5

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If you work in a work environment that promotes health...do you feel pressure to "look" the part and to practice CW?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 04, 2012 at 4:24 AM

I might be accepting a job to work on a county coalition to promote healthy lifestyles, community outreach, write some articles and tackle issues like childhood obesity by working with local elementary schools.

I'm excited but also a little nervous. Okay, make that VERY nervous.

1) For those that work in a field that focuses on health, do you ever feel pressure to "look the part"? I'm afraid that I'm going to be silently judged because I don't look a certain way. Of course, I am working on my health, but my body isn't going to change that drastically in a short time. I'm just going to feel ridiculous lecturing on health when I look the way that I do. Has anyone been in this sort of situation, and how did you deal with it? And be honest. When you see someone lecturing on health, do you take note of how they look? I'm sure you guys do, because there is a lot of critique on how DurianRider and vegans look physically or how Dr. Oz looks and how freaking awesome Mark Sisson looks. Well, I'm not exactly the picture of perfect health, and I'm going to be that annoying person lecturing and...just, ugh.

2) I currently IF (first meal late in the afternoon). If I start the job, I think I'm going to change my schedule. I don't want to be the oddball of the office and figure that lunch is a time when people form some social bonds. What I am currently doing now works the best for me, but I also don't want to draw too much attention to myself. Unlike some of you here, I don't having raving magical stories about paleo's benefits that show on me...yet. Is there anyone out there who IF who also works with nutritionists that tend to follow CW in terms of eating small meals throughout the day?

Regular PH member going anonymous because of paranoia because of possibility of new job...and embarrassment:)

C9a22b25d810517ba79762e55c92c737

(25)

on May 05, 2012
at 02:41 AM

Thank you so much. Hopefully my passion will shine through! :)

C9a22b25d810517ba79762e55c92c737

(25)

on May 05, 2012
at 02:41 AM

Thank you so much for your response and positive attitude:)

C9a22b25d810517ba79762e55c92c737

(25)

on May 05, 2012
at 02:40 AM

Thanks for the kind response! However, personal stories wouldn't be professional in this line of work. I'll be working for a university, so it has be be more objective (epidemiology, resources for low-income populations and school lunches etc.). I can't help but feel ridiculous talking about health when I look BLAH. I agree that being imperfect makes you easier to connect to, but am very hesitant to bring my personal struggles to the workplace, especially because I hate attention drawn to myself and I'll be getting plenty of that as a newbie. But thanks for reminding me that I am only human.

A8b26b6d183c84b102381bdcce64f642

(130)

on May 05, 2012
at 01:09 AM

aw, thanks! to both of you! :)

8496289baf18c2d3e210740614dc9082

(1867)

on May 04, 2012
at 05:52 AM

I don't know what you look like, nor do I care. You are beautiful. It doesn't sound like you will, but don't ever doubt that for a second.

C9a22b25d810517ba79762e55c92c737

(25)

on May 04, 2012
at 05:46 AM

I took a peek at your site and you are RADIANT. You look absolutely amazing, especially with that smile!

C9a22b25d810517ba79762e55c92c737

(25)

on May 04, 2012
at 05:40 AM

This was an amazing answer!! Congrats on all your hard work! WOW. Personally, I'd LOVE to have a "success story" be my trainer. "You're real"...goodness, I love that way of thinking:). I love that they they say you are approachable. I'm not one bit surprised! Thanks again for your response.

C9a22b25d810517ba79762e55c92c737

(25)

on May 04, 2012
at 05:36 AM

*conventional wisdom. I apologize for the confusion!

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7 Answers

13
A8b26b6d183c84b102381bdcce64f642

(130)

on May 04, 2012
at 05:29 AM

Oh my goodness. YES! I used to weigh 352 pounds. I lost 200 of it and now own my own gym and nutrition business. But I am a 43 year old mother of three who lost 200 pounds...and I LOOK like a 43 year old mother of three that lost 200 pounds! lol! I did Crossfit for a couple years and now focus on power lifting. My physique shows that also. I have ass and I have thighs. and I've put on 20 lbs of muscle in the last year.

