Getting fit and leading a healthy lifestyle takes a lot of hard work. Getting to a point where you feel comfortable, confident and happy with your body, your diet and your exercise habits doesn’t happen overnight.
That’s because the definition of a healthy lifestyle is different for everyone. There’s no one size fits all, cookie cutter package that works for everyone, which means that finding the right balance of healthy habits that work well for you and your personality will probably take some trial and error.
Of course, with the overwhelming amount of information about health and fitness available (some accurate, and some not-so-accurate) figuring out where to start might seem like the biggest challenge of all.
Well, picking out the habits and practices that you should probably avoid could be a good place to start. You probably already know that eating a nutritious diet with lots of whole foods like fruits and vegetables is an important part of getting fit and healthy, and it’s no secret that exercising is an important part of the picture, too.
But too often these simple concepts are clouded with worries about a number on the scale or whether we went over our calorie limit for the day. When it comes to getting in shape, reducing stress is a component that’s often overlooked, and that includes eliminating anxiety about food, your body and even whether or not you’re working out enough.
So, skip the stress and get in shape for good by avoiding these common habits that are really just a waste of time.
Counting calories may be an effective weight loss strategy for some, but as we’ve pointed out before, the way the body processes food varies greatly from one individual to the next. Plus, health and fitness isn’t just about how much you eat, but the quality of your food, too. Not to mention, when keeping your calculations, you’ll likely come across many imperfections. For example, perhaps you’ve heard that one pound is equal to 3,500 calories. It’s true in theory, maybe. But one study that overfed 16 male and female subjects by 1,000 calories for eight weeks (which, according to the one pound/3,500 calorie idea should have led each subject to gain 16 pounds) resulted in entirely different weight gain amounts for each of the participants. So, while keeping track of calories may be helpful for some, for many it could become a source of anxiety (feeling deprived if you’re still hungry after hitting your limit for the day, worrying about whether or not a food fits into your daily allotment, etc.). Instead of obsessing over the quantity of your food, place a greater focus on the quality and enjoy everything you eat.
For many, keeping track of weight using a scale creates a very bumpy roller coaster of emotions that no one should have to ride. Justine SanFilippo, health club owner and author of Lose Your Inches Without Losing Your Mind! 10 Simple Weeks to a Slimmer Waistline and a Healthier You provides a great example as to why. “We [did] a challenge where members had to work out three times a week for three weeks,” she said “We took their weight and measurements at the beginning and at the end of the challenge. What I noticed was that every single person lost inches, every single time. However, the number on the scale didn't always change to reflect the shrinking inches. It was truly fascinating. That’s when I discovered that tracking inches was a more encouraging way to show progress than the scale.”