Limiting beliefs are beliefs that do not serve our growth, peak performance, and the future we want for ourselves in any area of life. While this post is specifically about limiting beliefs around health changes, limiting beliefs are oftentimes unconscious. Limiting beliefs can derail the positive changes we wish to make in our lives. Bringing limiting beliefs to our consciousness is a step to re-work and replace them with expansive and success-based beliefs that serve our optimal growth. Limiting beliefs often trap us into thought patterns, behaviour patterns, and situations that hold us back from reaching our full potential.
There are many common limiting beliefs around making fitness and health-related changes. The first limiting belief is the belief of not having time to meal-prep and stick to an exercise routine.
Powerful reframe: When fitness and health are viewed as core components of routine self-maintenance, similar to putting gas in your car, the game changes. When fitness and health are viewed as something that multiplies your brainpower, energy levels, and creativity, they become a priority. Owning the change you want to make could look like this “I will create the time.”
Personally, my best business ideas come to me immediately after a refreshing workout. I also find that fitness makes me better at making the right decisions in all areas of life.
Some activities drain energy, whereas maintaining and improving health and fitness both provide a high return on investment when it comes to energy and overall benefits.
How to make time? Track how your time is spent in general and see what tasks can be re-ordered, batched, or eliminated. It is easier to make fitness and health-related “tasks” an appointment on your calendar to make it happen, the same way you would treat a work meeting.
Another way to make time for health and fitness is to automate grocery delivery, pre-plan go-to itemized lists of staple items, and carve out a few hours on a Sunday (or any convenient day) to prepare composed meals. By composed meals, I mean that all components of the meal are prepared in advance. The result of this is that your day is not interrupted by meal times further than simply reheating and eating. This process takes away the possibility of ordering fast food, waiting in line, and having to cook and even think about it. I try to direct my energy only where necessary and if I can make any decision about food in advance, I definitely will do that. If you are meal-prepping, doing so in batches can ensure that flavour and variety are not neglected, all while ensuring that time is spent efficiently.
To maximize my time when it comes to physical fitness, I combine podcast listening with treadmill workouts, whereas if I am lifting, I block that time for my mind-to-muscle connection, which doubles up as meditation. Sometimes, simply viewing the benefits of the activity turns it into self-love and personal empowerment. The length of such a practice is entirely up to you, the perspective shift is viewing it as a crucial commitment to yourself, rather than a chore. This is where health and fitness marry purpose, you get to choose what it means for you.
I view fitness and health as high-ranking priorities that help me at work, help me to run my business, and serve my clients from a place of overflow. This reframe has made it a consistent priority in my life, even in my busiest moments, for as long as I can remember.
The second limiting belief is the belief that because your previous health and fitness plans did not work, there is no use trying again.
Powerful reframe: Any past experiences and trials were simply opportunities to gather data and make you more powerful at designing your health and fitness strategy moving forward, thus creating an approach that is best suited for you. The line of new thought around this could look like “I use past experiences to guide me, not define me.”
Having tried approaches that may not have worked truly does not reflect on your worthiness or your ability to try a new approach. Any past “failure” is simply data. Data could be that the wrong timing was chosen for past exercise routines or that some eating principles did not best support you and new approaches are needed. Waiting even longer to try again is not going to change the past, but it may very well waste the future. It is highly possible that the methods tried in the past were not attuned to your needs and that a new approach (once the limiting beliefs are addressed) may work better.
Contrary to many narratives, a one-size-fits-all approach to fitness and health is not likely to work, a personalized strategy may be needed and any past lack of lasting success is simply learning.
The third limiting belief is that you do not know where to start.
Powerful reframe: Starting later or not starting at all will not be a solution to the problem of not knowing where to start. There is no doubt that there are many health and fitness plans, diets, and approaches to choose from. The new line of thought could be that “the options before me are abundant; however, I can find a way that resonates with me and my dietary needs.”
From my perspective, what is consistent in most fitness and eating plans is the consistency of exercise, satisfying macro and micronutrient needs, and a slight (yet measured and gradual) caloric deficit.
The basis for most diets is not necessarily the diet itself (Paleo, Keto, Low-Carb, High-Protein), but the allocation/division of each macronutrient (protein, carbohydrates, fat). By no means is this a recommendation towards any specific diet, but simply me highlighting the principle of choosing a path and being consistent with it as a starting point. I prefer going by principles for my diet, which is high-protein due to intense exercise, in addition to highly nutrient-dense foods, with some space for fun soul foods such as cookies.
While I do follow a macronutrient counting approach to make sure I get enough protein, it is because I am a very structured person and protein is essential for me due to lifting and I would prefer to track (flexibly) than not hit my protein goals. I am not recommending my style of eating, rather, I am merely illustrating that many options exist and there is absolutely no one-size-fits-all approach. The ideal approach is what resonates best with the individual and all of the factors that go into determining a path, which can range from nutritional deficiencies, allergies, preferences, all the way to lifestyle and goals.
You know yourself best, you can use past experiences and data to craft a better plan for yourself and tap into the many resources around you (provided those are well-researched and qualified professionals).
If you are not sure where to begin when it comes to the actual goal, journaling on the end goal may be ideal. Long-term and lasting changes around health and fitness only work (or truly stick) once the limiting beliefs are out of the way and once the right strategies to support those diets and exercise routines are in place. Hacking the process or strategy comes before any real and lasting progress. One of the best strategies for uncovering and shifting limiting beliefs is to start journaling to see what thinking traps may exist around health and fitness. Journaling may be the right place to start, as without uncovering limiting beliefs, repeated diets and exercise plans may not lead anywhere.
Karisa Karmali is a Human Resources professional by day and entrepreneur by night. Being the founder of Self-Love and Fitness (selfloveandfitness.com), providing quality fitness equipment brings her mission to promote self-love (and fitness) to fruition. Karisa is also in the process of completing her Nutrition Coaching certification. You can follow Karisa on Twitter and Instagram.