Quit these to crush your fitness goals.
Every human on Earth has flaws.
I am no exception to this fact. And when it comes to health and fitness, we all have something we could improve upon.
Maybe you rarely cook your own meals, or you drink more coffee than you’d care to admit, or maybe you don’t workout as often as you’d like to.
I know that I personally want to sleep more. I currently get about six or seven hours of sleep a night, but I’d really like to push that up to seven or eight hours.
And while it’s certainly no easy feat to correct the habits that we know aren’t good for us, there is no denying that when it comes to your overallhealth and well being, they are worth the effort.
However, you can’t quit these bad habits until you’ve first identified what they are. So, here are five bad habits that could be holding you back from achieving your health and fitness goals. If you’re engaging in any of them, cutting them out of your life for good could give your health a serious boost.
1. Yo-Yo Dieting
This one may seem obvious, but it’s one that many people continue to engage in today.
In fact, according to The Washington Post:
“45 million Americans go on a diet each year.”
That’s a very high percentage of the United States population (over one in eight people). If you think that restricting yourself to eating as few calories as you can stand each day will make you healthier, it won’t. The science is clear that crash dieting does not work.
There is no get fit quick scheme to drop a ton of weight quickly in a healthy and sustainable way.
Therefore, if you want to achieve results you can actually keep long term, you need to eat in a small deficit that will still provide your body with all the nutrients it needs, thus keeping you happy and healthy as you work on yourself.
There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to get leaner and fitter.Just remember to take a slow and steady approach. That way, you won’t digyourself into a hole that’s very difficult to get out of.
2. Neglecting Sleep
This is the one I’m really trying to focus on right now. Some nights, I sleep great and wake up feeling well rested. Other nights, I tend to cut my sleep short so that I can get an extra few hours of work in.
I know this isn’t the best approach, but I’m a type A person who wants to be going full throttle all the time.
But, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that sleep is crucial in maintaining a healthy weight and keeping your mind fresh and performing optimally.
And according to Harvard Medical School,
“Most experts have concluded that getting enough high-quality sleep may be as important to health and well-being as nutrition and exercise.”
Thus, it’s clear that getting plenty of sleep is incredibly important. If you aren’t prioritizing it right now, set a goal to get to bed a little earlier. You might find that an extra hour of sleep each night is exactly what you need to feel your best.
3. Exercising to Eat Whatever You Want
There is no denying that exercise can be wonderful for your body and help you get healthier and fitter.
However, if you think that exercise alone will make up for a terrible diet, that just isn’t true. And beyond that, having the mindset that you have to earn your food is an unhealthy approach to take.
“For a number of people, food is not only a reward, but it also elicits a powerful ‘relaxation response.’ [This] makes it all the more potent, as the behavior we seek out to feel better and to ‘reward’ ourselves.”
Therefore, viewing food solely as a prize for exercising hard can put a strainon your relationship with it.
What you put into your body is perhaps more important than your exercise routine when you’re trying to get healthier, so forming a healthy relationship with food will be crucial in helping you achieving your goals.
And there certainly are powerful benefits to be gained from moving your body in a way that you enjoy each day. Just don’t expect that exercise alone will make you super fit.
Focus on fueling your body with nourishing foods that will power you through your workouts, and then you’ll be well on your way to living a healthier life.
4. Doing the Following 24/7
If you’re married to your work, odds are you are going to feel much more stressed in general. And stress is one of the worst things for your body and overall health.
In fact, the American Heart Association states that:
“Long-term activation of your body’s stress response system, along with prolonged exposure to cortisol and other stress hormones, may put you at risk for health troubles like digestive problems, anxiety, headaches, depression, sleep problems, weight gain, memory and concentration issues, high blood pressure, [and] heart disease and stroke.”
I’ll admit that there have been many times where I let my engineering work send my stress levels through the roof. Whenever this happened, I could feel the negative impacts on my sleep schedule, how I felt when I exercised, and even the food I chose to put in my body.
It can definitely be hard to find a work-life balance, but I can confidently say that it’s worth the effort to try and shut your brain off from work at the end of the night. You’ll sleep more soundly, feel more energized each day, and in the end, you’ll optimize both your work and your health.
5. Viewing Food Like This
If you view food as either good or bad, this mindset could actually be detrimental to you in the long run.
While certain foods are more nutrient dense than others, labeling food as “good” or “bad” could prevent you from developing a healthy mindset, especially if you are stuck in the diet mentality.
According to Psychology Today:
“All foods in moderation can be part of a balanced diet and removing the “good” and “bad” label from foods can help you to heal your relationship with eating and find freedom from diet mentality.”
Thus, it’s better to view food for what it is — a source of fuel for your body.Try to get rid of the emotional attachment, and focus on eating a well balanced diet full of nutrient dense, minimally processed foods that doesn’t cut out all the foods you enjoy.
Then, your diet will be far more sustainable, and you’ll be more likely to stick with these lifestyle changes long term.
People think that the only way to get healthy is by taking an all or nothing approach. But that just isn’t true.
The all or nothing mindset is what set me up for failure when I tried to get fitter years ago. What finally worked was making small but meaningful changes to my lifestyle and forming good habits.
Cutting bad habits and replacing them with healthier ones will help you make lifestyle changes that you can stick to long term. In doing so, you’ll be able to reach your ultimate goal — finding your happiest and healthiest self.