Monday, January 23, 2012

Psychosomatic Nutrition Part 1

I’ve talked about the mindset of diet and nutrition for ages. I’ve discussed the relevance of The French Paradox – and how the French adore and enjoy food but simply do not obsess over it. And the result is even though they eat substantially more “indulgent” food, and smoke far more on a person to person basis – they are in fact far healthier than their North American counterparts.

Yes, I’ve discussed this in several of my books and Blogs. People read them with interest, give them a quick nod of ‘that’s interesting’ and then go right back to internet searches for the next wonder-diet or wonder-supplement.  

But the fact of the matter is that the way most of you think about diet and nutrition is what is causing the most trouble for you with your diet and nutrition. I mean it’s ridiculous when you think about it.

It’s like most people want to be sick. They want to be food restricted.This is what they tell themselves. So, when they can find something with a completely general and vague symptomology – they latch on to it. Yes, “I’m gluten intolerant” or “I’m dairy-sensitive.” Whatever. Most people consider themselves both or even consider other food-sensitivities as well.

“Don’t you know that sweetener you are using causes cancer?” And on it goes. 

 People just don’t get it. Oh, but the nutrition and diet industry get it just fine. They want you to be afraid of food or food-stuffs. They want you to depend on them for your information for “what is ok to eat.” And this is ridiculous to the point of being farcical.

That is to say, YOU, and the way you have allowed your mind to be manipulated by marketing – YOU have become ridiculous and farcical, in all your nonsense and obsession over anything and everything food or nutrition-related.

We are now a completely consumption-based society. On that front we “want.” And our “want” knows no ends. Ironically enough we also now consider that all answers to all issues are matters of “consumption” (there must be a pill for that) 

But our obsession with Body Image and nutrition, combined with food is a marketer’s paradise. Once you are told you can’t eat a certain thing, that is exactly when “want” kicks in and you can’t seem to go without it. But if you stand back and consider the absurdity of it all, the way the French do – does it make any sense? 

    “It’s like most people want to be sick. They want to be food restricted.”

So, you have gluten-free pasta, gluten-free bread, flour-free bread, cocoa-free chocolate, sugar-free chocolate, dairy-free ice-cream, fat-free ice-cream, sugar-free ice-cream, caffeine-free coffee, sugar-free cookies and candies, fat-free everything, and yes of course even meat-free hot dogs and hamburgers.

And don’t even get me started on low carb, carbs-foods and low-sodium everything. Can you not see how ridiculous and contradictory it all is? 

Your obsession with food is sick - hilarious, but sick. 

Oh people like to play down how important food is in their life. If I asked you to make a list of 10 things that really matter to you in your life, I doubt “food or diet” would make the list – Yet, if you are truly being honest with yourself, and listed what “matters” – as a statistical reflection of how many times per day you think or worry about it – then food/diet would be near the top of that list and for all the wrong reasons. 

It’s time people stopped walking around like zombie-lemmings. You need to get truly conscious about diet and food so you can let go of this psychosomatic hold it has on you. First you need to start observing how often you think about food, diet, and nutrition.

Then observe and become aware of what goes on when you think about these things. Combine how often you think of food/diet/nutrition with how you feel when doing so. How are you when you are eating?

How do you feel when you are eating food that you label as “good for you” vs. how you feel when eating food that you label as “bad for you.”  This begins acknowledging the psychosomatic hold this all has on you. 

After a while, can you even know which is the chicken and the egg in this equation? Maybe all this focus and tension on food and diet, maybe that is the problem. Maybe that is what makes you “feel” sick. Maybe that is what makes you think you can’t tolerate this or that food.

 One of the key indicators to eating disorders or potential ones are when people get more focused on “food limitations.” They like to focus on what they think they can’t or shouldn’t have, over what they can have and enjoy. But this is another paradox because our brains are wired to enjoy food. (see my book, Beyond Metabolism)

You need to get truly conscious about diet
and food so you can let go of this psychosomatic
hold it has on you.”

Trying to pretend you can’t have or enjoy certain and a specific food is not going to work for long. Hence the industry steps in and gives you “faux” versions of anything and everything. 

