This week I watched an awesome documentary called Fit To Fat and Back on YouTube.
In 2009, former international model and personal trainer – Paul “PJ” James – set out on a life-changing journey of discovery. After running out of ideas trying to motivate one of his obese clients and not being able to understand their struggles, his client said to him “you should try being in my shoes and see how it feels.”
PJ decided they were right, and decided to do exactly that.
In order to understand obesity on a personal level and empathise with his overweight clients, PJ decided to gain 50% of his body weight (40kg / 90lbs). By walking a mile in the shoes of his overweight clients, PJ wanted to experience the emotional, psychological and physical effects of obesity, first hand. His 12 month journey from FIT TO FAT AND BACK shocked the world and brought huge awareness to the obesity epidemic. PJ also inspired countless other trainers to follow in his footsteps and gain weight in order to try and understand the struggles of their overweight clients. FIT TO FAT AND BACK is an important and very insightful documentary.
Initially PJ loved the journey – he got to stuff his face with whatever he wanted. After years of being a regular at the gym and really taking care of his body, all of a sudden he didn’t need to care. He didn’t set foot inside a gym to train himself during that time, although he was still training others.
His Doctor told him at one point that he’d be stupid to carry on with the study as he was really putting his health at risk, but he was so close to his goal weight that he didn’t want to give up. He felt he owed it to the world to really make a point of reaching his goal.
What I found really interesting was the mental health decline and emotional side of things that PJ showed. If you’re someone who has always overeaten, and eat a fair amount of processed foods, then feeling tired and sluggish may just be normal for you. But PJ showed the result of a poor diet which he hadn’t dealt with before as he had been a clean eater for so long. He suffered erratic behaviour (his friends were worried about him), he became secretive and shut off from his friends, he admitted he just wanted to stuff his face and sit on the sofa and that’s what felt good to him, his mood was lower, he had no energy and was tired all the time, and you could see it in his face – not just because he had put on weight, but he really looked different.
I found it even more interesting when he reached his goal and started to go back to healthy eating and exercise. His friend who was filming him decided to sneak up on him and found him eating a pizza – on only day 1 of going back to his old diet. He lied and said it was because he hadn’t eaten lunch but later admitted he’d eaten two pies for lunch and said he only did it because it was the “healthiest option.”
Food is addictive, and as a global nation we are addicted to poor quality food that gives our brain floods of dopamine to make us feel good and keeps us going back for more. We eat far more than we should and far more than our bodies need, and often the wrong kinds of foods.
Many of us are emotional eaters and we eat when we’re bored, lonely, tired, cold, hormonal, angry, sad, happy… you name it, we have a reason to eat. How often are we actually eating because we’re hungry? And when we do eat, are we eating what our body really needs?
For the last couple of months I’ve been exploring the science behind intermittent fasting and water only fasting (check out my playlist on YouTube here which has heaps of video interviews with amazing scientists talking about the benefits of I.F) and I’ve been doing daily fasting most days with a whole day to a day and a half per week of full fasting. I’ve noticed many benefits to this such as extra energy, weight loss, better sleep and improved memory, but the best thing I’ve noticed is that for the first time since I can remember I have zero pain in my lower back (I’ve had a sore lower back since I was young and have arthritis in my spine after slipping a couple of discs back in 2010).
As a cleanse coach I work with my clients through a 30 day program where they receive quality nutrition and coaching with me to support them to set up a program that works and to deal with the emotional side behind why they were overeating, working through any sabotaging behaviours that come up.
If you’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired and are ready to do something about it but would like some support, get in touch with me and we can chat through what’s going on for you right now.
Catcha on the flip side,