When it comes to fitness, you might be your own worst enemy. If it feels like you’re doing everything right, but still not getting the results you want, why are you still sticking to the same routine? There are many ways you might be getting in your own way and getting to the bottom of it starts with honesty. Are you really being honest with yourself when it comes to diet and exercise? Are you diligently tracking these figures—or are you over-obsessing? Too much in either direction can be dangerous.
Here are five ways you might be inhibiting your own fitness and what to do about it:
- Not counting every bite if you’re looking to reduce fat. It’s not as simple as calories in, calories out, but sometimes it is. If you’re sticking to a certain caloric intake every day, make sure you count every single bite—and beverage. Alcohol is packed with calories and lowers our inhibitions, which is all part of alcohol’s lethality when it comes to diet goals. Count those calories, but keep in mind that there is an emerging eating disorder in which people “save” calories for alcoholic beverages. It’s been dubbed “drunkorexia”, and can lead to even more dangerous eating disorders.
- Getting too obsessed with the scale. Unfortunately, the scale can lie. Like a watched pot, it’s not going to give you what you want if you’re checking it daily—or multiple times per day. Doing so is a slippery slope and can lead to dangerous habits. The scale can only tell you weight, which doesn’t account for muscle or water retention. If you really want some numbers to help guide you on your fitness journey, use a tape measure. Measure the biggest part of your upper arms, the largest part of your chest, the smallest part of your waist, widest part of your hips, and largest part of your thighs and calves. All of these areas, especially the belly, can also fluctuate throughout the day. However, it’s a much safer (and saner) number system than the scale.
- You don’t push yourself at your workouts. Many people aren’t honest with themselves when it comes to their workouts. Could you be doing a harder level on the crossramp? When the spin instructor tells you to empty the engine on a power interval, are you? If you’re working on muscle mass, do you really tap out between eight and twelve reps or could you do more (and increase the weight)? Working with a personal trainer can help you avoid cheats, as can working out in a group setting. It can be too easy to compromise when you always workout solo. Plus, group settings or a personal trainer can bring out your competitive spirit.
- Not getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain. Since most Americans are chronically fatigued (and overweight) there’s a clear correlation here. One of the best things you can do is get enough rest. This will depend on you and your body, but ideally you’ll be able to wake up without an alarm. If that isn’t doable, see about squeezing in a power nap mid-day. It’s seemingly one of the easiest ways to keep your weight in check. It also helps you get the most out of your workouts. You can’t give your all when you’re exhausted.
- Be realistic with rest days and cheat days. These days don’t mean you can go all-out on a binge. Some people find a cheat meal is safer. Others re-learn how to gauge their fullness. Cheat days can be helpful because they give your body what it’s craving, but it still needs to be in moderation. A rest day doesn’t need to be a complete rest, either. You can go on a walk or take a gentle yoga class. Again, honesty with yourself is key.
If you’re getting in your own way, you’re also the one who can stop it. Pinpoint your biggest struggles and see what you can do to put yourself first.
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