The 4 Pillars for Your Fitness Success
Let’s Talk Nutrition!
If you have been following my blog for a while, you will know that I am open about my childhood memories of my mother always being on a diet. If there was a new fad diet, she was willing to try it. I watched her commit to these restrictions time and time again, only to gain the weight back and start the vicious cycle all over again. This is a heartbreaking cycle that women all over the world put themselves through! Loving your body means identifying what it needs to run at its best.
- That means fueling it with nutrient-dense foods!
- Veggies, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein are all great examples.
- “Nutrient-dense” simply means you want to get the most bang for your buck in terms of nutrients vs. calorie ratios.
- Pay attention to the nutrition labels rather than simply buying into the advertisements.
We as women are often guilty of overthinking and becoming caught up in the need for perfection. We tend to overanalyze every situation, which in turn, overwhelzing everything can be overwhelming and cause paralyzing fear. If you’re sick of feeling this way, let’s work together to lighten your mental load!
Make sure to keep things simple.
- Can you identify lean meat? From there can you pair it with a fresh veggie?
- Can you pay attention to your portions, especially when eating foods that are high in calories?
- Can you prepare a few meals in advance, based on these simple rules?
- How about listening to true hunger cues and eating slowly?
- Why not actually take the time to enjoy your yummy food?
You have just accomplished your first task! I understand that nutrition can be quite overwhelming at times, however when you are doubtful, go back to the basics and make it easy!
Let’s Talk Exercise!
It’s easy to understand that if you burn more calories, you’ll lose weight. But it can be hard to stay motivated when it feels like your goal is out of reach. A key to success is to establish a daily routine that includes physical activity. Moving your body and getting stronger through regular exercise is an important part of any weight loss journey.
Many women get discouraged because they compare themselves to other women, or even to their own former selves. However, it’s important to remember that everyone is at a different stage in their life, so it’s not fair to compare yourself to someone else. Instead of focusing on negative thoughts, try to focus on the amazing things your body can do, and be grateful for that. Take things one step at a time to improve your exercise practice.
Your task is to figure out when you have the most energy and work out then for however long you need to. Make sure you are working out at a level that is appropriate for your current fitness level and be grateful for your body rather than compare it to others.
Let’s Talk Stress!
Everyone experiences stress differently. Some stressors are more intense than others, but one thing is certain: long-term stress can have a severe impact on your health.
- Do you find yourself struggling with high blood pressure, digestive problems, unexplained weight gain, anxiety, depression, and/or issues with focus and memory?
- These are all possible side effects of being exposed to high levels of cortisol and other stress hormones for a long period of time. Wait, what? Yes, girl!
- Your body will seriously begin to manifest physical symptoms from all of the mental weight that you have been carrying! We too often try to separate our physical and emotional states.
- We have to acknowledge that one can greatly impact the other if we have any hope of living a balanced life! Stress management is just as important to your well-being and exercise and nutrition. And just like the first two pillars of fitness, stress management requires intentional steps and a little soul searching.
Action Steps for Fitness Success
It’s important to get some time for yourself to relax and clear your head. If you’re constantly stressed, it’s hard to figure out what’s causing it. Everyone’s situation is different, so find what works for you. It could be waking up early to have some time alone, or taking a few minutes during the day to be alone in your car or closet.
Be honest with yourself about identifying any sources of unnecessary stress in your life, and work on removing them. Don’t try to be perfect all the time or overcommit yourself to things you can’t handle, as this will only make you more stressed.
The first step is to acknowledge the problem. Then, in terms of coping mechanisms, while we are working through our triggers, this may look different for everyone.
- Some people simply need to vent to others or even laugh things off in the heat of the moment. If this is you, you may cherish talk therapy or you may find it incredibly helpful to phone a friend.
- Some people feel the need to get out and have a good time while others prefer to stay in and binge-watch Netflix.
- Some may need to focus on meditating while others need a stress outlet such as exercise.
I realize that this step may not be easy for some of you, but I promise that if you work through these issues, you will feel both mentally and physically stronger.
Let’s Talk Sleep!
Many women are so busy running around like machines that we don’t truly accept the impacts of our poor sleep habits. Well, guess what even machines can’t run solely off of coffee, ladies!
- Mood swings, irritability, fatigue. Does any of those symptoms sound familiar?
- And just like people often emotionally eat due to stress triggers, it is also easy to overcompensate with food while trying to fill the void of sleep in your life. Remember all that love I asked you to pour into your body when we were discussing exercise? Yep, I need you to sprinkle some of that in this area of your life as well!
