I’ve been involved with health & fitness for over a decade now. But at the beginning, I was confused and wasted more money than I care to admit. I lost out on more relationships than I’m proud to admit. I also self-inflicted more headaches than were necessary.
In today’s world, the barrier to entry for someone who wants to start practicing healthier habits has become increasingly convoluted.
Each week seemingly finds a new health trend and rules that we must follow. While there are many beneficial healthy habits, there are equally as many healthy habits that are actually counter-productive to someone wanting to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Here are four common counter-productive healthy habits to let go of immediately.
1. Letting the scale be the judge of your progress
Stepping on the scale occasionally is fine. However, using the scale daily and sometimes multiple times in one day becomes problematic.
Letting the scale serve as the judge and jury to your goals and self-worth is going to run the risk of making you obsessive, neurotic, and potentially lead you to self-destruct with your fitness goals.
The human body is constantly in a state of flux with many factors playing a role on your weight for that particular day. Our hormones, salt intake, bowel movements, and what we had for dinner last night are just a few examples of what plays a role in our weight.
You’re not going to lose nor gain a lot of weight over a day (or even a few for that matter). Any sudden fluxes either up or down are most likely due to water weight.
Avoid using the scale on a daily basis and letting that serve as the primary indicator of your progress. Instead, take photos every few weeks, use tape measurements, and notice how you’re feeling and operating on a daily basis.
2. Using supplements to mask a less-than-ideal diet
Almost half of the American population takes a multivitamin and it was estimated that Americans spent 21 billion on supplements.
Most people use various supplements and multivitamins as an insurance policy to getting their proper amount of nutrients. While the rationale and intentions are for the right reasons, unfortunately, supplements aren’t ideal.
While supplements are marketed and packaged as nutritional insurance policies with proven health benefits in a nice capsule—the reality isn’t as it seems. Having this many vitamins and minerals in high doses are highly unlikely to be completely absorbed by the human body.
Focus on nutrient dense whole foods and eating a balanced diet to receive your vitamins and minerals. If you’re going to supplement with vitamins and minerals, supplement with only that particular nutrient that you are deficient in.
3. Equating sugar-free with healthy
Most sugar-free foods just replace the regular sugar components with artificial sweeteners. While in some foods, replacing the regular sugar contents will lower the total caloric count, this doesn’t guarantee a smaller waistline nor is a healthier option.
Artificial sugars and sweeteners are chemically manufactured molecules. There have even been reports that artificial sweeteners may increase the risk for obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic syndromes.
At the end of the day, no matter the source of your sugar intake, moderation is essential and priority number one.
4. Relying on cardio and exercise programs to lose weight
There’s a common trend today to market various workouts as burning ‘x’ amount of calories within a certain time period. However, giving too much focus to this ideology is a mute point if your nutrition isn’t dialed in.
It seems elementary in concept to hear “you can’t out-train a poor diet”. Yet, many people are still guilty of not following this old adage.
Diet is the priority. Great nutrition does the majority of the heavy lifting toward losing weight while the exercise program helps make you stronger and fitter.
The type of training program that you commit to doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things unless you have a specific physique goal in mind. However, what matters and will always be priority number one is that you have focused and sound nutritional practices.
This post was originally posted over at The Huffington Post.
Photo: Getty Images