We all want to look and feel our best, but sometimes we make decisions that get in the way of our ability to do just that. Below I have listed five of the most common fitness, diet, and workout decisions that I have witnessed in my 20 plus years as a health and fitness leader. We’ve probably all been guilty of at least one or two, but knowledge is power and reminders help keep us real.
1. Going on a diet. Yep, that’s right, I said it. Lets face it; just saying the word diet makes us hungry. It’s a loaded word that says it’s time to chuck the chocolate and every other food we enjoy, and chew a lot of gum to keep our mouth active and mind distracted. There’s power in words, and the word diet has too many negative connotations. What if instead we decide to do one of the following: cut back, reduce our calorie intake, lower our sugar consumption, or start tracking our daily food intake using one of the many awesome sites that allow us to do so? It’s amazing what it does for our psyche to change how we approach a situation and the words we use to describe our goal. Down with the word diet. Set yourself up for success rather than dread.
2. Not surrounding yourself with like-minded people. If you want to get fit and feel good, hang around others who have the same goals. The people you surround yourself with influence your lifestyle, decisions, and even attitude. If you hang out with healthy eaters, chances are you’ll become more aware of your own daily diet decisions. If you hang out with friends who like to workout, chances are you’ll be inspired to do the same. On the other hand, if you hang out with people who don’t have those goals, you’re likely to feel guilty or defensive for the time you spend boosting your buns and growing your guns. We all need support, encouragement, and understanding from our family, friends, and significant others on any goal we hope to achieve.
3. Relying on the scale rather than your measurements for signs of progress. I know this is tough one. After all, who doesn’t love a morning where we see a number on the scale that excites us? But the scale is a finicky, deceptive little guy who is likely to set us up for self-doubt. If you love to see numbers that excite you, focus on the numbers you see when you measure yourself. Measurements are better indicators of progress, and the way your clothes fit speaks volumes. Muscle really does weigh more than fat, and it’s denser so it takes up less space, which means that your clothes fit better and you feel better. Not to mention, water weight and fluctuating hormones can make daily weighing disastrous. If you insist on weighing yourself, do it only once a week so you’re more dependent on factors that are better indicators than body weight alone.
4. Being scared of the unknown. There’s no greater mistake than doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. The more we’re willing to get uncomfortable and challenge our body in new and unique ways, the more our body will respond and pay us back in spades, aka help us meet our goals. We have to change our routine to change the outcome. I’m not saying we have to do everything different. I’m talking about small changes to wake our body up, stimulate our brain, and activate our senses. Adding an additional strength training workout once a week, a morning walk, or changing our regular exercise routine one day a week can do wonders in terms of both results and burnout prevention. Remember that your body is a machine and it’s designed to take the path of least resistance. It learns to work smarter, not harder, so you have to give the machine new challenges for it respond accordingly.
5. Getting our information from the wrong sources. It’s the Wild West out there on the Internet and it seems that knowledge and credibility are determined by the number of followers and likes on social media sites rather than certifications, education, licensures, and degrees. While some social media savvy individuals may have a lot of exposure and visibility, that doesn’t always translate to knowledge, experience, and proper education. When you get your workout information from blogs, websites, and You Tube, check out that person’s credentials. If you can’t find them, take that as your first sign and run for the hills. Enough said.
Stay tuned next week, because there’s more to come on Monday.
Best in Health