This article first appeared in Texas Lifestyle Magazine on March 25, 2019.
“Understanding what fit will look like on you is motivating because it is realistic and grounded in your goals and past experiences.”
Kathleen Trotter’s book, ‘Your Fittest Future Self,’ breaks down the pros and cons of over 30 workouts, diets, and motivational strategies to help Texans stay fit.
Trotter, a Canadian-born fitness expert, media personality, personal trainer, writer, and life coach, takes a functional approach to personal fitness. ‘Your Fittest Future Self’ provides tools for filtering and creating a personal health “mix” specific to each individual’s lifestyle and fitness goals. Trotter’s objective is to give science-based health information with a self-aware, individualized strategy.
What sets your fitness approach apart from others?
Interesting question. If I have to boil it down, probably two interconnected core beliefs: “I am not the expert of anyone’s life (except my own)” and “more knowledge is not the answer.” I never presume to understand anyone’s life better than they do. Sure, I am the “health expert,” but every individual is the expert of “them.” Each individual has to filter the information I provide through their particular life lens — their unique lifestyle, history, and goals. Health knowledge is only half the puzzle — the other key half is developing the mindset, inner dialogue and personalized plan that will allow one to implement said knowledge. No matter how excellent the health or diet information is, if you can’t make yourself implement the information, the benefits are moot.
What do you mean when you suggest ‘rethinking fit?’
The problem with the current widespread — typically subconscious — one-size-fits-all interpretation of fitness is that it is, at best, unrealistic and, at worst, highly unmotivating. A stereotypically fit person drinks protein shakes, has washboard abs and trains daily. The problem is, why even start working out when the image of what you are trying to become seems so unachievable?
Your fit is not just your jean size or how many push-ups you can do. Your fit is the interconnection between the activities that work best for your body, your relationship with your body, your inner sense of worth, your history, your goals, and how your understanding of health and wellness plays out — how it fits — on your body. People too often fall off the fitness horse because they allow preconceived ideas of what it means to be a fit person to cloud their image of health success.
What is an individualized health mix?
Think of it this way: Your “mix” are the best components — for you — of the myriad workouts, diets, and motivational strategies available. You create your mix by first understanding the pros and cons of the available diets, workouts, and motivational strategies and then parsing out the components that are the best FOR YOU. Finally, you combine the “pros” into a plan tailored to fit you and your needs. This may sound overwhelming, but luckily I have done the work. My advice to anyone trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle is, instead of trying to find the perfect diet, workout, and mindset program to follow, create something tailored to you.
How did you create your ‘mixed’ concept?
The concept was actually inspired by a conversation with my best friend, Emily when we were discussing diets and fitness routines. I was explaining that every health philosophy has pros and cons, that most programs have both useful and not-so-useful elements, and that finding a sustainable plan is about knowing how to take the good and leave the bad. She pointed out that there’s no shortage of motivational techniques and diet and exercise regimens, and among so many supposedly healthy options, it is almost impossible to figure out which of the healthy and productive choices are worthwhile. She suggested I write a book that teaches readers how to wade through all the possible choices without becoming overwhelmed, confused, and (worst-case scenario) paralyzed into indecision. So I did!
What are the foundations of a healthy Nutritionmix?
Awareness, consistency, and a commitment to “the basics.” To make a healthier choice, you first need to be aware of current choices. Doing what you have always done and believing what you have always believed will create a future self who is a slightly older copy of your current self. When it comes to nutrition, most people don’t need complexity; they need to follow the basics CONSISTENTLY.
Commit to the basics: Eat real food. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full (or before you are full), and eat mindfully. Calories count, even in liquid form. Pay attention to what you drink, not just what you eat. Portions count. Always have a plan — prep healthy food, know what you will eat at parties, and have an advanced “plan of attack” in social situations.
Perfectionism and “fitness wishes.” Let go of the unrealistic goal of fitness or diet “perfection” and just do something. Something is always better than nothing. The mediocre workout you do regularly is better than the perfect workout you never do. The road to success is paved with realistic, meaningful goals. Sure, start with a “fitness wish,” but turn the wish into reality by establishing realistic, safe, meaningful, and sustainable long- and short-term goals.