Part of my job is to create awesome fitness programs for people to follow and support them through it step by step. Along the way, however, I have found some re-occuring pitfalls which people tend to fall into rather easily.
It's totally fine to make mistakes if you learn from them, but even better not to make those mistakes in the first place because you're prepared for them. Read on to check that you aren't committing these health and fitness sins...
Wanting Results Overnight
Chances are that you didn't put on weight/get unfit overnight, so it's un-realistic to aim to reach your goals in a matter of weeks. It takes as long as it takes.
The key is being patient and learning to enjoy and embrace your new lifestyle. If you take care of the process and making it sustainable and consistent, the results will take care of themselves.
Read: 6 Ways To Make Working Out Easier
There really is no point in weighing daily. There are around 3500 calories in 1lb of fat- You do not put this on or lose this overnight. The scales will not tell you how much fat you've gained or lost, but rather how much fat, waste, water, muscle and everything else is in your system. Weight varies daily depending on many factors.
It is not ok to let the scales dictate your day. You've lost a pound since yesterday? Well it's going to be a great day isn't it?! You've gained two pounds but eaten really well? You're left feeling dejected and de-motivated to continue. The kicker? If you've 'lost' weight but eaten crap... So you're justified in eating more rubbish, right? Hmm...
Better ways to measure progress: Weigh once a week/fortnight, take measurements, use photos to compare with, notice how your body feels in your clothes and your head. Trust that if you're following your plan, you're on the right track.
OK so very basically: To burn fat you've got to be in a calorie deficit (ie. consuming fewer calories than your body needs so it uses fat for energy instead). The bigger the deficit the better, right?
Cutting back too much on your recommended daily calorie intake leaves you at risk of a) not getting all the nutrients you need, b)lowering your metabolism and c) eventually getting so hungry that you end up bingeing... Completely obliterating any calorie deficit you worked hard for.
Find that happy balance which is sustainable until you've reached your happy weight.
(If you'd like me to work out your ideal daily intake and give you a plan so you reach your goals, take a look at the Hell Yeah Healthy programs and then hit apply!)
Being Too Restrictive
Similar to cutting your calories too much, cutting out your favourite foods 'forever' is both unrealistic and unnecessary. As is cutting out whole food groups when you don't really need to.
Planning your food is something I can't recommend strongly enough and really helps to create a long term way of eating which can totally include some not-so-healthy deliciousness.
Read: Meal Planning- Why and How
Bingeing At Weekends
One really good quote I heard a while back from a client was:
"You know you're on the right track when your food is the same on the weekends as it is in the week".
Which is not to say you must rule out your traditional Saturday night take away (so long as it's in balance with your plan or you find a healthier version), but more along the lines of 'don't aim for white-knuckling-perfection all week then fall apart and un-do all your work at the weekends whilst you go all-out for 48hours.'
Planning food helps.
Only Wanting 'Skinny'...
...But missing out on so much more. To reach a healthy happy weight is a great goal, but there are so many more benefits to exercise which are there to take advantage of and enjoy along the way.
I could go on. There's a lot more than just getting lean.
Want another reason to carry on? Read: Why You Should Bite The Bullet And Enter That Challenge
Not Being Prepared For Difficult Days
So you make a plan, you make a start, motivation is high, you feel great, this time will be different! You can't imagine not feeling this spurred on to reach your goals.
However. Stress, low mood, and things out of our control are all parts of life. No one feels great and motivated 24/7, but how you deal with these days is important. It can either make you stronger or spell the beginning of the end for this new fitness regime.
What can you do about it? Think back to what's happened in the past, see what tripped you up, learn from it. Make a plan of what you'll do the next time X, Y or Z happen then follow it.
Making It Harder Than Necessary
The easier your plan is to stick to, the better.
Look at your environment- If this is a problem, change it.
Can't resist the temptation of sweets in the house? Remove them. If you absolutely must have them around for some reason, find ones which you don't care for so much.
Easily lead astray into missing workouts and lazing on the couch? Find friends who are on the same healthy track as you and buddy up.
Turn to food when life gets stressful? Whilst you can't eliminate all stress, you can get rid of some of it to make life easier.
Beating Yourself Up
Like I said to start with, we all make mistakes- That's how we learn best. But wallowing in regret and tearing yourself down does no one any good and tends to give way to comfort eating (if that's your thing) or sacking off your regime all together... Leading to feeling even worse in the long run.
Take what you can, come up with a plan for next time, draw a line under it and move on.
So what do you think? I've fallen in to all of these traps in the past and I know I can't be the only one. Are there any I missed? Let me know in the comments below.
Ready to make some changes but want some support, structure and a ton of encouragement? Check out why all Hell Yeah Healthy Programs work and then find your perfect match. ❤
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