Article – Tame Your Elephant With These 3 Simple Steps
The other day as I was getting my morning cardio I found the nutrition coach in me in need of educating. My urge to voice started when a client to the right of me made a comment about their bodyweight when the treadmill digitally suggested that they enter theirs. This in turn triggered another client to the left of me to make a negative body image remark of their own. I spoke out as I felt there was an opportunity for support of an alternative thought process to be had. I started with a simple question. “What are you saying yes to that is making it hard for you to lose the weight you want to lose?” The responses came quickly; “I munch all day”, “I eat too much at dinner”, “I crave salty foods”, “I love sugar too much”.
Our body is an incredible organism. The commander of it all, our brain, keeps a constant read on our energy levels. If they are adequate our brain can invest energy on directing whatever tasks are in front of us. However, if we are low on energy, survival becomes the brain’s number one priority. It’s at these moments in our day that we can find our bodies captivated by our brain as it literally directs our emotions towards pleasurable and readily accessible food choices. The book Switch by Chip and Dan Heath refers to an analogy using an elephant and it’s rider to describe this sudden loss of control with the rider representing our rational thought and the elephant our emotions. “Perched atop the Elephant, the Rider holds reins and seems to be the leader…Anytime the six-ton Elephant and the Rider disagree about which direction to go, the Rider is going to lose.”1
As I continued to ask both clients questions relating to why they thought their issues of munching all day, eating too much dinner and so on were the problems some very interesting patterns started to be revealed. For one, both clients recognized that they were ravenous when they found themselves over indulging in one form or another. Second to that both clients were able to recognize that their choices were made largely based on convenience or availability rather than what they felt was best for them. This was largely the result of a third observation, that of a lack of pre-planning as well as pre-prepping other more healthful options.
In my experience coaching clients toward sustainable and transformational habits to improve their nutritional mind and body, these three points routinely come up as problematic. The clients aren’t usually aware of how problem-filled they are though until they’re revealed. Both clients I was talking to as I pedaled away between them thought the eating too much for various reasons was the problem. It rarely is the primary issue. In fact in almost all coaching situations I’ve been in overeating is a symptom.
As the three of us neared the end of our cardio session, I offered some walk away suggestions. I’ll share them with you as I believe them to be solid strategies for all of us to apply.
For one, plan to eat during your day and schedule time to do so just as you would any other appointment. I understand this can be easier said than done. The main point I want you to understand about this action step is how it gives control back to you. When you’re starving you give control to your brain. Remember the elephant and it rider analogy?
Second, take time to pre-plan and prepare items before you’re in your day. In the moment decision making is too late. Unless you have planned ahead you will routinely find yourself overdoing it. If you know you’ll be eating out with others, do some research. Find out what is on the menu ahead of time. Nowadays a quick search on the internet should suffice. That way you can decide ahead of time how you’re going to plan. It may be that a small snack before leaving to go out gives you just enough control over your brain to make a more thoughtful decision.
Last, and very important especially if losing excessive pounds is your goal, learn to listen to your body for signs of hunger before eating. This action step can be incredibly difficult, especially if you’ve grown accustomed to constantly having one or more distractions affecting your attention all day long. I’ve talked with incredibly successful people who find that they routinely overdo simply because their ear to hunger is so muted that they literally can’t hear it until they are absolutely “eat a mountain of food” ravenous. A general approach is to check in for a few minutes every hour distraction free. Listen to your thoughts. Are they including food in some way? Next, listen to your stomach. Is it making grumbly noises? Last listen to the rest of your body. Do you note calm? Are you focused or are you starting to note that you’re less so?
If you have a desire to lose body fat and maximize your energy levels practice daily these three action steps. My observation with those I talk to, whether paying clients or not, is a consistent adoption of these principles equals better choice making and therefore more control back to you when it comes to losing weight. We all have our thoughts on what is considered optimal nutrition. I have mine as well. However optimal behavior, regardless of your personal take on nutrition, is integral to you realizing sustainable change.
1 – Heath, Chip, and Dan Heath. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. New York: Broadway, 2010. Print.
1. What was the reason you decided to go to a trainer?
About 7 years ago I had back surgery (L5-S1 Microdiscectomy) from a work accident. Almost 2 years ago I was diagnosed with retrolisthesis of my L4 -L5 segments. But my main reason to see a trainer was to try a new approach to strengthen my back & core.
2. Did you consider or participate in any other form of treatment for your reason before seeking a trainer? Examples: Physical Therapy, acupuncturist, medication
I previously had 4 months of Chiropractic Care, and realized I still needed to strengthen my core, so I change to Physical Therapy for about 4 months and worked on exercises to improve my range of motion.
3. How did you hear about Body Basics?
I heard of BodyBasics from Rejuv Medical Southwest (Dr. Tait’s office).
4. Did you evaluate other gyms or trainers before deciding on coming to Us? If yes, what were the other places missing that BodyBasics was able to provide?
Yes! I belong to a Big Box gym and never once considered using one of their staff trainers! I do have a friend who sees a personal trainer but the trainer operates training sessions out of his garage. This venue for training made me a little uncomfortable.
