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  • Writer's picturePhil Murray

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

When you are working to improve your healthy lifestyle, there is one concern that sometimes goes under the radar, biting off more than you can chew.

We wanted to explore this concept a little bit and give a few tips on how to avoid this, or at least on how to manage it better.

Whether you’re just starting out making changes to your lifestyle in the effort to be healthy, or you have been working at it for a while and are continuing to evaluate what is best for you, finding the right way to implement changes or the right amount to be doing can be a sensitive thing.

Today we are going to take a little dive into some tips and tricks for making sure you are doing what is right for you!

Where to evaluate

When looking into this we divided the process into two categories:

· Biting off more than your body can handle

· Biting off more than your lifestyle can handle

These are the two main ways that we find limitations in our life that can hinder our ability to successfully introduce the things we want when creating a healthier and more fit life.

Biting off more than your body can handle

Let’s look at this one first; when changing your diet, trying a new exercise, or whatever strategy that you are considering, your body will react to it.

Listen to your body

How your body reacts is very personal to you and what you are trying. The severity, the frequency, and type of change all play a big part in the reaction. It is imperative that you LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

Good and bad, your body will give you the signal saying something like, “that felt good, do more of that” or “ouch, ease up on that one”.

This applies to trying new foods and new exercises extremely closely. Soreness, your mood, pain, digestion, energy, and other feelings you experience are ways that your body sends these signals.

Take the time to pause. Listen and respond to what it is telling you, sometimes it just takes a tweak to get a more positive response, if you are so sore that you can’t reach up to get your coffee mug from the top cupboard is a sign that you overdid it. Or an upset stomach right away may be your body telling you that you changed too much of your diet too quickly.

Get advice

Sometimes it can be hard to decipher what the right tweak or change is that needs to happen - but going slow and listening to your body will be the first opportunity for you to make sure that you aren’t biting off too much.

The next step in making sure you are doing the right amount is to get advice from someone that has more knowledge or experience going through a similar adjustment. This may be a friend that is further along in their own health journey, or it may be a personal trainer. But getting words of wisdom from others will help you learn the difference of when pushing through is right for you or when trying something different is right for you.

Remember that you aren’t in this alone and there are many people out there that want to give you help!

Be willing to listen

Before you even start something new, be that a new diet or hitting weights for the first time, go into it with the mindset that you will take time to listen to your body, get help if needed, and most importantly that you WILL RESPOND to the signals and advice you are getting.

When I read a new book, I always go into it with the mindset that once I give it an honest effort (be that 100 pages or ¼ of the book maybe), I will be willing to put it down if I am not finding enjoyment in it.

Sometimes I stop and read reviews or ask someone who has read the book before if there is something different coming that I will get out of it and I should push through, and sometimes that is the case, but other times what I learn is the sense I got from the first portion of the book is correct and its okay to move onto something else.

The same is true in having a healthy approach to changes in your lifestyle. You will be happier with the results if you take the time to listen and understand what is right for you!

Biting off more than your lifestyle can sustain

The second category that needs to be considered when making changes is will these changes fit into your lifestyle and be sustainable.

It isn’t going to be a good experience if you get a gym membership, but you haven’t already established routines and values that will help get the most out of it. Using a gym is incredibly valuable because it gives you access to equipment and puts you in an environment where you are more likely to exercise and do what you went to the facility to do.

However, if you bite off more than you are ready for by signing up for the gym you are going to have a bad experience paying a fee and not understanding the benefits of using that gym properly.

Take baby steps and lean into what you are already doing

Start with activities that fit into your current life without so much effort that they are hard to stick with. When you find the healthy activities easier to fit into your day, even though they may be less intense, is a good way to make sure you will stick with it and reap the benefits to be had.

As you are see the benefits showing up in your life you will be more motivated to bite off more.

Plan ahead and schedule it into your day

By making a schedule you will find that when the time comes to get exercise you will seize that opportunity and not “wait for a better time” only to look back and wish you had taken advantage of the time you had.

By looking at your schedule in advance you accomplish two things; you can evaluate when the best time is ahead of time and will be less likely to procrastinate. And secondly, you are making a commitment to that activity at that time and will be more likely to hold yourself accountable and be consistent.

Use the equipment you have available

You might have a resistance band at your home already, but not a bench press. Or maybe you have some walking shoes and a sidewalk nearby, but not a treadmill.

It is okay to take advantage of what you have and not make a big investment in a home gym or a gym membership at first. Those things may be items that you grow into and begin to add to your lifestyle eventually, but don’t let the fact that you don’t have them hold you back from starting today!

Manage your expectations

As we mentioned towards the beginning of this article, what is right for your body and your lifestyle is very personal to you! What you are able to implement vs what someone else is doing will look very differently. Always work to keep your expectations in line with the actions you are taking and not another person.

This will help you avoid discouragement and allow you to celebrate the progress you are making. Because no matter how big or small that progress is, it’s still progress and that is the ultimate goal!


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