When it comes to achieving results through nutrition and fitness change, it is not always the things you need to ADD to your life that will help you with achieving a goal. Sometimes it’s the things holding us back that we need to eliminate, that will help us achieve our goal.
For some, this is the fear of trying.
For others, it’s the negative self-talk and sabotage.
For me it was perfectionism.
For you? Well, I can’t answer that for you. But what I can do is give you direction and that is why today’s blog post will explain to you 10 things you NEED to eliminate to achieve better results and longer-lasting success with nutrition.
Quite frankly, if your goals are important to you then this list should be important to you too (and I’m not just saying that because I wrote it - that’s only 20.5738% of the reason).
So what should you stop doing?
Many of the below points are things that are very common and you may very well recognise a few of these in your own life. That is why changes need to be made because this very list was compiled using my years of dietitian experience and seeing what led clients astray.
1. Unsupportive social network
Surround yourself with the cheerleaders, not the naysayers! It’s as simple as that. When you have a support network around you then things are easier. You feel more inspired. You harness the right accountability. And the journey doesn’t feel like you’re completely alone (this is important for long term success).
Yet what I see often is that people will let themselves be led off track because of the negative influence of others around them.
If so, then start here because no amount of right advice can defeat the habitual influence of those closest to you or who you interact with on a near-daily basis. The best way to do this is to create boundaries with those who negatively influence you and reach out to those who want to see you succeed.
2. Negative self talk
We get taught to be nice to others, so why aren’t you nicer to yourself?
Blunt question isn’t it? However, it is insightful. The truth is that we are told to be nice to others and treat others as we would like to be treated (for good reason), yet we forget to extend that courtesy to ourselves.
Do you find yourself being hard on yourself and thinking negatively about your ability to achieve results and your goal?
If so, start creating positive dialogue and work on what triggers this negativity.
Is it unrealistic expectations?
Is it past experiences?
Is it fear?
Discover it. Become aware of it. And then once you know what it is then you’ll uncover the solution.
3. Fear of failure
The only way to fail is to not take action and/or give up, so you need to stop letting fear stop you. Fear will cripple the success train you are on and derail you. Fear of failure is actually more common than you may think. I have experienced it so I know what it feels like - it needs to go.
The first step is recognising it then you can work on it. Ask yourself: “Why am I fearing failure when the only way to achieve success is to push through and learn from the setbacks?”
In fact, what I want you to do is to understand the following truth:
Evaluated experience is the best teacher. And some of our best learnings come from what we deem our failures. It’s where we learn and grow.
Write this down and stick it to your fridge if you have to!
4. Short term mindset
Unpopular truth: Short term thinking gets short term results.
We live in a society that promotes quick-fix solutions and rapid-fire results. We want things, and we want them now!
Sound familiar to your way of thinking when it comes to weight loss or muscle gain? Then you need to switch and re-frame your mind to think more long term with your goals because the reality is that for many people the quicker you gain a result, the quicker you lose it.
All in all, understand that the pursuit of the quick fix solution does not build the habits and behaviours needed for successful, sustainable results.
5. Cheat days
Do you do ‘cheat days’?
I wouldn’t be surprised if you said yes. However, I’m going to challenge this today. I want you to stop thinking you are cheating on your diet.
Instead, I want you to start to think ‘strategy’’ vs. ‘cheat’. While I understand that cheat days for you may seem harmless as you simply see it as a way to take a break, the use of the word cheat for many can lead to a disordered way of looking at food and create a negative association with it.
Switch from using the term “cheat” to “break”. And make sure you do it without guilt and understand you still need to get back on track the next meal/day. Most importantly, understand that a “cheat day” should still be done as a strategy and not a free for all feast (send me an email and say DIET BREAK if you want to learn more about this advanced strategy).
One of the most powerful ways to achieve success in many areas of life is to be consistent with the actions we take to achieve a goal. Without consistency, you have minimal to zero chance of seeing sustainable progress.
Inconsistency is the enemy. And it can manifest itself in your life in many ways related to your nutrition - in the way you track, the foods you eat, and the adherence to your plan.