5. Ultimately, why did you choose BodyBasics over other options?
Chris Litten, Chris Litten, Chris Litten! In 1994 I moved from Boston to Tucson! I became a member of Golds Gym (Tucson) and while working out there I met Chris. I remember talking with Chris about playing
In-line roller hockey and he showed me some sport-specifc exercises to help with my hockey shot. Fast forward 22 years later, I was asking Dr. Tait if he could recommend someone who could help me with my
growing needs to strengthen my back & core. Dr. Tait handed me the BodyBasics brochure. Before looking at it I just tossed it onto my passenger seat once inside my car. I got home, brought the brochure in the house and thought, I really should look to see what this place, BodyBasics, has to offer. I had already been talking with my friend about his personal trainer he was seeing so I wasn’t sure what I wanted to
do. But once I read the brochure and saw the picture of Chris Litten inside the brochure I was instantly interested. I know how much knowledge & passion Chris had 22 years ago and had a good feeling that
BodyBasics was going to be a good fit for me! But I still wasn’t 100% on board. I needed to ensure Chris wasn’t the only one at BodyBasics who had all the passion & knowledge. I have not been disappointed.
6. What goals did you have when you started at BodyBasics?
To start playing In-line hockey again, and improve my back & core strength.
7. How long have you been training at BodyBasics and what specifically have you achieved over that interval?
I have been with BodyBasics for 13 months! Better core awareness & strength.
8. What current goals are you pursuing with your trainers at BodyBasics?
To continue my focus on core strength and stability! Overall strength & proper dieting are also very important to me as well.
Welcome New and Returning Clients
The greatest compliment we can receive is a referral from one of our clients or allied health network!
Miriam Bell ~ referred by Dr. Tait, owner of Rejuv Medical Southwest
Debbie Budd ~ referred by our very own coach Ben Burton!
Beverly Gomez-Arriaga ~ Found us doing a google search
Sheldon Gregory ~ referred by our wonderful client Hapi Kendall
Rita Smalling ~ referred by Lukas Tvedt of Athlon Physical Therapy, Fort Lowell
Joe Utash ~ Found us via Whole Foods conversation
Shout outs are about us voicing victories we witness you all having at BodyBasics. We’ll keep it to our top 5 each month.
Kerry Culver ~ for achieving a 70lb. hip thrust!
Allison Nair ~ for shocking her mom as she got into their van for the first time by herself!
Gregg Sinner ~ for continuing to bring home the movement quality he’s being taught at BodyBasics, this time to hinge whenever going to pick something up!
Gordon Earhart ~ for recently adding multiple days of walking on his own to his overall wellness program!
Joe Heater ~ for remaining steadfast to his exercise program both inside and outside of BodyBasics and experiencing ongoing body fat loss as a result!
Recipe – Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Corn, and Tomatoes
This salad is so easy to make, tastes great and is loaded with quality protein and nutrients! Serve this as a side with grilled meat, with tacos or simply as it’s own meal.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, well rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water
- 1/3 cup diced red onion
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted, OR 1 cup of fresh corn, parboiled, drained and cooled (approximately the amount of kernels from one ear of corn)
- 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks
- 5 ounces Queso fresco, Queso Panela, fresh Mozzarella or other mild farmer’s cheese, cut into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, including tender stems, packed
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Put the rinsed quinoa, salt and water into a pot and bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer gently until the quinoa absorbs all the water, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Place into a large bowl and fluff up with a fork to help it cool more quickly.
2 While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the rest of the salad. Soak the red onions in the lime juice and set aside. Soaking the onions in lime juice (or lemon juice or water) helps take the edge off of them. Mix the prepped black beans, corn kernels, tomatoes, cheese, jalapenos, cilantro, and oil into a large bowl.
3 When the quinoa has cooled, mix it into the bean mixture. Add the red onion and the lime juice and add salt, more oil or lime juice to taste. Serve at room temperature.
Exercise Video of the Month – Half-Kneel High/Low Pulley Chop
Inflatable Obstacle Course this Saturday the 11!
Go team BodyBasics! For those of you who have signed up, we will be providing some carpooling opportunities to get to our race. Please connect with Rachel to find out more!
2nd Session of Body Basics Bal-A-Vis-X Ends This Friday the 10th
This program provided by practicioners Terry Tinney and Anne Wheaton has been a huge success at BodyBasics! Congrats to all of you who participated this time around. We will be taking a break for the next few months so Terry and Anne can pursue other opportunities to spread the word about this amazing program.
If you have any questions about Bal-A-Vis-X please contact either Anne Wheaton or Terry Tinney, at 609-1710 and/or visit their website: Integratedstates.com
Special Turkey Day Workout Invite for 9:00 a.m.!
Chris would like to provide a morning workout on Thanksgiving Day at 9:00 a.m. for anyone who is interested. This will be a group workout and we will be mixing things up so that we get a great sweat and have a great time doing it too! We will have a sign up sheet at the front desk for you to write you name down if you are interested. The class will be charged just like any other small group class is.
Tai Chi Class is Full Swing! Thursdays from 6-7 p.m.
We had our introductory class on October 26th and 7 of you came to check it out! We presently have only 2 remaining spots and we will be closing those after this Thursday, November 9th simply because the Tai Chi class is meant to be progressive. Each week our instructor, Guosheng Li, is teaching us another part of an 8 form series. Cost for this class is $20 individually or $15 per person if you join with someone else. Please inquire this week at the front desk if you would like to get involved with this class.
Check out this video of Guosheng Li in action! You will see that he has created quite a number of educational videos in support of mastering this movement practice as he has.
Chris, Kris, Myrya, Kristian, Lance, Rachel, Ben and Amanda