I WINE A Lot…And How That Has Helped My Mindset!

By: Janine Serio

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For those of you who immerse yourself into what’s “trending” within the health and wellness industry, or are simply followers of the 2 Health Nuts, it would be safe to assume that you recognize “MINDSET” to be at the forefront. This is a topic that we talk about daily, have blogged about many times, and one that is constantly generating more and more buzz.

I will admit, I don’t love the word “mindset.” Not because it is “boring,” or even a widely used term, but because it has no richness or depth; it’s too broad and not specific. I think people hear the word mindset and get confused as to how it should be applied. I come to this conclusion because I, too, have questioned it myself. Amongst all the “noise” and content put out there for us to read, I find myself asking this question a lot…

“What does ‘mindset’ ACTUALLY mean when it comes to making a lasting lifestyle change?”

As a fitness professional (others may disagree with my next statement but, hey, that’s okay), my roles and responsibilities with my clients – and even myself – go way beyond putting together a rock solid nutrition plan, or even a goal-specific exercise program. 

It is about helping to break down those barriers that keep us stagnant, and push us further and further away from our goals.

It’s about understanding what makes people “think what they think,” and “do what they do” that is the game changer when it comes to helping people improve their lifestyle behaviors.

Dr. Michael Mantell, a behavior science coach in San Diego, defines “mindset” as a “collection of thoughts or beliefs that guide behavior. These are those inclinations and tendencies that drive how we react to daily events, conditions, circumstances, people, and situations.”

Have you ever worked with individuals in a particular situation/circumstance who possess the same qualities and characteristics, yet, because of their varying perceptions, they come to two totally different conclusions about how it should be handled {IDEA Fitness Journal}? This may seem pretty broad so let me get more specific…

As a personal trainer, I have worked with many clients who come to me with the same goals. Things such as “Janine, I want to become more consistent with exercise but I don’t want to spend hours in the gym” OR “My nutrition is all over the place; I need to find a solution to help me stay on track” are just two common examples.

When I first started out in the industry, I was naïve BUT also confident that I had all the answers. So, when I had two clients who came to me with the same “issues,” I felt like it was a no brainer to employ the same guidelines, with a few tweaks of course, for each.

It’s true what they say – no two people are the same – and, in this arena, it was no different! What worked for one client totally did not work for the other…and I was perplexed and frustrated.

I look back on this and just have to smile. We all start somewhere; in fact, this was the start of my own, personal mindset training. I had to go through these experiences – oh, and MANY others – to recognize I had to reframe some of my mindset behaviors. 

The first time I heard myself say, “If I can’t identify what the problem is here, I am never going to be successful as a coach,” I knew I had some work to do on myself!

10+ years later and, now, I enter into new client relationships with a different approach. While I still focus on their nutrition and exercise goals, I spend a lot of time listening to how they approach lifestyle, in general. 

  • Do they think it terms of an “all or nothing,” “black or white” mindset? If they can’t do something PERFECT, then it makes them weak or even a failure. Geez, I had a few pieces of candy after dinner; I have TOTALLY undone all of my hard work.
  • Do they dwell on the negatives instead of the positives? Yes, I have been consistent with my work outs 3 days per week but, come on, I should be doing MORE!
  • Do they minimize their “wins?” Big deal; I lost 2% body fat. It could be so much better.
  • Do they let their emotions get the best of them? It has been a draining day at work; I am not up for the gym ,so I will just start fresh next week.
  • Does criticism always prevail? Why I am I so WEAK when it comes to having a glass or two of wine every night? I should be able to abstain!
  • Do they place blame on themselves or deny ownership?

These are just a few of the mindset “offenders” that can negatively derail our efforts. I will be honest, I can resonate with each and every one of these scenarios I mentioned above because I have “been there” and “done that.” This is, probably, why they are the ones I focus on the most with my clients. To me, these are at the crux of the matter! To that point, here is a quick story on how I am slowly letting go of the “all or nothing” mindset (hey, I am still a work in progress too).

I used to feel extremely guilty about having a glass or two of wine a couple nights a week. I would say to myself “if I could just get through until Thursday (or even Wednesday) then, at least, I had shown some willpower.” I did this for a while, and I grew more and more resentful. Honestly, what was SO BAD about enjoying something that I really love, appreciate, and consume in moderation? This was not, necessarily, affecting my physique efforts BUT it was feeding into my negative mindset, which was feeding into other areas of my life. Once I started allowing myself to not be SO tightly wound (i.e. if I want a glass, I will have a glass), I have watched the urgency and “resentment,” in other areas of my life, slowly start to dissipate as well.

With years, time, and a LOT of research under my belt, my roles and responsibilities as a fitness professional have shifted (just like my mindset). As I mentioned before, fitness professionals can present their clients with cutting edge nutrition literature, and provide them workout after workout geared towards their goals, BUT, if their mindset is sabotaging their efforts, well, you know how this story ends.  

“People’s belief in their own capabilities, past experience with a personal trainer, readiness to make a change, perceived barriers, values, and personal strengths” are just a few examples that have a huge influence on how successful someone can be when it comes to lasting lifestyle change {Jessica Matthews, ACE}.

Bottom Line: My goal is for clients to begin looking at the bigger picture; the picture that will help them make this daunting task of lifestyle change feel and become effortless & automatic, and one they can do FOREVER. 

It is helping them to reframe their so-called “beliefs,” and to hone in and understand that by shifting their mindset to more of a “glass half full” perspective will greatly influence their day to day behavior…and overall quality of life!

xoxo

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