Why can’t we stick to our gym programmes or our healthy eating commitments?

You are feeling sluggish in the face of all the action on the TV screen when, suddenly, someone wakes up in you and say’s, “What are you doing? Look at yourself. You’re fat! You’re out of shape! Do something about it!” … this is The Skinny Guy.

Micheal E. Gerber, ‘The E-Myth Revisited’.

I have just started reading Micheal E. Gerber’s business book, ‘The E-Myth Revisited’ as recommended to me by a wonderful guy I met on an FSB Networking event. The book talks about the Entrepreneur and how everyone who goes into business is actually three-people-in-one: The Entrepreneur, The Manager, and the technician. Micheal then goes on to use 2 personalities that we are all familiar with to explain this idea…

The Fat Guy and The Skinny Guy

The skinny guy is the one that motivates you to clear out the fridge and cupboards of all things ‘bad’. Before you know it, you’re purchasing gym membership for the year, new gym wear, trainers and a set of dumbbells.

You’re up at 6am for a run, hitting the gym after work, crushing avocados on toast in the evening and getting an early night.

You’re doing it! Feels great! You repeat this for the week and jump on the scales at the weekend… Look! You have lost 3 pounds! It’s really working!

You ramp it up the second week… if I can lose 3 pounds in a week just think how much I’ll lose if I work harder! You go for a run in your lunch break, you drive past the Drive-Thru where you used to grab a croissant and latte before your shift, you attend the Pump class the gym runs at the weekends. Look at you go!

You get on the scales… you strip down to your undies… clothes are a couple of pounds right?… you peep down at the scale and behold…. 1 pound. You step off… that can’t be right? Step on again… yep, 1 pound.

You can’t believe it. All that work for 1 pound? Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

But something has changed… the weather doesn’t look great for that run. You didn’t have time to prepare your healthy lunch before work. You’ve got a lot on today so need to get some rest…

And right on cue… Fat Guy enters!

” It’s too cold to go outside, stay in bed a little longer. Then, later, you can treat yourself to that croissant and coffee? You have worked so hard over the past couple of weeks, you deserve a treat every now and then!”

Yep, that’s The Fat Guy talking. He’s back and before you know it your gym membership card is gathering dust, the dumbbells are propping various doors open and the fridge contains limp celery sticks and left over pizza.

Sounds familiar right?

You find yourself back where you started and Fat Guy is running the show. We are mislead into believing that it is ‘I’ who is indecisive, unreliable, undisciplined but in fact it is our personalities that are in play, each with different interests and approaches to the way we do things.

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.
– Buddah

When you realise this, you start to become aware that you can be the one in control over which personality takes precedence. Here are just a few things that help me to keep ‘The Skinny Guy’ at the helm.

I am a better person when ‘The Skinny Guy’ is running the show.

  • I am happier. I have a sense of humour. I am resilient and ready for challenge. I am motivated and positive about the choices I am making. People want to be around me and I want to be around people.

My passion fits with ‘Skinny Guy’s’ interests.

  • I love pole and in order to do pole well and execute moves that are harder or need more precision or are just awesome, I need to train my muscles and improve my strength. That’s why I go to the gym.

The gym and healthy eating has a purpose.

  • I don’t go to the gym because I think I should or because it’s the only way to lose a few pounds. I go because it enhances something I enjoy. Healthy eating keeps my muscles to fat ratio low which means I can execute gravity defying moves easier. The gym and my diet has a purpose.

So next time you find yourself experiencing ‘The Skinny Guy’ or ‘The Fat Guy’ remember, it isn’t your whole self making these decisions, it is just one of your many personalities. Learn to recognise them and understand what make each one of them tick.


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