Out of shape

Why am I out of shape? Have you ever asked yourself this question? Maybe you’ve been working out for the past year or two. Instead, weight loss results escape you time and time again. It seems almost impossible to see any major change in your body.

Don’t worry you are not alone in the struggle. Countless others struggle the same way. Here are some major reasons why you’re not in shape and how to deal with it.

You’re on social media too much but then say you have no time to workout

According to statista  the average person spends 118 minutes daily on social media. Your health comes at the cost of unproductive social media usage. Understand that you don’t have to give up using social media. You can use it to your advantage. Instead of just idly using social media join a few fitness groups and communities.

You can interact with other people who have similar fitness goals. They will also hold you accountable with posts like “Did you workout today?” or motivational quotes like “The only bad workout is the one you did not do”.

You can also post twice a week to your friends that you workout. Some of them will comment on your status and encourage you. Have fun on social media but use it to your advantage.

You exercise only when you feel like it.

A neuroscientist by the name of Antonio Damasio did studies on how we make decisions. His studies show that we make decisions based on feelings. That means that we make ninety-five percent of decisions in the moment.

Antonio Damasio’s research in neuroscience has shown that emotions play a central role in social cognition and decision-making”. Instead of making decisions in the moment there is another way. According to Mel Robbins a CNN Commentator and motivational powerhouse we should put in place a 5 second rule.

The rule is all about taking action within the first 5 seconds of a thought. Have you ever heard your alarm go off in the morning and pressed the snooze button? I’m sure the answer is a resounding yes. You then hit the snooze button many times again. Here’s how the rule works.

Within the first 5 seconds of your impulse or feeling to workout you must act. You can immediately start changing into your workout clothes or head to the gym. If you’re not a member of a gym then pop in that workout dvd that’s collecting dust. You can even go to a nearby field.

All you need to do is make a few laps. It could even be 15 minutes of brisk walking. Don’t worry about a workout plan. Focus on taking action and figuring out the details later. You’re meant to move more.

You don’t sleep enough.

A lack of sleep causes you to make poor decisions, especially with regards to the foods you eat. You’re tired and have increased activity in the amygdala (reward region of the brain). When this region is not working well you crave high-calorie foods: sweets, refined grains like white flour and sugary drinks.

Insufficient sleep also impacts two hormones called ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin tells your brain that you need to eat. But leptin tells your brain that you’re full. When you don’t get enough sleep your body produces more ghrelin (eat more).

So, a lack of sleep causes leptin (not full) levels to fall making you eat more food when you should eat less. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition if you’re sleep deprived you are more likely to pick high-carb snacks.

Insufficient rest can also cause you to be metabolically groggy based on another study  at the University of Chicago. After four days your body’s ability to process insulin malfunctions. That’s the hormone that feeds the body energy and stores fat.

Insulin sensitivity reduces by thirty percent. This means the body does not respond to insulin the way it should. The body is then unable to process fats from the bloodstream. This causes fat storage instead of energy usage.

To ensure you get a good night’s rest:

  • Turn off  the lights. Darkness will release melatonin a hormone to help you sleep well.
  • Turn your phone over and put it on silent away from your head.
  • Don’t sleep with the television on or have a timer to ensure it shuts off.
  • Don’t eat heavy meals before you sleep. Allow digestion of food to take place before you go to sleep. 
  • Get at least 6 hours of sleep by creating a ritual. Finish last minute tasks at least 15  to 30 minutes before you go to sleep. Think relaxation and rest before sleep.

You don’t move enough

Physical activity increases the amount of calories you burn. In a perfect world people would move more, sit less and burn more calories during the day. Instead, we live in a world where people are inactive.

They sit behind a computer screen at work all day and come home to watch television for long hours. Making time to exercise for an hour each day becomes a burden for a sedentary person. It is no wonder people are not motivated to exercise. If you can find ways to be more active during the day you will burn more calories.

