There’s a lot to be said about the balance of weight-loss or weight-gain and a healthy mentality. I wanted to touch on the mental health involved in a workout program because I have also struggled with forming bad mental habits that coincide with the gym. Sometimes, we mess up during our diet, or our gym-time was less-than-perfect. Maybe we had to miss a workout all together because we had a heavy workload! This is merely a reminder that one mistake is not going to interfere with progress and an even bigger reminder that part of a healthy lifestyle is a healthy mentality related to food, the gym, and comparison to others.
Over the years, I have come across or even personally experienced the following bad habits that I think many women (and men) struggle with. It’s great that you’re very dedicated to your fitness, but I want you to go through this list and use it to check-in with yourself and your mind. Are you being kind to yourself and allowing some “wiggle room” for the occasional mistake or well-needed day off?
Here are the five habits that could be sabotaging your mental health…
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve over-exercised at the gym the day after a junk-food meal. This was during the beginning of my fitness journey, and I feel like it burned me out. I was so caught up trying to “fix” mistakes, and I was exhausted.
Solution: DON’T work out extra. First of all, you can injure yourself by pushing too hard. Second, one bad day does not affect you so much that you need to over-exercise to fix it. Instead, pick up the next day with your usual routine and continue on. It’s really that simple!
2. Eat little or no dinner if you’ve messed up during lunch:
This is not a great habit to even begin. Restricting or skipping a meal will actually slow your metabolism down. You’re body counts on you to feed it a constant stream of calories and vitamins, and you and your body deserve it!
Solution: Think about each “healthy” choice you make as a move in the right direction. If you had doughnuts for breakfast, eat some veggies at dinner. It’s not about overcompensating, it’s about trying to make each choice better than the last. There will never be a time that missing a meal will be the answer.
3. Checking in with the scale:
This is for my weight-loss and weight-gain sweat sisters! I know it’s been said: but your weight is just a number and really doesn’t represent the changes your body has made. If you’re trying to lose weight, the pounds may go up a bit as your body composition changes from fat to muscle! If you’re trying to gain weight, you may notice a drop if you’re losing fat! Muscle takes time to build, don’t be discouraged.
Solution: Throw away the scale (or restrict how much you use it). Progress pictures are the best way to see your results. Plus, it takes the whole number thing out of representing your body. Each body is unique, so using a single number system to measure the changes is outdated. Snap a new photo every two weeks and watch how much happier your mind is!
4. The guilt of a missed workout:
It’s disappointing when you can’t get to the gym sometimes, but it’s not going to change your progress. This habit coincides with the overcompensating with your next workout, and it’s something you shouldn’t feel you have to do! If you can’t get to the gym, don’t sweat it! Tomorrow will be better, and the gym isn’t going anywhere.
Solution: Plan a rest day! On the days you know you’ll be busy, take it off ahead of time! The gym should be a stress-free place, so trying to squeeze it into your busiest days may end up doing the opposite. You have to take care of your body too, sis!
5. Comparing yourself to others:
We all have goals, but we are on a journey and should love ourselves through the entire process. It’s easy to look at someone and wish that was you. However, there’s something so rewarding about working towards what you want. No matter what size you’re at now, there’s no one else out there quite like you.
Solution: Instead of comparing, ask this person for advice. What’s their favorite protein snack? Do they have any cool leg moves you need to try? There may be some valuable information you can incorporate into your goals, and that’s great! Remember, you’re striving to be a healthier version of you, and part of that is remembering to love yourself!
Sometimes, we need to step back and check in with our mind. Don’t let a fitness goal become something so demanding that you give yourself no room to make mistakes. We are human! I hope this list provided insight to you. Let’s show support to each other as we reach our goals. Comment a story below that you feel comfortable sharing about your fitness journey.