Judgement. As personal trainers we're not supposed to judge our clients. We're supposed to be open minded as our clients tell us what brought them to us, what got them to their current weight and how we can help them live a healthier life. There are classes, trainings and certifications that cover this topic helping us to ask questions and listen to the client, rather than judging them.
Yet, I hear it all the time. The other day it was a conversation about looking in people's grocery carts. Judging them as good or bad parents based on the food choices in the cart that they were feeding to their family. And regardless of whether you thought the entire discussion was silly, a waste of time or that you recognized your own judgement of others by what they're wearing, acting, buying etc, you were still judging and making an opinion based on that judgement.
One of the biggest reasons people stall in meeting their exercise, weight loss, health goals is that they become concerned with what other people will say about them. That the people at the gym will look down on them for being so overweight and just walking on the treadmill. That others will think them uncoordinated as they don't know all the steps to a group fitness class. That friends or family will laugh when they decline a piece of cake or say no to a drink because you want to feel good for that early morning workout.
We've all been there. Feeling like we're on the outskirts of what everyone else is doing because we're trying to make positive changes in our lives. Feeling judged for trying to live our healthiest lives. Its not the greatest of feelings.
You know the saying 'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." Not really true is it? Words can and do hurt and so does the judgement we feel or we place on others. We know we should rise above it, not care what others say. But we do. We all want to feel accepted, that others support our decisions and opinions. Its why we surround ourselves with people who act and think like us. Its why as a personal trainer, I encourage my clients to workout in a group or participate in activities that will support their new healthy endeavors.
Its impossible to never judge other people. But you can control your actions. Afterall, its how you act on that judgement that matters. Support those around you that are making healthy lifestyle changes. Ask how you can help. When you see a new person at the gym or someone who is overweight, offer them a smile, say hi, be welcoming. They're trying to get on that healthy bandwagon just like you. When you see the mom or dad at the grocery store with what you think is "crap" in their cart, know that they're doing the best they can with the knowledge they have. At one point you probably had the same "crap" in your cart.
Judging others doesn't get anyone anywhere. It hurts the person being judged, keeping them further from their goals. And it hurts you, by making you feel rightous, and keeping you from seeing where you can make improvements. No exercise program or nutrition program is perfect. There are always things to learn and what we learn is always changing (Are eggs healthy or bad and full of cholesterol!?). Be supportive, ask questions, keep learning and encourage those around you to live their healthiest lives. What incredible things we can achieve if we leave the judgement behind and support each others goals!!!!