7 Habits That May Be Getting in the Way of Your Health Goals
So, you’ve decided to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and you’ve set your health goals, but you aren’t seeing results. Could you be doing something wrong? Or something you thought would benefit your health, but really isn’t? Here are a few habits that may be getting in the way of your health goals and how to correct them:
A calorie deficit can be a safe way to lose weight if done safely, however, extreme undereating or a very low-calorie diet can be a dangerous health risk. Not eating enough calories can actually cause weight GAIN, and a whole host of other issues including a weakened immune system, hormone imbalances, mood swings, and physical and mental fatigue. You are doing your body more harm than good by undereating. Eat when you are hungry, filling your plate with nutrient dense foods including good quality protein, fibre, and healthy fats.
Counting calories instead of nutrients
If you’re choosing the 300 calorie donut over the 700 calorie pasta just because of the calorie count, you’re missing out on a whole host of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that your body needs to function. Focus on the nutrients a meal provides, not just the calories. Are you getting 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal, at least 25 grams of fibre per day, are you using healthy oils and eating healthy fats, are your meals low in refined sugars, and is your diet filled with a variety of colours? These should be your priority, not the calorie count.
Too much exercise can actually be a bad thing. Daily strenuous or high intensity workouts can cause extreme fatigue, depression and mood swings or irritability, sleep problems, injuries, a compromised immune system, and other health issues. If you exercise daily and notice any of these symptoms, you probably need to cut back on your workouts and/or change the type of workout you are doing. Some days all your body needs is light movement - a walk, some stretching, or light resistance training.
Trying to do too much
You don’t have to do all of the healthy things all at once. When it comes to setting health goals, there is such a thing as too much. Trying to adopt too many healthy habits or setting too many health goals can cause you to lose focus, lead to frustration, and prevent you from accomplishing your goals. So, keep it simple. Start small, make a point of drinking more water, walk at least 20 minutes per day, and once you’re comfortable with that, add in something else, such as trying some new fruits and vegetables or going to bed 30 minutes earlier. Small steps and consistency will make your healthy habits sustainable.
Not sleeping enough
Unfortunately, when life gets busy and stressful, sleep quantity and quality is one of the first things to suffer. Sleep is so important, as it allows your body and mind to recharge, strengthens your immune system, supports your brain function and memory, lowers your risk of disease, helps prevent weight gain, and can improve exercise performance. So, turn off all screens at least an hour before bed, make your bedroom a welcoming space, do some light yoga or stretching, go to bed at the same time every night, and aim for 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep per night.
Lack of patience
Reaching your health goals by modifying your habits does not happen overnight. Be patient. Small, consistent steps will eventually lead to a long-lasting healthy lifestyle. Be kind to yourself, go at your own pace (without comparing yourself to others and their timelines), and allow yourself an achievable, realistic amount of time to accomplish each goal.
Only focusing on the end result
If you only focus on the final outcome, you will end up missing all of your amazing achievements along the way. So, instead, be consciously aware of all of the reasons to celebrate as you make your way towards your end goal. Did you walk more than you did yesterday, eat more vegetables today, or enjoy dessert without feeling guilty? Great! Those are things to smile about and which should make you proud. Celebrating the small wins will make the journey more enjoyable, sustainable, and satisfying.