So if you are finding yourself following “the plan” but not seeing results, then you may want to audit yourself and start here. Start looking at how consistent (or inconsistent) you really are. You may discover the solution after all. It may be as simple as putting in more effort to be consistent.
7. Generic goals
Ever been motivated by a generic platitude? No. Your goals are the same. So stop trying to be inspired by generic goals that don’t have a lot of personal connection to you. Goals that don’t inspire you actually won’t last the years of motivational waves you will no doubt experience (the motivational peaks and dips as I like to say).
Instead, what you want to do is start thinking about your ‘why’. Your why is the deeper reason you want to achieve xyz. It is the real driving force for change in your life.
What is your “why”?
Find out by asking yourself “WHY?” until you can’t go any further - this typically takes 3-5 rounds of questioning. Give it a go and see what comes out of it. I bet it will be a better goal that inspires you and connects with your purpose.
8. Negative environmental triggers
If your environment is not conducive to change then you won’t change. Simples. If your environment is negative then you will be negative. And negativity is not the recipe for nutrition success. Not to mention that negative environments typically promote behaviours that are not conducive to achieving health goals in the first place.
The first step is auditing your environment, so to speak, to see what may be influencing you in the wrong way OR preventing you from taking the required actions needed to see results. I can’t tell you how this would look in your individual and unique case, but YOU can. Awareness precedes change after all so start becoming aware by opening up your eyes to your environment of influence.
Perhaps it’s the snack foods your spouse buys on a daily basis.
Maybe it’s the friend at work who always insists you try their baked goods.
Or could be the negativity of those around you.
Time to find out for yourself. Then work on it like a boss.
9. Generic meal plans
Generic and nutrition should NOT be in the same sentence. This is a truth you can live by. Not to mention the fact that many meal plans are temporary fixes. Temporary is another word that should not be used in a sentence about nutrition (unless we are talking about a match/event day plan such as what I do for my athletes around competition time).
This one is easy to overcome because it’s easy to identify. Are you using a meal plan right now? If so, how is it working out for you?
The answer is likely that it’s ok but not something you want to do for a while. If so, then time to perhaps consider a different approach. There are many alternatives but I would be amiss if I didn’t offer to help you explore flexible nutrition. Send me an email to ask about the approach I use myself and for clients - The Flexible Macro Approach.
10. The search for the “Holy Grail of Diets”
Are you searching for the ‘Holy Grail of Diets’?
Well, it doesn’t exist. There is no best diet. Yet so many people think there is and try to search for it. This leads to jumping from diet to diet looking for a solution that will solve all their problems. Starts feeling like you are on what I call “the hamster wheel of dieting”.
If you said YES then start focusing on finding the “right diet” for you and not aimlessly searching for the non-existent “best diet”. However, I do understand this is easier said than done when you consider all the misinformation out there. Start by acknowledging you keep yo-yo dieting and stick to one approach that you can see yourself doing and enjoying - at least for a more consistent period of time.
So what now?
Using this list, I want you to see how many of these common saboteurs are in your life. Start discovering and acknowledging your roadblocks.
Then work to eliminate them. Re-frame them. Or prevent them.
Now of course, if you have read all of this and you are still feeling like you need help and want to feel less overwhelmed while getting the results needed to achieve your goal and…
If you want my help getting objective outside eyes on your nutrition and goals… overcoming your obstacles and helping you achieve results faster…
I’ve recently opened up spots in my 1-on-1 coaching program.
If you’re an athlete or weekend warrior already hard at work on your health and nutrition journey and you want my help scaling your results while stressing less (and less guesswork)…
Just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me a little bit more about yourself and your current goals and obstacles...
If I think you’re qualified for the program, I’ll respond with the next steps.
Sports Dietitian and Nutrition Coach
Hi there! My name's Aleksa Gagic - i'm a Brisbane Dietitian & Nutritionist. The aim of this blog is to provide value and spread quality evidence-based nutrition information to counter the BS floating around.