I remember the days leading up to my first poetry workshop with my mentor Vievee Francis. All I could think about was the mandate she gave me. “Kahn; you’re going to have to forget everything you know and everything you’ve learned about poetry for this to work.” I didn’t understand then, but it makes sense now. I was going to her to learn and grow –not to play point/counterpoint, to disagree, or to give unnecessary opinions. I emptied out my brain, turned it into an unfilled sponge and absorbed every lesson, every workshop, and criticism with vigor.
7 years later I found myself approaching my good friend and bodybuilding guru Julian Palm about getting serious about losing weight. It was deja vu as he basically told me the exact same thing Vievee Francis had told me years earlier – I would have to empty out my brain of everything I had ever learned about nutrition and exercise.
I would have to understand that the “Food Pyramid” was bullshit, a doctor and a dietician are 2 different people, low-fat diets do more harm than good, fruit can work against you more than it can work for you, weights are just as important as cardio equipment, long walks can be better than long runs for overall body composition, abs are created in the kitchen-not the gym, sugar was the devil, and wheat/white bread is the devil’s wife (lol).
Again, I let everything go. I didn’t hold on to any previous knowledge. I let my brain start from scratch. Now, I also didn’t just follow advice blindly. I started doing my own reading and my own research – thus; greatly improving my own foundation of nutrition and fitness knowledge. I basically learned “WHY” I was doing everything I was doing. This is important because I know plenty of women who do everything their personal trainer tells them to do without trying to acquire any knowledge themselves. I did the opposite -Julian wasn’t personal training me; he was more of an advisor that I bugged the shit out of every single day(Lol). He showed me where to find the bricks and mortar and I built the house. But again; this wouldn’t have been possible if I had not realized that I had no idea how to build a house.
Even now: every month my bookshelf adds another book or two, everyday there is another nutritional or fitness article added to my files. What started as just a study into carbs, fats and protein has become an education in nutrient portioning, hormone optimization, fasting, food timing, genetic influences, insulin sensitivity & etc…
Overall it’s about recognizing goals and situations where you have to take off your “know-it-all-cap.” A lot of times having “experience” is an attribute. But there are other times when you have to let the baggage go and be a clean slate in order to grow.