When is diet and exercise too much?


Dear Megan,

I am confused and tired. I workout probably 1 -3 hours everyday and I have not dropped one pound. This has been going on for 4 months or more. I think I’m doing it right. Intervals, Full body Weight training first, then cardio, then abs, and a cool down. My body hurts. I feel like I’m crippling myself. I also keep a food diary, I calorie count, and wear a pedometer. I feel like since I haven’t lost any weight, I need to do longer, harder and more. What do I do? Am I overworking my body?




Hi Danielle,

I’m sorry to hear about your frustration but hope I can help. You’re not alone in being confused about how things are going. It seems from the outside that the more you workout, the more weight you would lose. So when that doesn’t happen you’re right to wonder what’s not going right.

If you feel like you’re crippling yourself, you are doing too much. It’s great to be sore and feel like you’ve tackled a great workout, but when soreness turns to pain, you’re over doing it. It also sounds like you’re doing too much on any given day. At this point, I think the best first step is to start over. Give yourself a couple of days rest to recuperate, and get your program going again.

For you, I suggest starting with three days a week for working out. Maybe Monday, Wednesday and Friday fits your schedule. Start by doing upper body weighted exercise on Monday, work your abdominals and lower back on Wednesday, and work your legs—including calves—on Friday. Also on these days start with 15 minutes of your favorite cardiovascular exercise. After a couple of weeks, add a fourth day, and in a couple of months, go to a fifth day. Do everything in small increases though and ensure you’re not overtaxing yourself again.

When it comes to your diet, don’t make drastic changes there, either. Look at your log of how you’re currently eating and slowly adjust. Perhaps the first step is to take out any high-calorie beverages you drink on a regular basis. Make sure you’re eating a healthy breakfast if you’re one of the millions of people who currently skip breakfast. Try not to eat heavy meals within a couple hours of bed time. If you eat a lot of breads and pastas, scale those back and add in more lean proteins.

I can tell from your letter you have the desire and the drive to reach your goals, and I promise they are within your grasp. Just don’t give up or get frustrated. Health and fitness are lifetime achievements, they aren’t reached and maintained in short order. But trust me, they are goals worth any amount of effort!


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