Advertising
Advertising

The #1 Weight Loss Tip That Health and Fitness Experts Will Not Tell You

The #1 Weight Loss Tip That Health and Fitness Experts Will Not Tell You

When you look at the numbers, such as in studies like those from Statistic Brain which tracks New Year’s Resolution successes, only about 8% of us ever achieve our New Year’s goals.

When you think about it, it’s a bit crazy because we have access to all of the information that has been on the planet, since the dawn of humanity.

We have more diet books written by more authors, with more gurus and experts than ever before. And we have more websites with tutorials, videos, and lots more… yet people are still more obese, unhealthy, and unhappy than ever before. How is that even possible? How can we have more information, more experts, and more books than ever, yet be just as far away from reaching our goals? There’s a little idea that experts and gurus don’t want you to know about.

Experts don’t want you to know this, because if you took just a few simple habits and applied them daily, they’d be out of business! Naturally, since no one can sell a “lifestyle” or “habits” – this is one of the best kept secrets to success on the planet.

One study, conducted by JAMA- The Journal of American Medical Association, even found that among a few popular diets, the only thing predicting success was whether or not the person actually adhered to the diet itself – not even the diet!

So let’s talk about how you can actually apply this to transform your own health, body, and mind. I’m going to share with you five tiny habits, that if you apply daily, will produce massive results in your life and health.

What about the 8% that succeed? They get this one principle: that your success depends solely upon whether you as a person change your choices, behaviors, and your habits.

The power of tiny daily disciplines is infinitely more powerful than any diet, guru, or 10 week shred out there.

Advertising

Habit #1: Write down your goal… and set the paper on fire.

This may sound contrary to every fundamental of goal setting you’ve ever received, but here it is: write down your goal on paper, and then toss it in your fireplace. Do you need to know what your goal, your objective, is?

Absolutely. But here’s why obsessing over the goal harms you in the long run. Picture this: the new year rolls around, and you’re ready to make it happen and take up that #1 resolution again: lose some weight.

So you set your goal, lose 20 pounds, on a piece of paper. The months come and go, you clock those hours at the gym, you eat fruits and vegetables, you drop the ice cream, and you see some progress.

But at some point, you get to the point where progress is so slow that it’s almost imperceptible. So maybe you were losing a pound a week at the start, but now you lose a pound a month or even a pound every two months. In the short run, it appears invisible so, not seeing any progress, you get discouraged and quit.

You repeat this cycle over and over once your weight increases yet again 6-12 months later. Rinse and repeat for a few decades and you have the average yoyo dieter. Here’s how to stop that from happening: Focus purely on habits you actually enjoy doing. It sounds crazy, but toss your goals aside, and instead measure your progress with this: how many times a week you actually engaged in your habit.

For now, it doesn’t matter if you walked 10 minutes a day or 60 minutes – if you walked at all today, just put a check down for the day. The only thing you’re tracking is whether or not you did the habit. And you know what naturally happens? When the habit is easy to achieve, you keep doing it.

And even though you may say you’re only doing five minutes of walking, you often end up walking more. We often get obsessed with the goal, and hate the process (which often leads to us failing and quitting).

This method of building “positive snowballs” produces just that: a positive state of mind that willingly wants to engage more in the habits that will get you closer to where you want to be.

Advertising

Habit #2: Watch Out For “Wedding Day Syndrome”

“I really want to lose 25 pounds for my wedding in three months, can you help?”

Questions along these lines are some of the most asked to coaches, trainers and experts. Here’s the thing: People with this mindset almost always fail to achieve their goals in the long run.

There’s a very important mindset difference here between most of us that fail, versus those of us that succeed. I call it “Wedding Day Syndrome.” In the west, we’re obsessed with big, luxurious weddings.

People spend years saving for the wedding day, tens of thousands of dollars are spent on the gown for the bride, the food, the venue, and more. It’s supposed to be that incredible, magical day you will always remember. But people spend more time thinking about the actual wedding day itself, and not the marriage.

The wedding day is one day! The marriage is (ideally) decades long. And one can’t help but think that maybe the fact that we think so much about the day (the event), rather than the marriage (the process) is possibly a reason why divorce is so high. The same is true of health.

