Avoid Sabotaging Your Healthy Efforts

Sometimes, wanting to the right thing can slip us up if we have the wrong attitude about it. Do you see yourself in any of the following pitfalls to a long-term health and fitness program?

‘All or nothing’ Phenomenon

You are scheduled for a 60 minute workout but something comes up and you cannot get to the gym for the allocated time. You scrap the workout and decide you will try to fit it in tomorrow. You have decided to eat healthier but one day you slip a bit at lunch and have a chocolate bar. You decide that since you have already failed for the day, you might as well throw in the towel and indulge in a few cookies, a bowl of ice cream and a bag of chips. Tomorrow is another day.

Can you see how this “all or nothing” approach works against you? Wouldn’t a 30 minute workout have been better than no exercise as all? Wouldn’t a single chocolate bar have been better than an all-out binge?

Sometimes, striving for perfection is what leads to failure.

The trick in trying to stick to a long-term plan is to learn to compromise. When it comes to nutrition, focus on the 80/20 rule – 80 percent of the time you eat really well and 20 percent of the time you indulge a little. No going overboard, though. When it comes to exercise, remember that any activity is better than nothing.

‘Let’s Go Back Home’ Phenomenon:

Imagine this scenario. You have scheduled a two-week vacation and have decided to drive to your favorite holiday destination. You get half way there, get a flat tire and turn around and go back home. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?

But, this is exactly what happens when most people start exercise or nutrition programs. They are on their way to their goals and they slip up. Instead of “fixing the flat” and continuing on toward their goal, they give up and return to old habits and patterns.

We know that 70 percent of people who start an exercise program drop out within a matter of months and most people who lose 10 pounds gain them back. So how do you avoid being part of these stats? It is important to accept that there are going to be obstacles, challenges or perceived failures along the way to any goal. Those who succeed learn from the challenge and get right back on the exercise track.

The ‘Here and Now’ Phenomenon: 

So many of us fall prey to the lure of immediate gratification. The hot fudge sundae staring us in the face is too great a temptation compared to future weight loss. We would rather experience the pleasure now and worry about the consequences later. A binge today simply means tomorrow we will eat better or we will work out twice as long or hard.

There is always a way to justify a lack of discipline. Discipline and will-power are perceived as deprivation – we are sacrificing or losing something. But if you can imagine that each time you work out, stick to a nutritional plan or decide not to indulge in a less-healthy choice, you are actually giving yourself something – spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Sticking to an exercise or nutrition plan is the same as practicing discipline when your kids are driving you nuts. You would like to scream, shout and lose it but instead you count to 10 and choose your words more carefully. There is no doubt that practicing this type of discipline makes you feel better about yourself. It is the same with exercise. Your body deserves to be treated well. You deserve to eat well and exercise regularly. Many athletes think of their body as a temple and so should you. Think of that the next time you notice yourself indulging a little too often. Push it away and think of it as actually giving something to yourself rather than taking something away.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Note: As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details. 

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Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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