August 18, 2012

Why the name Tuit Nutrition? Why not something more edgy and wellness-related, like Thrive Nutrition, or Vital Force Nutrition? Glad you asked!

When I was little, my mother carried around a wooden circle, about the size of a half dollar. (Do they still make those?) One side was printed with four simple letters and looked like this:

The other side had an explanation of what those four letters amounted to, and it looked like this:

As a lifelong procrastinator, myself, I have never forgotten the meaning behind that little trinket—even if I didn’t always take it to heart. So often, we put things off until our schedules are less hectic, we have more time, or we “feel ready.” We say over and over that we’ll get to them when we “get around to it.” And so often, we don’t get around to them. We get sidetracked, distracted, or are just plain unmotivated. We’ll fold laundry, make beds, even vacuum the house before we do things we feel unprepared for. Heaven knows we’ll watch endless streams of mindless TV or read friends’ latest news online until our eyes burn from the glare of the screen—anything to give us a reason not to do something we know we should, but can’t quite psych ourselves up for.

What’s missing? What is the piece, that if it fell into place, would give us that “oomph” – that little nudge that we need to get started—and of course, to keep going? If you ask me, there’s more than one piece, but they can come wrapped up in one nice, convenient package. Let’s think of it like going on a road trip. We’ve got a destination—somewhere we want to go. We’ll have a route planned out beforehand—which roads we’ll take, where we’ll stop for the night. We’ll have a reason for going there—to visit friends or family, see a famous attraction, or just to get away for a while on the open road. Reasons can be as important as traveling for a sibling’s wedding or as simple as escaping the big city for a weekend. All along the way, we’ll have markers—road signs, billboards—that tell us whether we’re still on the right path. We’ll have gas stations to fill up on fuel when we’re running low, need to stop inside and grab a healthy snack—yes, it can be done!—and, if nature calls, use a clean restroom (we hope!). And we’ll have state troopers patrolling here and there to make sure we drive safely and stay under the speed limit. How does all this translate to nutrition coaching?

Destination = Goal:  We need someplace we want to go. It could be as simple as dropping a few pounds for a big event, or as life-altering as waking up without the chronic pain you’ve been living with for decades, or even turning the tide on your diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis. The legal beagles tell me I’m not allowed to say nutrition will “cure” anything, but I promise you it can certainly go a loooong way toward helping! (And without the funky side effects of modern pharmaceutical drugs. Ever read the fine print on the back of the magazine ads or listen to the super-speedy voice rattling off a mile a minute at the end of the commercials? Sounds like the drugs are worse than the diseases!)

Reason = Motivation:  Why do we want to go there? If we’re gonna get there, we need something driving us from inside. Other people can inspire us and guide us, but ultimately, we have to take action for ourselves and we won’t do that without a strong reason why. Maybe we’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Maybe we’d like to be around long enough to watch our children or grandchildren get married, or keep up with them without getting winded. Maybe someone in our life hasn’t been paying attention to nutrition and fitness the way they should be, and seeing them dealing with the consequences has sparked us into action.

Route = Direction:  We need someone to show us the way—a living, breathing GPS who can tell us where to turn, keep us from hitting dead ends, and steer us back to the right road if we miss the on-ramp. Ideally, this direction comes from someone who’s driven the same course him or herself, knows the route well, and can prevent wrong turns before they even happen. Not every nutrition coach needs to have been unhealthy or overweight in the past, but I do  think it tends to make them more empathetic. Having traveled the route themselves, they know where the potholes and confusing intersections are. They know how frustrating it is when you get turned around and maybe end up a mile or two (or ten or twenty!) out of the way. Chances are, they took a couple of unintended detours along their way and can spare you from doing the same.

Markers = Support:  Just like the signs that reassure us we’re still on the right road, we need periodic reminders that we’re making progress. We can do some of this on our own—step on a scale, take our measurements, or try on a pair of jeans that didn’t fit six weeks ago—but health and wellness can improve in subtle ways we might not even notice until someone points them out to us:  our skin is clearer; we’re less forgetful; we didn’t need coffee the second we got to the office; our joints weren’t frozen in pain when we woke up; our PMS wasn’t as bad as usual; we weren’t out of breath at the top of the stairs. (And a lot of those important things can improve while the other markers, like weight and shape, stay the same. So it’s key to have someone who knows what to look for along for the ride.) These markers do more than just remind us we’re on the right road, though. They can feel like little morale boosts along the way—just when we think we’ll never get to the next landmark, there it is, flying by the passenger side window before we know it, and it gives us the push to keep going.

Gas Stations = Tools:  The gas light is on. We’re running on fumes. We’ve got to get some fuel into the car, and we’ve got to get it now. It’s common to run out of steam with eating healthy and exercising. Our modern food landscape certainly doesn’t make it easy to make good choices when tempting junk is all around us, and there are so many things competing for our time that seem more pressing than lacing up our tennis shoes and going for a walk. Just when our gas gauge is flatlining on “E,” a nutrition coach can come along with a couple gallons of gas, like an oasis in a thousand-mile desert. They can give us enough to keep us going until we start running low again, when they’ll be there again, right when we need them. Instead of gasoline, though, nutrition coaches can give us trustworthy information about specific foods and their effects on the body (outside and inside), strategies for resisting temptation, tips for replacing not-so-great foods and habits with better ones, and how to buy good food without having to mortgage away your firstborn. But like occasional infusions of gasoline, these inputs ensure that not only can we keep going, but we’re moving forward, and we will get to our destination.

Cops = Accountability:  We need someone keeping us in line. For those of us who do better with tough love, this is “someone to answer to.” Someone to keep us in line when we’d rather slack off. For those of us who respond better with gentle encouragement and praise, it’s someone who’ll check in on us and celebrate even the small victories. With nutrition, this is someone to give us thumbs up or thumbs down with what we’ve been eating, and how we’ve been sleeping, moving, and relaxing. (Yes, sleep, movement, and relaxation are nutrients!) Let’s not forget that the state troopers—scary as they are—aren’t out there for the sole purpose of intimidating everyone. They’re out there to protect and help us, too. If we get into an accident, those flashing colored lights are a welcome sight. We might not even realize we’re driving erratically until we get pulled over—and we might not realize we haven’t been following a healthy eating plan quite so well until someone sits down with us and asks.

So, why Tuit? Because it’s not easy going it alone. Long road trips get pretty rough when there’s no one with us to pass the time, to keep us laughing, and, of course, to keep us on the right course.

Maybe you’ve spent years saying you’ll get real about your diet when you “get to it.”

Maybe you’ve been meaning to learn about healthier food, but you haven’t “gotten to it” yet.

Maybe you have no idea where to start with cleaning up your lifestyle, but you’d really like to “get to it.”

Maybe there are so many books, movies, and websites about health, weight loss, and wellness—and they say so many different things—that you’re overwhelmed just thinking about making some changes. And if only you had someone to do it with you, to help you along, you’d be excited to “get to it.”

Well, now you have Tuit! Now you have a nutrition and wellness coach who’s driven the course herself and can be your copilot, giving you the directions, tools, support, and the accountability that will get you to your destination. (Your goal and the motivation to get there, you’ll have to find for yourself, but I can help!)

What are you waiting for?  GET TUIT!

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