Why I’m Quitting The Fitness Industry

It’s been coming.  I’ve been honest about what I wanted to focus on but those closest to me have seen the deterioration of my patience for a seriously broken industry.  For more than a decade I’ve watched every type of fad diet that you can imagine come and go.  I’ve watched the same people attempt to get fit and healthy dozens of times.  They’ve joined every program in the vicinity and when they didn’t work, bought whatever they could from whoever they could in a desperate attempt to lose the weight.  You name it, they’ve done it.

And the diet industry fucking loves you. They don’t want you to succeed… repeat business is lucrative business.

When I joined the fitness industry I had this ideal that could I make a difference somehow; That I could walk into this broken industry and make changes to how women and men viewed weight loss, themselves by understanding what factors are at play and then create the change from within.  I couldn’t have been further from the truth.   I became part of the problem, too.  I didn’t even realize it had happened, really, until I was in it, until one day I realized I was offering programs just like everyone else, 21 day this, 28 day that because the truth is… no one is signing up for the long term programs that will help them permanently change their lives.  They believe everything the diet industry is throwing out there – “well, if I do this it’s this much $ and I can lose 21lbs in 21 days and I have this cruise coming up”… “but how much weight will I lose”? “What about a colon cleanse?  What do you think of…P90X? Insanity? Dance it off?  Jillian Michaels?  Pilates? Plyo’s? Yoga?  Yogalates? Running clubs? Weight Training?  Cross fit?”

2 years ago I walked away from coaching as I knew it.  I have always been grateful that even though I was offering short term programs I wasn’t lying to people about what was going to be required for long term results.  But the truth is, as long as I was selling those programs the # of people who would get my message would be slim to none.  Most people’s opinion’s were “who cares, give them what they want, those who are ready will get your message and make the changes” but for me, that’s not what I was about.  And so I stopped.  Because I wasn’t doing what I came into the industry to do.  MOST don’t want to put the time and energy in that is required in long term programs.  Why?  Because there’s someone else who is promising 21 lbs in 21 days… so… ya know…

Look, I get it.  The diet industry has seriously failed you and you believe them, they’re perpetuating and playing on your emotions… promising quick fixes, fast results and they’re playing into everything you want, telling you you’re not good enough unless you do this… which by the way is a special container for your food … not like a regular container that costs .10c and that you can use a measuring cup for… this one, it’s special, so pay $200 for it.  And the coffee?  Yes, that’s a special extract from the mountains of Serbia, Only I have the secret and I had to spend 2 years in the mountains and millions of dollars uncovering it!  But you can get it for $97.  Imagine… Gobsmacked.  And this protein powder?  Well, there are other, cheaper powders on the market, but this one… this one has absolutely everything you need for a complete diet, just like, umm… real food has?  Yeah.

But you already know this, don’t you? You’re intelligent.  You know the diet industry is full of shit, deep down.  You know that you’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars on all of these programs that haven’t worked, yet, you keep going back to them, you keep buying into the promises.  The industry is a mess with no regulations so you can’t hold the bag alone for not getting results… I mean, the entire industry is perpetuating the cycle of gain/lose because truly, it’s in their best interest if you don’t “get it together”.   Did you know that a lot of  “trainers” have no certifications to be such?  When was the last time you asked your trainer or coach for proof of their certification and insurance?  Do they care enough to do the work to get and stay certified?  Do they carry insurance, you know, in case you get hurt?  If they’re not certified they can’t get it!  Then what?  Opps… should have checked into their background a little, right?  And what scope of practice?  How many “coaches” are dishing out nutrition plans with no nutrition education?  How many are prescribing workouts who have no idea about the structure of workouts, progression, balance, pyramiding?  All professionals have a scope of practice.  We can’t force people to follow our advice on seeking out other professionals when we’re outside of our qualifications, but we can refuse to coach them based on what we are skilled to do.

Then there’s the food issue ….a constant battle of what will work … vegan?  Vegetarian… cause, you know, cheese.  No fat? Low fat? No carbs?  Wheat belly?  Special shakes? Cheat days? Cheat meals? Intermittent fasting? Juice diets? Laxative diets (colon cleanses for that, um… 20lbs of waste in your bowels);  detox diets, cleanses, tea’s – everything under the sun!!!  All the while ignoring the #1 thing that will truly change your results – Mindset.

