Kaitlyn has a background in psychology and writes articles that teach you how to lean on your body, mind, heart, and on those around you.
No matter how obsessed with health and exercise a person may be, no one is perfect. Even the most knowledgeable health nut will make a mistake or two every now and again. And that’s okay. Don't beat yourself up about it. Just make sure to get back on track tomorrow.
Here are 7 of the most common mistakes that even the healthiest people make, and what you can do to avoid or overcome these bad habits.
1. Hitting the Gym But Then Sitting All Day
If you haven’t heard, health experts and researchers are now saying that sitting is the new smoking. Prolonged sitting has been found to increase your risk of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess torso body fat, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and can even increase your risk of death from heart disease and cancer.
What's worse is that, according to one 2015 study, it doesn’t matter if you go to the gym every day. If you spend the rest of the day at your desk or lounging in front of the TV, you’re still at risk of the same negative health effects of sitting.
What to do: So set an alarm for every one or two hours to remind you to get up off your chair. Stretch, do some yoga, go out and walk around the block.
Poll: Sitting For Too Long?
2. Eating All the Calories You Just Burned Off
It happens to the best of us. After two hours sweating at the gym, we think, “I deserve that cookie after what I just put myself through. I’ve earned it.” But if you’re trying to lose weight, remember that you need to be on a constant calorie deficit. So if you’ve burned 300 calories at the gym, a cookie or two (assuming they’re around 100 calories each) will destroy all that hard work you’ve just put in on the treadmill.
What to do: Use a food tracker app to keep track of the calories you’ve consumed in a day so you can make smart choices. If you’re exercising regularly, remember to replenish your body with protein-rich foods and stay hydrated with water and low-sugar fruits.
3. Rushing Through Lunch or Skip it Completely
A little pressure can give us just the right push to help us perform to our best ability, but stress or bouts of extreme concentration can cause us to accidentally skip meals or to gobble down our lunches so we can continue with our work. Since it takes a little time for your stomach to tell your brain that you’re full, eating too fast can cause you to overeat. Skipping meals entirely can cause you to binge eat or to choose less healthy foods when you finally have time to fuel your body.
What to do: Pack a healthy, protein and fiber-rich lunch every day, and make sure you have some healthy snacks to munch on if you get hungry before you get off work. When eating your lunch, make sure you leave your desk and your phone behind so you can concentrate completely on your meal.
4. Meal Prepping But Get Bored By Mid-Week
Meal prepping for the week is a smart way to save time and money while eating healthy, but eating the same two or three meals every day can get boring very quickly. You may be tempted to eat out or order in so you don’t go crazy, which makes your meal-prepping work pointless.
What to do: Instead of cooking one or two recipes in bulk, batch-cook a few meal staples. Pre-cook a few healthy carbs like brown rice and sweet potato, vegetables like carrots, kale, and spinach, and healthy proteins like fish and chicken breast. Prepare sauces or vinaigrettes so you can mix and match combinations of pre-cooked ingredients for a different taste every meal.
5. Forgetting to Stay Hydrated After Work
Sipping on water throughout the day at the office is easy especially if you carry a bottle of water around with you. But when you leave the office and your mind goes into De-stress Mode, it’s easy to forget all about water in favor of wine with dinner or cocktails on a night out at the bar.
What to do: For every glass of alcohol you drink, remember to drink one glass of water. If you’re not drinking alcohol and are simply forgetting to drink water after work, always keep a full glass of water within reach as a constant reminder to stay hydrated.
6. Focusing Too Much on Grains, Legumes, and Lean Protein
If you just don’t like vegetables, you may find yourself sticking only to the healthy foods you do like. There are worse things than eating a plate of chicken breast with a plain bowl of quinoa, but you’re missing out on a lot of vitamins and other nutrients that can only come from a varied diet that includes vegetables and fruits.
What to do: Be your own parent and find ways to sneak vegetables into your diet. Make your own burger patties and sneak some finely chopped mushrooms and onions into the ground meat. Stir some zucchini into a banana bread batter. Or make some delicious frozen banana and berry ice cream.
Poll: Sources of Protein
7. Eating Dinner in Front of the TV
You cook a fabulously Instagram-worthy healthy meal filled to the brim with superfoods, but then choose to shovel it down in front of the TV to catch up on the latest Netflix series. While there’s nothing wrong with watching your favorite TV show to unwind after a long day at work, don’t do it while you’re eating. If you’re distracted while eating, you can eat too fast, which can cause indigestion, or overeat and undermine your health goals.
What to do: Practice mindful eating. Unplug totally when you’re eating and learn to concentrate on the meal in front of you. Enjoy the textures and flavors of the delicious meal you worked so hard to cook for yourself.
Give Yourself a Break
If you want to have a cheat day, give into your pizza cravings, or have a wild night out with your friends, go ahead. Just because you want to live a healthier life doesn’t mean you can never indulge yourself ever again. As long as you maintain a healthy mindset every day, you can get back on track after an occasional indulgence.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 KV Lo
Ntensibe Edgar Michael on August 27, 2018:
Aaaahhhhh...my weakness has always been eating before the TV set. But I'm determined to beat it.
Treasure on August 27, 2018:
Whoa, didn’t know that sitting after you work out can undo the health benefits
Jess on August 27, 2018:
Good read! A lot of good info!
Haley on July 30, 2018:
So helpful! Thank you! There are a lot of misconceptions about what is healthy and what isn't. This is so insightful!
Erika Lancaster on July 30, 2018:
The first point really hit home for me. As much as I try to get in an hour of exercise most days of the week, sitting for most of the day doesn't do me any favors! Setting an alarm sounds like a great idea!
Delena on July 30, 2018:
The meal prepping and getting bored hits home. Such a good idea to have staples that you can mix or match.
Emelia on July 30, 2018:
These are all so true! Great post. It really makes you examine your routine more closely.
Shannon on July 23, 2018:
Eating dinner in front of the TV is a bad habit of mine. I'm trying to be more mindful of my hunger cues and such, and TV is not conducive to that.
Maggie on July 23, 2018:
This has great advice in it. Thank you for sharing. I will definitely be implementing a few of these.
Carly Thunberg at https://fuelingforsoul.com on July 23, 2018:
Great post! I love incorporating mindful movement into my life everyday regardless if I go to the gym or not. This helps keep me from sitting too long but also allows me to stop treating exercise like something I can only get from a hard, one-hour session at the gym
LaRena Fry on July 23, 2018:
Cristina Alciati on July 23, 2018:
Brilliant post! Number 1 is my biggest bug bear with clients who have to work at a desk every day. Sometimes I have to remind them to set a reminder to get up and walk for a couple of minutes! :-)
KV Lo (author) on July 08, 2018:
@Poppy: Thanks! Hey, at least you didn't eat a whole cake or something afterward! :P
And don't worry about remembering everything. Honestly, the body is very resilient and doing something bad for your health once in a while is okay. :) As long as you keep trying to be healthy and don't get too hung up on a slip up here and there, I'm sure you'll do great!
KV Lo (author) on July 08, 2018:
@Linda Crampton: Thank you! I understand completely. When I'm in the zone, hours can go by before I realize I haven't moved an inch, so this is also something I need to work on myself.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 07, 2018:
You've shared some great suggestions in this article. The one that I really need to follow is the first one. I need to get up from my desk more often and do some light exercise. Thanks for the reminder.
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on July 07, 2018:
Good article. I did some hard cardio yesterday then spent the next few hours playing PlayStation, oops!
There are so many rules to weight loss and fitness and health and stuff, it’s hard to remember it all :(