Fitness Instructors are often misunderstood. Many people associate fitness with being physically fit, which comes from exercise. As a fitness instructor myself, I need you to know that I care about a lot more than how many burpees you can do (or how many you skip out on during your workout).
Poor eating habits will work against your exercise efforts more than anything else, bar none. How can I say this so boldly? Because I see people giving 110% in a workout, yet can’t figure out why they aren’t getting closer to their goals. Most often, they seem to plateau, so all of the efforts in the gym only keeps them right where they are at.
In fact, this is a very common place for so many people. Overeating may sound extreme (and it can be), but it’s often misunderstood and overlooked when people are trying to get serious about making changes with their body.
Let’s break down overeating and face it head-on. In the end, you’ll be able to identify when you’re getting off track, and you’ll know exactly what to do about it.
What Is Overeating?
Overeating is simply consuming more calories than your body needs. First, establish your suggested daily caloric intake (here’s how you figure it out). Now track how many calories you consume in a day, it’s pretty black and white whether or not you are overeating.
But we both know it’s not that easy. Our culture, habits, and even physiological functions can all play a role in how we eat. You may be thinking, “it’s not that serious, at least I’m working out!” I hate to break it to you, but it can be much worse than that.
What The Health?!
When you overeat, your stomach expands larger than usual to accommodate all those extra chips you ate at the Mexican restaurant (happens every time). This not only makes your clothes feel tighter but also causes your organs to work harder, which can cause heartburn and bloating. That’s just the short-term effects.
Regularly overeating causes your body to store those unused calories as fat, which leads to obesity. This has its own set of chronic health problems. And since people rarely overeat healthy foods, unhealthy foods can take a toll on your digestive system.
Are You Triggered?
Overeating is disguised in many forms. Seeming harmless moments can turn into a trigger, and before you know it, half of the ice cream container disappeared. Other times it’s not even a moment – but what you eat – that can cause you to eat more than you intended.
Emotional Eating – brought on by upset or unhappy feelings; often associated with depression.
Stress Eating – similar to emotional eating but brought on by stress and anxiety.
Comfort Eating – used as a coping mechanism that can be healthy in moderation but can quickly turn to food addiction.
Boredom Eating – not having fulfilling activities can lead to eating for the sake of stimulation. This can easily lead to binge eating and compulsive snacking.
Social Eating – a seemingly harmless activity and widely accepted, can turn into a problem if it’s overdone (frequently entertaining, business meals, etc.).
Binge Eating – when you consume a large amount of food in a short time, you are binging. This can be a now-and-again occurrence or become your normal eating habit, which causes problems.
Oversized Portions – restaurants often serve much larger portions than proper serving sizes. While you think you’re getting your money’s worth, you are also overeating.
Sugar Addiction – when a sweet tooth goes too far, and you find yourself constantly craving a sugary fix.
What You Can Do About It
If you’ve identified with anything I’ve said, pay close attention. The good news is you can do something about overeating and get over this obstacle that’s keeping you from your fitness goals. In true Marietta form, this may sound like tough love, because it is.
The more distracted you are, the easier it is to snack out of control. These calories will go undocumented, and you think you’re on track when you’re actually far from it.
Know Your Gateway Drug
You’ve probably been serious about healthy eating at some point in the past. I bet you were 98% committed to the plan, excluding those one or two things you just can’t give up. Newsflash: those one or two things are what will be your downfall. Cut them out.
Don’t Get Too Strict
Okay, so maybe there’s a little bit of grace here. If you get too strict on your healthy eating, you’ll start resenting what you’re doing. If you have a way to go to reach your goal, you will have to be more strict at first. But don’t completely deprive yourself. That slice of pizza won’t crush your progress.
I get it, we all have crazy busy lives. It seems like stress is at about level 9.875 around the clock between work and home life. Stress has been proven to cause overeating.
Pay More Attention
I know we’re already paying attention – this is getting very intentional about each meal. Slow down, pay attention to your bites, how you chew, and how you feel.
Sometimes people will restrict eating and cut out meals in hopes that the scale will move. There may be short term success, but eating regularly throughout the day actually decreases hunger and overall food intake. Basically, this keeps you from binging when you finally give yourself permission to eat.
Drink More Water
This is a big one. Most people confuse being thirsty with hunger. If you think you’re hungry, drink some water and notice the difference.
Keep Good Company
Stick with groups of people that respect your commitment. Don’t hang around friends that know your goals and try to talk you into another cookie – you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
Check Your Goals And Get Started
If you find yourself working hard when you exercise and getting nowhere close to your goals, it’s time to check your eating habits. Take this as seriously as your workouts, and I promise you will get back on track and take back your body.
Looking for direction, motivation, and accountability? Check out McClure Fitness Online and get access to workout programs and over 200 healthy recipes.