Week 5 Lesson
[learn_more caption=”Reduce Stress (click the arrow for more details)”]
Stress can play a role in that body fat thermostat. You can be eating like a champion, but if your body is under stress and is trying to protect you (against whatever threat it feels it is facing), it can be counter-productive to our weight loss goals. Our body has one main goal – survival (and survival of the species). The mechanisms in our bodies work great for the stresses it was designed for. However, the stresses of our modern day food and lifestyle are a little more tricky for our bodies to navigate.
When you think about it, most or our lifestyles are very stressful these days (work, bills, family, social media, toxic nutrient-deficient foods, medications, environmental toxins, war). This stuff is not only more prevalent, but thanks to technology, we are even more aware of it than ever before. This is a big burden to carry each day and our bodies were never designed to manage this much stress all at once and on a perpetual basis.
Here are a few of the stresses we see and address when working with clients one-on-one:
Diets – Going on a ‘calories in’ vs. ‘calories out’ diet causes stress on your body. Since you are restricting calories, your body reacts as though there is a famine. It will slow metabolism and store as much energy (in the form of fat) as possible to protect you from starving.
The problem is that you live in a “feast” environment. SO imagine you have been living on a desert island for a few days without any food. Then you are picked up and dumped into the middle of a Las Vegas style all you can eat buffet. What do you think you body is going to ask you for? FOOD – and lots of it!
When you go on a calorie restricted diet, this is what your body feels like. Can you see why diets are not a long-term solution? There is not enough willpower in the world to maintain a calorie restricted diet.
Love – In the words of the John Lennon…
All you need is love.
When you have had stressful day or are just feeling down, you may turn to a certain food or beverage to make you feel better. Why is that? Well, you need to look at what is it that you turn to for comfort when you are stressed. Let’s say it’s ice cream (just as an example). Look back in your life to the first time you remember eating ice-cream. Who was with you? What was the situation? Was it positive or negative? Was there love involved?
We see this all the time with our one-on-one coaching clients. There are certain foods we turn to that have nothing to do with our body asking for the great nutrients that are coming from that food. Instead, we are turning to that food because in our brains we have a connection between, in this example, the ice cream and a very positive and loving situation and we just want that feeling so we turn to ice cream to take us back to that feeling.
Protection – Sometimes fat can be the body’s response to creating a protective barrier to protect you from an abusive relationship or environment. It can be a bad relationship with our spouse or boss, co-worker, parent, sibling, boyfriend, girlfriend or any person. Your body may also be trying to protect you from a fear you may have. Maybe you are afraid of the attention of the opposite sex due to a negative experience in the past.
There are unlimited reasons why your body may feel it needs to protect you in this way. It is all based on your view of what it means to be safe.
Toxins – Like it or not, we live in a very toxic environment. There are toxic substances in our food and living environment. Fat cells can protect our body from toxins. The less toxins we can consciously ingest, the less our bodies will have to deal with. Eating organic and reducing the toxins in the things you do have control over is the best thing you can do.
The more things we can do to reduce our stress, the more healthy we will be. Commit to the focuses we’ve outlined this week and use these practices to reduce your stress levels.
Only need to think about 3 things this week:
[learn_more caption=”1) Take 5 deep breaths before you eat (click the arrow for more details)”]
Take 5 deep breaths before you eat
This will help reset your stress hormones so you are not stressed when you are eating your food. Eating unconsciously in a stressful situation is not the best for our bodies. If the body is stressed, it can shut down digestion and may even not absorb and utilize the nutrients you are consuming.
In many cultures, saying a prayer is part of the dinner time ritual. This “prayer” time also has the same affect on the body. Calms the mind for a few minutes and gets your body ready for your meal.
Sometimes, just resetting your stress hormones before you eat, can make a difference on the scale.
- Before you sit down to any meal, take 5 deep breaths (breathe in for 4-5 seconds, hold 1-2 seconds and breathe out for 4-5 seconds – repeat this 5 times).
- If you are in a public place and feel strange about this, you can go wash your hands and do the breathing in private.
[learn_more caption=”2) Commit to a minimum of 1 minute Meditation Time (click the arrow for more details)”]
Commit to meditation time each day. It can be as little as 1 minute.
Meditation was always one of those strange concepts to me. It seemed like a new age hippy kind of thing. However, the more I have studied nutrition, fitness and health, the more I have realized that meditation for me is a method of paying attention to my body and the goals I have for my fitness, health and life in general. Focusing on what you want moves you towards what you want. Focusing on what you do not want keeps you there or moves you towards that place.
I call it my quiet time.
Call it what you want, it is all the same. The practice of mediation helps create the skill of creating comfort with discomfort and realizing it is always possible for a fresh start in the moment.
To get started, it’s like any other new practice. When creating any new habit, it is more about committing to the practice, rather than the duration. I started with 1 min, then did 2 min, then 3 min and now I spend about 15 min each morning in my own version of meditation. It is a great way to center yourself and start your day off on the right foot.
