Fitness Fails: When attempting to change your lifestyle goes wrong

Published on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 12:48 - Written by

Sometimes it’s good to step back and have a good laugh at ourselves. We do some pretty crazy things in the quest to get healthier or to lose weight. We make it so complicated, that our overzealousness actually makes things worse. We end up gaining more weight or don’t get the results we expected, so we give up. Here are just a few examples I’ve collected from friends, family, coworkers and even myself. I think many people may relate to them.

At the gym: You bought new shoes and yoga pants because you’re super excited about meeting your goals this time. You sign up for several classes and even go to a few in one day. Each class kicks you butt, as they should, but a couple of months into it you’ve lost interest. It’s too hard and you think you’ve pulled a muscle anyway.

At the grocery store: You buy nearly $200 worth of groceries—all healthy whole foods. Since you spent several hours shopping, making room for them in the refrigerator and putting them up, you opt for fast food for dinner. You’re just too tired to cook from all that work.

At home: Your fridge and cabinets are stocked with stuff like “healthy” frozen meals, leafy greens, nuts, 100-calorie packs, and plain Greek yogurt. After a few days of extremely restricting calories you succumb to a grumbling stomach. Soon, the Greek yogurt is covered in gobs of honey, you eat a couple of those frozen meals, a few of those 100-calorie packs, and you make a dash to the store for some chips and candy, because dang it, why are there no snacks in this house?!

At lunch: You want to eat better and salads are perfect, right? So you go to a salad bar and start piling on cheese, several spoons full of ranch dressing, a mountain of croutons and a side of tuna salad. You feel good about yourself—that is until you enter the food into a calorie counter. Oops.

During a challenge: You participate in a water drinking challenge, which encourages you to drink more water throughout the day—at least eight 8-ounce glasses. However, you don’t weigh that much and you drink a little too much water. That lightheaded feeling wasn’t because you were giddy about an upcoming important event, but instead, it was your blood pressure dropping as you also weren’t getting enough sodium. (This one isn’t funny, but lets you see how some good intentions can lead to bad results).

At the job: Several years ago, I had a desk job at a clinic and it seemed like our day revolved around food. Ironic, I know. We ate food brought to doctors from pharmaceutical sales reps (which was always rich and calorie-dense), had regular potluck lunches, discussed recipes, and kept snacks in our drawers. I remember once a coworker coming to my area proclaiming, “Y’all don’t have any snacks?!,” as if we were slacking up on our jobs. Most of us were always on a “diet.” I think I gained about 20 pounds while I worked there.

Message: It’s perfectly fine to do your research, read labels, count calories, get excited about exercise and continuously make lifestyle changes. I think where we go wrong is when we can’t sort through the noise. There is so much conflicting information about what we should be doing to our bodies. We also try to do too much too fast. Getting healthy and fit is not a race and with discipline and consistency, we’ll get there. Aside from access to healthy food and emotional or genetic issues, it is so simple: eat real food, move your body and get some rest. Stay away from fad diets. They don’t work. Don’t restrict your calories so much that you’re later feigning for anything you can get your hands on. Our bodies do need calories. We do need some fats and carbohydrates. Look for a balance. And if you eat an unhealthy snack, don’t beat yourself up about it. Allow yourself that indulgence. Do better the next time and move on.

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