I also work in a woman's studio, and though my clients really like me, I have been told point blank by one that 'she won't do strength training because she doesn't want to look like me'. That still bothers me. And yes, I am constantly aware that I do not have that typical personal trainer body type and yes, I do feel like people do consider that when deciding whether to work with me. Woman are already terrified that if they lift weights, they'll bulk up. They see me and it reinforces it, and not in a good way. I try to tell myself that 1) not many trainers have come into this professional the route I did by losing a huge amount of weight and 2) not many trainers are lifters. These woman are used to the tiny little bodies on these gym coaches and that's what they want. And that's not what I have.

I have a very faithful following. And I absolutely love my job and would never trade it for the world. But I am constantly...daily...cognizant of how I'm not what they necessarily expect.

HOWEVER...and this is huge...I have been told multiple times that woman who were scared to try working out, will with me...because I'm approachable. Because I have a body they can actually relate to and aspire to. They look at the fitness model trainers and know they're never going to be THAT. But me? They can be ME!

So yes, you probably will be judged. Some negatively...but hopefully even more will judge you positively. For being brave enough to spread the word and do something worthwhile even if you're not necessarily the airbrushed fitness professional in a magazine. You're real. And that's better!

So you'll just have to keep reminding yourself of how far you've come and how hard you're still working and how important what you're doing is. And try to keep a positive attitude with lots of good self talk. Seriously! It helps!

Good luck!

A8b26b6d183c84b102381bdcce64f642

(130)

on May 05, 2012
at 01:09 AM

aw, thanks! to both of you! :)

C9a22b25d810517ba79762e55c92c737

(25)

on May 04, 2012
at 05:46 AM

I took a peek at your site and you are RADIANT. You look absolutely amazing, especially with that smile!

C9a22b25d810517ba79762e55c92c737

(25)

on May 04, 2012
at 05:40 AM

This was an amazing answer!! Congrats on all your hard work! WOW. Personally, I'd LOVE to have a "success story" be my trainer. "You're real"...goodness, I love that way of thinking:). I love that they they say you are approachable. I'm not one bit surprised! Thanks again for your response.

8496289baf18c2d3e210740614dc9082

(1867)

on May 04, 2012
at 05:52 AM

I don't know what you look like, nor do I care. You are beautiful. It doesn't sound like you will, but don't ever doubt that for a second.

5
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on May 04, 2012
at 07:14 AM

I'll start this with an example... My husband got into the habit of running during lunchtime back in grad school when he was part of a club that did their runs at noon (and BTW where we met!). He has stuck with it ever since. Now he's a big shot dean in an engineering school, and there is tons of pressure to do all kinds of business lunches, and lunch meetings etc. But people know that unless it's totally unavoidable, he's just not available for lunch. It's "sacred time" and non-negotiable. He typically doesn't eat (or eats very little) until dinner. Everyone wonders how he's been able to stay in such good shape over the years while all the other administrators have put on weight. Ummmm...

SO here's my suggestion: Since you're just starting here, it's a perfect opportunity to introduce a "healthy habit" (how's that for CW-talk?) of using your lunch hour (or whatever fraction of an hour you get) to go for a walk, and tell your co-workers that this is part of your overall effort to improve your health and as such, non-negotiable? If you'd like it to be a social thing, invite them to join you! They can graze at their desks all day and you can wait until it suits you (late afternoon). I'd stand firm on this and go for that walk, rain or shine. It really will help your weight-loss efforts, too.

As for how you look, I wouldn't worry. ANyway, unless you've really been there, how can you really relate to people enough to give good advice? You are on the same journey most of them are and as you improve your health, that will be the strongest message you can give.

4
65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on May 04, 2012
at 05:47 AM

Friendly reminder: you are probably one of your toughest critics. Your body, in whatever shape, is capable and houses an intelligent mind, a beautiful spirit who wants to educate. Don't discount these gifts because you don't fit into the body-mold you think people expect :)

Yes, you will come across some judgmental people, but always remember that they are judging you through a lense that is tinted with their own insecurities. It's not necessarily about you. Truth, wisdom, scientific studies and evidence speak far louder than your physical appearance. Health is not just projected by your weight, but by the energy you carry into a room, your physical and emotional presence. Be confidant- you are being hired for your expertise, so don't discount yourself.

Use your experiences to relate to others: who would you rather learn from: someone who has struggled with conventional nutrition and is honest and genuine actively working to better their health, or someone who physically appears healthy and starves themsself? (I'm not saying these are the only two options, some healthy looking thin people really are healthy) I would be pleased to learn from you. You sound relatable, knowledgeable and genuinely interested in health - otherwise you wouldn't be here!

