We’ve all been there. You’re fed up of the way you’re looking, you decide it’s time to do something about it and you head straight in to a new fitness regime – no carbs, gym every day, no junk food, no wine….. Day one goes brilliantly – salad for lunch, cauliflower rice stir fry for dinner, even a cheeky workout. Day two still going strong, but a little while later you’re craving sweets or that glass of wine. One won’t hurt right? And well cos you’ve had that you may as well get a take away for dinner too, and so there’s no point going to the gym either now… You feel guilty, frustrated and you give up. Sound familiar?
We are so good at sabotaging our own fitness efforts – but we don’t need to be. Here are some of the most common ways we sabotage ourselves and how to stop it happening
#1 100% or nothing…
That one piece of chocolate – not so bad, or that take away – not brilliant but not the end of the world. Giving up because you gave in on these little things – definitely not good! We put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect and often view any small blip as total failure. Instead of focusing on that one sweet or one take away, focus instead on all the progress you have made – the healthy lunch, the fact you made it to the gym, the fact you’d resisted that glass of wine for 4 days already. Don’t expect perfection all the time. Include “cheat” meals in your week and rest days and try to avoid feeling deprived by allowing yourself the things you love, just a little less frequently.
#2 I want it all, and I want it now!
So much social media is flooded with claims of fitness products and plans that will give you instant success – stories of masses of weight lost in just 1 or two weeks. In reality much of these are just false promises and clever advertising. When they do hold some truth they usually rely on quick fixes which drastically reduce your calorie intake or have you only drinking juice for 5 days. Yes you will lose weight quick – it may be mostly water but you will drop pounds pretty fast… but will you keep it off… probably not. Will you develop habits that mean you can continue to live happily and healthily at a weight you are content with… unlikely. Think about it – it has probably taken months if not years to get to the point at which you are no longer happy with your fitness or weight and probably results from lots of bad habits that have developed over that time. So is it really realistic to try to turn that around in a couple of weeks? I know I couldn’t.
Start your journey with realistic expectations. It’s a process and it will take some time to get where you want to be but each step is a step closer. If you find it all too daunting or need help setting those expectations then chat to your gym instructor, personal trainer or drop us a line and we can help.
#3 Climbing Everest before you can walk
Focusing on your big end goal does work for some people but goals are quite tricky things and although you should definitely set yourself that big goal, focusing on just one end goal can end up paralyzing you.
Break your goals down into smaller goals. Try to create goals for each day, week and month and start by focusing on your daily goals – getting off the bus a stop earlier to walk to work, having a healthy lunch etc. Then think about the weekly goals – what will you aim to do each week, and what will you have to do in order to achieve that. If you aim to go to the gym 4 times a week how will you need to adjust your schedule to fit it in?
Then think about how you will measure your goals? This is often easier if you start with the big goal – so say you want to lose 15kg. Then you can look at how you may need to break that down. So maybe losing 0.5kg a week could be something you can measure and use to track progress. But that doesn’t actually help you to lose that weight – it’s the daily and weekly goals that will get you there. So heading to the gym 4 times a week, and choosing healthy lunch options, and walking a bit further to work are all your smaller goals. Every time you achieve them celebrate it! And then think about raising the bar a little more – maybe adding another workout, cycling to work etc.
In this way you can focus on those smaller, more achievable goals, rather than focusing on that 15kg you want to lose which at times will seem overwhelming.
#4 All I want is a doughnut…..
When you start a fitness journey things will be hard, and the sad truth is you WILL have to give up some things that you like (or at the very least reduce them). Its all too easy when that afternoon slump hits to focus on the doughnuts, cakes, sweets, and chocolate that you “can’t” have, or to get home after a long day at work and spend the evening bemoaning that fact that you just want a glass of wine and you can’t have it.
Instead of focusing on everything you can’t have try to focus on what you can have. Think of this as a little challenge, a new chapter, an exciting journey – you get to have fun finding new and tasty treats to replace those things you’ve relied on. You get to find other ways to unwind after your day at work – that don’t involve food or alcohol. It’s actually pretty exciting trying all these “new” foods – spend some time in the health food shop and just check out all the cool seeds, grains and healthy snacks, head to the green grocer’s and try some fruit and veg you haven’t tasted before. The internet and social media is FULL of inspiring health food pages – head over to instagram and check out some of the fab stuff on there. Look for interesting alternatives and I promise you, you won’t miss that other stuff. Start by taking a look at the Pure Form Fitness Kitchen blog and Pure and Simple Bakes for some ideas! Healthy eating tastes great and if you’re willing to experiment you will definitely find things that work for you.
It’s not all about food either – focus on other ways to wind down at night – instead of wine, how about a bath, or a walk with the kids? Try to focus on the good habits you will be developing and how much they will bring to your life and well being.
So now you know the four key ways to prevent yourself sabotaging your fitness and well being goals
– Focus on making progress – however small, or large that progress is.
– Accept it will take some time and you’re changing your lifestyle, not looking for a quick fix.
– Baby steps – set small, achievable goals and take them one at a time.
– Can-cans – focus on the cans, not the can’ts – focus on what you can do, what you can eat and how amazing you WILL feel.
Enjoy the new, exciting adventure 🙂
This article is written by Dr Nancy Priston. Please remember, she isn’t a medical Dr, the information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your GP or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this site.