My Shameful New Year Behaviour and How You Can Learn From It
Every new year it was virtually the same since having kids.
And I’m certainly not proud of it. But I hope by sharing my experience that I can help you avoid the same embarrassment this New Year period. Don’t be “that person”.
Don’t eat cabbage.
Don’t do it. Don’t even think about it. Don’t drink lemon water either. It’s not going to help.
I have a cringeful memory of choosing to eat the “detox cabbage salad” I’d taken along to my son’s birthday party in early January instead of the sausage sizzle everyone else was enjoying.
What a dick. If only I knew then, what I understand now.
Yes, I used to fall for the old New Year, time to detox thing…. time to “cleanse”. Get the excess weight off quickly. Make up for all the indulgences of the past few weeks of silly season. Makes perfect sense!
I can talk about this now because things are different. The last few years I can proudly say that I’ve whole heartedly enjoyed myself over the Christmas break, I’ve enjoyed time off, food and drink with my family pretty well guilt free. Yeah I always gain a little over the break but it doesn’t have the same shame and guilt and self loathing attached to it as in the past.
And a huge part of that is empowerment and ownership. Empowerment through education to no longer be subject to the “solutions” of the diet industry, and ownership of my own choices.
I’m no longer a victim of “why won’t this weight shift/I’m hardly eating anything??” to: I’m going to enjoy these indulgences because I value them as part of enjoyment of this time of year, so what if my pants get a little tighter.
If only I’d known then what I do now. If only I’d known the 3kg I’d drop in the week of my detox was 70% water weight, not body fat and I’d completely wasted time and energy eating cabbage :-/. If only the nutritionist who sold me the detox had been honest about that (or understood it).
If only I’d known that the key to a healthier body composition was the sum total of my relatively painless and simple daily habits the other 48-50 weeks of the year. If only I’d known what focusing on becoming stronger instead of smaller could mean.
But much like all of us, I’d subconsciously absorbed messages about getting as small as possible since I was a child. Even though my personal values don’t align with the actions and behaviours required to be “as small as possible”.
I felt socially obligated to participate in the indulgences of Christmas and New Year in order not to be a “spoil sport”, but then left to deal with the “fall out” as a source of shame that I couldn’t both enjoy myself and remain small.
I now go out of my way to make sure that I don’t contribute to this negative reinforcement of “being good/being bad” and body image so pervasive among women.
I choose to work with my clients in a life changing rather than “problem solving” way.
It’s typical at this time of year that I end up in conversations with people who desperately seek the results of people they know – who may have been training consistently for 1-2 years at this point. Or, they still have those marketing messages playing in the back of their minds “New Year, New You” – the perfect time to make drastic changes.
I don’t agree. Which is why I consciously withdrew from your typical fitness marketing rush at this time of year after witnessing the futility of it for my first few years in this field.
I used to have classes fill in January, which was a fantastic cash injection, only to see them dwindle within weeks when the New Year motivation drops off….. which was not so good for my mental health in all honesty.
It’s energy sucking.
I started this business because I enjoy helping people change their lives. I realised I cannot do that with old approach to fitness services. I need quality time with people to work with them in line with my values, and being distracted by fleeting new names and faces and spending time answering their questions and getting them set up to do classes in January only to have them be a distant memory by March is not congruent to giving people quality help.
This is why I cut my clients by 30% in 2019 and it was the best (bur hardest) business decision I’ve made. Why, when all the marketing gurus promise to “triple your members” for you??? Because I finally got the quality time I craved with the people who are serious. I was able to offer more time and energy to the members in front of me.
It sounds counterintuitive, and it wasn’t easy since I enjoyed working with them all. But if you’re going to be more efficient from a business perspective, the underperforming products and services have to go, and I had to take an objective look at the numbers and cut them. I’m not just talking financially, I’m talking results wise. I was offering low end services and then chasing people to commit, virtually begging them to achieve. I had to stop doing this to earn back more of that other thing that doesn’t grow on trees – time!
So, this being said, I get a lot of people fronting up sending me messages at this time of year, expecting that I’m simply here to sell them a workout class. That’s ok, it’s not their fault. Low expectations is a by-product of the bulk-standard fitness services out there.
I actually had some negative feedback about the fact that I request a pre-consultation with people before signing up, as if I’m being exclusive. The real reason is, I only want to work with the people I can actually help, not everyone with a wallet and a glimmer of New Year hope in their eyes – because I don’t want to let you, and myself down.
The harsh truth is that real results take time. It’s not a matter of short term punishment to correct perceived indiscretions, or quick fixes that don’t align with your normal lifestyle. You likely need a lot more of my support than just rocking up to the odd class, especially if you’re bringing some past experiences with you, which is often the case. And this is the kind of complete service I enjoy delivering. Yes, group fitness is part of that, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle.
It’s not that I don’t want to help you, I absolutely do, I just want to start the relationship from a place of honesty, while almost all the rest of the fitness and diet industry scramble to sell you false promises and capitalises on your potentially lower self esteem and temporarily high motivation levels come January.