If this is what you want to do, go for it with confidence and let your passion shine through.

Good luck!

2
8496289baf18c2d3e210740614dc9082

on May 04, 2012
at 06:03 AM

As a medical student, I know I always wonder about the physicians who teach me and why they tend to look so terrible. But I also get to see these folks over a long period of time and watch them not get better.

So my first thought is this: if you don't look the part but you know your business, you'll begin to change hearts and minds. If what you're doing is working for you, then folks who see you regularly will begin to see that and begin to respect it. Consequently, their minds will open more easily than they might initially.

My second thought is this: if you are willing to change what works best for you in order to make nice with folks who are doing things that don't work for you, and that furthermore you believe probably don't work for them in the long run ... then you're doing the job you're hoping to get a tremendous disservice. I've found that what I do speaks for itself, and I believe the same is true for most if not all of us. You don't have to try to stick out at meal times. You don't have to proselytize, especially if you feel the environment is unsuitable to it. All that can be asked of you is that you do what makes you healthy and happy, and answer with fervency and honesty any questions folks have about what you're doing and why. That makes you an advocate for change folks can believe in and buy into, rather than a snake-oil seller.

My third thought is this: do what makes you happy. Do what makes you healthy. If you think this job will require you to change the things you've found make you feel wonderful, then maybe the job itself isn't so wonderful for you. But maybe it is, and you're just worrying too much. You know all that excess cortisol is bad for you anyway c:

Best of luck getting the job, and I hope it's everything you want it to be. If you stay true to yourself, it seems like it will, and may be an awesome chance to enact positive change in the world.

C9a22b25d810517ba79762e55c92c737

(25)

on May 05, 2012
at 02:41 AM

Thank you so much for your response and positive attitude:)

2
5698f84a2335b71e70a49666927b79e1

on May 04, 2012
at 05:59 AM

I am a fitness trainer and I believe that you have to represent your brand, in saying that; during the years that I have been a trainer clients have responded to me because of my knowledge, motivation and strengths that I posses, not just by how I look. Most people are not that shallow or shortsighted. That's the kind of world I like to live in anyway :-) be confident and enjoy the opportunity to be an educator! It's a gift.

C9a22b25d810517ba79762e55c92c737

(25)

on May 05, 2012
at 02:41 AM

Thank you so much. Hopefully my passion will shine through! :)

1
5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on May 05, 2012
at 02:20 AM

Okay, so you aren't a "perfect specimen." Or at least not yet.;) But so far you've made some real, visible progress, yes?

If I was in your shoes, I'd find a "Before" photo of myself, and maybe a couple of other in-progress shots, and I'd use them as part of my presentations. And if I was speaking at elementary schools, I'd probably have my mom dredge up some of my old fat-kid photos, too.

Bring your personal story into your work. Don't just be the authority standing up there and telling people what they need to know; be a person with his own story that others an relate to. Because you're going to encounter lots of people who are currently where you were in your "Before" pic, and who wonder if there's really any hope or any point in bothering to try changing things. Perfect people can be intimidating or off-putting because--well, they're perfect. But imperfect people, whose stories are still in-progress? A lot of people will have an easier time connecting to you--and thus what you have to say--if they can see for themselves how far you've already come.

C9a22b25d810517ba79762e55c92c737

(25)

on May 05, 2012
at 02:40 AM

Thanks for the kind response! However, personal stories wouldn't be professional in this line of work. I'll be working for a university, so it has be be more objective (epidemiology, resources for low-income populations and school lunches etc.). I can't help but feel ridiculous talking about health when I look BLAH. I agree that being imperfect makes you easier to connect to, but am very hesitant to bring my personal struggles to the workplace, especially because I hate attention drawn to myself and I'll be getting plenty of that as a newbie. But thanks for reminding me that I am only human.

0
5b4fd1d0dcb02b1cc3c666ece9e5983d

(1169)

on May 04, 2012
at 05:24 AM

What is CW? Can you please clear that up so we can evaluate this question.

C9a22b25d810517ba79762e55c92c737

(25)

on May 04, 2012
at 05:36 AM

*conventional wisdom. I apologize for the confusion!

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