We’ve all heard the adage, “you are the sum of your total daily habits.” While this applies to many aspects of life, it couldn’t be more apparent when it comes to our metabolic health. And in the light of the new year, we are turning our attention to making diet and exercise improvements. But what if the “healthy” habits you’re picturing aren’t healthy at all?? Below are five seemingly “healthy” habits that are sabotaging your success.
SNEAKY METABOLIC HEALTH SABOTAGE #1: Skipping breakfast
The ‘typical’ high carbohydrate/low protein American breakfast of drive-thru lattes, muffins, and pancakes offers a lot to be desired. So in rolls the trend of ‘intermittent fasting.’ Touted as the holy grail of weight loss with its simplified solution to skip breakfast entirely. While this approach may work for some, we can’t ignore our metabolism’s opinion on the matter. Our ‘cortisol awakening response’ occurs subconsciously first thing in the morning. As a result, your insulin sensitivity is highest first thing in the morning. Meaning this is the time your body is most readily accepting of fuel! Miss this window, and you could be riding the blood sugar rollercoaster of fatigue, cravings, and brain fog all day. Only to find yourself vulnerable to the break room cookies and late-night snacking. Do yourself a favor, take time to learn a high-protein, high-fiber balanced breakfast option that works for you!
SNEAKY METABOLIC HEALTH SABOTAGE #2: Using exercise to “earn & burn” your calories
Diet and exercise are not a transactional relationship. You cannot “earn” more calories by working out, just as you cannot “burn” off excess calories consumed. This mindset creates a slippery slope for hormonal (and mental!) health. Forcing daily high-intensity exercise as a means of “punishment” for what you ate may seem like a fair trade-off. But in reality, this is creating a flood of stress hormones, signaling your body to burn muscle instead of building it! Don’t view your metabolism as a perfect calculator when it acts more like a teeter-totter, always compensating to maintain balance. Use cardiovascular exercise to promote health, use strength training to build muscle, and view yoga and walking as recovery tools. Watch your physical and mental health improve when you no longer focus on calories burned (which is never accurate anyway 🙂).
SNEAKY METABOLIC HEALTH SABOTAGE #3: Weighing yourself daily & changing your behaviors based on the number
You roll out of bed and mindlessly step on the scale like you do every morning. You wait anxiously to see the number at your feet that will determine the fate of your day.
- “Up 2 lbs? I’m skipping breakfast and having a salad for lunch.”
- “Down 2 lbs! I’m snagging my favorite breakfast burrito.”
Sound familiar? Scale fluctuations are a normal part of the transformation process. And could be caused by changes in water retention, sodium intake, meal timing, or muscle soreness. And, when you modify your behaviors to compensate, you may be making the problem worse. By sending your blood sugars on a binge-restrict rollercoaster, inflammation increases, leaving you feeling puffy, bloated, and mentally defeated. Instead, focus on more accurate progress markers for body composition change. Such as body fat percentage, circumference measurements, how your clothes fit, positive changes in sleep and energy, or even reduced cravings!!
SNEAKY METABOLIC HEALTH SABOTAGE #4: Always choosing the “low calorie” option
Diet culture has created an oversimplified understanding of what we determine as the “healthiest” option based on the calorie count. This approach creates a giant misunderstanding of the value of food, setting us up for a lifetime of confusion. Contrary to popular belief, our body doesn’t digest/absorb food based on its caloric value. It sees food as a mixture of energy forms – amino acids from protein for muscle building, glucose from carbohydrates for easily accessible energy, and fats to build hormone backbones. Knowing this, you can see how choosing meals based on the calorie content sets you up to be over-fed yet under-nourished.
SNEAKY METABOLIC HEALTH SABOTAGE #5: Relying on pills, powders, and protein bars
Many nutrition coaches/programs are quick to demonize “processed” food yet sell you pills, powders, and protein bars. Many are touted as “healthy” meal alternatives but most are chocked full of artificial sweeteners, fillers, binders, and fake fibers. There’s nothing wrong with taking smart shortcuts with your meal preparation. However, consuming a majority of meals in powdered form or getting nutrients in pill form – is a huge red flag.
Maybe it’s time to unlearn what “healthy eating” looks like. A new year is always a time of personal reflection and goal-setting – 365 days of “blank pages” in front of us. Don’t waste your time on the grind of another failed fad diet! Working with a nutrition and health coach you can improve your metabolic health and diet outcomes. Learn how to master your metabolism for a true transformation in 2022. Head over to re-newinstitute.com today to schedule your free initial nutrition coaching consult.
Are you interested in learning more about Metabolic Bio-nutrition coaching? Check out Lauryn’s blog What is Bio-nutrition Coaching?