You feel like you’re doing everything right when it comes to your health. You’re eating the “right” foods, you go to the gym, and you sleep 8 hours per night. But something isn’t going right — you’re not losing the weight you want to, you’re exhausted all the time, you’re not making the fitness progress you envisioned, or maybe you just feel “off”.
So what gives?
The truth is, it is so hard to do everything right. If things aren’t going right for you, if you feel like something is off, it’s because it is. Somewhere along the health and fitness chain, you have a missing link.
There is so much more to your wellness than just nutritional choices and time in the gym, and the way that all of the puzzle pieces fit together for progress is going to look a little bit different for everyone. If you’re stalling on progress or disappointed in your outcomes lately, it means that there needs to be a much closer look at all of the links in your chain. Fitness, losing weight, and overall health are actually much more nuanced and complicated than the age old “eat less, move more” adage would lead you to believe.
So just what is your missing link and where do we begin figuring this out? Let’s take a seconds and break down the major categories that need to be examined.
You may think that you’re eating all of the right foods at just the right times, but your nutrition deserves a closer look just the same. First, we need to look at your goals. If weight loss or fat loss is your goal, there needs to be a caloric deficit (food in vs. energy out), but there is a fine line between a deficit and eating too little, thus wreaking havoc on your metabolic health. One thing to examine is to make sure that you are actually eating enough, because in my experience, many women who are trying to lose weight tend to go a little bit too far in the “eat less” category, sabotaging their own progress.
Not only do we need to look at how much you are eating, but we need to look at what you are eating. Are you satisfied between meals? Always hungry? Do you find it hard to include protein in most meals and snacks, or are you unsure of what good protein sources might be? Do you constantly have cravings or strong feelings about food? Do you avoid full fat products? Do you feel energized or sluggish after eating most meals?
Your answers to these questions might let you know that despite making the “right” choices, there is some small missing link in your nutrition equation.
But if you feel like you are all good on the nutrition front, there are some other major categories to consider.
Have you been doing the same workout for months, years even, without doing much to change up resistance or intensity? And on the flip side, do you find yourself switching up your workout routines constantly, always looking for the next best thing?
Do you find yourself looking forward to your workout or dreading it every step of the way? Do your workouts generally leave you feeling energized or utterly exhausted and incredibly sore?
There are a few things to think about here: workout consistency is key, but progressive resistance within that consistency is also a key component to making progress. Doing the same lifts week after week is not necessarily a bad thing, and is usually a good thing– however we need to make sure that there is progressive resistance, whether through increasing weight, reps, set, or speeds, to continue making progress. Our bodies adapt to exercise fairly efficiently, so 30 minutes on the treadmill at the same speed every day takes much less effort (and thus provides less results) than it used to when you first began.
And beyond the consistency piece, there is a lot to be said about working out with too much intensity too much of the time. I know a lot of women who want to end up in a sweaty heap at the end of every single workout, completing HIIT workouts 4-5 times per week, exhausting their nervous system and their bodies ability to repair and recover. This is a huge reason why progress stalls much of the time — there is a fine line between too much intensity and enough intensity to see results.
Feeling exhausted, burnt out, sore, or constantly under the weather? Taking the high intensity workouts down a notch or two might just be your missing link.
Feeling stalled, plateaued, and frustrated with lack of progress? It might be time to take a look at your programming, working with a coach to ensure that your workouts are in line with your goals, and allowing you to progress and change over time.
Although fitness and nutrition are the two major categories that we think of when considering health and wellness, they really are just two pieces of the puzzle. You really could be doing everything right when it comes to these two and still not be seeing the progress that you want
Next time we’ll go into some other major contributors to your overall wellness, and how each of them could be your weak link. We’ll also look at some sneaky smaller factors that could cause a wrench in your chain, stalling progress even if they seem to be insignificant when it comes to your health.
Readers: Do you identify with any of these challenges with nutrition or fitness? What do you think your missing link might be — or have you got it all figured out already?
Check out Part 2 to dig a little deeper!