The 3 biggest mistakes to setting New Year health and fitness goals

Have you ever thought that your body must simply hate you—that no matter how hard you try to be healthy, it never follows your agenda? Maybe you think...

Health & Wellness
 Min read
December 31, 2022

Have you ever thought that your body must simply hate you—that no matter how hard you try to be healthy, it never follows your agenda? Maybe you think your body is broken.

Quite the opposite is true.  

You were designed by Love, for love, to love (and to return to Love), and your body does everything in its power to keep you in a state of love, safety, and proper functioning. It’s been hardwired to regulate and adapt by your loving Creator.

If it’s gone rogue, you’ve probably been operating outside the bounds of how it was designed for too long—shifting that adaption and regulation to dysfunction and dysregulation.

It’s not entirely your fault. We live in a fallen, stressed-out, over-scheduled world with promises of quick fixes, miracle pills, and extreme health and wellness strategies. You know the ones.  The shakes, the meal plans, the programs that swear you'll lose 10 lbs in 10 days.

And the new year is the prime time for diet culture to scream out these promises to take advantage of our vulnerability to a fresh start and a new hope.  

However, those methods simply don’t support how you were designed—for nourishment, rest, appropriate movement, and stress reduction.  

Whether you undertake a routine yourself or are looking for a program to assist your health and fitness goals, be on guard for these traps that wreck your metabolism, throw your hormones into chaos, and might allow you to lose a little weight up front just to gain it (and then some) back again later down the road.

#1 Under-eating

We’ve been taught “calories in / calories out” for decades, so much that one of the first things we tend to want to restrict and control is our calorie intake. While altering food choices is often a great starting point in a health journey, extreme calorie restriction is not. So many programs offer a very low one-size-fits-all starting point for daily calories.

And the problem with this? Your body is more like a chemistry lab than a calculator.  There's so much more to it than in vs out.  

Calorie restriction is a stressor to the body, and many of us already have stress from our lifestyle, nutrition choices, and lack of sleep, just to name a few of the major issues.  

When you overly restrict calories, it’s a stress to the body. And while you might lose some weight in the beginning (fat and muscle loss—not good!), this method will signal your metabolism to start down-regulating. We don’t want a slow and sluggish metabolism, though. We want a healthy, thriving metabolism.

The goal of nutrition is to support your body in having sustained energy throughout the day, mental clarity, balanced blood sugar to keep cravings at bay, and emotional stability. Yes, proper nutrition can make that happen, but it won’t come with excessive calorie restriction.

#2 Overtraining

If we subscribe to the ideology of “calories in / calories out” then the next error we tend to make is overtraining so that we can really leverage the equation: reduce calorie intake, increase calorie burn.

Exercise is also a form of stress to the body, so even if we aren’t totally restricting calories, it can still overstress the body when we don’t have a healthy metabolism and/or aren’t allowing proper rest and recovery.

How does this typically present itself:

• Relying exclusively on cardio.

• Too much cardio, not enough strength.  

• Too much strength, not enough rest and recovery.  

• Just too much. Period.

If you knew how much your workouts account for total calories burned throughout the day, you would definitely think twice about the overtraining approach.  However, when you do the correct combination of exercises with plenty of rest and recovery, you can boost your calorie burn while you're not working out.  That's what we want! A thriving metabolism.  

Working out is vital to health. But, when you over train, you overstress the body, often creating a hormonal backlash, thyroid issues, sleep issues, and after a while, funky symptoms can start to pop up.

When it comes to exercising, it’s best to work smarter, not harder.

#3 Sacrificing sleep to squeeze in a new workout routine

Are you tempted to become part of the 5am club to put in a new fitness routine this new year?

It might not be a bad option for you unless you are not getting enough sleep already. Shaving off an additional hour of sleep—when you’re already in a sleep deficit—to get in a workout can add more stress to the body.  This, too, will start to wreak havoc on your metabolism.

BOTTOM LINE: Your Creator loves you so much that He built into your body an innate system of adaption and regulation to keep you safe and functioning properly according to its greatest need. If we want to restore our health and live vibrant lives, we cannot stress, obsess, or overly restrict our ways to that end.

True, lasting health takes focus and effort on:

• our food for the journey—our daily bread—what we consume that nourishes our body, mind, and soul.

• rhythms and sleep routines that allow us to work from a place of restoration rather than striving to earn it.

• appropriate exercise to strengthen, energize, and stabilize our body.

• reducing stressors on our mind, body, soul.

Want to learn how to get your body back to its original design so that it can heal, function properly, and possibly release some excess weight? Ready to ditch diet culture forever and be able to filter through the conflicting and confusing messages they scream at us?

In January, Seek First Catholic Wellness is hosting the Mindset & Metabolism Reset, a 9-week online program to teach you how to trust and come into cooperation with your divine design. Find more info at

Come discover what happens when you align with your divine design.

Use discount code: PIETRAFRIEND to receive 30% off your registration

Katie Lieberman

Katie is a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner (FDN-P), a certified holistic health coach, and a burnout recovery specialist, helping her clients reorient themselves to a healthy, more peaceful and meaningful life. Check her out at