Here are some ways to be more active during the day:

  • Set a timer on your phone. This will alert you alert you to take a 2 minute walk every hour or march on the spot for a minute (8 hour day means 16 minutes of activity)
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator or stop short and take two flights up (2 minutes).
  • You can park further away from the entrance of the grocery (2 minutes).
  • Get off the bus one stop earlier and walk to your destination (10 minutes).
  • Use your lunch break and walk for 10 minutes before or after you eat (10 minutes).
  • Take a 5 minute walk before or after dinner.
  • Your total extra daily movement is approximately 45 minutes.
  • Choose social activities that make you more physically active like: dancing, gardening, biking, hiking. Do at least one each week (at least 1 hour).
  • Total weekly movement without exercise is approximately 5 ½ hours. Using a conservative figure that’s over 1,000 calories burnt during the week.

You don’ measure progress

What you measure gets improved. If you recorded that you did 10 push-ups this week then you can set a goal to do 11 the next week. You will get better results if you know what you need to lift or run to improve on past performance. You also need to track the changes in your body. It’s important to note that the scale does not define you.

If you incorporate resistance training, cardio and proper nutrition into your workout program your body will shed fat and you will gain muscle. If all you did was cardio you would lose both fat and muscle and look like a marathon runner.

To track these changes you need more than one measurement. Your measurement should be done the same time each week. It’s best to do it when you wake up before you have breakfast. For example, you can do it Monday at 7:00 a.m. each week or every other week. Your measurement should look like this:

The first thing you should do is take a picture. Take the picture facing front and then on both sides. Next, you should get a measuring tape and measure:

  • Waist (at belly button)
  • Arm (same arm and same spot)
  • Chest (just below the nipple)
  • Leg (same leg and same spot)

You can also choose to measure temporary. Once you adapt certain lifestyle habits everything you do leads to progress.

You Stress too much

We can all agree that no one wants to feel stress. Stress can cause tension in your muscles, headaches, sleep problems and depression. Did you know it can also cause you to gain weight?

Stress produces a hormone called cortisol which can also cause your appetite to increase. This can cause you to crave junk which makes it easy to gain belly fat. Cortisol or the “stress hormone” also raises insulin levels. This causes your sugar levels to drop.

The end result is that you crave sweet and fatty foods. This would mean instead of a fruit you would reach for a candy bar or “comfort food”. Form good habits to reduce your stress level.

Ensure you get enough rest and do things that make you feel relaxed. You could read, listen to music or spend time with friends and family. Take your mind off work and the many daily obligations.

You don’t forgive yourself.

You took a second slice of chocolate cake…so what. However, you listen to your inner critic all the time. Instead of doing better next time you tell yourself why bother. Be willing to forgive yourself of slip ups. Learn from your mistakes so you can modify your behaviour.

Losing weight requires changing eating habits and understanding your body. This usually takes time. There will be days you eat nutritious foods for your body and you will feel good. On the other hand there will be days you eat fast food instead of a salad.

Your body won’t feel as good. A good attitude towards your body knows that weight loss isn’t about punishing yourself for past habits. It’s working on freeing yourself from extra body fat that you carry around. It’s about eating food that nourishes you instead of foods that store fat.

It’s also about eating something you enjoy. Weight loss is not all or nothing. You can still have a dessert that you savour. While you make mistakes you get better at making good eating choices consistently.

Final Note

These are some of the reasons why most people are not in shape. Yet, getting in shape is not about working out every day or eating perfectly healthy. It’s about making a decision backed by action.

Don’t think of it as an obligation but instead think of it as an opportunity to take better care of your body. When you focus on creating daily habits you’ll begin to see small changes in your body.

Overtime those changes turn into bigger changes. Remember the saying. It takes 4 weeks for you to see change, 8 weeks for friends and family to notice and 12 weeks for the rest of the world.

Which hidden reason are you going to work on? Leave your reason in the comment section below.


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