11 Behaviours that are Sabotaging Your Health Goals

With the New Year many people set grand New Year’s resolutions. I am not necessarily a fan of these types of goals as many people find it difficult to maintain them. But if you’ve made resolutions don’t give up on them just yet. Rather, avoid these behaviours if you want to stay on track!

1. Too much too soon

People often want to overhaul their life by changing up their entire eating and workout plan all at once. The problem is, with such dramatic changes it is easy to get overwhelmed and become exhausted. This often leads to people dropping their goals.

2. Not tracking health habits

To understand barriers that may be holding you back it is important to collect data on yourself. If you can understand the problem it’s easier to move forward to find a solution. You can track macros, micros, weight, performance, eating habits, eating times, sleep… the options are endless. I recommend using whatever metric keeps you accountable.

3. Pursuing someone else’s goal

People often set weight loss goals because someone else told them they should or they are doing it for an upcoming event. The trouble is that the steps needed to lose the weight in a short amount of time are not sustainable and people often go back to old habits and regain the weight. This cycle of yo-yo dieting is dangerous for both your mental and physical health.

4. Focusing on the number and not how you feel

It’s not always about the number on the scale. In my mind weight loss is an outcome and not a goal. For one person the result of going to the gym three times per week and having a balanced breakfast four times per week might result in weight loss of one pound per week. For someone the result from a similar routine could be completely different.

5. Depriving yourself

For some reason we have gotten the idea that weight loss or maintenance comes with great sacrifice – you need to eat very little and exercise all the time. This is simply not true. Weight loss comes from being consistent (not starving yourself during the week only to over-compensate on the weekend) and understanding what small daily actions you need to take to keep your actions in line with your goal.

6. Negative self-talk

People can be downright mean to themselves and speak to themselves in a way they would never speak to anyone else. I have seen clients eat as close to perfect as possible and workout 5 times per week only to continue to struggle with their weight. What helps them move past this plateau is when they start to be kinder to themselves. It can start with journaling one positive thing about themselves each day.

7. Setting unrealistic goals for yourself

People often set huge goals that are not achievable without looking at the smaller steps to get there. When they are not able to reach their unrealistic expectations they feel like a failure which can lead to negative self-talk which leads to giving up.

8. Cutting calories to low

Eating too few calories can create a ‘starvation reaction’ in the body causing it to slow its metabolic rate due to muscle breakdown. Your body’s hormone levels may change to compensate. Signs that your body is trying to compensate for low intake can include low energy, increased appetite and cravings in the afternoon and evening. Cravings are likely for higher calorie foods containing sugar/starch.

9. Not eating balanced

When people cut their calories to low, they often cut the starch in favour of protein and vegetables. I love vegetables and they should always be at lunch and dinner, but they do not have many calories on their own. Their purpose is to fill you up with fiber (and provide nutrients) so you can eat a more appropriate portion of protein and starch to be satisfied and minimalize your cravings later in the day.

10. Trying to be perfect

Expecting perfection in what you eat and how you exercise is setting yourself up for failure. The perfect time to start caring about your health is now. Rather than attempting to live the perfect lifestyle, be happy pursuing small, achievable steps that add up to support your goals.

11. Your environment is not helping you be successful

By tracking the times where you’re not successful you can begin to understand the situations that lead you to go off track. For example, I have learned not to keep junk food in my house. This way, if I want a treat I physically have to leave my house to get it. This allows me to stick to my 3-4 treats per week.