Fitness and nutrition challenges: you tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine

No matter how devoted you are to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you probably still have fitness and nutrition challenges.

Foods that trip you up. Social settings that act as triggers to unhealthy food choices. People that are less than supportive of your workout schedule. Voices in your head that tell you to skip the gym and stay at home watching True Blood instead (don’t judge).

If you could just get a handle on that one little problem, everything would be great.

Want to know what my biggest fitness and nutrition challenges are?

I’ll tell if you will.

Fitness:Β Although I know that exercise can be done anytime, anywhere (goodness knows I’ve posted my share of shortat-home-in-your-hotel-room workouts), I somehow still feel that unless I go to the gym and spend 45-60 minutes lifting weights, I haven’t gotten a workout in. As a consequence of this mindset, I’ve passed up shorter (and probably more effective πŸ˜‰ ) workouts just because I only had 20 minutes to spare.

With my recently increased workload (more clients and registered programs and writing opportunities, hooray!), I’ve got to start using those 20 minute windows if I’m going to keep making progress in the gym. In theory, it’s easy to do; my preferred mode of training is supersets and I can easily get in 3-4 sets of two exercises in the 15-20 minute window I often have between clients. In practice, it’s pretty difficult to change your mindset and just do it (especially when your mind has been set for a long time!).

Nutrition: In the past, my biggest nutritional challenge was sugar. I was completely addicted. With some very concentrated effort, I’ve been able to give up most forms of added sugar. I don’t buy (many) processed foods. I’ve switched to the darkest chocolate my palate can handle. And when I bake, I strive to make my muffins and cookies and bars as healthy as possible. Flax seed and chia and wheat germ are added to everything. (This is one of my many ploys for increasing the nutrient density of my children’s school lunches)

The problem? When I sit down for my mid-afternoon coffee, I crave something baked to go along with it. Even my healthy versions of baked treats have butter and wheat flour and brown sugar; all of which I try to avoid because they perpetuate the crave-consume-crash cycle.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me about your biggest fitness and nutrition challenges. What have you yet to master?

As always, I love to hear your thoughts; today, let’s try to help each other overcome our challenges by commenting and supporting and offering ideas for effecting change!





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  1. Hmmm, trying to think. Well, once I get home from teaching, it’s hard for me to get up and out again to walk with my sister and her dog. I get concerned about time so don’t want to give up that 90 minutes. As to food, I love bread. I bake it. I eat it.

    • I hear you; end of the day it a tough one. Does it help to have Kymberly and the puppy waiting for you? I worked out with my sister yesterday and had a great time; wish she lived closer and we could do it more often.
      Mmm. Bread. Enough said!

  2. I am trying to build muscle and my coach upped my food intake as well as taken out all sugar – to be honest, the extra food has been my biggest challenge. And having no sugar (not even ketchup) was really hard – cravings from hell! LOL
    getfitchick recently posted…Working Out with Nicole WilkinsMy Profile

    • As much as we all wish someone would tell us to eat more (!), it’s a tough one to wrap your head around. How long did it take you to get over the sugar cravings? Any tips for the rest of us?

      • The first few days were fine, it’s the 7-10 day area that get’s you! LOL and fruit is what saved me. It satisfies the craving for sweetness, and if you are craving a starchy-sweet (like cookies) try Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel Bread toasted.
        getfitchick recently posted…Working Out with Nicole WilkinsMy Profile

        • That bread sounds yummy! One of my favourite ‘trick your sweet tooth’ options is banana slices with greek yogurt and peanut butter. Tastes like dessert!

  3. Caroline says:

    Fitness: To finish running my first half marathon. Push goal to finish in less than 2 hours 15 minutes.

    Nutrition: Finally get rid of the junk food, move towards a more plant based diet.

    • Invite me over; I am ruthless when it comes to emptying cupboards of junk food! But seriously, if you can’t do it yourself, why not ask a friend to help?
      That’s a great goal time for a half; I can’t imagine even running that distance let alone doing it in under 4 hours! LOL!

      • Caroline says:

        I don’t usually have the junk food in the house. It calls to me when I’m out. Now that I’m back exercising my body has stopped craving it as much.
        2 years ago I trained for the half marathon and pulled a groin muscle during training and wasn’t able to run more than 5 minutes. I didn’t want a dnf so I walked it in 3 hours 45 minutes. So it’ll be easy to beat my PR.
        I’ve been drinking water kefir ( a fermented probiotic) daily and it has decreased my wanting to “munch”.

  4. When I first began on my fitness journey, balancing my food intake was a learning experience in itself. It definitely had its challenges. I was so used to stuffing my face with whatever I wanted that learning to moderate myself required some practice.

    Only with practice can we get better πŸ™‚

    Great post!
    Kierston recently posted…Feeling Hot, Hot, HOT!My Profile

    • I agree. It’s so important to really think about what we’re eating and why. Most of us don’t need as much food as our brain wants us to consume (or at least of the types of food our brain seems to want!)

      Thanks for stopping by Kierston!

