If you are new to exercise, for the next 30 days, get some form of movement 6-7 hours a week. Also take away two “not-so-good-for-you” food choices daily and you will get 30 pounds of weight loss (results may vary).
If you’re diet would make Santa blush, for the next 30 days, eat fruit instead of candy or baked goods. Also add HIIT 3 times a week and you will get 30 pounds of weight loss (results may vary).
If you are a long time exerciser with a “bad” diet, for the next 30 days, grain cycle with 1 day of 3-4 servings of grains and 3 days of no grains. Also, make sure you are getting 7 hours of movement with varying degrees of intensity. You will lose 30 pounds (results may vary).
If you are a long time dieter, but do not exercise, for the next 30 days, add 6-7 hours of movement per week (intensities vary) and probably eat more of something. You will lose 30 pounds (results may vary).
Everybody can try the doughnut diet or the twinkie diet. It’s just 4-5 doughnuts or twinkies a day and that’s it. Add some exercise and BAM, 30 pounds of weight loss (results may vary).
Here’s the thing, I’m not being sarcastic about the above ideas. Each one of these ideas has the potential to work for someone. Some may sound absurd to you, others not realistic. Some may come off as bad advice or too “quick-fixy.” I have my opinions about the above choices and ideas. I also don’t think it’s bad to lose 30 pounds in 30 days.
The point Shauna, the point.
If you have stuck with me up to this point, you probably want to know what this blog is really about. Well, I used a sexy tag line to get you here and tell you that consistency will be your weigh to weight loss (see what I did there;). That’s why any of the above ideas could and have worked for people. They were able to consistently do the things that were asked or required.
Weight loss can be fairly simple. Calories in versus calories out is about as scientifically calculated as we can get to energy balance (weight loss, weight gain and weight maintenance). However, it doesn’t take into account the individual, specific qualities of the person trying to lose those 30 pounds (nor does it take into account how our individual bodies utilize and partition the food we eat, but that’s another blog). This is where consistency comes in. We can all help ourselves under the big lens of energy balance (calories in vs. calories out), but we aren’t all mothers or fathers, body builders and joggers, managers or CEO’s, slim chicks or tough bro’s. This is were we differ and this is where it will suit us to find what WE can do consistently.
Below I have outlined the 5 main factors that help us get to or maintain a healthy weight and/or body fat percentage. I was going to add hormones to this group of factors because of the massive impact it has, but each of these 5 factors can aid in hormone health so much, I did not. Just know that it may be in your interest to get a hormone panel if you have struggled with weight loss despite doing what is described below.
Stress, sleep, diet, exercise and setting your minimums.
Stress is such an arbitrary thing. What is it? We’ve all felt it. We all talk about it. Most of us view it as bad. We all know it can do some major damage to our bodies. In this PN article by Krista Scott Dixon and Brian St. Pierre they say “stress isn’t a ‘thing’ that happens to you. Stress is your response to the challenges you face every day.” Your responses may be natural, they may be learned or they may be deliberate. The key is to find your “stress sweet spot.” The place where you have just enough, but not too much.
As with all diet, sleep and exercise; stress has a ripple effect. Chronic stress can cause high cortisol (side note, cortisol is not bad, it’s just being cortisol). High cortisol can lead to fat storage and attack muscle mass. It can also disrupt sleep and peak at the wrong times of day. Stress can result in poor performance at the gym and impulse eating. Not a great scenario for weight loss. Check out how you can reduce stress and become more resilient here.
Sleep is your recharge. Sleep is your hormonal regulator. When you have too little or poor sleep you miss out on all of this:
- a refresh of neurotransmitters and removal of energy draining metabolites. Then we feel slower reaction times, low energy and a depressed mood.
- hormone regulation. Which then assists with appetite regulations, proper hunger cues and much more.
- reduction of inflammation. Without enough sleep we can be more prone to sickness and disease.
- long term memory storage. Disruptions with this cause forgetfulness, reduced concentration.
I don’t know about you, but each of these things seems pretty darn important if I want health and especially if I want weight loss. Check out this article about why sleep is important and how you can get more of it.
Diet is…a little trickier to put into a few bullet points because knowing where you currently are and what your goals are determines what the protocol is, yet most people get all the results they want by:
- eating slowly
- stopping at 80% full
- having vegetables, protein and fat at every meal.
I know that seems too simple, but how consistently are you doing those things? Why not experiment with this! Diet is usually the most difficult part of weight loss. It’s is tied to so many other emotions, situation, environments and mentalities, that it can be a gooey pile of crap to work through. A nutrition coach can help you clear the clutter and keep it simple.
Exercise; the place most people start. Movement is what our bodies are made for. We thrive when we keep movement as part of our regular routine. Exercise and varying intensities help our body know what to do with the nutrients we eat. If you want to know a little more about this read my article on G-Flux here. Also, check out Brittany’s article here about the mental benefits of exercise.
So what is enough exercise? Well, how much can you do consistently? Perfect, that’s enough. Now match your diet, sleep and stress to that. I know that answer won’t suffice for some of you so how about this. Start with what is doable and get consistent for one month, then add 15-60 minutes more per month until you either a) start getting the results you’re after and you can recover from every workout or b) you can’t fit anymore exercise in.
It’s difficult to say an exact number or hour and exact sequence of intensities because it really depends upon where you are at and where you want to go, but most people can do more exercise than they are currently doing as long as they are… oh goodness, I know you know the answer…get enough sleep, find their stress sweet spot and have a diet that fuels their workouts.
Setting your minimums is basically committing the time to yourself necessary for your health and for any body composition goals you have. For instance, on a good week, I workout 5 hours, but if I am having a crazy week or have missed multiple workouts due to kids early release day (ugh, early release days), then I know my minimum for each week is at lease 2.5 hours of movement.
So I get a 30 minute walk in or I do 15 squats, 15 pushup, 30 jumping jacks 3 or 4 times or whatever I can do to get make that commitment. You can do the same for diet or sleep or in a round about way; stress. I will always eat at least one bite of protein with every meal. I will get at least 6 hours of sleep every night. I will say “I’ll think about it” as an automatic response instead of “yes” so as not to over commit myself to others.
What would you say your minimums are?
Why don’t you start with a 6 week commitment to Brittany and myself by joining Refrain From the Gain (free to Evolve members). Starting November 19th-December 30th, we encourage our members to not gain weight in the season where many gain 5-20 pounds. During this challenge, each week we will dedicate a habit to the 5 main factors above. If you want further assistance, Brittany and I will be offering Refrain From the Gain Plus Coaching for $99 which includes the following:
- Meal planning template
- 3 recipes per week
- a coaching Facebook page
- beginning of the challenge 1/2 hour consult
- midway 1/2 hour consult
- end of the challenge 1/2 hour consult to determine where you go from there
Contact Shauna at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Brittany at email@example.com