What are your priorities? Want to lose weight but really not sure where to begin? We can open a browser window and Google fat loss or weight loss. Most likely it will come up with lots of different views, ideas, specific diets etc. The majority of them dealing with nutrition specifics like shopping and prepping and exercise specifics…. do this kind of training instead of that or whatnot. But what if we may be completely turned off by the thought of having to spend hours cooking or weighing and measuring every thing…or maybe having no clue what to buy? What if we are new to exercise and do not have a damn clue what we are supposed to be doing there either? Ugh! It’s just waaay to overwhelming.
There is a lot of information out there that is geared toward making people think they want to be super fit because they want to look like the models they see on magazines and in ads and memes on the internet and yet the majority of my clients are a bit different. While a few of them have very specific aesthetic goals, you may be surprised to find that many of my clients are not interested in being “ripped” or “jacked” or in having abs. In fact, most of my clients come to me because they want to improve their quality of life. They want to look good and most importantly, they want to FEEL good and be able to continue to be active and busy and have a long life. As a coach, part of my jobs is to keep things simple enough that my clients can incorporate these things into their schedule in a way that is as non-invasive as possible and to eventually become self sufficient so that they can continue on their own.
There are 5 things that I have learned to prioritize over the last few years in order to stay as healthy as possible. Each of these 5 things are intertwined with the other and upsetting the balance of one can also upset the balance of one or all of the others. Sounds complicated I know but it really is not, it is actually very simple. Difficult sometimes yes, but only because we are learning how to live a more full-filling life instead of a life filled full, yet with little to no time to actually enjoy it.
These 5 things are the foundation of our home. The home we call our body. When we build a strong foundation we are more likely to weather the storms of life and still remain intact in the aftermath.
I am going to touch on each of these 5 priorities in what I consider the order of their importance I will have a blog post for each of these on their own over the next 5 weeks or this one would be so long no one would read it.
The number 1 thing we need to prioritize for both fat loss and optimum health is…
- SLEEP! Yes Sleep! I know lots of people who say “I can sleep when I’m dead” I used to be that way. Until I learned how much more productive I am when I am well rested, how much better I feel in general, I enjoy more energy, better concentration, I am alert and able to focus better. Not getting enough sleep has many side effects. Most often one of the first side effects is mood changes. Goodness knows we are usually grumpy when we do not get enough sleep. Another side effect of not getting enough sleep is that being tired triggers cravings for salty, sweet, fatty foods and we all know where that leads. Lack of sufficient sleep causes stress on our body and raises our cortisol levels which inhibits fat loss. Another problem is we just end up not having the motivation to workout when we are tired. This is just a few of the things that happens when we do not get enough sleep. There are many many more. See how it affects soo many aspects of our life when we do not get enough? So, how much sleep do we need? According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average healthy adult needs somewhere between 7-9 hours of quality sleep a day and for older adults 7-8. The actual amount of time varies from person to person and we will go deeper into sleep in next weeks blog. How to find out exactly how much sleep YOU really need, ideas on how to incorporate more sleep, how to get better quality sleep and more. Until then, maybe try to get to bed just 10 minutes earlier than usual and if you use the snooze button more than once, try to cut out one snooze or any snooze at all, or you can set your alarm for the exact time you need to get up in order to get to work on time with no room to spare. That way you actually get the sleep you are missing with the snooze button.
The 2nd most important aspect of our health and sustainable fat loss is …
- Mindset – What actually is mindset you ask? Mindset is a belief that orients the way we handle situations. In other words, our attitude toward life. Our attitude determines whether we react to a person or situation or if we respond to a person or situation. Our attitude can also determine whether we succeed or fail at projects or if we have positive or negative things continue to happen more often in our life. It is how we perceive things. For example, I recently had to combine two of my group fitness classes that were back to back into one class in order to make room for a new class that was coming to one of the gyms I work at. I could look at it like I am losing money because I no longer have that class if I choose to have a scarcity or negative attitude. Instead, I actually chose to look at it as I have gained almost 3 hours in a week if you count drive time! That is 3 hours I can spend either working with other clients in person, taking extra coaching calls or working on creating more content and programs for you! It is actually going to benefit me in many more ways rather than be a loss of any kind. That is having what I call and abundant or positive attitude. When we have a scarcity or negative attitude, we tend be more of a pessimist and react instead of respond and with an abundant or positive attitude. So you see how our mindset/attitude can effect some very important areas in our overall health and well being. We will also talk more in-depth about mindset and how to work on creating an abundant one it in week 2. One of my favorite things to do to promote positive attitude is to draw an affirmation card each day and write it in my journal. I am currently having sooo much fun with this deck of cards called the Affirmators! 50 Affirmation Cards to Help You Help Yourself – without the Self-Helpy-Ness! They are both hilarious and insightful!
