The Guardian
Email YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter

Bad habits to curb on a fitness journey

Related

PHOTO: MyNetDiary

Every woman’s idea of a fitness journey should be easy, right? We wish we could eat whatever we feel like and in whatever quantity. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way.

Habits can be good or bad. They are a part of your daily life, almost everything you do revolves around habits. Cultivating good habits is what breaks the ice to achieving desirable results on your journey. Creating good habits will not happen overnight, it requires conscious effort, but daily efforts go a very long way. Understanding how habits work is important, there are three main components to any habit: the cue, the routine and the reward.

The cue is what triggers the habit, the routine is the habit being performed and the reward is the reason for performing the routine.

For example, you probably follow a specific habit for your morning workouts. Your alarm goes off at 6:15am, you jump out of bed, change into your work out gear and begin your exercise routine. This entire process is a habit. The cue is your alarm, the routine is getting out of bed, changing into your workout gear and working out and the reward is you having a trimmer and healthier body, of course a subsequent boost to your self-esteem.

Generally, when you read advice about giving up bad habits or developing good habits, you are advised to focus on the routine itself. The truth is, the reward is more important. It’s actually the reward that keeps you going. In as much as bad habits can be a little difficult to break, it is very important to focus on the good things you gain by curbing them.

Here are a few bad habits to curb:

Skipping breakfast
Skipping breakfast has become the norm these days. A greater majority of people do not eat breakfast, they probably don’t think about food until about midday due to their busy schedule. When they eventually do, it usually isn’t anything but healthy. It’s either a pack of plantain chips, or unhealthy pastries from fast food restaurants with a fizzy drink. What most people fail to realize is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It sets the tone for the day, it promotes weight maintenance and weight loss by maintaining blood glucose and metabolism levels. Your breakfast should be a moderate proportion of complex carbs with a considerable amount of protein.

Eating processed foods (Junk)
This is one of the major bad habits that need to be curbed. Processed foods are unhealthy and they contain very high fat and carbohydrate with caloric content hitting the roof. Most people opt for this option because it is fast and usually easy to prepare. Regular consumption of these high-caloric foods such as cookies, pastries, fast food, chips, chocolate bars, ice cream, soda and other unhealthy snacks contribute to unnecessary weight gain and subsequently an unhealthy lifestyle.

Lack of exercise
People with sedentary lifestyle burn fewer calories than people who are active. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed that physical inactivity was strongly correlated with weight gain and unhealthy living. Exercising is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Working with a trainer, signing up at a gym or even sticking to an exercise routine at home will go a long way to maintaining that healthy lifestyle. At the beginning of each week, mark every workout session in your calendar, just as you would for a doctor’s appointment. You’re more likely to stick to your plan when you see it in black and white.

Inadequate sleep
One of the reasons you may be struggling with your weight, may be as a result of inadequate sleep. Sleep plays a vital role in weight loss and it can even help prevent weight gain in the future. Lack of sleep has been shown to disrupt the production of appetite hormones, which leaves you feeling hungrier the next day. Research carried out by Clinical Sciences Research Institute, University of Warwick Medical School, Coventry, UK, showed that those who are sleep-deprived are 55 per cent more likely to become obese, as compared to those who get quality rest each night. Try to get about seven to eight hours of sleep each night in order
to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Over eating or under eating (Portion control)
Over eating or under eating is one bad habit many people struggle with. Under eating/starving is not the best and right avenue for weight loss or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Portion control is all that matters. Portion control is one of the most important aspects in maintaining a clean and healthy diet. The sad truth is that when most of us sit to eat, the last thing we think about is portion control, especially if we believe the meal is “healthy”. Portion control is also very necessary no matter how healthy the meal is. Ensure to read nutritional labels, measure your food ingredients accurately while cooking.

Not drinking enough water
Most people don’t drink as much water as they should. It is advisable to drink about 8-10 cups daily (8 ounces or 240 ml each) or more. Water helps to hydrate the body and keeps the skin glowing and fresh. Also, when muscles are not properly hydrated, metabolism rate is slowed down. The bottom line is that you need to replace bad habits with good habits. Take small steps to change your behavior and always keep your focus on the rewards for additional motivation.



No Comments yet