It’s 100% mindset – your body won’t go where your mind won’t push it.

We live in a world where we are always looking for the easy way out and the diet and fitness industry perpetuates that by constantly convincing you that the next fad diet is THE magic pill.  Fitness trainers and coaches put their name on products they wouldn’t dare use themselves to draw a correlation between how they look and said product so you’ll buy it.

I got back to the roots of what I do, what I teach and what I believe in.  That’s how I coach ALL of my clients again – mindset first, weight loss will follow. I help people uncover their WHY, and most importantly WHY they continue to do what they do and create new plans that will help them create the mindset for achieving long term, permanent results.  I’m not interested in helping people lose weight “for now” or helping people continually advance the diet industry’s agenda to get you to buy into their products.  My clients get meal plans, workouts and mindset.  I don’t sell products that I got from the salt mines in the mountains of Africa that are sure to melt off fat.  There is only one way to get the results you want and that’s through working at it, day in and day out.

Here’s what you need to know about weight loss:

  1.  Mindset – change how you view exercise and nutrition.  It’s not going to be easy.  You will be faced with a daily onslaught of bullshit on your social media feeds that will make you want to eat pink salt in the “hope” that it will, in fact, shrink your waist line.  But your mindset about nutrition, about exercise, overcoming your disbelief in yourself is what will get you results.  Stick with it.  It will start to work.
  2. Stop trying to make it happen NOW, like yesterday…  Results take time.  People are quitting after one week of not seeing results?  One week??!!!  The metabolism has to repair itself.  Changing a lifestyle takes time and consistency,  it could take months before you see results.  If you change your mindset you’ll be able to focus on all the amazing things that ARE happening besides watching a scale to show you your success (and failure)… nails, hair, skin, sleep, energy… you miss the amazing benefits of exercise and eating healthy when the only measure you use is the scale.
  3. Exercise every day.  Yes, everyday.  Walk/run/active “rest” a couple of days and go hard a couple of days.  Monitor your food intake – calories in and calories out are important, but a calorie isn’t a calorie – 60 calories from an apple is better than 60 calories from chocolate!
  4. Look under the hood – be willing to look inside to determine WHY you are using food and excuses to self destruct… this brings you right back to #1… mindset. Uncover the WHY behind why you do what you do, change your mindset, change your lifestyle.

That’s what will work.  Hold the diet industry to a higher regard.  Stop buying shit you know won’t work.  It’s not about never using coaches.  I am a coach for Christ Sake and I use coaches!  It’s about knowing what you need, when you need it.  Yes, you will want to do new programs.  Yes, you will buy magazines with new meal plans and recipes.  Yes, you will join fitness programs for a change of scene or pace or something new to beat the boredom.  But it’s all relative after you’ve gotten the mindset down… if you’re cycling, gaining and losing the same weight, buying into everything that comes on the market, it might be time for a new approach.

But, like everything, I can’t make you.  I want to.  I want you to get it so bad I want to hold you down and scream it at you until you “get it”.  But I can’t, cause that’s abuse and harassment and I’d go to jail and I’m not cut out for prison life :/  On A serious note, that’s why I’ve thrown in the towel on the fitness industry.  It’s exhausting and it’s disheartening to watch people destroy themselves with pills, potions and powders; I can’t train one more client who only wants to lose 20 lbs in 2 weeks cause, the cruise…right?

I coach people who are ready for a new way, who have (just like I did) done it all and are ready to put the work into changing their lifestyle.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good or lose weight.  It’s actually a big part of my own WHY, but it’s not my only WHY.  Because when that’s the ONLY part of the why, quitting becomes really easy when you see, after one week, that you worked out and ate healthy, for one week, and lost 1lb.  There has to be a bigger why.  And there is, actually.  You just have to want to uncover it.

So I decided that I’d rather not do it at all than continue to break down people’s confidence and belief in themselves by being a part of programs that do nothing to help the person truly change their lives.  No, I can’t “save them all” but at least, at the end of the day, I can look in the mirror and know that I did everything I could to give people their lives back, control over their health, and held people up rather than help them continue the cycle.  I’d rather help one person “get it” and change their lives than I would to help 500 people lose 50lbs and have them regain it all, adding one more failure to their already long list of failures.