- Set your alarm for 15 min earlier than normal
- Find a nice quiet place that you like in your home (if you do not have one, create one)
- Sit in silence for a minimum of 1 minute – do this every morning (at least Mon – Fri)
- The goal is just to create the habit around the time – over time you can increase the length
- Listen the the mediation instructional video and as you feel comfortable, you can utilize the instructions on how to meditate for creating healthy habits in your life
[learn_more caption=”3) Write down 3 new things you are grateful for each day (click the arrow for more details)”]
Write down 3 new things you are grateful for each day (for the next 3 weeks)
This exercise is designed to reprogram your brain to scan the world for the positive and not the negative.
If you turn on the evening news or pick up a newspaper, what are you going to see? You will see a bunch of negative news. This tells your brain that the world is full of negative things. That may be true, but I propose that there were probably a lot more positive, uplifting things that happened that day that you did not get to hear about. When we fill our brain with the negativity that is what we believe reality to be.
To help you reach your goals faster, you need to train your brain to be see the positive things in your life right now. If you say things like,
When I lose weight, then I will be happy.
This is a problem. The problem is that our brains actually work in the opposite order. If you become happy first, you will lose the weight.
It is not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality – Shawn Achor
It is important to be happy today and not wait for tomorrow. You have to be happy with your body right now. If you look in the mirror and just have negative thoughts, then that is what you will create in your reality. If you look in the mirror and focus on the positive, then that is what you will get more of.
Look in the mirror and focus on the fact you:
- are alive
- can breathe
- have the ability to run
- are smart
- are a loving person
- are making healthy choices
- are eating healthy
- are losing weight
There are so many positive things about you and your body, but we often tend to focus on the one or two negative things. If you set your goals, know you will get there, and are happy in the now, then you will reach your goals!
- Watch The Happiness Advantage video in the homework section.
- Starting today, create an email draft or word doc or excel file and at the end of the day write down 3 new things you are grateful for.
[learn_more caption=”1) Exercise for 11 min 2-3x per week(click the arrow for more details)”]
Find 2-3 mornings per week where you can commit to about 11 min of interval exercise.
With our one-on-one clients we never even talk about exercise for the first 3 months minimum. We just let them continue with whatever exercise regiment they currently have. The reason behind this is that when you add exercise, it makes you hungry. So it does not make sense to add a activity that makes you more hungry when you are trying to lose weight.
As you know, our approach is to get your biochemistry working again, add in a ton of nutrients and add in things that naturally detoxify the body on a daily basis. Once people start losing weight, their body will usually naturally drive them to want to exercise.
There are so many positive benefits to exercise. I cannot begin to go into them all. I am a firm believer that we all need to exercise on a regular basis for optimal health and fitness. I believe in resistance training to maintain a strong immune system, good muscle tone, strong bones and a good physique. I believe in cardio training for good endurance and heart health.
When it comes to weight loss, there is one specific type of exercise that will help your goal. That is interval training. Interval training can potentially help your body want to reduce the fat set point. Interval training can actually use stress hormones to trick your body into losing weight.
In the beginning (when creating the exercise habit), it is more about the commitment to the time than the actual exercise itself. I would start out easy with some interval training. Most interval training is based off of the Tabata Protocol (created by Dr. Izumi Tabata).
Here is he original Tabata Protocol
- 5 minutes of warm-up
- 8 intervals of 20 seconds all-out intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest
- 2 minutes cool-down
I would recommend starting out on your bike. I think that is the safest. There are many ways you can apply interval training to your workout. We have included a body weight exercise video in the extra credit section below.
The main goal is to first commit to that 11 min. timeframe 2-3 times per week. Once that becomes a habit, you can start mixing up the exercise to not only just set you up to burn body fat, but also to tone your muscles.
[learn_more caption=”2) Sunlight -(20 min per day)(click the arrow for more details)”]
Get outside for 20 min. of sunshine per day.
Many people are deficient in Vitamin D based on our current lifestyles, so this is one you will want to get checked out with your doctor for sure. The best source of Vitamin D is from the sun. About 20 min. of direct sunlight per day on as much of your bare skin as possible is usually enough. Your body knows how to handle this type of exposure and you will not overdose on this type of VItamin D the way that you can with an oral supplement. If, for whatever reason, you cannot get direct sun, some experts say “safe tanning beds” are the next best thing to direct sunlight. (But who has access to one of those?). The third choice is supplements (and fortified foods).
Vitamin D comes in two forms D2 or D3. The D3 is the same type of Vitamin D our body creates from sun exposure. Vitamin D2 is a different form and it is argued that it is less effective compared to D3. If you do end up supplementing with Vitamin D, just check out which version you are using and shoot for the D3.
For dosages, you will want to review your blood work to determine how much you need. From what we read, most experts and other countries recommend between 2,000 – 5,000 IU per day.
So get your free Vitamin D from the sun, you will feel better and be healthier!
The Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard.
Susan Piver Meditation – Susan Piver is a New York Times bestselling author. Check out her books here. She currently hosts the Open Heart Project where she provides meditation training to over 10,000 people. Susan travels the world teaching people how to bring awareness to the present moment. You’ll love her and we’re so honored to have her expertise as part of this program with this guided meditation just for you. If you love this video, we hope you’ll consider joining her free Open Heart Project for support in developing a daily meditation practice.
Incredible 4 minute FAT BURNING Workout – Most interval training is based off of the Tabata Protocol (created by Dr. Izumi Tabata). Here is an example of a short 4 min Tabata based workout you can do with no equipment right in your own home.