Now that January is behind us and March is fast-approaching, many people find themselves losing momentum with their health and fitness goals for 2019. About 80% of New Year’s Resolutions are abandoned by the time February arrives.
The reason for this isn’t lack of knowledge or resources. A single search on Google results in tens of thousands of workouts, meal plans, and recipes.
The reason New Year’s Resolutions remain ineffective is because the strategies most people use (ex. diet plan, workout plan) do not address the true cause of most people’s fitness and weight loss road blocks.
Most people know what to do. They’ve probably even tried something that did work for them temporarily. What holds people back is emotional and mental barriers that create self-sabotage, inconsistency, and low motivation for the journey ahead.
From what I’ve learned in my own life and in my client’s stories, one of the most sure-fire ways we can reach our health goals and claim the body we want is to improve our emotional fitness. Until we take this step, we’re going to feel like our journey towards our goals is a five-hundred-mile bike trip on a bicycle with two flat tires.
Here are three ways emotional intelligence helps us win our fitness goals:
1. Increasing relaxation and balance. Stress is one of the biggest killers of progress towards optimal health. When we’re chronically stressed, metabolism slows down, digestion suffers, nutrient absorption decreases, immunity plummets, energy drops… none of which helps us lose weight or increase our strength in the gym. By working with our emotions in a healthy, balanced way, we’ll feel less stress (and be better able to deal with it when it comes) so our bodies can remain in a state that helps us reach our goals faster.
How to make this happen: Find ways to keep yourself more grounded and in the present moment. This can look like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or anything else that drops you into the present moment.
2. Reducing the need for distractions like over-eating and excess sugar. People reach for distractions because they’re trying to avoid hard emotions. Once they resist by turning to sugar or processed carbohydrates, they now have two problems: the emotions left unfelt, and the frustration and guilt they feel over turning to these foods that weren’t in line with their goals. When people have access to their true emotional intelligence, they will be able to handle emotions as they come with grace, which will allow them to turn away from the desire to numb out with food.
How to make this happen: Try to remember that when emotions are felt and dealt with, they will usually only last somewhere around 90 seconds (according to science). Remember that 90 seconds of discomfort is less painful than longer cycles of resisting emotions and turning to food to push them away.
3. Increasing motivation. Let’s face it – motivation increases when we feel better. We are ten times more likely to take action towards our goals when we’re in a higher state. Prolonged feelings of moodiness, negativity, anxiety, depression, or hopelessness hold many people back. These states often stem from blocked emotions that we haven’t allowed ourselves to feel. When we acknowledge emotions as they come up and allow them to run their natural course, we’ll return to feeling balanced and peaceful far more quickly. Once back in this state, it’s that much easier to take the action necessary to keep making progress.
How to make this happen: Keep awareness about your perspective at all times. Emotions are short-lived, but our thoughts about our emotions are what keep us in prolonged unhappy, unbalanced periods. Is there a way to start seeing your situation in a more positive light? A simple shift in the language we use (“I’ll never lose this weight” to “I’m still in search of the best practices to take care of my body) can make a massive difference.
“Feeling as though you are trying too hard indicates that your priorities, technique, focus, or mindfulness is off. Take it as a cue to reset, not to double down.” – Tim Ferriss
If you’re ready to stop “efforting” harder on another diet that leaves you frustrated and doubtful about your ability to reach your health goals, Ascend Fitness + Lifestyle has the reset solution you need. ‘Food Freedom’ is a seven-week workshop, starting in March. Food Freedom will dig deep into the causes of mood challenges, emotional eating, and low motivation in a transformational, small-group setting. For more information and to reserve your spot in this program, visit ascendfitnesslifestyle.com/foodfreedom. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Kayla is a certified personal trainer, mind body eating coach at Ascend Fitness + Lifestyle. She has also published two dystopian novels that tackle the themes of body image and female empowerment. Her area of expertise is helping women free themselves from the clutches of emotional eating and body hate so they can live rich, textured, present lives.