By Yajen Tan
So you’ve started thinking about getting in shape again. The first thing that crossed your mind – I need to start working out. For many, this means signing up for a gym membership, jogging in the mornings, or taking your dog on a walk. Although exercise is an amazing option that will definitely help get back in shape again, your chances of success may be ruined if you don’t pay attention to these small but common mistakes.
- Understanding how nutrition can work for you
- Learning to be patient with the process
- Building an environment around your goals
- My experiences with failure
Nutrition plays a major role when it comes to getting in better shape. Not only does a well-crafted nutrition plan help fuel your body to perform at its peak, it also determines how much body fat is stored and released while you’re on the program. When crafting a nutrition plan a couple questions I make sure to ask are:
- How hydrated am I throughout the day?
- How can I eliminate all processed foods?
- How do I increase vegetable consumption?
- How do I reduce food-induced inflammation?
- How much am I eating?
- Am I enjoying the taste and the feel of my diet?
After you’ve asked yourself those questions about your diet, remember that the key to staying in shape is consistency. You don’t need a perfect meal plan or the best workout in the world. All you need to do is stick to the plan you’ve decided upon and then gradually make adjustments as you experience the results.
Many of us get way too caught up in our fast-paced society and we forget that results are created by a process over time. I’m personally guilty of this one, and must consistently remind myself that the reason that I’m not seeing results yet is usually because I’m just early in the process. A 28 day program or 6 week diet can definitely get you in shape, in a short time frame, but unless we redefine our daily approach to fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle, those shortcuts are often short-lived.
Instead of pushing yourself to see results as soon as you possibly can, take a step back and identify possible factors in your life that may be sabotaging your success. By identifying these factors you can make the necessary changes and dramatically increase your chances of succeeding.
You are the average of the 5 people who you spend the most time with, and that goes way beyond human interaction. Environment can play a critical role in determining what influences we get exposed to. I find that environment is often overlooked when people are trying to create a lifestyle transformation.
One of the most common mistakes that people make is forgetting just how easy it is to pick up a snack or a drink when it’s sitting seconds away from your couch. Keeping your cabinets loaded up with chips, and your cooler stocked with beer, is the biggest mistake to make when trying to cut down on snacks and drinks. By simply removing the “do-not-eat” items out of your home you’ll make it much easier for you to follow your nutritional guidelines.
Here are just a few common sabotages to success when people try to get into better shape:
- Foods available at locations and events that they frequent (home, office, leisure).
- Social activities that promote negative nutrition behaviors.
- Restaurant and grocery store choices.
- Eating habits of people within your inner circle (friends, family, and acquaintances).
I personally experienced a lot of environmental factors that influenced many of the negative behaviors that I’ve enjoyed in the past. One of the most identifiable ones, for me, was my excessive drinking habit in college. Despite the many attempts I made to quit binge drinking I would end up right back where I started. I was surrounded by a culture that strongly promoted binge drinking and my room was loaded up with more alcohol than I could ever finish. After many attempts to reduce the frequency and volume of alcohol that I was consuming on a regular basis, I realized that I would never stop unless I made an effort to change my own environment.
Breaking out of these environments can be especially hard, due to their common attachment to people we’re close to. We’re often faced with difficult situations that might be brought upon by family, friends, or close connections that can make us reluctant to take that leap. How do you cut out junk food if you’ve grown up in a household where snacking on chips was an encouraged behavior? You’ve got to stop it at the source. As difficult as these decisions can sometimes be, you’ve got to empower yourself with the authority to make the change that you need to see in your own life.