Do you feel like you have been really disciplined working on a health and fitness goal, but no matter how many hours you spend down the gym, or how healthily you eat you just don’t seem to be making progress? Then it’s time to start investigating where you might be going wrong:
1) Are you measuring the right thing?
You might feel like you are not making your desired progress, as you are measuring weight alone, but are you analysing body fat, dress size and shape? You might find that you haven’t lost many kg’s but your body shape has completely changed and you are now able to fit in that pair of skinny jeans you’ve not been able to wear for years.
2) Are the hours you are spending exercising and the effort you are putting in are mismatched?
You can be going to the gym every day for an hour, but if you are barely breaking a sweat then it might not be worth it. You can sometimes get into the habit of going through the motions of exercising, but if your heart rate isn’t pumping, maybe you are not really burning the calories you thought you were.
3) Are you overeating healthy foods?
You might feel like you should be losing weight, as you have cut all unhealthy food out of your diet, but you may find that you are overeating the new healthy foods you have moved to. If you overeat fruit, nuts etc, it can still result in overall too many calories. You still need to exercise portion control even when the foods you are eating are more healthy.
4) Are you in an exercise rut?
If you do the same exercises day after day, you might find that you are not challenging yourself any more. Your body might be too used to the exercises you are doing and not finding it a stretch. The more variety you do in your exercise the better to keep your body guessing and have the most overall effective workout.
5) Are you snacking whilst cooking?
You might feel like you are being really healthy and portion sizes are good, but when you are cooking, you are eating as you go. If you nibble on food a little at a time, you may not realise that you have almost had 2 meals by the end.
6) Are you being honest with yourself?
You may have really great intentions to eat healthily, and some of the time you really stick to your goals, but you have so many cheat days, actually if you really reviewed it, you are still having lots of unhealthy foods. If you tell yourself “I’ve been really good, so I’ll just have this pizza as I am out with friends” or “I’ll just have these potato skins with sour cream and guacamole as they are a small portion and I ate well for lunch” and other similar things, you could end up realising that you have made some changes to eat healthily some of the time, but that often you are still eating unhealthily and that’s why you are not making as much progress as quickly as you had hoped for.
7) Are your portion sizes too big?
You might be eating healthily, but you either have more than one portion, or you start off with portions way too big for the number of calories you need to consume in a day. Even if you are eating really healthily, you still want to be careful not to overeat.
8) Are you drinking your calories?
You might be acting very healthily when you eat, but you still drink lots of soda and alcohol. These are both loaded with calories and if you want to see better results, you may need to consider cutting down on calorific drinks.
9) Are you monitoring what you eat?
This is linked to being honest with yourself about how healthy you are being. If you don’t monitor what you are eating, it’s very easy to convince yourself that you have eaten much less than you really have. One way to monitor this is using instagram. This can really keep you honest about what you are eating as you have to share it with the rest of the world. I am tracking my healthy eating progress here.
10) Are you sleeping enough?
If you are tired, often this can lead to lack of energy to exercise and poor food choices. If you get enough sleep and have sufficient energy, this really helps to maintain a healthy diet and fitness regime.
11) Are you mistaking hunger for thirst?
If you’re not drinking enough water, you can sometimes feel like you need to eat, where really you are just thirsty, if you ensure you keep well hydrated, this takes away that risk.
12) Are you relying too much on working out?
Working out alone is not enough to maintain a healthy routine. Diet is equally, if not more important. Some people fall into the trap of thinking that if they work out, they can eat what they want. This is unfortunately not the case, you need to look at both elements together.
13) Are you being realistic?
Getting fit and healthy and losing weight takes time, it doesn’t happen over night. It can be a good idea to set yourself a 3 month goal, to see how you progress over this time period, rather than wondering why you are not seeing your desired results after a week.
I’d love to hear about any challenges you have experienced with progress against a healthy routine and how you have overcome them in the comments below.