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4 More Things Holding You Back From Better Eating & Fitness, And How to Overcome Them, Part 2

Updated: Oct 12, 2018

There are many things than can support your efforts at healthy change, and just as many that can get in your way. (Here's Part 1 of this series, in case you missed it.) Here are some common challenges and some of the strategies my clients have used to make healthy change.

Challenge - You haven't assembled your team

It takes a village to help you change. Yes, you can go it alone, but it's much easier to have some help along the way. Maybe you have a team, but most of them are really good at telling you that you've earned that pizza and beer after the week you've had. Our social connections have a powerful effect on our behavior. If you find yourself surrounded by people striving to eat healthy and move frequently, it gives you a boost in the right direction. On the other hand, if most of your friends are sedentary and use food and alcohol in unhealthy ways, how might that be affecting you?

How to overcome it: Brainstorm the support you need, and where you can find it. Maybe you already have a running partner or group. Do you have a friend or acquaintance who wants to make some healthy changes? Reach out to them. If you're not ready to reach out, find a group exercise class to help give you some accountability. If you live with a team and they aren't on board with making healthy changes, it gets trickier. Hire a coach for support if you're feeling stuck.

Real life example: You have a group of friends who are of similar age, and you've been commiserating over feeling tired and out of shape. What if you organize some group activity, like a new exercise class or a group hike?

Challenge - Prioritizing exercise as your only tool for healthy change

Our culture focuses a lot of attention on fitness and activity, so there's a tendency to focus on exercise as a solution when you want to make physical changes. Shedding weight/fat has much more to do with your eating habits - roughly 80%. I get it, it's often easier to work on your fitness than to begin the difficult work required to make changes to your nutrition. If you are starting from ground zero, exercise may give you a positive start to a healthier lifestyle. As soon as your in a consistent (4-6 weeks) routine, start looking at your nutrition to see where you can make small changes.

How to overcome it: If you're not already planning your meals, start there. If you are already planning and think your eating is pretty healthy, track what you eat for a week (including the weekend) and review it. If you find it's not as healthy as you presumed, use your information to decide what you will try to improve. If you're not sure what to do or where to begin, hire a nutrition coach.

Real life example: You think you have an overall healthy diet and you decide to track for a week. The results: you eat very healthy balanced meals during the week, but the weekends are all over the place. How can you introduce some consistently healthy nutrition on the weekend?

Challenge - Ignoring your inner scientist

If you're not assessing, your guessing. How will you know whether what you're doing is working or not, if you don't collect some data? Time to channel your inner scientist and don your lab coat! It's not just about the scale, either. When you are consistent with your healthy habits, you may see changes in your body before you see them on the scale.

How to overcome it: This task often fills people with dread. Consider which type of measuring would work best for you, psychologically and logistically. If weighing and measuring are especially anxiety inducing or you have a history of an eating disorder, don't do it. For a simpler, less scientific method, try on a tight fitting pair of jeans or belt. Decide how frequently you'll collect your data (no more than weekly), and schedule it as an appointment. You might not feel comfortable and non-judgemental in the beginning, but this will get easier with practice.

Real life example: You've begun making some healthier changes to your diet and life, but you still feel unsure of the effects of those changes. Which measure can you use that will fit into your life and how often will you take it? How will you be sure to remember and record it?

Challenge - Cheating yourself on sleep

Even if you are eating fairly healthy and getting the right kind and amount of exercise, if you're getting less than 7 hours of shut eye, you are working against your goals to improve your health and/or lose weight. This is an especially big challenge for all of the night owls out there, who often end up burning the candle at both ends.

How to tackle this challenge: Take a close look at your evening routine and see what's happening. See if there are any obvious things getting in the way of a good night's rest (ahem, screen time) and come up with an idea or two to try to curb those and get to bed just a bit earlier.

Real life example: Dinner is done, kitchen is clean. Time to queue up all of those tasks you haven't had time to get to earlier in the day. Paying bills, laundry, catching up on your Facebook feed, bingeing the latest series on Netflix. Before you know it, it's midnight and you have an early appointment/meeting/etc tomorrow! Can you replace any of the things you usually do with something that feels more relaxing? What are some simple strategies you can use to help remind you that it's time to wind down?

If you found this article helpful, please pay it forward by sharing. If you'd like more information on working with me on your fitness and nutrition, click on Contact at the top of the page.
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