A lot of us get super excited when we start a new chapter in our health journeys – and that’s fabulous! Bring on the energy! Keep the momentum going past the first month, and you’re golden.
You find a meal plan that works for you, some people may notice your results, some people may ask what you are doing that is making you look and feel better. There is nothing wrong with sharing your story, but there can be times when sharing turns to bad advice.
Hello, again my dear reader. I sure hope you’re ready for some truth talk from yours truly. This week’s lesson was a hard one to learn for me. It’s about acknowledging that your way is not the only way. What works for one person may not work for others. Realizing this and being OK with it is essential. Let me give you an example.
My Weight Loss Struggle
Back in 2010, I was severely struggling with my weight. I was 209 lbs at 5’5 – almost 5’6. I went on a protocol called the HCG diet. At the time, it consisted of taking the HCG hormone and consuming only 500 calories a day for about twenty to thirty days. You work your way back up in calories incrementally after the cycle ends.
Did I lose weight? I sure did! Did it come back? You bet it did!
I actually did several rounds to get down to 150 lbs. Then I went back up to 170 lbs. I went back on the protocol and got down to around the upper 130’s. I went on praising the diet, touting it as the “end-all-be-all” and the quick success I had on it. Others tried it. Most had success immediately as I did but ultimately gained it back.
Why? The protocol did not educate people on HOW to eat for lifelong health. It was a stop-gap measure.
Fast forward a few years, and I did a couple of rounds of a 14-week juice cleanse followed by a 21-day vegetarian diet. Did I lose weight? YES! Did people want to try it? Sure thing! They even followed me online. Did I gain weight back? You bet!
But with this new diet, I also was not healing from cuts and bruises due to not enough protein. My energy level was crap, but my skin was great. I did manage to develop a craving for healthy fruits and vegetables, and I did get some pretty great recipes. Overall, it was not the best method for me.
Oh, and I was passionate about juicing! I showed my mother documentaries on juicing and I shared my recipes. I continued making great juices, but again, my nutrients were not balanced. When you think about it, that’s a lot of carbs and depending on the amount of fruit, a ton of sugar straight into your bloodstream, especially if not paired with a protein. This can produce a wicked spike in blood sugar levels. After a workout? That works (again, it better be with a protein for muscle recovery)! For a meal, not so much.
Where am I going with this? I was so passionate about the success I had at the time, I was practically a walking billboard for HCG, and later, the juice movement. The problem is that at the time, I was not working in the health field. I was a triathlete and powerlifter, but I was not a personal trainer. I had zero education on formal nutrition.
To be honest, who the heck was I to be giving advice? To be honest, I think back to the conversations I’ve had, and I feel like an ass. It’s one thing to tell people what you are doing if asked. It’s another if you come across as an expert and think you know it all when you don’t.
I understand that we can get passionate and want to share what has been a positive influence in our life. Some people preach the keto lifestyle, others paleo, veganism, whole30; you name it, there’s something out there. Again, it’s okay to share results to help motivate others, but I beg of you, try and not push something as the only solution out there.
What works for one person, may not work for another.
That’s what makes us individuals. Ultimately this comes down to respect. People will want to hear your thoughts and encourage you even more if you talk from personal experience and not as an expert (unless you are one).
I advise when speaking about your success on a protocol, to start off by saying “This is what has worked for me, but keep in mind what works for me won’t necessarily work for everyone.” I think even professionals should practice this approach when prompted.
What Works for Everyone
Now you may be wondering, “Is there anything healthy that will work for everyone?” Let me tell you these things:
- Accountability. Own up to the changes you need to live a healthy and happy life.
- Journaling: Write down what you are eating and doing for exercise. Seeing it on paper makes one more conscious and aware of habits. Be honest when you do it. You may look back and realize “Hey, three cookies in a day? Maybe not the best course of action.” or “Hey, when did I eat three cookies? Hey! I had a piece of pie? I’m downing Tic-Tacs like crazy! Wow! Now I see where the issue is!”
- Being OK with Change: Make sure you know when to change gears if it’s not getting you results. Sometimes people will start a Keto diet, and then their body shifts to burning carbs vs. fats, or, vice-versa. It’s not unheard of. Some people do better with a plant-based diet; some need animal protein (I’m one of those. I wanted to do the vegetarian thing, but my body can’t handle it. Hence, I had to be open to change.)
- Positivity: You need to stay positive, and you need to surround yourself with good vibes as you move towards a better you. Maybe it’s a buddy or a significant other with similar goals you can report to and get encouragement from. Maybe it’s hiring a coach. That goes back to accountability. That brings us full circle.
- Realizing that you are human and that each health journey is a learning experience. Forgive yourself. Love yourself. Respect yourself enough to care about your well-being.
I would love to know your thoughts! Please comment below, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teri Market is a Certified Personal Trainer, Women’s Physique Competitor, and Powerlifter that holds a Diploma in Nutrition. She also is the Social Media Manager and a Content Creator for Miracle Noodle. Teri can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest at @fcpchick.