One of the things I have loved about my journey is the number of people I have been able to connect with along the way. I have had a TON of conversations with people of many ages, at different points in their journeys, with different goals and definitely different histories. I have learned a lot from these conversations, but I have also learned a lot from just observing those around me – or really those on social media.
While I love these connections, there are times its overwhelming and I don’t always know what to say or how to help. Trust me, I want to help or at least point people in the right direction. I feel like my start would’ve been easier if there was someone that had done that for me, but there are questions I get that I can’t answer because they’re very subjective.
What should I eat when I go out?
This is a great question, but it’s too general for me to help with because I don’t know your day. However, here are some questions I ask myself when I want to eat out:
1. Am I planning in advance?
If I am, then I can make better choices during the day. I can also look at the menu ahead of time and make a selection.
2. Is nutritional information available to me to assist with my decision?
This isn’t always available. Different states have different regulations and a locally owned place is less likely to know and provide this information. If I do have this information, I try to find things that I like that area healthier options – using the term healthier in a loose way. If I don’t have this way I try to make a decision based off of description such as getting grilled chicken and steamed veggies or a small cut of steak and a side salad with no dressing.
Not knowing nutritional information can make decisions tough, but not impossible. You need to be able to trust yourself to make good decisions. I macro count and there are many times I just guess because that’s the best I can do.
3. What are my concerns?
Some people eat high fat/low carb, some are gluten free, some macro count – if you track and you have questions call the restaurant. I do all the time. I’ve asked how many ounces the cod weighs in the dinner entree and can I get this dish without butter. Most places, especially those that are higher end or busy around dinner would rather receive a call asking about a menu item than have the server running back and forth from the kitchen. This also helps you plan.
I’m eating out, I can’t figure out nutrition, what do I do?
I’ve asked my coach to assist and usually I’ll send her a menu with the description prior to even having the meal. She’s helped me with roughy estimated before, but I’ve gotten better on my own. The hardest part about answering this question is I didn’t eat your meal or see it.
When I know I need to make an estimate I ask myself:
1. Is there another brand or restaurant that has something exactly the same or similar I can look at. A good example is going to get a bagel at a locally own bakery. You can look at nutritional information for Dunkin Donuts or Krisy Kreme, you can also look at store brands. If you have an idea of the nutritional value they provide you can make a more educated guess.
2. Have I made something similar at home and what do I know about the nutrition?
If you’ve made chicken before you know that lean chicken breast is between 1-3g of fat and 22-26g of protein for 4 ounces depending on the brand (which may mean the cut is slightly different). If you are able to get the weight of the chicken in your meal, you can make a better guess of the nutritional value. Sometimes you need to eye ball it, like with veggies.
What should I do in the gym?
This question is a little more general than what I get, but it’s going to make a point. It’s hard for me to help because I’m NOT a trainer with excess knowledge about the science behind workouts. I know what has worked for me in relation to my goals at the time, but even now I used a trainer. You need to ask yourself what your goals are and what you’re willing to do to get there.
Some of the more target questions are about toning and shaping body parts. Well, toning is a hype word, you’re really losing fat over the muscle to show off what you’ve had all along and then building the muscle to make it bigger. I don’t really know what toning is supposed to mean. I’ve been lifting for two years, I’ve increased strength in this time, I’ve changed up my workout structure too, but mostly I am now showing off the muscle I’ve always had. Before my coach, I did the work on my own. I asked myself what body parts do I want to work on, what muscles are in those groups, what exercises work those muscles, and I would develop my workout from there. These are the same questions you should ask yourself before heading to google. If you want to lift your butt, you need to also lift weights. Cardio will burn fat, but it won’t shape your body. That’s why it’s important to do both. There’s no size or weight requirement for lifting, but I also understand there is some difficulty if you’re not used to moving around much or if there are health concerns surround weight. If you’re concerned talk to your doctor. If you’re unsure about exercises that can be done, there are great resources online where you can search by muscle group and it will provide a list of exercises that target them. Equipment is a concern? A lot of them will tell you what you need, so if you workout at home you can still continue to do so.
In this journey though, you need to be fearless and daring. Unwillingness to try something new will only hurt your progress. There is also something about learning information to better yourself rather than just taking a direction. Whether it’s with nutrition or exercise, I want to know why I am doing something and how it’s helping my body. If I understand why it’s beneficial I am more likely to stick to it than just taking someone’s advice or directive. I also feel empowered and more in control of my goals because I know what is needed to accomplish them and why.
Should I have surgery?
Most recently, with my surgery I have received a lot of questions, which is great because I have asked and continue to ask questions about mine. I will say that I hope by sharing my experience it helps others determine if they want to have surgery. I know it’s scary for some, but if you’re a little prepared it’s not so scary. I have been asked if I thought people should have the surgery because that are a certain weight, body fat, pant size. I can’t tell you want to do and I don’t want to. You know your goals and your journey. For me, surgery was essentially the end game for that chapter. I knew I wasn’t trying to loose more weight, I was just trying to show off the body I had worked hard for. This isn’t the case for everyone, which also means everyone will have a different recovery. So I want people to learn from my perspective, but don’t assume that my experience is what the average experience is or what yours will be. Having a consult allows you to ask questions and trust me I brought a list! The surgeon wants you to ask questions and wants to provide you with information. They will be able to give you specific answers because they will be able to see you in person and take photos of the areas of concern.
Also with that, don’t compare our experiences because it’ll leave someone upset or feeling hurt. I’ve received a few messages from women telling me that it’s not fair that I went back to the gym and they can’t. Not only are we different people with different bodies, but we have different doctors and have been told different protocols. Think before you speak, while I need to do this sometimes to, I have received more messages of people sounding ignorant because they assumed everyone would be the same, which results in them sounding like an asshole when they tell me that my progress almost hurts their feelings. I’m sorry you’re taking notes a stranger’s experience personally.
The list of question I get is a lot long than this, but I think this makes a point: you know yourself a lot better than a stranger online is going to. You know your goals, your motivation, what puts you in a funk. Use what you already know to assist you. Don’t take the easy way out, ask questions when appropriate, but research as much as you can. I read everything. Is there conflicting information? Oh hell yes. But it doesn’t hurt to read both sides. We all have different perspectives and different opinions of what works and what doesn’t – take it all with a grain of salt and experiment to figure out what suits you best.