal wellness. Shouldn’t that be a week that totally elicits progress? Well, not so much.
Let’s look at it this way: Idle Moments versus Idle Meals or Idle Occasions.
“So, Thursday night was actually my besties birthday, and by the time we got through the workday we were ready to indulge a little and really celebrate her birthday, plus we were starving. They brought a bread basket out to the table with our wine. Warm, fresh baguettes with herb infused butter! It was amazing!” (Idle Moment #1)
“We decided to split the fried calamari appetizer. It comes with a spicy mayo-based dipping sauce that is to die for. Oh, and it was totally worth it; a huge serving of calamari and it wasn’t chewy at all.” (Idle Moment #2)
“For dinner I went with the flat bread. Margherita pizza flatbread. Fresh mozzarella, tomato, fresh basil —so good!” (Idle Moment #3)
“We decided since we were celebrating a milestone birthday we should get dessert. Not to mention, the dessert menu was super enticing. We saw the party next to us, when their dessert came out; definitely worth the indulgence. —The birthday girl and I ended up splitting it (big portions), and the last of our trio was feeling a second glass of wine instead, so she indulged in some booze for dessert.” (Idle Moment #4)
Let’s recap. If we were viewing this in the first frame of mind, this evening out would have simply been a single Idle Meal or Idle Occasion. Instead, when we look at it more closely, there are really four separate moments; four separate eating choices that are not in favor of losing fat (or whatever your wellness goal may be). The fresh toppings on the Margherita pizza were deceivingly Progressive, but they still sat upon an enriched white flour crust. Even in the final part of the meal, weather you were the one enjoying dessert or enjoying a second glass of wine —both would be an Idle Moment.
If you were to add this evening to your Tuesday office luncheon of turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with a handful of kettle chips and a warm chocolate chip cookie.
Plus, Friday pizza with your family. Though, you did only have a single slice and one breadstick, you did dip it in the cream cheese sauce.
Plus, you ended up having half a bag of popcorn at the tournament to compliment your orange and mozzarella cheese stick. Popcorn is a whole grain.
You did order the marinated chicken breast and fresh steamed seasonal vegetables at dinner Saturday night with your bro and sister-in-law; but, they served it with wild rice, so you had that too. Again, a whole grain.
Sunday brunch was a veggie omelet. But, since it was your fourth Idle, you had them leave in the hash browns and you had one of the two slices of toast they served with it, with strawberry jam.
This may seem like a negative viewpoint, but it’s not. It’s looking through the lens of reality. These “moments” come and go so frequently, and without much thought. We look back on our week of food prep, awesome breakfast choices, greens for lunch, and protein + veggies for dinner; and we’re stumped as to why we didn’t actualize the progress we felt was occurring.
Start looking at your eating choices moment by moment.
Combining many Idle Moments into an occasion or perceiving them altogether as a meal, may give you the self-gratification of staying on track; but it’s doing nothing for your actual success. Become truly aware of your choices in every moment, and I’m sure you will shine a light on exactly what is blocking your progress and preventing your results. This awareness is the solution to the perplexing conversation.