Our function. Our responsibility.

Ordinarily I don’t like superlatives. They rule out too much of value but…the most frustrating reality in this wonderful and relevant profession is the inability of people we care about to lose their unwanted body fat.

Being human I understand surrendering to temptations and making choices that aren’t beneficial, along with others that are downright detrimental. I understand all that—to a degree. I also understand if the rewards are about avoiding possible future conditions (high blood pressure, heart disease, respiratory problems, high cholesterol, diabetes…), it’s easy to talk ourselves out of consistently improving our dietary choices and adding daily physical exertion. (Yes, we actually have to exert/sweat to get results.) I mean one more drink of alcohol or soda or one more poor dietary choice isn’t really going to make that much difference, right? I’ll start that new exercise regimen…ummm, Monday. Yeah, Monday! And heck, I’m probably not going to develop any of those problems anyway.

It’s just that with the positive goals of feeling better, moving with less discomfort, having better balance and more energy—I have difficulty understanding that inability.

So when a client/friend says something like “But I enjoy my evening bourbons” or “I just can’t push that plate of seconds away” or “It tastes so good” or “I don’t have time (in a 24-hour day) to take a brisk 30–45 minute walk,” I don’t know what to think or say.

Fortunately we know what to do. Our responsibility in all the above is minimal. Two or three hours a week (in lieu of work with a scalpel, which we aren’t qualified to do) just isn’t enough to offset the choices we make during the other 165–166 hours.

So, back to the headline: First we have to be educated. The credible national certifications are rigid, are often not acquired with the first attempt and involve continuing education to maintain. Then we have to inform, guide and care as we help others safely make efficient productive use of their limited time. We have to keep changing what’s being done to adapt to improvements. We have to make the sessions both enjoyable and productive. We’re also providing accountability, encouraging adherence and guiding toward measurable progress in balance, body composition and cardiovascular performance.

Losing body fat: Many do. Many don’t, but they still improve themselves in overall health and fitness. Is that enough for me? Nope. That’s why I’m whining while writing this. But it is positive. It is beneficial daily. It is improvement. And sometimes our client/friend eventually does what he or she needs to when that client is not with us. That takes it to another level of rewarding. First for them, of course, but also for us.

Our function, our responsibility is the same whether you do or you do not. And that’s what we have to focus on.

P.S. Please look for my debut Viewpoint column next month. I’ll be alternating monthly between “To Your Health” and my new broader “Viewpoints.” Hope you’ll check it out, and let Oyster Pointer and me know what you think.