Listen if you’re ill or prone to illness and you’ve got the diet-mentality then more than likely you think diet has something to do with it – whether it’s true or not.

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Monday, January 09, 2012

Can We Get Real? Apparently Not !

Back in Toronto I once trained a fairly high-level local celebrity.(several actually, but that is not the point) One of the top female Fitness magazines wanted to do a big layout spread on her. But while she was a media celebrity she was not really in the Fitness Industry. We had about 6 weeks to do what we could and we did so. And when the magazine spread came out I was both shocked and disappointed – but not for the reasons you may think. We did what we could and she looked great: Apparently not “great” enough.
The layout feature on her must have photo-shopped at least 20 lbs off of her – in every single photo, especially in her “trouble area” glutes and hips. I was so disappointed. These magazines pretend to be “for and about women” – and yet they seem to betray them at every turn. What happened next disappointed me even more. With my name mentioned in the article and her “celebrity” status, I began getting requests from ladies, who of course wanted to be “trained” by the same person who trained her. They wanted to “look like her” and do what she did. Well how do I explain to people that even “she” doesn’t look like “her” - in the magazine layout. People say they know and realize all about photo-cropping, yet they still seem to marvel at the results of it as if it were “real.”      
“Why try to look like someone else? Just be better version of you”
Why am I telling you this? Well I had a bit of a strange year last year (I turned down a lot of business and income) and it reminded me of all the phoniness this industry puts out as real. One situation bothered me on such a scale that I just can’t let it go. So I am going to write about it now.
I got a coaching request from a “competitor” who wanted to compete in the IDFA – a natural organization – and he wanted to get his pro card etc. Fine enough. We started exchanging emails. Well turns out this “National Champion” sends me a list of all the pharmaceuticals he was taking. There must have been at least a dozen different drugs, as well as finishing drugs like diuretics etc. He informed me I didn’t have to help him “beat the drug test or the polygraph” because he already has that down pat and has not been caught yet. Perplexed and disappointed (yet again) I told him I could not help him.
What a tremendous insult this is to my natural competitors or those striving after their best potential. See, it’s not even the obvious that bothers me so much in the above scenario. It is the “sub-text.” This person was so cavalier in his attitude toward using a boatload of drugs to compete “naturally” that it meant he just assumed that all my other “natural” competitors must use as well. And that is insulting to them, to me, and to the nature of competition – but it is insulting to you the consumer as well. When these people hold themselves out to be “natural” then what is achievable becomes fundamentally distorted.

