Weight Loss and Crossfit: Friends or Foes?
boxrox.com - Did you join Crossfit to lose weight? Lots of people do. As I see it, the box can be a great place to turn around a life – which is essentially the task facing overweight people.
But it can also be a source of alienation, confusion and extremes which further the faulty thinking patterns of many overweight members.
Aside from being a coach, I am a psychologist who specializes in working with clients struggling with obesity. The work with my clients is focused on the thinking and behaviour patterns that lead to obesity. Making Crossfit work for weight loss requires a different approach than for your average or athletic member. Of course they can benefit, but we must account for their starting points, physically and psychologically.
Although every individual is unique, there are some common themes that affect a great majority of overweight people. An awareness of these and how they might sit easily or awkwardly in the box will be the key to achieving weight loss success with Crossfit.
1. “I’ve tried every diet and nothing’s worked for me.”
Looking for the ‘magic feather’- The famously common phrase I hear at the first consultation: “I’ve tried every diet and nothing has worked for me.” Maybe you’ve heard this one. Maybe you’ve uttered it. It reminds me of the scene from Dumbo where he’s convinced holding a feather makes him fly. Later he discovers that he does the flying, not the feather and he lives happily ever after.
What we know about weight loss is similar to what we know about all physical fitness adaptations: that it happens because of a multitude of small, consistent changes over time. There is no ‘magic feather’; no quick fix solution solution. There is actually no diet or exercise plan that “works”. New members come along who might see Crossfit as the next possible miracle solution. But being surrounded by athletes whose level of “buff-ness” seems beyond the realms of possibility can either inspire the overweight member or feed the assumption that this is the holy grail – the magic feather that will now solve all their weight woes.
2. Lack of nutritional know-how and disordered eating habits
What we eat, how much and when are more function of our minds than our taste buds and stomachs. What leads to obesity are consistently poor choices about food and activity often fuelled by things other than hunger. Emotions, habitual patterns, expectations from others and lack of self-belief all play a role in our impulses regarding food. Someone struggling with obesity has the task of unpicking their tangled thinking about food, which includes developing a greater understanding of nutrition as well as their own assumptions that lead to overeating and bad food choices. The difficulty in the box can be that the eating habits of your athlete level member and the overweight members are worlds apart. But more than that, beliefs about food are also vastly different.