I’m helping two people cut weight right now. One is an aspiring MMA fighter, the other is a pre-diabetic office worker. In both cases, my recommendations are almost the same. 80% identical. The remaining 20% are just slight, nuanced differences. And yet, the they’re both struggling very differently…for the same reasons.
My MMA friend won’t stop splurging. He’ll cut some weight, then he’ll go off the diet recommended to him because it’s a celebration or because he feels like he’s shriveling up and losing muscle. We’ve had the talk about what role muscle plays (and doesn’t play) in the octagon, yet he can’t stop himself. As a result, his progress is perpetually slowed, stalled, or even undone. As such, he will likely never achieve the weight/body fat levels to compete in his optimal weight class.
Alternatively, I am working with a pre-diabetic office worker. He is trying all sorts of things like walking periodically, doing classes on healthy living and weight loss, doing everything he can…short of actually overhauling his diet. The scale is barely budging.
In both cases, the person doesn’t want to change their behavior to achieve their desired goal. As their friend and consultant on this matter, it is frustrating because the solution seems so simple, and yet it isn’t. Success in all things is caught up in emotions as well as the mechanical reality. Learning a new skill isn’t just a matter of practice, you confront many habits and behaviors that will stymie, even conflict, with your goals. Progress than is not merely having a plan of how to do a thing, but also how to support yourself in doing it. Handling the emotions as well as the physical progress.
We see this in just about everything in life, I think, where progress and success in any endeavor is affected by the emotions connected to it. It would be seemingly simple to say ‘if we could just disconnect the emotions…’ but that would be not only disingenuous but dangerous. Emotions are, dare I say, at the center of being a person. As an artist, I recognize just how important emotions, both for the characters and the audience. But that also means I traffic in emotions and affecting them.
There’s no science to emotional change. For as great as psychology is, and for all the wonderful advances psychopharmacology has given us, emotions continue to be a nebulous region of the human experience. Saying something as clinical as a solitary fact to two different people may well draw two different reactions.
Working with people, then becomes not just about having the plan but also the support and the emotional guidance and aid as well.
This is, objectively, the hard part. But it’s also the part that achieves success.
Little news to report this week. Just chugging along, getting the stuff in gear for the summer months.