“This might not be the answer for you
This person advertises on his website that he is a “natural” competitor and “champion” and yadda, yadda. Not just misleading, but fraudulent.
But this is no isolated incident. Every year I see Figure competitors who become champions and they play the exact same game. They choose their words carefully and say “I compete in Figure because I don’t have to take the drugs like in bodybuilding.” They don’t say that they do not take any drugs. They just give that impression. Many will proudly say, “I refuse to take steroids.” Yet on the other side of that statement, they abuse thyroid medication, Growth Hormone, estrogen antagonists, clenbuterol, diuretics and other little pharmaceutical tricks of the trade. (Which I know far too much about) And while I consider them to be losers – it’s the consumers who lose.
You naïve consumers are led to believe that something is naturally achievable that is in fact not achievable. And there is a world of difference between high expectations and unreal expectations. And the fact that these people will lie to your face in order to secure your loyalty or your money just does not sit well with me. Why can’t we just be real? Oh, I know why. This way they can sell you supplements and fat burners that they claim helped them achieve that final “look” that they know full-well was only achievable with drugs.
In my small little city there is a “Natural” drug-tested show every year. Now, it’s been years since I followed any shows, but just a few years back, even at this tiny local show, I was shocked when someone wrote to inform me that of the 9 people tested, 7 tested positive! (to the best of my memory) But who of any of the audience members are going to find out about that, when it comes out several weeks or months later and only on-line where very few “in the know” find out about it.
Switching gears let me tell you about two people I do know by comparison.
My friend and colleague Coach Kevin Weiss is someone I marvel at, in terms of his involvement in this industry. 2 X’s National Champion, professional bodybuilder and now this year, World Raw Powerlifting Champion -  Coach Weiss is a performance machine. In fact we Abel Body peeps, have nicknamed him, “The Machine.” Coach Weiss has been natural his whole career. And his approach to competing is unique.
 You won’t find him posting on social media about his diet, or his training. Even after winning the World Championships this year, he didn’t take to the Twitterverse to seek any external validation. His competitive pursuits are obviously very personal and intimate to him as a form of self-expression. Even I can’t get him to talk about this stuff unless I bring it up. He just doesn’t need to share it all with anyone else. He seeks neither glory nor validation from his pursuits. Now, that is “Tao” in action.
So, I presented him with this scenario. I said, “Buddy, what if I told you of someone competing in IDFA – who is on as many or more drugs than most hard-core IFBB pros – and he can beat the drug test and polygraph?” The question itself seemed to puzzle Coach Weiss. He didn’t get angry or upset – he just looked at me puzzled and asked, “Why would anyone want to do such a thing?” Purists like Coach Weiss, see things in pure terms. We need more like him in the industry! But let’s not confuse being a purist with being naïve or being a prude. Once the “hypothetical” situation sunk in with him, he was as disgusted as I was.
And I have another natural client – Anthony Josse. Anthony is both young and naïve. (And believe me, being naïve when you are young is not a bad thing at all) But Anthony has one in a million genetics. Someday he will be a “go to” person and everyone will want to know how he trains this or that body part, and how he eats, and the rest of it. His genetics to compete naturally are off the charts. He just won a pro qualifier as well, and the rest of the field wasn’t even close to him. Like Coach Weiss, young Anthony also has mental genetics as well. He doesn’t just rely on his “gifts” he works them to exhaustion – which is as it should be.

“Natural?...yeah right”
And he will go very far indeed.
But here’s the thing. Against this guy above, he doesn’t stand a chance. Take two people of equal genetics, and one is lifetime natural and the other has been doing hard-core steroid stacks for years – there is no legitimate comparison or level playing field possible. It would be like comparing a Model-T Ford, to a modern Ferrari. And even if that Model-T was as well-kept and pristine as is humanly possible, it still couldn’t compete in any way, shape, or form with even the most poorly maintained Ferrari. And this is the sad truth. Young Anthony can make a real mark and name for himself in this industry. But not when people willing to cross a line in such a vulgar way, stand in his way.
As Coach Weiss asked, “Why would anyone want to do that?” Why indeed!
See, folks like Coach Weiss and young Anthony - they are not schemers. They don’t think or act like schemers. Therefore they cannot conjure an image of people willing to scheme so low to make a name for themselves or profit under false pretenses. But the industry is loaded with these types of people. The bottom line for them is the bottom line of $$$$. Integrity and principle have little to do with it. They just want to support their lifestyle, and they are willing to lie and scheme to do it.
Asking me to coach someone like that is, as I said on my Facebook page, asking me to be a “trainer of “Chumpions!” No thanks!
I have always known more about the internal workings of this industry than most people will ever know. I have not only been “behind the curtain” I was one of the ring masters for many, many years! I’ve been a part of it at the highest levels. But when it comes to competing in a Natural contest – and loading up on a boat load of drugs to do so – or when it comes to Figure competitors denying to their friends and families how they “really” got there then the most innocent question is actually the most prudent one as well.

 “This is the main thing in this world; especially in this business”

Why would anyone want to do that?
As the old saying goes, “just because you are willing to lie to your family, don’t lie to mine!”
I’m so tired of being made a villain for pointing out obvious vulgarities of this industry. Why is it so hard to speak and admit the truth? Why do we need to lead people on by fraudulently misrepresenting ourselves or what goes on in the industry? Who benefits from that? I know a lot of innocent people who are consequenced by it.
Good people like young Anthony Josse, and Coach Weiss. And you the consumer as well.
Well you keep believing the fraudulent lies told to you because you want to. You want to believe that this person did it all naturally because it gives you hope in your own wish bias that you can achieve something even remotely close to that. But you are being lied to. Where is the honour in that?
Some of you will get it.
Some of you will not.
Some of you will attack me for this as well
So be it.