“You have to see the dirt in order to clean the house”
^^^ I read this recently* and it resounded enough with
me to write it out on a post-it (I love post-it
It struck me today that this saying also applies to our
health and fitness journeys, and specifically my role
as a coach too.
“I need to get fit and lose weight” is the standard
opening gambit of most clients that seek out my
I could just take what they say at face value, make
them stick to an arbitrarily prescribed diet plan,
thrash their backsides in the gym and hope for the
best…but that’s not me.
As a woman, I know how complicated it is being a woman.
Through my coaching career todate, I’ve also learnt,
through both courses and practical experience, that
it’s not as simple as that for us girls.
More’s the pity, eh?!
So my consultation process delves a little deeper.
Together, we look at areas such as your energy levels,
work-life balance, menstrual cycle (and all the unique
joys that brings for You), eating and drinking habits,
even bowel movements.
Simply because all of these things, and more, need to
be in balance to get your house in order.
I like to think of it as a “health pyramid”.
Technically, what I’ve drawn in the picture above is a
triangle – but this is only the skeleton, or shell, of
what we consider.
All the other areas that influence those three facets
shown, including other areas such as mindfulness and
pelvic floor health, make it into a 3 dimensional model
specific to you…Your Health Pyramid.
Getting fit and losing weight cannot simply be about
hammering 1 aspect of your health pyramid.
Going on a fad diet, restricting yourself to a
ridiculously low number of calories, or beasting
yourself physically 6 days out of every 7 is just not
the way to go!
Not for long-term, sustainable health & wellness, at
In fact, this potentially weakens the other points in
your triangle and, at the very least, makes the whole
structure more vulnerable.
It is about striving for balance or equilibrium across
your own pyramid, as much as possible.
It is about equipping your own personal ‘toolbox’ with
a range of strategies that You employ to regain that
control over and insight into how your body is working…
Listening to what your body needs…
Putting Yourself first….
Whether you are maintaining strength and health through
pregnancy, restoring and recovering post-natally or
rocking your 3rd age (peri- and post-menopause) the
pyramid is the same.
The layers supporting it and the strategies in your
toolbox will be different from those around You, and
will probably change over time for You too.
Don’t punish your body for not looking the way you want
it to right now – that would be like cleaning your
house without seeing where the dirt really was.
Celebrate what your body and You can do!
Balance your Health Pyramid and love the body you’re
Seeing “the dirt in order to clean your house” is like
understanding all the factors that have made you You
and brought You to where you are now.
^^^ This is why it’s not as simple as just pushing
yourself harder physically to get whatever it is you
are aiming for.
“The dirt” includes all those things that have become
part of your life for valid reasons. These could be
habit related (“let’s just grab a take-away”), stress
related, lack-of-knowledge related (“it’s normal to
feel like this – I’m just getting old”) for example.
“Cleaning your house” is choosing which of those to
tweak slightly, change completely or leave
alone….looking at all points on the pyramid.
So before you dash out, all gung ho, on the next detox
plan, fancy diet or extreme exercise craze have a
serious think about where your “dirt” lies.
Make steady alterations to clean those areas up whilst
nurturing and nourishing your body, speaking kindly to
yourself and respecting who You are…..and those things
you want, may just start to happen for real.
* Unfortunately, I didn’t write where I read this quote
so that I could credit the author.