I have been working out consistently for the past 13 years. During that time, I had three pregnancies and a couple of injuries. I took some time out to heal but I exercised throughout everything, including my pregnancies. I am also disciplined in how I eat, having found a good balance for myself. But I learned there is something I have been ignoring – something completely obvious to most people. I follow a plant-based diet, and as a result, I was not eating enough protein.
I didn’t know how well I was doing, but I kept with my routine, ignoring information from different sources. In a conversation years ago, my cousin recommended that I do a body mass index analysis. For some reason, I buried it among the pile of “would be nice” to-dos in my brain and never looked into it.
Then about a month or two ago, my body started sending me strange signals. I was looking to lose a few pounds from a recent trip, so I started to tend to a more disciplined diet, but I noticed something was different, and I was compelled to find out more. I finally decided to check off that nice-to-do and get the analysis done.
When I received the results, my jaw dropped. I cannot tell you how shocking it was to find out that my muscle mass was way below the minimum expected for my body composition. I spent a couple of hours in disbelief and upset with myself for not taking the test earlier.
I eventually overcame that incredulity, although I still felt a bit disappointed. I started to digest what the analysis meant. With the information, everything started to make sense. Even a back pain issue that I have been dealing with for the last few months aligns with that analysis.
The moment I had the information, I took all the actions. I went to a nutritionist to figure out how my diet needed to be structured, something I had resisted. She also recommended I change my weightlifting routine. So far, I’m excited about my new routine and am adapting well to it. I also document how many carbs or proteins I eat after every meal. It is extra work, but doing it as part of a goal I have for myself has made it easier.
I always trust the process, and it has already been illuminating. So far, I have discovered how badly I eat on weekends, where schedules are more relaxed. For example, I have a hard time drinking enough water throughout the day. Also, my main problem of not eating enough protein is accentuated during weekends. I’m happy because I am making big changes, making a difference in my muscle growth. It’s no wonder I was having the problems I have been having!
Blind Spots and How to Detect Them
A blind spot can have a devastating effect on what we do or do not do. Because we don’t know that we’re unaware, we cannot see how it’s impacting us. And the funny thing about blind spots is that they are often evident to other people. I have told my husband about countless insights about myself, only to be told that he’s spent years telling me to improve that very thing. (I suspect that when we receive this kind of info from others, we are either not ready for it or don’t receive it in a way that we clearly understand).
Finding our blind spots is not easy but not impossible. I believe they are the greatest obstacles to our personal growth. Here are some ways in which I try to detect them:
Have Coaches or Mentors
A trusted outsider can give you a new perspective. Through my work with others (coaches, therapists, mentors), I have identified many of my blind spots. The longer your relationship with this person, the better, because with time, they will get to know you and help you find patterns in your behavior. Be open to them, and let yourself be guided by the people you trust.
Listen to Others
Friends or colleagues will sometimes tell us the truths we don’t want to hear, often jokingly. But still listen, as they may contain nuggets of information. Sometimes you will hear something someone says and not pay any attention, but if it gets repeated enough, you might find the opening to a significant insight.
Look for Dissonant Information
Charles Darwin famously looked for information that disconfirmed his theories. Do the same. When something does not make sense to you, get curious. Why is that happening? Often the only way you can make sense out of it is by discovering something new. The new information may lead you to find your blind spots.
Above all, keep searching. Whatever you put your focus on, will grow and improve, and so will your self-awareness. This is the most important work because, as Jung said: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate”.