The 3rd thing on my list for prioritizing fat loss and optimum health is…
- Stress – or more accurately, our stress levels. In today’s world we all seem to run on frenetic energy. We keep our bodies in fight or flight mode all the time. We are always on the go and have or take very little time to just relax and be stress free. For most of us the idea of de-stressing is probably to sit down and veg out on the couch watching TV. This is actually very stressful on your body and mind IF we sit and watch for longer than 30-60 minutes, unless it is a funny movie, watching something seriously funny can be stress relieving. Now that Will and Grace is coming back to Network Television I wish I had TV at home 🙂 That show was always good for a laugh. Anyhooo, there is soo much that brings stress into our lives and our body cannot distinguish between physical and emotional stress. We need to find more ways to incorporate activities that turn of our fight or flight and turn on our rest and digest. We will discuss stress ways to help reduce it in more detail in week 3 of this series, but until then, try taking some slow walks outside in nature, take a relaxing bath with some epsom salts and candles and relaxing music, or a restorative yoga class or two.
Number 4 on the priorities list is…
- Nutrition – You all know how much I love to talk about Nutrition and how important I think good nutrition is and I bet you’re wondering why it is so far down on my list of 5. Well, here is how I look at it. I know first hand that it is seriously difficult to make healthy nutrition choices when tired and sleepy and craving salty, sweet, fatty foods and we have had a bad day and are in a bad mood and our mind is telling us some really crappy stuff. Both of which increase our stress levels even more, which in turn makes us crave more of the food that is not quite what we would need to have very much of in our diet if we are looking for fat loss. Now, when it does come to nutrition, the first thing is to have at least 80% of the food you consume be Whole Foods. Things that either come straight from the ground or the animal. First I like to focus on getting enough quality protein – 1 palm sized piece at every meal. Then, lots and lots and lots…and by lots and lots and lots I mean really, seriously a whole freaking bunch of fibrous veggies. Like 6-10 great big ole fist fulls a day. A moderate amount of carbs, which means about a cupped handful at each meal and a Thumb sized bit of healthy fat at most meals. Of course these things will need to be adjusted according to the person and the activity level of each person. We will get more into some fat loss/weight loss nutrition specifics in week 4 of this series.
Now, for the 5th priority …
- Exercise – yep, I know. Another surprise right? Most people think that exercise is the number one priority when it comes to fat/weight loss. Now, if you have not been exercising at all and suddenly begin to exercise and are still eating the exact same as before you began, then sure it will have a tremendous impact. But for the most part, exercise should be regular part of our weekly routine, like going to the grocery store and to the dollar store. You regularly go, but every now and then you may put it off for a day or two. Exercise should enhance our lives and make us feel good. It should not be something we dread. That just adds more stress. We also cannot out exercise our fork. Which means, we don’t eat and entire pizza and then think we can just go to the gym and exercise it off. We also cannot go to the gym and then reward ourselves with some sugary sweet drink or treat and think that we can lose weight that way. It would be nice if the formula of calories in vs calories out worked all the time. Alas, there are way to many other factors that go into fat loss. We will delve more into exercise and what kind is best for losing weight, how often, and all the other little details in week 5 of this series. Until then, if you are interested, go check out my FB timeline photos There are a few workouts in there.
Before I go I have a couple of Questions for you. Please reply in the comments or send me a direct message at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you struggle with any of these 5 things? If so, which one do you struggle with the most?
Would your list be the same as mine? If not, how would you change it and why?