You’re not a stupid person. And you’re not lazy either.
Then why does it feel like you are stuck in a rut or at a plateau with your health and fitness? Everyone gets there from time to time. You put in the effort, do the things that you know are right. And sometimes it feels like you’re just spinning your wheels, or worse yet that you are backsliding.
I’d be willing to bet that there are at least a couple unhealthy habits in your life when you’re stuck, and that you’re not even aware of them.
The things on this short list of 4 Stupid Things that smart people do will hold you back every time. Fix them, and get SMART, and you’ll find it much easier to get where you want to go.
1- You eat out too often.
The Drive Thru is part of our culture now that it’s hard to avoid it. And just about every fast food restaurant or coffee shop has what they consider “healthy options” that make us feel less guilty when we buy from them instead of brown bagging our lunch.
Remember, restaurant food (even “healthy” options) are designed to taste good first and foremost. They are loaded with excess salt, sugar and calories. A fast food salad can have more calories and fat than one of the burgers sold there. The “healthy” chicken breast sandwiches are loaded with obscene amounts of sodium.
Cook real food and then pack leftovers. You’ll save time and money. And you’ll be leaner, fitter and healthier.
2- You sleep too little.
This is another negative in the age of technology that we live in. Everything is 24 hours a day. We work more than ever and now take our work home to fret over right up until bed time (after we’ve pushed our bed time later than in the past).
If you are getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night, you are probably sleep deprived and your body will be producing excessive amounts of the stress hormone cortisol.
When your body produces too much cortisol lean muscle tissue is broken down.
Less muscle = less metabolism. Less metabolism = more fat storage.
Sleeping a bit more can actually make you leaner.
3- You stress too much over the little things.
Life today is more hectic than ever. In a generation or two we’ve become a society that is ON all the time. We actually carry devices with us that allow anybody to reach us… at any time… for anything! How did that seem like a good idea?
We’ve also become overburdend with endless tasks from work and home. Parenting has changed. Today’s mothers and fathers seem to feel the need to oversee every activity that their children do and to attend every single function from practices to meetings to games etc… All in all, it means that we’re all a bit more stressed than our parents were.
When you allow stress to take over your life, your body reacts much like when you sleep too little and you produce the hormone cortisol. In this case, it is used for a “fight or flight response” to ready you to survive some type of crisis. Answering 200 emails a day isn’t exactly what the hormome is released for, but, it’s released nonetheless. And it starts to break down muscle tissue… and turns you into a fat storage machine.
Take a few minutes each night to write a list of TEN things (no more) that you really, really have to accomplish the next day. You’ll be surprised how hard it is to come up with ten really important things. And the simple act of writing them down, makes them somehow feel less urgent, and less stressful.
…then consider taking a tech free break several times per week. Go about your life without a cel phone or mobile device. Just like in the old days. Life will go on and you’ll feel less stress.
4- You exercise regularly… but you’re on autopilot.
One thing about the human body is that it is amazing at adapting to whatever we ask of it. Once the adaptation is made, however, the body will stay the same, because it doesn’t NEED to change.
When you begin a new exercise program, you probably feel some soreness afterwards. This might last for a week or two, but, you adapt pretty quickly and soon don’t feel much of anything when you repeat the same workout. This is a sign that you’re body has “adapted”. It’s built some new muscle, increased it’s cardiovascular capacity and maybe even burned some body fat.
The way that you change your body is that you give it a stimulus that it isn’t used to. Once it gets used to the stimulus, you need to change it to get the same adaptation process again.
Give yourself 2- 4 weeks (maximum) with any training program before you tweak it in some way. You can, literally, train forever without ever reaching that stuck plateau. You’ll continue to make changes and continue to improve your fitness levels.
Pay attention to the little things. Examine whether you have fallen victim to one, or more of the 4 “stupid” things that can bring your fitness results to a screeching halt. Focus on the solution and you’ll be amazed at how the results just start happening again.
Ernie Schramayr- All Canadian Fitness