The Mythical ‘Slim Zone’

I just drove past a gym that was advertising group-exercise classes like this:

‘Small classes, lots of fun, no mirrors.’

No mirrors?

Why on earth is that a selling point?

Sure, mirrors aren’t necessary… but why would their absence be seen as part of sensible marketing strategy? Something to be advertised?

Maybe for the same reason that people don’t want to know their weight or their body-fat percentage when I assess them.

“Don’t tell me, don’t tell me” people say to me as they reluctantly stand on the scales with their eyes shut. “But you weigh what you weigh right?”
“Yeah but I don’t wanna know.” “Why not?” “I’ll get depressed.”

So I tell them their weight and they get angry at me.
Too funny. Nasty Craig.

“Don’t get grumpy at me… I didn’t do that to your body.”

When it comes to reality, we’re experts at avoiding it.
I’ve written a post on ‘head-in-the-sand-itis’ before but it seems that we may be heading into an epidemic. A pandemic even.

Maybe we’re there already.

It amuses me that a business can send out this message:
“Exercise with us and you won’t have to look at your fat selves in the mirror”
“Yep, sign me up!”

I think some of us should be surrounded by mirrors twenty four-seven until we stop deluding ourselves and start to get proactive.

I’m not a fan of mirrors in gyms for vanity reasons but they are valuable for:
1) Teaching correct exercise technique and
2) Keeping us grounded.

“Oh yes… (in a feeble, pathetic voice), but I find it so painful to look at myself in a mirror, it hurts so much.”


Well, wait for your first heart-attack; you might rethink your definition of pain.
And wait until your pancreas is so shot that you have to medicate every day for the rest of your life to manage your self-induced diabetes… then we’ll chat.

A little short-term emotional discomfort now doesn’t remotely compare to the world of hurt you’re gonna endure if you don’t change your mindset, your habits and your lifestyle.

No melodrama, just honesty. It is what it is.

As I always say to my audiences “I can tell you what you wanna hear, or I can tell you the truth… you can get offended, defensive and precious… or you can get busy changing your reality.”

I actually tell people to go home, take all their clothes off and take a really good look at themselves in the mirror from all angles. Slowly. Preferably take photos as well. Why? Because it’s reality, that’s why.

It’s you. It’s not some computer-generated future fat version of you, it’s you right now. Deal with that, toughen up, get over the self-pity (it’s annoying and achieves nothing) and then you will start to see results quickly.
Real change.

Our physical reality doesn’t usually align with psychological reality.
In other words, it’s almost impossible for you to be objective about you.

Over the years I have taken thousands of ‘before’ photos of people (front, side and rear) before they start their weight-loss/fitness endeavour.
Invariably they are stunned when they see the pictures.

Why are they so shocked? Because when it comes to their body, they live in some alternative reality; The Slim Zone. The one where they look forty pounds lighter.

Amazingly, people always ask me to refrain from showing the photos to anyone else because on some level they believe that somehow the photos are worse than the ‘in the flesh’ reality.

“See me standing here in my workout gear but don’t look at that photo we took five minutes ago (in the same clothes) ’cause I’m so much slimmer in person.” “I don’t really look like that photo.”


I know that I may sound harsh to some of you and I know my approach and philosophy won’t sit well with everyone, that’s okay. But twenty five years of going around in circles with people about the same issues and having the same conversations (often with the same people) will make you a little practical and matter-of-fact. Okay, blunt.

I care more about your heart, arteries, lungs and overall physical health than I do about telling you what you want to hear; what’s comfortable for you.
I’m not really about popularity, I’m about change. Results.

I know I could write more reader-friendly, politically-correct content but I would be compromising what I believe and watering down an important message. So blunt Craig it is.

I’m not interested in fluffing someone’s emotional pillow or propping up their poor self-esteem for five minutes. I’m interested in their long term physical health. I’m interested in the truth of the situation.

I’m interested in genuine, forever (never going back) amazing, physical change. It’s very possible but we continue to rationalise, justify and find new and exciting ways to sabotage our own goals and perpetuate our misery.
We consistently waste our potential. And we continue to let our mind get in the way of our body.

We choose to inhabit the mythical Slim Zone.

Yep, I care about people’s feelings and emotional state and yes, I factor them into every interaction with every person… in fact, I work on the premise that getting in shape is largely an emotional process.
And Yes, I was a fat kid, so I get ‘it’.

However… I won’t be getting rid of the mirrors in my gym any time soon.