Fitness columnist Emmet Rushe introduces you a person you already know - the one who is trying to sabotage your health goals.

The blog may be titled “Meet Jenny”, but I can guarantee that you have already met her and probably know her quite well.

  • Think about every time you have started training.
  • Think about every time you have tried to eat better.
  • Think about every time you have tried to do something to better your current situation.

No matter what the scenario, ‘Jenny’ will be there.

I know ‘Jenny’ quite well.

Over the years I have come across many versions of ‘Jenny’, but they all follow the same script.

I have written about ‘Jenny’ before, but I feel that it is time to introduce her again, as she has started to make her presence be felt over the last 2 weeks.

I am running a Summer Shape Up Challenge for my Rushe Fitness gym members.

The idea is that by the end of the 8 week challenge, they will be a better, more healthy version of themselves and will have more confidence to keep the new habits going long after the challenge ends.

Stories of ‘Jenny’ have started to flood in as the members push further into the challenge.

It usually goes like this.

Member – “You know how you have fruit in the smoothies you recommend?”

Me – “Yeah, it’s a great way of adding taste to them and also getting your fruit and some fibre at the same time.”

Member – “Yeah, it’s just that, Jenny at the office said that if I eat too much fruit, it will make me fat.”

Me – “Fruit makes you fat? How much fruit does Jenny think you are eating?”

Jenny didn’t agree with all the fruit that was going around the office.

She also has an opinion on training.

Member –“I have started lifting weights, I really think it will help me improve my shape and lose some weight.”

Jenny – “You shouldn’t be doing that, I know this one girl who started lifting weights and she started to look all manly”

Me – “Yeah, I don’t think that we will be doing anything that will make you look like a man.” 

Everyone has an opinion.

Everyone thinks that they are entitled to their opinion.

Sometimes you are, and sometimes you are not.

Sometimes you really need to learn when to say nothing at all.

One of these times is usually when you are talking to someone who has started a diet or has started training.

The reason is simple.

Whenever someone mentions that they are making a change for the better, there will always be this one person, who will have some horrific information as to why, WHATEVER you are doing, is wrong.

Member – “I have started to drink more water. I am really seeing the benefits in my skin and I feel so much better when I’m training”

Jenny – “You shouldn’t drink so much water. I know this one girl who drank too much water and she died”

Member – “I’m going to start walking in the days in between my gym session. I am loving the changes in my fitness and want to make more to these”

Jenny – “You shouldn’t do so much exercise. Once you stop all the muscle will turn to fat”

You see ‘Jenny’ hates change.

It makes her uncomfortable.

What makes her even more uncomfortable is whenever someone else starts to change something about themselves.

This change, no matter what it is; weight loss, training, self-improvement, your job aspirations,  it highlights all of Jenny’s failings.

Every time she has failed on a diet, every time she has started training and stopped a few weeks later, every time they have sat back and let someone else do all the work, it all comes out, when you start on your journey.

Sometimes, they won’t know they are doing it; it’s an automatic reaction to the discomfort they are feeling.

Other times they will know exactly what they are doing.

  • Like when they badger you to go for drinks at the weekend, knowing full well that you have given it up to concentrate on your goal.
  • Like when they tell you not to go for that promotion because you might not get it and probably don’t want it anyways. The reality here is that she doesn’t want you to go for it for her own selfish reasons.
  • Like when they bring buns and biscuits into work and tell you that one won’t kill you, knowing that you are on a diet.
    When they bring those buns to work, making it look like they want to share them with their work colleagues, what they really want is to eat buns.
    By bringing them into work, they feel less guilty because now everyone is eating buns.

Starting any new journey is hard.

Change is hard, because there has to be some form of discomfort in order for change to happen.

It’s hard enough without someone who is supposed to be a friend or work colleague, trying to sabotage it.

Trying to sabotage your friend means you are not much of a friend.

But there is a solution, and I am seeing it happen.

The more that my members post up their weekly achievements, the more their confidence is growing.

At the start, ‘Jenny’ was up to her usual tricks, and some ‘Jenny’s’ are still at it.

But, some are starting to see what the members are achieving, and they are starting to take notice and make changes themselves.

Positivity is contagious.
The more that you show others how easy it is to have, the more that they will want it.

If you see someone who is winning at every turn, while on their journey, don’t shy away from them, ask them how they are doing it and try to emulate it so you can be a better version of you.