For whatever reason these pieces are not considered essential to solve the puzzle. Probably because they are not considered hip enough or simply too basic. I’ve talked about the importance of mastering the basics throughout this course. And those basics in regards to a successful fat loss diet are of course nutrition and training. That’s all you have to worry about, right? Eating within your daily caloric needs and lifting consistently with good technique is all you have to worry about, right? I would say we often forget the most important things and just focus on what sounds exciting and new. Both training and nutrition do nothing for you if you’re chronically stressed out, get very little or bad sleep and can’t adhere to your diet.
Those three things are needed and complete the big picture. You’re a human being who’s affected by various factors on a daily basis. Stress, sleep and adherence play a huge role in that. Stress is a big one. If you have a lot on your plate at work, have a family, maybe have your own company and constantly need to perform at a high level in those areas of life, your stress levels are most likely high. Trying to lose fat in addition to all that becomes very difficult.
Let me emphasize how important it is for you to accept the fact that if your life is super busy, losing fat is not the best idea.
Before you even think about counting calories or changing your eating and exercise habits, focus on bringing overall stress down so your later eating and lifting efforts work in your favour. You don’t want to waste effort and precious mental energy on nutrition and training, while being simultaneously battling on numerous other fronts.
Bring stress down first, then start your fat loss journey.
If I could give you an answer that works 100% of the time, every time, I would not sit here and type this for you - for free. I would probably chill on a beach in Maui while sipping on some delicious (protein) cocktail. But I digress. I’m not guaranteeing anything here, but the following things have helped me greatly to reduce life stress and focus on the things I want to focus on without being constantly out of touch with myself.
I’m not talking about a break where you go out and eat at a restaurant, but a brief break that allows you to collect your thoughts and get back to yourself. This doesn’t have to last longer than 3-5 minutes. Go to a place where you can be alone (bathroom if that’s your only option) and start crying hysterically. Just kidding, don’t do that. Instead, focus on your breathing. Take deep breaths through your nose into your stomach and let your belly expand. Don’t let your shoulders raise or breath into your chest. Your belly has to get bigger as you do it. Exhale through the mouth. Exhaling should take you about twice as long as inhaling. Close your eyes and solely focus on your breathing. Do this for 3-5 minutes. I’m confident in saying that you will feel much better afterwards, regardless how stressful your occupation is. Do this every time you feel overwhelmed and stressed.
There’s a great book by Dale Carnegie titled “How To Stop Worrying and Start Living” that I highly recommend. Don’t get turned off by the cheesy title. This book is one of my favorites because it provides real life examples of people struggling and how they learned to stop worrying about their problems. Constantly worrying can make you seriously ill. Worrying is stressing out about something. Chronically stressing out about something is not good for your health. And it’s not good to combine that stressor with the stressor of fat loss. So fix it now and diet later.
I know what you’re thinking at this point: this guy is completely nuts. First he talks about some weird breathing exercise on the toilet, then he wants me to read a book with some self-help-group sounding title and now he wants me to close my eyes and think about nothing. This is some hippy sh*t right here! Please here me out.Meditation is in fact backed by a good amount of research. If you don’t care about that, consider that Arnold once said that practicing transcendental meditation for a year has change his life. I would call Arnold Schwarzenegger someone who’s been pretty successful in his life, so why not give it a shot yourself? Give it a go for a week and see how you like it. I personally notice me being calmer throughout the day while having more ideas. Start with 5 minutes of meditating a day. Pick whatever time that fits your schedule best, but make sure it’s the same time every day and stick to it. Don’t jump right in and do 10 or 15 minutes right from the get-go - it’s not working.
Give these a try. You have nothing to lose except stress.