How to Lose Weight When You’re Stressed

November 2, 2017 9:31 am

Ever felt so overwhelmed you didn’t think you had time to breathe?

I have.

Sometimes life throws so much crap at you that it’s all you can do to stay afloat. Things like:

  • A new crazy deadline at work
  • An unexpected sickness in the family
  • A newborn child

If you’re trying to lose weight through something like that, it can feel impossible.

Fortunately there are ways to cope.

You don’t have to quit altogether.

When life gets so busy that you want to quit exercising and eating healthy, try these tips to keep yourself moving toward your goals.

1. Forgive Yourself

You’re dedicated to your fitness but sometimes you can’t make it your first priority. That’s OK. That’s a normal part of being human. You can’t prioritize everything.

Missing a workout, skipping a meal, or stress eating an entire bag of cookies doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you a failure. It just means you slipped up. And everyone slips up. In fact, one of the most important parts of getting better is slipping up and learning to come back stronger.

Even if you stress eat the whole batch, it’s ok. You can get back on track. (Photo by Whitney Wright on Unsplash)

Give yourself permission to prioritize other things over your fitness for a period of time. It’s not your fault. You aren’t a bad person. It’s not a reason to quit.

All you have to do is…

2. Set Minimums

Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition offers us some excellent advice on what to do when sh•t hits the fan:

Set reasonable minimums.

Maybe you really only have the time for one or two workouts a week. This may not be ideal but doing SOMETHING is absolutely and always better than doing none at all.

Maybe you just have time to run the stairs in your condo today. That’s still better than nothing.

Maybe you’ve only got the time to prepare one or two meals a day at home for now. That’s fine. Control that and don’t let the rest of the details stress you out.

Control what you can control and don’t feel guilty about the rest. Remind yourself that the storm you’re going through is temporary (even if it’s long) and you will get through it.

3. Set Anchor Habits

If things start to get crazier than crazy, “anchor habits” are a great way to keep your sanity.

When it comes to nutrition, there are two anchor habits that are more important than almost anything else you do for fat loss. Regardless of what you’re eating (even if it’s a pint of ice cream!):

  • Eat slowly and intentionally at every meal
  • Try to end your meal when you feel 80% full

These are literally the two most important habits for fat loss!

The magic in these habits is that they force you to slow down and listen to your body. Even if you’re missing workouts, the stress is piling up, and you feel like you’re struggling to do the minimums you set for yourself, these habits can help keep you grounded.

No matter what you’re eating, you can always slow down and eat mindfully. This can be a moment of calm in a crazy day. (Photo by Matthew Wheeler on Unsplash)

And you don’t need anything special to do them.

Slow eating is like a brief window of calm in an otherwise hectic day. It’s a chance to enjoy and appreciate food. Any food.

These two habits are difficult to master but they require only a few minutes a day. You can always afford to do that.

Just Don’t Stop

Sometimes life is ridiculous. You won’t always be on top of things but that’s never a good reason to give up on yourself.

Remember. To keep yourself going when things are hard:

  1. Forgive yourself,
  2. Set minimums
  3. Use anchor habits

And finally, understand that you’ll go through times when you don’t lose any weight or you slip backwards. This is going to happen. It’s part of the process. Don’t let it discourage you. Just control what you can try your best not to worry about what you can’t control.

Trying to lose weight can feel really lonely at times. Sometimes it seems like no one is as stressed as you are and you just can’t keep up. That’s why you need to find support. Find a coach, a loved one, a friend, or a community that can support you and help you to stay focused while you work through things.

It’s hard now and I can’t promise it won’t get harder. But you will persevere and win. The best you can do right now is the best you can do. Stay strong.

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