One of the most common complaints I get from clients regarding their recent healthy lifestyle change is their frustration with trying to make changes to their daily nutrition and/or exercise routines and not seeing any results. After trying to "go healthy," for a certain time period, some of these people often throw in the towel, claiming they aren't feeling any better than they were before. And, many of these clients are the ones who may shed a couple pounds in the first week or two, but then plateau very quickly.
Below, you'll read my top trending mistakes regarding health and wellness from people who are just trying to live healthy. Do you identify with any of these?
2. You cut calories too low. Many clients see they make progress when they eat around 1,500 calories, so they assume they will make even more progress at 1,000 calories. Unfortunately, your body learns to adapt to whatever you put it through. In turn, it will go into "starvation mode," meaning it's storing every thing you eat as fat most likely. Restricting your calories too low often makes your body plateau and makes you hangry ... not a good feeling.
3. You perform metabolism-mashing cardio. Steady state cardio like jogging, elliptical-ing, spinning, etc. can be good in moderation. However, you must add strength conditioning or weight lifting to add muscular endurance instead of mere cardiovascular endurance. If you train your heart to endure half an hour of intensity 3-5 times a week in the same way every day, your body will learn how to work less to endure it, thus burning less and less calories. You see, your body is constantly paranoid you're going to die, so it's always looking for ways to survive and store energy. You have to shock it by performing high intensity interval training (HIIT) and incorporate weight-resistance exercises to add muscle mass. Watch this for more exercise ideas.
|"Natural" chips like these aren't always the best choices.|
4. You believe all consumer marketing. Buzz words like "all natural, organic and gluten-free" promise you better health, yet some of these products can't back up their claims. Just because something is labeled with one of these buzz words doesn't mean it's not full of sugar, processed ingredients or fat. It's important to learn how to read the ingredients label and know which chemicals/artificial ingredients can be avoided. Just because something is marketed to be healthy, it doesn't mean it is.
5. You miss out on protein at breakfast. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle. Muscle raises your metabolic rate, which helps you burn more calories. A higher metabolic rate means you can eat more and look better. It's a no-brainer. If you don't have protein at breakfast, you're more than likely either eating higher-sugary-carbohydrates or skipping breakfast all together. Either way, you've spiked your insulin/glucose levels and you're teaching your body to crave sugar. Protein helps to stabilize your blood sugar, making you feel full and kickstart your metabolism. Something like whey protein isolate (added to oats or a smoothie), egg whites (3:1 ratio to whole egg), or plain nonfat greek yogurt (mixed with stevia, etc.) is a good choice. Read this for more breakfast ideas.
6. You aren't burning as many calories as you think. Some days, you feel exhausted. On those days, you may think you worked out really hard and probably burned nearly 500 calories. But, you may have not burned as many as you feel. It's important that you learn how to perceive your exertion (1-10 scale) and know you should feel like you're working around a 5 for about 35 minutes and around a 7 for about 15 minutes and around a 9 for about 5 minutes. That's an intense workout, and intensity is what you're missing. This is especially important for those who work at a desk or in a car.
7. You overdose on at night. This mistake often occurs when you've fallen into the restrict/rebel mentality. If you're restricting all day, then you often get tired at night and rebel. If you haven't eaten enough nutritious calorically-appropriate meals during the mass of the day, then you make up for it at night. This causes one to feel bloated, lethargic and probably unable to fall asleep. The lack of sleep causes your stress hormone to release and causes you to plateau or even gain weight. If you scatter your eating throughout the day, you won't be starving at night and can eat an appropriate amount of food without feeling guilty.
8. You eat too much sugar. Just because you don't have a sweet tooth or sweet treats aren't your thing doesn't mean you're off the hook. Unless you're consciously reading food labels and/or tracking your macros, you're probably eating more sugar than you think. Carbohydrates in general are made of sugars — even vegetables. The more complex the food (think your average cereal; it's been cultivated, processed, refined, enriched, etc), the higher likelihood it is to have hidden sugars. Even something like a salty cracker. It probably has hidden sugars. Juice, fruits (in juice or syrup), processed foods, grains/pastas, cereals, cokes, sports drinks, energy drinks, pre-made coffees or lattes, are all adding to your daily sugars.
9. You still drink alcohol. Sorry, friends. This one is a biggie! Even people who are following healthy nutrition to a T won't see results if they make this mistake. One of the best choices you can make is to avoid alcohol 80 percent of the time. Sure, you can still enjoy a drink every now and then, but it's best if you drink at special occasions like once a month. Alcohol has no nutritious purpose in the body whatsoever. In fact, it's an enemy. It kills your body's ability to stay hydrated, burn fat and retain lean muscle mass.
10. You lose focus when it's inconvenient. One of the best ways to keep fitness/nutrition fun, interesting and relevant is to always be striving towards a certain goal. Those goals must be specific. One of the easiest ways to get off track is to find yourself in a social situation with friends who don't care what they eat and make you feel bad for being different. Being the healthy one may not always be convenient, and actually, you may have to learn to prepare for life a little differently, but you have to ask yourself if your goal is worth it.