How to Defeat the Most Common Self-Fulfilling Fitness Prophecies

“I’ve ruined my diet” is a motivation-crushing phrase. We like to think that we’re a pretty trustworthy analyst of our own fitness lives, but we’re often wrong—and making our own bleak analysis can actually cause a bad outcome.

A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that causes itself to become true. These are dangerous in fitness, where mindset is often the determinant of success. Here are three of the most common, and how you can overcome them.

Source: How to Defeat the Most Common Self-Fulfilling Fitness Prophecies

  1. “Ruining your diet”?  Know that there’s benefit in failing on your diet.
  2. Training won’t always be good.  I certainly have off days, and days that are certainly better than others.  Make the most of it, when you can.  And I know lots who’ve recorded themselves on their Garmin/etc, thinking they had a bad day only to find out it was a good one.  So there’s something to be said for having technology to give you more insight.

With a little knowledge and self-compassion…


Four Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Healthier Person

If you’re completely satisfied with your health, don’t read this article. This is not for you. Give yourself a pat on the back, and save yourself the scrolling. For the rest of you, approach what I’m about to say with an open mind, and maybe you can come out of this a fitter person.

Source: Four Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Healthier Person

This article really is about getting the conversation with yourself started.  It doesn’t talk about long term, re-evaluating periodically.  A plateau is a more obvious sign about re-evaluating – not too late, but can be.

I’ve made some changes in diet in the last six months or so.  Weight loss is part of the training agenda, while noticing that I should probably eat more protein.  But the changes also appeared in my INR tests – my levels having consistently been in the 3.5 range.  A bit of a concern – higher chance of bruising/internal bleeding.  My doctor started taking notice, test in two weeks rather than monthly.  So made another change, which I’m hoping suits all goals – natural food source, a bit more vitamin K intake to level off the INR, and cheaper than what my second breakfast was (besides healthier).

Plan Your Cheat Meals with a “Risk vs. Reward” Mindset

“Everything in moderation,” they say, but how much is moderation exactly? One donut a day, or a dozen over a week? Instead of relying on an overused, vague mantra, look at decisions to “cheat on your diet” in terms of risk versus reward to make better judgment calls on “treating yo’self!”

Source: Plan Your Cheat Meals with a “Risk vs. Reward” Mindset

Choose wisely in social situations.  I still get grief about my eating choice because I turned down donuts.  Pastries in general are not a good idea for my cholesterol, but even knowing that – people still manage to take things personally.

The Five Fitness Mindsets: How to Stay Rational When You’re Discouraged

We like to think we’re rational, but we’re not. Your ability to make decisions is affected by a slew of factors, including your emotional state. Here’s how to use the best of those feelings to make better decisions and achieve your fitness goals.

Source: The Five Fitness Mindsets: How to Stay Rational When You’re Discouraged

This is something that would be good to revisit periodically.

I’d put myself somewhere around “objective” and “determined”.  I don’t have a problem lacing up and getting going.  But on my own, my training leaves a lot to be desired.  For swimming, it was difficult because we’d just get drills and no feedback.  Running I do on my own, and with no attitude – I’m putting in distance but no real plan.  Cycling, I can do a decent pace… I recently got a power meter, so I’m looking forward to getting benefit from it once cyclocross season is over.

Your Stubbornness Is the Real Reason You Aren’t Losing Weight

I’ve seen thousands of people attempt a weight loss regimen, and there is one common trait shared by people who fail fast. It’s not bad genetics, lack of time, or a penchant for fine wines. It’s stubbornness.

Source: Your Stubbornness Is the Real Reason You Aren’t Losing Weight

I don’t put much effort into dealing with stubbornness.  I recently sent “I did it my way” (a la Frank Sinatra) to a co-worker because they dismissed my suggestions about their constant failing at dealing with a professional relationship.  Most often, it’s best left to stubborn people to let them learn for themselves.  Flipside, it’s a mark of a pretty crappy person who will not attempt to get involved while enjoying the drama that unfolds…

Fitness Is a Journey, and It Doesn’t Have to Suck

With every successful weight loss story, it’s hard to avoid getting hyper-focused on someone’s visual changes, or the number of pounds they lost. Unfortunately, focusing all your energy only on the end goal makes the process with health and fitness feel crappy—which makes you less likely to stay with it and find success.

Source: Fitness Is a Journey, and It Doesn’t Have to Suck

Getting fit is very hard, but people conflate the fact that it is simple (conceptually) with being easy. Eat better, move more! So easy! No, that’s simple. Executing this on a daily consistent and ultimately permanent basis is hard as hell to do if you’ve spent most of your life developing myriad bad habits.

It takes 2+ years to ensure long term weight loss.  It’s worth the effort – It’s been roughly quantified that being obese shortens your life by 8 years.

Avoid Emotional Eating with the Broccoli Test

The #1 reason why people are overweight is because…drum roll please …we’re eating when we’re emotionally hungry.* Not when we’re physically hungry.

*This is based on hundreds of new client questionnaires I’ve reviewed in the last 8 years since starting MyBodyTutor along with subsequent conversations.

Physical hunger is a gradual sensation that we feel in our stomach, and any food seems appealing. We usually feel good after eating.

Most people eat when they’re emotionally hungry though.

Emotional hunger comes on suddenly and we’ll crave specific foods. With emotional hunger we can have snack after snack and nothing hits the spot. We often feel guilty after emotional eating.

Source: The Broccoli Test: How to Stop Emotional Eating

There’s a reason that “comfort food” exists. When you’re stressed, your brain seeks ways to alleviate stress by eating certain foods, resulting in unwanted calories. If this weren’t bad enough, the act of self-medicating with comfort food also increases your body’s propensity to store abdominal fat, leading to greater risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

What if I like broccoli?

Doesn’t have to be broccoli, eating plain celery is like chewing on grass. Or at least I’d assume so.  Mindfulness has been covered in the past.

What the article doesn’t mention is that you can fall back into the habit very easily.  Even once in a while I catch myself.

For Better Fitness Success, Stop Using the Word “Mistake”

The problem with the word mistake is that it’s negatively ingrained into society. People too often define themselves by their mistakes, the presumed result of their own character flaws. Recall the last time you uttered the words “I made a mistake.” You probably subconsciously judged your own character as soon as those words came out of your mouth.

All humans make mistakes. And while they’re completely natural, the word implies a dead end of sorts, rather than a learning opportunity that will make you better at life.

Source: For Better Fitness Success, Stop Using the Word “Mistake”

On a similar vein, there are benefits to failing

One aspect I encountered is dealing people can make can be trying.  Some have different goals, or things come easier/etc – so they aren’t very supportive or even thoughtful.  May your experience be better, or at least know to take it with a grain of salt because it’s a known issue that we don’t like to see others improve.