Feeling overwhelmed, stressed and frustrated but still looking for weight loss (aka Fat Loss)…sound familiar? I know It rings true to a lot of you myself included.
Hitting the wall
I know it sucks but often we can feel like we have hit a wall. Working long hours at work then juggling multiple roles from friend, son/daughter, mother/father, co-worker or boss then trying to find time to exercise and eat well in order to not only look great but feel awesome too.
It’s exhausting just writing it so trust me when I say I know how it all feels.
Now most of my clients are looking to lose fat and get fit. Often when I discuss this with clients they tend to focus their efforts on exercise: With a more is better approach and nutrition; with the less is best idea.
Let me start by saying stress is stress. you can throw it in a different dress but it’s still stress.
- A poor night’s sleep is a stressor.
- Going to gym and taking part in your favorite class is a stressor.
- Being super busy at work is a stressor.
- Restricting your calories (eating less and less) is a stressor.
- Running around after you kids can be a stressor.
- That horrible morning commute funny enough is a stressor.
Okay, okay I get it Jamie those things cause a level of stress and why exactly should I care?
Do you want to look and feel great? Maybe drop a jean size? Then trust me you care.
We need a certain level of stress to stimulate change but too much has the opposite. So if we are already stressed out MORE stress is really not the answer.
Here are my 4 essential habits for those of you who are overwhelmed, stressed and frustrated but still want to lose fat and look and feel great:
Habit #1 Eat whole and natural foods
That’s right folks there’s no way around this one. You cannot out train a bad diet. Now I am not advising you start starving yourself (that causes more problems). But it’s time to take an honest look at you eating habits and see how much are you relying on caffeine, quick sugar spikes and quick processed foods.
Now this may not be your first attempt at improving your eating habits but the problems is you have most likely tried to change too much too soon. My advice and that I give my clients is to make only one change at a time.
Top tip: Complete a two-week food diary. After take a look through what you have been eating and pick just one area to improve for the next 2-weeks. Do you eat enough lean protein? Maybe you need to drink more water? It doesn’t really matter what pick just make sure you only change one thing at a time.
Since starting my own business last year that has been a huge one for me personally. Learning to switch off has been a hard but absolutely essential lesson to learn. We have already discussed how too much stress is not helping so why not build a few habits that help reduce and better manage your stress levels.
Some might say that watching TV, having a glass of wine (or two) or going to the gym for a killer spin class is their way to de-stress and though this could help they are far from ideal and in some cases make mater worse.
Meditation has be shown to dramatically reduce stress in as little as 10-minutes a day. There has even been some super cool research looking at the human brain before and after meditation to show the change in blood chemistry and brain function. Basically it’s like going into your phone and shutting down all the unused apps to free up all the previously used memory and battery power.
Pretty cool right! Who would have thought something as simple as sitting down to clear your mind and just focus on your breath could have such a dramatic impact on our mind, bodies and health.
Top tip: Try some form of guided meditation. I would highly recommend checking out an app called “Calm”. It is fantastic and what I use every morning. Don’t get too bogged down with how long you should meditate for. Start with a number that you are 100% confident with (can be as low as 1-minutes) and do it daily.
Habit #3: Get better at sleeping
This is a big one. Most of us (around 70%) are running off 7- hours or less every night. With around 30% getting less than six. Now this creates a bit of a problem. If we can’t out train a bad diet we most certainly can not under-sleep our way into a lean, strong and healthy body.
For more information on the effects of poor sleep check out my post here.
Consistent poor levels of sleep does a a lot more than leave you tired and a little cranky. Your body will be unable to recover from previous gym sessions and it’s going to hardwire your brain to want more sugar and fatty foods (and not the good fats either).
Trying to find time to get more sleep when your already busy can be hard so my recommendation is to start by just improving the sleep you are already getting. Here a few simple change to make to improve your sleep:
- Avoid caffeine and sugary foods in the evening (1600 and onwards as a reference point).
- Avoid watching TV and computer screens right up till you go to bed.
- Dimming the lights or avoiding bright lights in the hour before bed.
- Relax with a book or bath to relax your body and prepare it for sleep.
- Mediate in the evening to help shut the brain off from work.
Top tip: Track your sleep with a sleep diary. Record when you went to bed, what time you got up and how rested you feel on a scale of 1-10. Track for a week or so and see what you have learned. You could then implement a few of the strategies listed above and see how this affects your sleep pattern.
Habit #4: Exercise to give you energy
This was a lesson I learned through my kettlebell training and reading the work of Pavel Tsatsouline; the father of modern kettlebell training. He stated that your training sessions should give you more energy than when you started and now the other way around. After a great training session you should feel energised and ready to go.
A great deal of research has shown that even after a short period of moderate exercise you become more focused, you feel happier and more relaxed. It has the same effects on your body as a mini- antidepressant. So if you’re feeling a bit gloomy rather that sit in front of the tv and probably make things worse get up and get moving. Something as simple as a 30-min walk makes all the difference.
I know its tough! You are already tired so the idea of exercise can be hard but the funny thing is the more you move the energy you will have. Crazy I know but the next time your feeling drained head out for as little as a 15-minute power walk and see how you feel.
Top tip: As a general rule of thumb we want to be exercising on average 5-hours a week with 50% of that coming time being at moderate to difficult intensity. Please don’t get put off if you no where near that. Just use it as a reference point. Just like the mediation start with a number you feel comfortable and confident with. As a side note make your exercise fun. No one wants to spend 5-hours a week doing something they hate. Find an activity or sport you like and get to it. If you not sure what you like pick something and try it out for a few weeks and see what you think. A lot of my female clients who typically shy away from weights are shocked with how much they enjoy kettlebell training. Have fun and keep moving.
But this is just the beginning… if you are serious about getting a lean, strong and healthy body that leaves you with huge smile on your face you’re in luck as I would love to help you out. Click here to apply for a FREE Online Transformation Session.