“Why the ‘pause-button mentality’ is ruining your health and fitness.”
A summary of John Berardi’s, Ph.D. original post
Precision Nutrition is the world leader in nutrition education for coaches like us at Lotta Nutrition. This post is a summary of what John Berardi has termed the, “pause-button mentality” and how it isn’t the fresh start you hoped. For more on this subject you can, and should, check out the original post. The link will be at the bottom.
This content is not original and is the work of John Berardi, Ph. D.
The nutrition curriculum that Lotta Nutrition offers is the same exact one used by Precision Nutrition (click here for more information on our nutrition program). This curriculum does NOT offer a pause feature and for a damn good reason. It is reasonable for any one of us to have the feeling that we want to take a break from our pursuit to good health and wellness.
So, why not let clients take a break when:
- It’s time for vacation,
- Just had kids, or when they’re pregnant
- Injured, or
- Super busy at work?
From the client’s perspective, we often see a mentality that looks a little like this,
“I ate the wrong things this weekend, skipped a couple lessons, etc, now I’m a failure.”
“Wouldn’t it just be better when I can focus 100% on this?”
Pn’s John Berardi calls this the, “pause-button mentality”.
“The ‘all or nothing’ mentality rarely gets us ‘all’. It usually gets us ‘nothing’.”
This comes up when life gets a little hectic and the feeling of placing something like this on hold boils up and it’s hard to resist. It’s a very normal feeling. We’ve all been there.
“At the same time, this completely natural and well-meaning impulse is one of the fastest, surest, most reliable ways to sabotage yourself.”
Here’s the problem – and the solution.
This only builds the skill of pausing and/or restarting. It may be worse if you don’t get back to it at all. This is probably why fad crash diets (20 day/30 day…etc) are so popular. They don’t take long to complete! They call them a “challenges” but the real challenge is building sustainable skills and habits for navigating life.
We are human. Humans navigate life the best that they can in the given situations and cirucmstances that they are in. It’s all we can ever really do. We are only able to focus on such much anyway.
Berardi sums up this point very concisely,
What do these short bouts of intense focus teach you?
They teach you how to build the skill of getting fit in a “very short (and non-representative) period in your life”.
What do they NOT teach you?
They don’t teach you the skill of eating well, getting fit and staying fit in the “midst of a normal, complicated, ‘how it really is’ sort of life”.
“It’s not about willpower. It’s about skills.”
If willpower were a skill, you should have it from one day to the next, but it’s not. One day you could have the willpower to go to the gym and the next day you could, completely without much resistance, sit on the couch.
This is because willpower is finite. A skill is something you can do from one day to the next. Making an omelette is a skill. You should be able to make one every day.
At Lotta Nutrition we help you build the skills needed to navigate the very normal and complicated life we all live in, one day at a time. One skill at a time.
Under Pn’s nutrition education course, when clients want to take a break, we were taught to ask them, “what will be different next time?”
“Nine times out of ten, the honest answer is nothing.” – JB
Here’s the problem, life goes on whether you try and pause it or not. There will never be a time when things will be easier. There is no perfect time.
The goal is not to stride for perfectionism. Being the best for a tiny window of time is also not the point.
“The point is to keep going. Sometimes awkwardly, sometimes incompetently, sometimes downright half-assed. But to keep going nonetheless.”
JB suggests using this mantra:
This is where it gets downright magical. Pay attention.
Here’s the solution,
Instead of completely pressing pause on something you’ve committed to working at, pretend it’s on a dial from 1 to 10. When (not if) things get kinda whacky and life gets difficult, dial it back. Never turn off the dial completely.
Below are infographics from the article on Pn. These are just examples. You should come up with your own dial and practice it.
Perfection never happens in real life and it certainly isn’t going to happen if you pause or take a break. As humans, we just are going to do the best that we can with what we are working with, and that’s okay.
Here are a few suggested strategies.
Create and use your own dial method
- When it comes to health and fitness:
- What does a 10 look like?
- What does a 1 look like?
- Practice daily, adjust on the fly
When life gives you lemons, have a script ready to provide a solution to your lemons. Having a dial that is specific will be your script.
Use the ‘always something’ mantra and aim for a little bit better each day
- “An all-or-nothing approach usually doesn’t get us ‘all’. It usually get us ‘nothing’.”
- Just because you find yourself in situations or circumstances that are not ideal, doesn’t necessarily mean you are hopeless.
Small improvements done consistently over time work. Between Pn and nutrition coaches like us, methods used to build skills that help you make small improvements over time, have helped more than 200,000 people. Always something.
Look forward, strategize and plan
- As I mentioned earlier, it isn’t a matter of *if* but *when* life throws lemons at you so you might as well do your best to anticipate these things.
- In our program, and in Pn’s, we ask our clients two questions often:
- Look ahead at the next two weeks, what’s likely going to be in your way? What is going to keep you from accomplishing your goals? And,
- What is something you can do *today* to help you keep going when you run into those lemons?
Learn how to keep the dial on and face life prepared to keep your health and fitness going.
If you are looking for a coach to help prepare you for facing changes like this, the coaches at Lotta Nutrition have been taught and educated by the best in the world.
The original article that John Berardi wrote can be found here.
Below is a video on the curriculum we offer and bit on how we coach at Lotta Nutrition.
The world’s leading Nutrition Coaching education program, Precision Nutrition, has provided us the use of their curriculum through ProCoach (an online software). This program is a 9-month commitment. PN’s ProCoach curriculum is a 52-week habit forming approach that offers the user daily lessons and activities with bi-weekly habits.
This program takes into account the goals you want: build muscle, lose weight… etc, and provides all your nutrition needs surrounding powerful and attainable habits you create.
What’s superb about this program is that it not only allows us to educate you on nutrition but it gives you and allows you to put it into action under the watchful coach.
This program benefits users through excellent coaching and accountability while setting up the client for success through positive habit building.