- Sleep is crucial to a healthy lifestyle! So I need you to identify where you may be self-sabotaging your ability to catch those Z’s!
- Do you go straight from watching TV to tossing and turning all night? How is your nutrition?
- Are you chugging coffee during all hours of the day? Are you attempting to stay on some type of daily schedule? These are all legitimate questions that we must all ask ourselves before assuming we just suck at getting a good night’s rest.
The 4 Pillars of Dietary Success for Any Fitness Goal
- The Goal is the Goal is the Goal
There is not a single diet, calorie intake, nutrition framework, food list, etc. that is perfect for everyone. The most important pillar of dietary success is having a clear goal and staying focused on it for a significant amount of time. This means that for 99% of people, a 3 week cleanse is pointless.
For example, if your goal is to put on 15 pounds of lean muscle tissue you need to fully comprehend what that means and what it takes to get there. If this is indeed the goal then you are going to need to prioritize the following things:
If you want to gain muscle mass, you need to consume more calories than you burn. This is more important than eating clean or getting nutrients.
Although you can usually “eat the rainbow” to get a variety of nutrients, you should not worry about it as much now.
If you want to gain muscle mass, you need to make sure you’re getting enough protein. Your body needs the building blocks of muscle tissue to grow, so make sure you’re getting enough protein and you’ll see the results you want.
Protein and carbohydrates are essential for maximal muscle growth, so a low-carb diet is not ideal if your goal is to build muscle.
If you want to lose 10 pounds in two months, your priorities and strategy will change. Calories are still important, but food behavior is more likely to lower calories than when you tried to eat as many calories as possible.
You should consume enough protein to maintain muscle mass, but eating too much is a waste of calories since the goal is to maintain muscle mass, not to grow it.
Since you are consuming fewer calories, you will need to focus on eating foods that are more nutrient-dense. This means that each food you eat will be more important in terms of its micronutrient composition and the properties that regulate satiety.
It is clear that understanding your goals and knowing how to prioritize your nutrition to focus on that goal is critical. Without this understanding, you will spend a lot of time without making any progress.
- Don’t Get Distracted by the Furry Squirrels.
If you grew up with a dog and walked it, then you know that they will chase a squirrel if one runs by. This will make them deviate from the path they are currently on.
The answer is moderate, sustainable eating. The vast majority of people fail in their diets not because the diets are too hard, but because they get distracted and discouraged easily. They try a new diet every month, and if it’s based on something that seems like a gimmick, they abandon it quickly. The key to success is to find a moderate, sustainable diet and stick with it.
The key is to not get sidetracked every few months by the latest, most appealing diet. Instead, find a diet plan that actually works for you and stick to it for 6 to 12 months, tracking your progress along the way.
- Focus on the Big Stuff
The things that move the needle for people are the big picture things, despite the din and cacophony of the nutrition blogosphere making nutrition out to be more complicated than it is. I know this because I do nutrition and metabolism science as a profession and have coached thousands of people.
20% of what you eat is responsible for 80% of your success in reaching your dietary goals.
What are those things that are 20%? Great question.
If you live in a candy store, it would be impossible to follow a successful diet plan. You need to set up your environment for success if you want to be successful in your diet. Do your own grocery shopping so you can take control of what you’re eating.
Caloric balance is key to controlling weight. This is supported by every single piece of scientific data. Lowering caloric intake may not always be the best solution, but controlling the balance is essential.
Though you may be able to lose weight by eating unhealthy foods, it is often difficult to maintain this weight loss in the long term. Furthermore, these unhealthy foods are often more rewarding, making it harder to resist eating them.
Eating mostly “quality” foods makes it easier to meet your nutrition goals and stick to your diet.
dealing with those three issues will give you a better chance at success
- There is No Magical Diet
What you did get was a bunch of common-sense tips that you already know but needed to be reminded of There is no magical secret to weight loss, losing body fat, or getting super jacked. You didn’t get a magic key to the fat loss kingdom, but you did get a bunch of common-sense tips.
There is nothing magical about any of the following, they only have the basic ideas as mentioned above.
- Zone Macro Ratios
- Carb Backloading
- The Sirt Diet
This list can go on for quite a while.
You can control your weight, food quality, and environment by following these principles. Just eating broccoli won’t magically make you healthy and cure all chronic diseases.