If you are like most people starting a fitness journey, you are likely experiencing some ups and downs. You may have even hit a plateau and can’t lose those last 10 lbs. Sometimes, your body just hits a wall and you have to take your workouts to a new level, and other times it’s your own hang-ups that are holding you back. There are a few bad habits that may be holding you back from your fitness goals.
Giving in to Peer Pressure
Your friends can be your best motivator or worst enemy when it comes to fitness. If you are constantly out to eat with people who are not concerned about calories, healthy choices, or portion sizes, you may find yourself giving in to peer pressure. You end up eating an appetizer when you probably shouldn’t or grabbing that extra glass of wine. Be careful about giving in to peer pressure and you may see better results.
Being a Lush
You eat well, you are working out, but you also finished that six-pack of beer this week. Liquor is dead, empty calories. Think of liquor, beer and even certain wines like a soda. You wouldn’t drink 3-4 sodas in a day, so why drink 3-4 drinks at night? You could be adding in thousands of calories to your otherwise healthy diet by not giving up alcohol or monitoring how much you are drinking. And besides, that late night Waffle House run to “sober up” really isn’t helping either.
Not reading labels or doing your research
“Lean,” “gluten free,” “real fruit” and even ‘whole wheat’ can be deceptive buzz words that are thrown on different foods. Check the labels for sodium (salt) content, sugar, and dangerous ingredients you can’t pronounce. You could be buying seemingly healthy products that are really bad for you and sabotaging your diet. You can scan and choose healthy groceries using an app like Fooducate http://www.fooducate.com/ so that you can avoid this bad habit.
Not Going the Extra Mile
Has your workout routine changed at all in the 3 months you’ve been working out? Have you increased time, weight or reps? Once a work out becomes easy for you, it’s time to push it up a notch or switch up your routine. If you stay in your comfort zone, you won’t see results. You must push yourself to truly improve. Take a new class, add an extra mile to your run, or go up gradually in the weights you lift.
Poor Eating Habits – crash diets, not eating enough, or too much
You will never lose weight the right way, the healthy way, or in a permanent way by not eating. Those crash diets that don’t include food are no good. Anything that promises you 20 lbs weight loss in 2 weeks really is too good to be true. Find out what meals work for your body in the healthiest way. You need to be eating enough of the right things, consistently to see results.
Pay attention to portions. I’m sure you’ve heard this a thousand times but mastering portion control is key. Too much low-fat cheese is still too much cheese.
Remember – you’ll never out train a bad diet!
No Plan / No tracking
Although it may feel like a pain to find a work out plan or an eating plan, it’s a key component of reaching your fitness goals. The first step to reaching your fitness goals is to create or find a plan to follow. This way you aren’t waking up every morning wondering what you’ll do at the gym. It also also helps to plan your meals so that you can prepare ahead as much as possible – this helps you avoid the “I had to work late and I’m too tired to cook so let me just get McDonald’s” trap!
You should also keep track of your best run times, weights, reps and sets, and how you’ve improved over time. Not only is this motivation, it should be a clear indicator if something is working or not. If you’ve not gotten any faster or any stronger, it may be time to find a new plan!
Forgetting the basics
With any fitness journey, we all know that water and sleep are the key basics to success. If you don’t have enough water or sleep, your body won’t burn enough calories and may actually hold onto fat and flab. You also can’t properly build muscle if you don’t give your muscles time to heal and rest!
The Treat Trap
It’s okay to reward yourself for a hard work out or for eating well all week long but avoid the treat trap! Your work out treat doesn’t need to undo your entire work out. Maybe you have a snack size candy bar instead of the full size bar. Or perhaps you have a small order of French fries instead of a full burger-fries combo. Treats and rewards are okay and can keep you from binge eating later, however “treating” yourself for every small accomplishment to the point that it reverses all your hard work will not help you reach your goals. This is a lifestyle change so be sure to find healthy ways to reward yourself too with healthier or smaller versions of your guilty pleasure treat, or maybe a nice movie instead.
Giving up too quickly
Fitness goals happen in stages. Your cells regenerate every 30 days to show changes in your body. In 30 days you notice, in 60 days people close to you notice, in 90 days you can throw the before and after pic on Instagram. Give yourself time and don’t give up. When you give up, start again, get frustrated, and then try to start again, you will not see results. Stay consistent and keep going! You can do it!
Dee Rene is the writer and creator of Laugh.Cry.Cuss., a faith based blog that finds valuable lessons in pop culture and every day life. She is based in NYC. You can follow her or the blog on twitter @deerene_lcc @laughcrycuss or visit the site at http://laughcrycuss.com.