Ollie - Why I Do What I Do
They say that men think about sex every six seconds, I say they're wrong, whoever they are?
Try every three seconds, except for me it’s food...
Food and sex... Food, sex and lifting weights, every three seconds, all day, every day, always!
Just ask my girlfriend, she'll tell you, it's all I ever talk about. (She should have a medal btw!)
And then there's the doing. I have to DO all these things as well. It’s terribly exhausting trying to concentrate on one thing while thinking about all three things at once, every three seconds!
I've come to the conclusion that I'm basically as close to an ape as it's possible to be, although with my hair I’m far more akin to an orang-utan.
But seriously, food and lifting are such a huge part of my life, they’re all consuming.
I love them both, they go hand in hand. I can't have one without the other and one allows me to do more of the other and vice versa.
It sounds boring to most I’m sure but lifting weights stands at the top of the list of my passions, I have a few but this one topples the scales (I’m not even going to apologise for that pun by-the-way!).
Food however, I wouldn’t exactly call a passion, although I love them both, that love is far from equal. Strength training is something I welcome with open arms, something I know is good for me and will enjoy for as long as I can keep doing it.
My love of food, however, is something that was involuntarily bestowed upon me; like a third nipple, something you laugh about and pretend to love but secretly wish you could remove. (Okay, so I’m pretty sure you can have a third nipple removed these days but you know what I mean!)
When I was growing up I was a normal sized kid, not really fat or anything. Then along came puberty and BOOM, my love of food emerged and boy did I love the food! And by love, I mean consume. You see I'm not a foodie or anything; I didn't start feasting on lobster tails and caviar crustinis. I ate anything and everything. I “loved” all food, the good, the bad and the ugly.
This, by-the-way, is not my XFactor audition sob story moment, I didn't get that fat but I was quite fat, ya know? I did inadvertently build a good bit of muscle too (thanks for the genes Dad!) during my adolescence, which comes in handy now. This is not a sob story because I didn't have some underlying issue or trauma so often associated with weight gain or obesity; I grew up comfortably, in a middle class home in the south west of England. Why the hell could I not stop eating?
And so throughout my former years I've looked for answers and reasons as to why I seemingly can't get food off the brain, my weight has fluctuated and I've dieted with varying degrees of difficulty and success... Until I discovered two of the most personally influential resources that have changed my life and the way I think. They are as follows...and bear with me, I'm not trying sell you anything here, I am going somewhere with this.
Recently I started reading a book that had me ticking boxes left right and centre. It's called "Mind management- the chimp paradox" by sports psychologist Steve Peters. To cut a long story short Dr Peters uses what he calls your 'inner chimp' as a metaphor for your instinctual behaviour, behaviour that can be your best friend or your worst enemy, save your life or make you fat. His theory is that these instincts are present in everybody to varying degrees and he offers ways to deal with undesirable ones throughout the book. Essentially your chimp wants to eat, your chimp wants to procreate, your chimp wants to fight or run away, your chimp wants to rear offspring and your chimp wants to jump out of the car screaming obscenities when someone cuts you up, and so on and so on.
Hence why I've come to the conclusion (or rather Dr Steve Peters has) that we're all closer to our furry ancestors than we realise and that the sooner we stop looking for answers that aren’t necessarily there, stop blaming ourselves for our short comings and learn to control those damn chimps the better! I firmly believe that my chimp just bloody loves eating, simple as that... just have to learn to tame the little prick now!
The second resource that has really changed the way I view diet/ nutrition and training is www.eattoperform.com. This blog and subsequent publications were created by Dr Mike T Nelson, the premise to the material offered being that athletes (that's you and I, we're all athletes ya know) should concentrate on eating in a manner that directly contributes to our training and stop obsessing over a number on the scales.
By taking this long term approach and concentrating on athletic ability we can almost guarantee sustainable results by taking the onus away from dieting and deprivation and placing it instead on celebrating physical achievement fuelled by the consumption of adequate and correct nutrition.
Making change is a very personal process, one that requires the subject to fully embrace and love the process, if I tell you to do three hundred burpees and that you can never eat your favourite food again, are you going to fall in love with the training process? Definitely not!
I found Powerlifting and I love it, I now have a reason to train, a reason to think twice before devouring everything in sight and most importantly I have bargaining power when negotiating with my chimp.
Nowadays I don't worry if my chimp wants to devour a giant gourmet burger on occasion, I don’t feel guilty about it, I simply decide whether or not it’s an appropriate choice at that time, and if we agree we’re both happy, if not, I stick him back in his cage, f**k him, he’ll live!. (Just FYI, I’m not advocating the captivity of chimps in cages, only metaphorical ones!).
His name is Dean by the way, it sounds mental I know, naming chimps in your head but in all seriousness, I do what I do because it has clicked for me and I want to make it click for those people who struggle with their instincts.
Yes, I’m still learning, still battling with Dean but at least it makes a bit more sense now and I’m a hell of a lot closer to achieving what I want to achieve.
I encourage you all to read about your inner chimp, name them and learn to love/control the little bastards!
There is a hell of a lot of info out there, a lot of it contradictory and it really doesn't need to be that complicated. Find something that you love doing, that allows you to progress physically, eat natural, whole foods accordingly and watch it all click into place.
Thanks for reading,