Here’s my hope for you:  Put the work into the mindset.  The weight and health and fitness will follow.  When you consistently do the work over time, the weight will take care of itself.

I DO hold the industry and it’s “coaches” and “trainers” responsible for continuing to perpetuate this… but I understand that they are, too, a pawn in the weight loss industry.  It’s time for coaches to be held accountable for the continuing and damaging mindset and beliefs they are further instilling in people.

“Imagine a world where exercise was for the benefit of the body, stress reduction and healthy eating replaced “diets” and people ate healthy for the benefit of their health, not because the diet industry continues to say “you’ll be loved more, you’ll be accepted more, if you look like this, so eat this/do this workout/drink this/pop this pill.  Imagine a world where the industry itself stopped promoting quick fix, fad diets for sales? It IS possible.  But it’s not probable” – Tonya Whittle

If you’re interested in joining a completely new and different conversation about Weight Loss, Join my tribe who are fed with up with bullshit diets and the weight loss industry’s focus on creating customers, not success stories –>> Join the Group<<–

 

Comments

  1. sheila ryan

    You nailed it Tonya….just loved reading your blog tonight..

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read Alison! I know how busy you are, but I also know how dedicated to wellness you are! #wellnesswarriors – the world needs more of those! I am looking forward to helping people on the accountability and fitness mindset side of things… such an important missing aspect in the fitness industry!

    1. I’ve been doing it for more than a year, really… I’ve been moving to this place for some time… but it will be based in fitness education, motivation and accountability 🙂

  2. Sandra Rose

    Really enjoyed this blog Tonya…you are so real…I love it…

    1. Thank you Sandra! It’s not always easy to “speak the truth”. It’s amazing how much stress left me after I wrote this. We often brush things over, ignore things because we don’t want to ruffle features, and certainly in this day and age, the potential for serious backlash… but sometimes it just needs to be said. I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment and I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  3. lauralnurse

    Nice work babe! Totally agree.
    Feel good in your body first… the rest will follow. 🙂 lol… I laughed when I read about the scale being the only measure. So true… so I don’t even use them in my practice… it’s too damaging to be uni.focussed. (unless it’s cancer or something… and then that’s about putting it on usually. )

    1. Absolutely Laura! I remember a conversation you and I had in your office about removing the scale from my fitness business… and I wanted to but my clients were SO not ok with it. HA. It took me almost a year to get them out of it. Now we check occasionally because it’s a good measure, but it’s not the only measure!

  4. Dana

    I absolutely loved your article….so very insightful! It is something I will read again and again as a reminder to myself.Thank you for posting Tonya!

    1. Thank you Dana! I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Be sure to click “Follow” on the blog so you’re notified of new posts, I’ll be writing quite a bit in the future about the fitness industry 🙂

  5. ricky colter

    Tonya, loved the article and I so agree! I had no idea about all the propaganda and misinformation I was exposed to until I found an amazing personal trainer who was smart enough to sift through the fitness propaganda as he lost over 100 lbs himself. He is an amazing man who taught himself how to be a trainer so he could help others. I’m amazed at his ability to educate others, his dedication to his clients and his compassion for his clients. I can tell that you too have a deep compassion for your clients! Keep to your path and the lucky ones who find you will be changed forever!

    1. Thank you so much Ricky! I agree with 100%. I am passionate because I’ve waded through it. Part of why I’m so passionate is because it’s unjust to “sell” people so many lies and things that won’t work! I plan to work on fitness mindset — giving people the tools to know, understand what will work for them, what will be a right fit and help them get motivation, determination, discipline and dedication they need to succeed – all from within! Yes, of course, they’ll need dietary help and fitness plans and there is a science to that so I fully believe people need to hire professionals (like I did!) to get the assistance they need and ensure their safety… but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in the mind to help people understand why they don’t stuck to stuff, or continue to fall for quick fixes! One person at a time, I will help find what they need inside themselves 🙂 Thank you again, I’m always honoured and grateful when people take the time to respond 🙂

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