You Have Our Permission…

By: Janine Serio


Yesterday’s Facebook post spoke on the topic of “permission” and why we are constantly seeking approval. As fitness & nutrition professionals, we see this A LOT. Whether it is being done consciously (or subconsciously), we are always being sought after for validation on lifestyle choices.

Janine, we have discussed my goal of getting to the gym 4 days per week. While I have been very consistent, I know this week will be a challenge. Is it OKAY if I only go 2 days?

I see you put cream in your coffee, have vino most nights of the week, and are not afraid to eat bacon and cheese. I do love a good cobb salad, and I adore a glass or two of chardonnay, but I am scared to add too frequently. Would you APPROVE if I implemented and monitored my results? Will this derail my efforts?

I am very excited to be training for my first marathon with the help of “2 Health Nuts.” I am being consistent with sticking to the outlined plan, but I can tell the next few weeks will be a struggle. My long runs are scheduled for Saturday mornings but, with the increase in mileage (i.e. more time needed), it just seems too rushed to get it all in. Will I be “behind” if I change my long run day? Will I be doing myself a disservice? Help!

We get it; it’s perfectly normal to feel the need for approval, especially when it comes to your health and wellness endeavors (and when you are spending your hard earned money, too). While you may not realize it, though, constantly needing that validity is ACTUALLY derailing your efforts. It is not allowing for you to learn, grow, make mistakes, navigate,  investigate, etc. Just think of the amount of energy you could be placing in other areas of your life when you shift from a “fixed mindset” to a “growth mindset.”

When clients come to us for fitness, nutrition, and/or behavioral change coaching, we empower them to become their own thinkers. Sure, we can hold your hand and “babysit,” but what is that really teaching you? Yes, we are here for support and, yes, we are here to educate but, more importantly, we are here to nudge you in the direction of building the life you have always wanted. We want you to take the next step, even if it seems like the scariest thing in the world! Believe it or not, it is up to you, and only you, to figure this out!

Carol Dweck, author of “Mindset,” shows how a mindset shift from one that is fixed, to one of growth, can be of extreme value. 

Those with a fixed mindset believe “their basic qualities are simply fixed traits and use their performance to document those traits.” For those with more of a growth mindset, “their most basic abilities can be developed, and improved upon, which creates a love of learning and resilience.”

Let’s reframe the examples I shared above. Mind you, we are not saying that this shift is going to happen overnight but, instead, we want you to see how changing your thought process will (ultimately) decrease the need for constantly seeking validation and approval of/for your choices.  

Example 1
Fixed Mindset: I am only able to get 2 days in at the gym this week, not my usual 4. I guess this means my fitness efforts are a wash this week.
Growth Mindset: This week is going to be tough getting to the gym but I know I can get in, at least, 2 days. I will make sure to give my absolute best during these workouts. This is the best I can do this week!

Example 2
Fixed Mindset: I wish I could add cream to my coffee, have a glass or two of wine each night, and add some bacon and cheese to my salad. I am afraid I will totally go overboard if I consume, and then all of my hard work up to this point will have been for nothing.
Growth Mindset: I will enjoy my morning java with a little cream, savor a glass of my favorite chardonnay at dinner, and add a little satisfaction to my salads again. Who knows, maybe I will be less likely to crave sweets in the morning, or be reaching for the dessert after dinner. I will monitor my progress, honor my process, and adjust accordingly.

Example 3
Fixed Mindset: My training plan reads that Saturday’s I am supposed to do my “long run.” Over the next few weeks, I need to run on Thursday/Friday, maybe even Sunday, due to my schedule. Well, I either just skip or face the facts that I have completely sabotaged my training.
Growth Mindset: Since my schedule is busy, what day makes the most sense for me to run? This is about time on my legs and quality runs. My body is not going to recognize if it is a Thursday vs. Saturday.

We give you permission to stop asking for permission. Do what feels right FOR YOU. Know your workarounds and be flexible. Life is a journey, one that is neither linear or predictable. Time to free up some of that mental space to focus on areas of your life that really are in need of your energy.


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