Simple Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Health Routine
Establishing a consistent health routine that you enjoy can be a major challenge. There are so many temptations in life that make choosing to exercise or cook a nutritional meal seem like the least desirable options. (I'm looking at you bacon and macaroons.) So to give yourself the best chance for success, make sure you aren't sabotaging your health through these behaviors:
You view making healthy dinners at home as a terrible chore.
One of the best ways to transform your health for the better is to start cooking your own meals. I see so much resistance to this in the United States where most of us choose to either go out to eat at restaurants or just heat up a processed, frozen meal at home. I get it- I love going out to eat! After a long day, the thought of working in the kitchen once you get home is a nightmare. But cooking really is key to knowing what's in your food and having the power over your own health. Compared to restaurant food and frozen dinners, your own healthy meals will have far less sodium and fat, and far more nutrients. So decide to flip cooking on its head! Turn on some Cuban salsa music in the kitchen or have a conversation with your love as you cut vegetables. Take pride in learning how to satisfy both your hunger and nutritional needs with your own two hands. View cooking as an exciting, new challenge- your health will thank you.
You choose ways of exercising that are far away from your home or generally just a lot of effort to participate in.
Here's an example. I see a fun opportunity to go kayaking every Wednesday with a South Florida fitness group but notice that I'd always have to drive an hour north of my house to meet them where they all live. Not to mention that I'd, of course, then have to rent the kayak and carry it over to the water (and back again later). I just stop things right there. It's too much time and effort, and I know myself. Sure, if it was a one time kayaking trip I could convince myself to do it as a great, new experience. But to commit to participating in an activity that's far away on a weekly, or multi-weekly, basis is just setting myself up for failure. For most of us, it goes like this: some days we'll feel tired and not be in the mood to drive a long distance, then we'll feel guilty and disappointed in missing the session, and then we'll eventually stop going. Save yourself from that experience by choosing workout activities that are within a comfortable distance zone for you and that don't take a ton of extra effort for you to participate in. Remember- you want to feel compelled to exercise on a regular basis, so make the whole process as easy as possible on yourself!
You don't plan out your meals by the week.
Before I started on my summer travels, I was creating weekly meal plans for my boyfriend and I that detailed what we'd need everyday for breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, and dinner. I scheduled in two possibilities for meals out, preferably a nice dinner and a weekend brunch. Everything for my weekly shopping list was planned down to the ingredient. Eating in this way definitely goes against my personality type- I enjoy going out to dinner on a whim and picking the restaurant based on my current mood. But the truth is, if you want to eat healthily, you have to plan it out ruthlessly. If not, you'll buy a whole bunch of random, expensive food from the store and not know what kind of dishes to make with all of it. A disgusting amount of food will likely end up unused and thrown away, and you'll spiral into a pit of self-loathing every time you spot a grocery store. It's happened to me a million times before, and the only thing that's helped is planning meals, dish-by-dish, for the whole week. Boring, but true!
You sit down to unwind - watching TV, surfing the internet, looking at Facebook on your phone - right after coming home from work.
I know that all you probably want to do when you get home from work is sit down on the couch and relax for a bit. I understand. But that doesn't mean it's a good idea! To keep your momentum going, walk right through your front door and into your closet to put on your workout clothes and your sneakers. It will be a million times harder to get up in order to workout or cook a healthy dinner if you've already gotten more tired and comfortable in front of the TV. If you only remember three words I say, just remember: Don't sit down!
You don't make social time happen with exercise time.
We only have so many hours in a day, and the best way to maximize your time when it comes to exercise is to simultaneously make it friend time. Not only will you be bonding positively by getting in shape together, but you'll also be making workouts fun and exciting by having a friend there. What could be better? By doing this, a positive correlation between exercise and happiness will be created, and you'll also be building your sense of community. When I was living back in my hometown of Naples for 5 months last year, I joined an amazing, all ladies workout group called Blaze Fitness Fusion with a friend of mine. The workouts were always challenging, but what made me fall in love and keep coming back multiple times per week were all of the great women I was getting to know at the same time. So do yourself a favor- make a health commitment with a friend to keep exercising together and challenging each other.
You always talk the talk but never walk the walk.
A study discussed in Newsweek found that simply talking about a goal that we'd like to achieve gives us the same mental satisfaction as actually completing the goal. Keep that in mind as you scroll through pictures of yoga poses and healthy dishes on Instagram. Do you see all of these inspirational images and vow to your friends, "From now on, I'm going to juice every morning and practice yoga for 30 minutes before work"? For most of us, we get pumped and make big promises to the special people in our lives, saying that we're going to work towards a new health goal. Honestly though, how many times does the goal achieving process stop there? We talk about the goal for a bit, feel happy, and then forget about it. Let's catch ourselves and make sure that that we don't get too satisfied with only talking about goal achievement- actually working towards our goals is what we should really be proud of!
So are you guilty of any of these forms of self-sabotage? I know I've certainly struggled with some of these issues, both in the past and present. The key is to remember that nobody can ever be perfect, so forgive yourself for past sabotage and decide that today is a fresh new day to begin again. Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and let us know if you have any extra tips for avoiding these behaviors. :)
Hope you're having a wonderful week,