Fitness trainer Lisa Lanceford and her husband Romane discuss the importance of being surrounded by supportive friends and family
Romane: I personally think that it doesn’t really matter if your partner shares the same nutritional or fitness goals as you. What is hard is when they don’t offer you support or encouragement. And that goes for anyone in your life that you are close to.
From my own experience, the minute you decide to do something positive for yourself, you may find that those around you try and knock you off course. They ask, ‘Why would you want to do that anyway?’ The problem with changing is that often the people around you stay the same, and watching you make your incredible progress can make them feel negative about their own reality – and this may make them want to pull you down.
When I was PT’ing, the number one reason why people who had done amazingly well fell off their diet plan was because people close to them tried to push them back into their old lifestyle. They would make them feel so guilty that in the end, they would cave. It would be sisters, husbands, generally anyone who wasn’t able to do it themselves. It’s not nice to think about, but from my experience, the people closest to you can be the biggest challenge to keeping on track in the long term.
Lisa: One of Romane’s clients gained muscle so naturally, she was just genetically programmed to do it – she had something really special. But as she started building her strength, her friends began to constantly put her down for her progress; they couldn’t work out why she was making compromises to achieve something which they didn’t deem desirable. In the end, she stopped training completely for a long while. We see it so much in our Facebook group. People post saying, my mum said this, or my best friend said that, and it knocked my confidence. But here’s the thing: other people’s opinions on how you look are nothing to do with how you choose to live. If weightlifting and building a strong body make you feel and look great, that is all anyone else needs to know.
Romane: As soon as I started competing, I became pretty strict with my diet, and I really enjoyed that challenge and doing something for myself. The first thing I noticed was how mean everyone around me suddenly became about it. I couldn’t work out why they were trying to pull me down, because what is it to them if I don’t eat a sausage roll for my dinner? It’s up to me what I do and how I live my life. However bad it was for me; I do think that kind of response is even worse for girls.
Lisa: It happens to me all the time. I’ll go to a party, or a lunch and I’ll be asked, ‘Ooo, can you have that?’ or ‘Are you allowed to eat this?’ Then it will be, ‘Go on, try it,’ or ‘You look like you could do with a bit of cake.’ My response is always the same: of course, I could have it if I wanted it, it’s not like I have the police coming round if I have a slice of cake! But for me, if it’s a choice between that cake and achieving something that I really, really want, I’m going to leave it. Thanks, though.
Romane: Part of living strong is that you’re going to have to put up with people trying to make you eat an extra piece of cake for the rest of your life. You start looking and feeling better and more often than you would believe, the response from others is to try and get you to quit your plan.
Lisa: I think understanding the psychology behind why people are trying to knock you off your track is important for helping you to resist the pressure.
Romane: From my perspective, when I try to stick to a diet, or we do it together, I know how much potential we have inside of us. Potential to build our business and inspire other people, potential to create great, engaging content and potential to develop our bodies to feel and look amazing. That’s what I’m always thinking about. I know that if we make those
compromises, something really special will come from it.
Dealing with fitness setbacks
Extracted from 7 Steps to Strong: Get Fit. Boost Your Mood. Kick Start Your Confidence by Lisa Lanceford, Century, £16.99