When you get up the motivation to begin a health journey, you’re ready for results. In fact, you’re likely tired of the way you’ve been living for a while: feeling out of shape, carrying extra pounds….
Unfortunately, our routines don’t always meet with our immediate expectations. Maybe we even find ourselves sidetracked after enjoying some initial success. What gives?
While we should expect a certain ebb and flow in our progress, sometimes it becomes clear that we’ve stalled out along the way.
Whether we’re in a motivational rut or hit a physiological plateau, figuring out what’s not working for us is the first step in rebooting our process. Read on to see which of these problems may be slowing or blocking your success.
Problem: You aren’t running the play.
Solution: If you commit to a plan, don’t commit to 50% of it. Commit to all of it — 100%. If the plan is too much change for you right now, choose a more realistic plan that you can fully embrace, and commit to it whole-heartedly. Be honest with yourself about what you’re willing to do. If you know you need some “wiggle-room” from time to time, your plan should reflect that. Understand that you will have days or weeks when you doubt yourself and your plan because of plateaus or other setbacks. Get feedback during these times! Consult a coach before you make changes, and don’t alter your routine without your coach’s advice. Allow your plan to succeed or fail. If you change too much, too often, you’ll never really know what works and what doesn’t.
Problem: Your attitude sucks.
Solution: Label it a weight loss irony, but there it is. Stressing about losing weight or getting results encourages a biochemical response that makes it harder to lose weight. The cycle is vicious. The fact is, it’s completely normal to experience waves of motivation. Everyone has them, and you are no different. If you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a motivational rut, then it’s time to look in the mirror and set some mental targets to reinstate momentum. Start with small wins. Give yourself the opportunity to succeed. If you set your sights too high, you’ll most likely fail. Recalibrating your timeline or process can feel like an exercise in humility, but success comes from working with reality. We can choose to be open about that or to further cling to what’s not working. Assess your mindset and circumstances. Don’t try new things when your motivation is low. Branch out when you’re feeling good. When I can tell a client is feeling good and motivated, I might challenge him/her with a new recipe or exercise. If that client is a little low, I keep it basic and maybe even take a step back to add a couple quick wins to the emotional bank account.
Problem: You think you’re eating well…but you aren’t.
Solution: Too little fat and too many carbs are common mistakes I see with clients who want to lose fat. Maybe you’re eating too many carbs because you think that gluten free makes everything healthy. I’ve found that some clients maintain a great nutrition routine throughout the week, but fall off the wagon on the weekend. Sticking to your nutrition plan means seven days aweek, not just Monday through Friday morning. That said, don’t set yourself up by trying to be too strict on the weekend. Consciously create a weekend vision that keeps you on plan, but fits within your weekend schedule and regular activities. Likewise, anticipate your needs for other occasions that will change your routine like personal travel or business trips. Learn to work with an objective view. Try to food-journal for a day or two on the weekend or your next out of town commitment. See how the picture compares with your normal weekdays. If your journal matches your goal, excellent! If not, stop fooling yourself and design a more appropriate alternative.
Problem: You’re sitting and thinking rather than moving.
Solution: At this point in the article, you’ve most likely been sitting for a few minutes if not longer. Get up! Move more! The success of your program doesn’t lie within the hour workout that you put yourself through each day (although that helps, too). Make no mistake: it’s primarily the other 23 hours each day that will determine your success. Movement is essential, no matter what your personal goal. Even if it’s in between your exercise sets, you should be moving. Every hour of your day, you should be moving for 10-15 minutes.
Problem: You’re doing too much…
Solution: All too often, I see people join a club looking to lose weight and think that hours of cardio are the only answer. They couldn’t be more wrong. Some clients think they need to complete two workouts per day as well. Just know that more exercise isn’t always the best solution. More exercise for an already stressed body can create a chaotic, inefficient metabolic response. For this reason, I have even advised a few clients to cut their exercise volume. As a result, they dropped more body fat. Make a priority to exercise smarter. Both strength training and cardiovascular training can be beneficial to any fitness goal. If your goal is fat loss, like most people, ensure that you have a solid strength training routine in your program. This is going to help you raise your metabolism and keep fat off – for good. Talk to a fitness professional about designing a balanced program that doesn’t push you into overexertion.
Problem: You aren’t tracking your progress.
Solution: If you don’t know where you’re at, you don’t truly know if you’re heading in the right direction. Tracking an objective measurement like body fat percentage takes the emotion out of the exertion. Circumferential measurements are also a good solution that allow you to see what is working and what is not. When you aren’t tracking progress by an objective measure, you can only rely on how you feel. This is dangerous because of the mental anguish that can accompany the rollercoaster sensation of any health and fitness journey. Find a coach who can take your measurements on a monthly basis. This move will help you keep your sanity and make educated changes when necessary.
(Article has been adapted from its original form which can be found here.)
The posts on this blog are not intended to suggest or recommend the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease, nor to substitute for medical treatment, nor to be an alternative to medical advice. The use of the suggestions and recommendations on this blog post is at the choice and risk of the reader.