In my previous two posts, I discussed the first two steps to fitness results, whether it be improved health, general fitness goals, or athletic success: mental preparation and nutrition.  In this post, written by both myself and one of my clients Julia Berman, I will discuss some of the psychological aspects of nutrition using Julia as a real world example.

Here is what Juila has to say about her attitude towards nutrition:

Prior to working with Jes, I had very strong beliefs about food and nutrition that drove me to do some not so healthy and extreme things to my body. One of these beliefs was that food was responsible for my lack of fitness results. I developed a strong hatred toward food and eating, so much that it took over a year and a half for me to even have a conversation with Jes about diet further than “I hate food”. (we still have a long ways to go). Jes has helped me become aware of these thoughts and beliefs, not to feel bad about them, but to acknowledge that they’re there so I can change them. I am working to develop a positive attitude towards food and to create new behaviors based on my body’s actual nutritional needs, not based on illogical thoughts and beliefs.

As you can see, Julia had many beliefs about food that were driving her away from her goals.  When I first started working with Juila, not only was she was working out waaaaaaayyyyyy more than necessary, she was also causing injury to her body by over training, lack of sleep, and lack of proper nutrition.  She hadn’t applied the proper logic to her nutritional plan, in fact I am not sure she had a plan at that point.  But even beyond that, the real issue was that even though Julia did not have the results she wanted, she refused (because of fear) to step back and objectively assess what was happening so she could make necessary changes to get results.

Julia had sortof trapped herself in a place where it SEEMED impossible to make changes or achieve her goals.  But, as usual, I definitely had something to say about this.  Over the course of MANY MANY MANY MANY discussions, I was able to coax her into using the SMART method (or a slightly modified version I guess).  We created a plan for her to follow each month, a plan that included ways to cope with some of her food behaviors and a structured exercise plan to follow.

At first, Julia basically rejected the entire thing and stayed on her own plan.  Although she was really frustrating me by doing this (to the point of being suspended (SHE IS NOT ALONE!!)), she wasn’t doing it on purpose.  Her beliefs and psychology were controlling 90% of her behavior (I got 10%).  After weeks, months, and years of persistence (Jes being a total bossy controlling traininer), Julia started to adhere to both the exercise and nutrition plan.  And wala…she started to see her goals were slowly being acheived!

Listen to what Julia says now (over a year later):

Another nutritional goal I am working on with Jes is understanding my body’s nutritional needs in order to function properly. The focus of nutrition for me has always been focused on weight and calories, but proper nutrition is crucial in order for the body to perform optimally; which includes healing and repairing itself. I have had many injuries over the past few years, and my body has not fully healed from any of them. It wasn’t until the last few weeks that I started to understand that part of my body not healing and performing the way I want could be due to nutritional deficit (that doesn’t just imply calories).

Part of developing a positive attitude towards food has been changing how I view food. Jes is helping me learn to enjoy food. Who knew food could be fun? I think of food as fuel; it’s a source of energy, not a source of pleasure. Jes is helping me to become less rigid and experience some foods that most people would describe as enjoyable (e.g. ice cream and pizza), without feeling that my results will go out the window. I am working towards understanding how these foods can be incorporated in moderation, and not to be scared of them causing me to stay trapped in a place of hating food.

What I would like to point out here is that while Julia felt her goals were far far far away and maybe even impossible, all she needed was a proven method, some encouragement, and the right guidance to get herself onto a healthy path.  She had many behaviors and habits that were actually taking away from her overall health that she didn’t understand, but we were able to work through them so that she could put herself on a new and effective path to success.

By telling this story I hope that everyone would be encouraged that no matter where you are right now, it is only a starting point, and you have the ability to change your course and go forward to achieve your goals.  You can start now by reading about and implementing step 1 and step 2, if you have questions, email me at and I will do my best to help you go forward.