When it comes to our health, many of us know the benefits of keeping active and eating a balanced diet.
But what happens when you’re taking all the ‘right’ steps, including training consistently and focusing on your nutrition, and you’re still not getting the results you want?
Our bodies are complex and your overall health and fitness progress will depend on a range of factors, including body composition, genetics, lifestyle factors and the speed at which your body responds to physical changes.
Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle, Move With Us Founder, Rachel Dillon, explains there are a number of other patterns that may, in fact, be preventing you from achieving your fitness goals.
Here, Rachel shares the six reasons why your health and fitness routine might be leaving you feeling stagnant, disheartened, and unhappy - and how to transform it for good.
1. You’re setting unrealistic expectations
"Setting health and fitness goals is extremely important for your future success. Without a clear goal in mind, it’s difficult to know what you’re working towards and how to measure your success.
Whilst specific and attainable goals are helpful in achieving the results you want, setting unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment and unhappiness.
A clear and manageable goal might look like: ‘I want to lose x number of kilograms, by y timeframe, and I will achieve this by following my meal plan and workout schedule'.
If certain lifestyle changes are completely new to you, it’s best to start with smaller short-term goals."
2. You’re committing to unsustainable strategies
"If you’re just starting your health and fitness journey, your motivation is likely at an all time high.
Be careful not to set up unsustainable strategies, such as imposing strict restrictions on your diet, setting targets to hit 20,000 steps daily when you normally average 3,000, or otherwise drastically changing your lifestyle.
It’s time to throw the old mantra ‘no pain no gain’ out the window once and for all - your health journey should help you thrive and enhance other areas of your life, not consume all your mental and physical energy.
Pushing yourself too hard without enough time for rest and recovery, can lead to a drop in energy and motivation, and can increase risks of injury or illnesses.
Always listen to your body, and start with small, realistic changes that compound over time.
Even the smallest changes can have a huge impact in time if implemented consistently.
These include achievable habits like; moving your body every hour, setting a consistent sleep schedule, aiming to hit 2-3 litres of water daily, incorporating vegetables with most meals, and stretching daily."
3. You’re following extreme diets
"We scroll past so many nutrition trends and 'magic solutions' to weight loss that it can be hard to keep up.
Unfortunately the negative cycle of quick-fix dieting and imposing strict restrictions on yourself, inevitably leads to food cravings and ‘binges’ and can have negative effects on your progress and sense of well-being.
At Move With Us, we don’t promote cutting any food groups. Instead, we take an approach to nutrition that has been consistently proven to work - recommending meal guides with goal-appropriate amounts of carbs, fats, and proteins derived from a variety of nutritious foods.
Maintaining a balanced nutrition plan is something our clients tend to embrace very quickly once they discover how sustainable and truly enjoyable the flexible dieting approach is."
4. Your routine lacks structure
"If you’re stuck on a loop doing the same workout routine and exercises day to day without challenging yourself, in time your body will adapt to the movement patterns and level of intensity and hit a plateau.
Having a structured training program helps combat this, and ensures you’re consistently pushing yourself to new limits in your workouts.
It’s also important to remember we are all different on so many levels. We have different goals, different bodies, different lifestyles, and our bodies all respond differently to change.
Constantly comparing yourself to others is a shortcut to creating a negative relationship with fitness.
While it’s good to take inspiration and ideas from others, you should always follow a training and nutrition plan that is specific to YOU and YOUR goals.
5. Your routine is so strict it’s cutting into your social life
"If your training and nutrition regimes are too rigid and you’re regularly turning down social plans with friends and family as a result, it’s likely that your relationships are feeling the pressure too.
Your health and fitness routines should seamlessly fit into your lifestyle, not isolate you from catching up with the people you love.
Food is such an important ritual that brings us together, and you don’t have to sacrifice your dinner parties or social plans while working towards your fitness goals.
It’s important to think about your diet as a whole - after all, you are what you do consistently, and one meal will not ruin your progress.
When you start to practise self-compassion, set realistic expectations of yourself and make the lifestyle work for you – you will never feel ‘not good enough’ or ‘restricted’ again."
6. You’re living in the ‘all or nothing approach’?
"One of the biggest happiness killers that gets in the way of reaching your goals is an ‘all or nothing’ approach.
Many people struggle with finding balance, and will either be ‘all in’, or ‘all out’ when it comes to following a structured approach to training and nutrition.
This might look like compensating with something you see as ‘good’ or ‘healthy’ for perceived ‘bad’ behaviours.
For example, forcing yourself to go for a run because you had a takeout meal for dinner, or compensating with an unsatisfactory salad for your next meal.
Another common behaviour of those stuck in this way of thinking is deciding to quit things cold turkey.
You might decide to completely eliminate sugar out of your diet, only to crave it more than ever and double down on the treats the next week.
This also looks like throwing in the towel when you go off-track for a meal or skip a workout, saying you’ll start over the next Monday, and then again the Monday after that, in an endless cycle whenever your journey is less than perfect.
If you find yourself stuck in this cycle with your food, a flexible dieting approach could help you to get unstuck.
We believe in a flexible dieting approach based on incorporating a healthy amount of ALL food groups, made up of 80% whole, nutrient-dense food choices, and 20% of soul foods that you love.
Your diet doesn’t need to be boring or bland, it’s all about finding a sustainable approach you’re going to love long-term!
Learning to accept your actions, give yourself some self-compassion and understand that you’re only human, will help you to move past the all or nothing approach."
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