As we begin 2016, on top of the list of goals for the year is to get healthy. This can take many forms: losing weight, going to the gym. running a marathon, eating better, moving more, better posture, eight hours of sleep, etc.
However, many of us run into pitfalls on our way to health. Here are three popular roadblocks and ways to combat them:
1) The Reward. When you reward yourself for making it to that early morning class, or holding your own at the evening bootcamp, do you immediately think of food? Have you ever thought, “I’ve been so good today about eating and exercise, I totally deserve a brownie!“? For many of us, food is a reward. And that type of reward makes sense, if you’re punishing yourself with your diet or exercise routine.
However, in the long run, these rewards don’t work. Why would you reward yourself for exercising or eating “right” with junk? Don’t get me wrong, having a piece of chocolate or brownie isn’t going to kill you, but bribing yourself to get to the gym or eat vegetables with the promise of a sugary reward (be it food or drink) is not the way to develop healthy eating habits.
Instead of using food as a reward, find something else that motivates you: Free time. Pampering. A luxury item. Adventure. Reward yourself with something that adds to your life, and gets you closer to the person you want to be.
2) Eliminating Fat. Embracing a low-fat or no fat diet is something we’ve been encouraged to do by food marketing. However, foods that are labeled No Fat or Low Fat do not mean you can eat more of them. In fact, most of these foods are full of ingredients no one can pronounce. Fat is good for you (go ahead and repeat that). You need a decent amount of good fat in your diet, as all of the cells in your body are made up of two layers of fats, which will be composed of healthy fats or harmful fats, depending on what you eat.
Go ahead and eat real food. Use real butter, or olive oil. Eat avocados, walnuts, almonds, and salmon. Ban anything labeled low fat or no fat from your kitchen.
3) Starting your day with carbs. Cereal. It’s easy right? But not so great for your mind and body. Not only is cereal loaded with carbohydrates, it also tends to be high in sugar as well. If you begin your day with carbs and sugar, you’ll trigger an insulin response and end up feeling a little foggy in the brain, with no energy. Most people counter this with caffeine – which begins a vicious cycle throughout the day.
Better to begin your day with protein and a healthy fat. This will help keep your blood sugar steady, your energy even and your brain ready to go. An egg and avocado toast anyone?
Support your training with a well balanced eating plan. This will ensure you’re not wasting your time at the gym.