  5. Great post, Tamara. I’ve enjoyed reading the other commenters’ challenges and suggestions.

    I am not a coffee drinker–can’t stand the taste–so to get my caffiene, I drink diet soda. I’ve really been trying to substitute soda with caffienated green or black tea, much healthier options (and yes, I suppose I could wean myself off of caffiene as well, but in reality, I don’t consume that much–coffee has much larger quantities–so I’m not so worried about that.) But it’s hard to give up that carbonation. I’ve been purchasing flavored, carbonated water, and this has helped ease the transition. But I still have a couple diet sodas a day, and that is not helping my bones nor my teeth. After all, diet Dew can dissolve a mouse… πŸ™‚
    crubin recently posted…Mr. Nasty Pants Vs. The WannabeMy Profile

    • Carrie, your comment reminded me of that rumour kids used to tell each other about Coke. Remember? If you leave a glass headed pin in a glass of coke overnight it will dissolve the glass? I never tried it, but was always curious…

      Interestingly enough, green tea is a better option for both of us. It contains less caffeine than coffee and stimulates your metabolism. I like to brew a pot and leave it in the fridge to add to smoothies or just drink by itself. Coffee still calls to me when it’s cold outside though… (but I just ate a handful of almonds with my afternoon cuppa instead of something baked!)

  6. oh good post!! i still feel like if i’m not sweating it’s not a workout, so i mentally struggle with doing weights though rationally i understand the benefit.

    sugar is 100% my downfall, particularly FREE sugar so anything at all the conferences or work events i attend
    Amanda @RunToTheFinish recently posted…Giveaway: 1 Year MyYogaOnlineMy Profile

    • Come and do weights with me Amanda; I am dripping with sweat when I’m done! It’s all about the intensity!

      Why do work events always provide sweets and pastries at coffee breaks? Don’t they know that their workers’ productivity declines afterwards? Even when fruit is offered, it tends to be the high sugar stuff (pineapple, watermelon, grapes). How about some good old berries? We all need to eat more of them!

  7. GREAT POST!!!! Nutrition – for me, I am fine with what I do. I plan for the extras I want so I don’t worry about them.

    Workouts – I am an overtrainer! YES! I love the weights & I get started & don’t want to stop! πŸ™‚ Also, I have a hard time taking days off OVER & ABOVE my normal 2 days per week. Sometimes the bod just says those 2 days are not enough & I miss my workouts & don’t want to give in. πŸ˜‰
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted…HAPPY BDAY; Progress PicsMy Profile

    • Jody, not too many people have your challenge! LOL! But it’s good to recognize your tendency to go overboard; nothing like an injury that derails you from exercise for awhile to make you appreciate a good old rest day!

  8. Hi Tamara, I am stopping by from Momcomm’s mash up. I would have to say sweets are my nutrition challenge. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, a full time job and 3 kids. I have a few leftover pounds to lose that just keep hanging there cause of my sweet tooth. My fitness challenge is being consistent with exercising. I always find excuses why I can’t squeeze in that 20 minute workout (which for me is just walking). I feel great when I exercise, I just fail miserably at making myself a priority. My RA would be improved if I both cut out the sweets and exercised consistently, and yet I don’t do it. Silly, I know! Loving your blog design since that’s what you said on Momcomm that you improved upon this year!
    Tanya recently posted…The Joy and Light in Their EyesMy Profile

    • Hi Tanya, thanks for stopping by! Sweets seem to be a common problem; I think it’s partly because, as moms, we have so much going on, we fail to take care of ourselves. Our needs get put to the side and our energy gets depleted before we remember to stop and nourish ourselves.
      Please come back and use my blog as a source of motivation! My goal is to help people stay on track by reminding them of how good they feel when they pay attention to exercise and healthy living!

  9. Nutrition wise I want to diminish my carb-loving tooth. Anyone want to trade the sweet tooth for the salt tooth and maybe we will even it all out?? πŸ™‚
    For fitness, I just want to stay committed…I go through times where my intentions and drive are right on point and others where I am not as focused. Consistency please!
    Talia @ Bite Size Wellness recently posted…Spa Comfort Zone: Step Outside your Norm [+ Spa Week Giveaway]My Profile

    • We could be sisters, Talia! Seriously, I think the sugar thing and the consistency thing are what get most of us. Guess I need to think of a solution and write about it! I’ve got a great post (in my head still) for you. Hoping to find time to write it up this weekend…

  10. I love chocolate – even 70% dark chocolate. Chocolate and ice cream are my nemeses. If I bake my own lower fat sweets like muffins and cookies, will it help curb my sweet tooth and lose some extra pounds?

    I could really use some advise!
    mona recently posted…Artist inspirationMy Profile

    • Mona, you are not alone! Sugar addiction is very common and I believe it to be the number one reason we’re all carrying a few extra pounds and lacking in energy!

      Certainly, baking lower sugar treats can help (don’t worry about the fat so much; just make sure you’re using healthy fats; some of my favourite clean baking treats sub unsweetened applesauce for both butter and sugar). But the bottom line is how often you’re indulging in those vs. fresh veggies, lean protein and lower sugar fruit.

      Personally, I find it easier (in the long run) to go ‘cold turkey’ on added sugar (that means white, brown, agave, honey, fake sugars etc). It takes a few days to ‘re-train’ your palate, but believe it or not, the cravings will go away.

      There’s a ‘no sugar’ challenge starting tomorrow over on The Gracious Pantry’s blog. I’ve done it before and her Facebook group is a great place to find support. Check it out and let me know that you’re ‘in’!

  11. Thanks for the info. I might have to do some more research in order to quit sugar cold turkey. I’m sure it’s even in my whole wheat bread!

    The Gracious Pantry has some delicious recipes! Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll try them and I will let you know how it goes!