We often give guidelines: “I want to do XYZ goal by XYZ date!” That’s great. That’s fine. But it can be toxic to long term success. This is called event-based thinking, whereas health, happiness, success and even life are actually processes.

Once a person shifts to process-based thinking, they set themselves up for massive success because they no longer make ridiculous lifestyle changes that aren’t sustainable like, “I’ll never eat sugar again!”

This is realistic for a week or a few weeks, but not for a lifetime. This is classic event-based thinking. When you think of health as a process, you’ll get yourself the right mindset for success.

Advertising

Habit #3: Master the Day (And Only The Day)

At the end of the day, to get the kind of health, happiness, and life you want, you need to go through a series of actions – thousands of tiny, daily actions – to get to where you want to be. Think about it: research on happiness has recently become popular, such as, the ‘Gratitude and Well Being, The Benefits of Appreciation’ study by Sansone and Sansone. Researchers consistently say a few things will make you happier, like:

  • Meditation
  • Gratitude
  • Journaling about positive experiences

And some of the happiest people we see around us on earth routinely do these things every day. So when you think about it, you could say happiness is like habit weight lifting: seven repetitions of meditation per week, five repetitions of gratitude per week, five repetitions of journaling per week.

But the real power comes in the compounding of these habits day after day, week after week. Meditating three times a year doesn’t do anything for you. But meditating three times a week produces real, physiological changes in your brain: but it’s also 156 repetitions of meditation.

156 times you repeated that daily habit. Back to “mastering the day.” The only way you can do those 156 repetitions of whatever habit will change your life, is if you do them today. It sounds obvious and not-at-all earth shattering, but you’d be surprised how often we think success requires massive effort.

It doesn’t – it just requires different choices on a daily basis. So when you master the day, here’s what you do: just pick whatever habit you want to cultivate (e.g. cooking one meal at home a day), and then you track that habit each day. That’s it. Here’s why it’s life changing: If you focus on just today, and you follow through 100% with your habits, then you’ll have 100% perfect attendance for the week. And the month. And the year.

And you’ll be a totally different person very quickly if you just focus on mastering the day no matter what. How? Personally I use the Strides app, or I use a calendar on my wall where I put an “X” for every day that I did the habit, and leave it blank on the days when I didn’t.

Habit #4: Forget Motivation… Show Up

How often do we think “ugh, I just had a lousy, long, grumpy, stressful day, and now I have to force myself to exercise? Not happening.” We often think we’re lazy or unmotivated, and that’s why we’ve failed to achieve our health goals, but I want to offer an alternative. Olympians and bestselling authors.

What do they have in common? They practice their craft every day, even when they don’t want to. It’s not a matter of forcing themselves; it’s just a matter of their “something every day” philosophy. A writer doesn’t write enough books to feed himself if he doesn’t write even when he doesn’t want to.

Advertising

And an Olympian needs to clock those 3-6+ hours a day in order to become the best in the world. On the days when you feel like motivation is seriously lacking, just tell yourself, “Okay, I don’t have to go to the gym for an hour, but I DO have to do something.” All you have to do is show up every day, guilt-free, whether it’s five minutes or fifty minutes. Rainy?

Just go for a short walk or do some pushups at home. Bad day? Just do five minutes a yoga instead of an hour long class. And give yourself full permission to check it off your list. Remember: you’re cultivating the habit of showing up. It’s infinitely more powerful than willpower or discipline.

Habit #5: Conquer The Narrative In Your Head

“I’m tired of even bothering to try. I’ve failed so many times that what’s the point? If I’m going to fail anyway, I might as well do what I want, eat what I want and enjoy my life.”

The narrative, meaning the story in your head, is often the most powerful, unnoticed force leading us to success or failure. Sages and success coaches along the ages have always said, “You become what you think about” and it makes sense. If you tell yourself you’re just going to fail, why would you even continue to try?

You won’t. The narrative often goes unnoticed, so we say, “I always do this” or “I’m so lazy” – and then these become fulfilling prophecies. The most important thing that you do with the narrative is understand two things. First, know that the narrative isn’t you. It’s just the thoughts going on in your mind.

It’s just beliefs loaded in your subconscious based on your previous life experience and how you’ve interpreted it. Second, imagine that the narrative is something else, like a demon. Imagine that it’s a negative voice trying to derail you and prevent you from reaching your goals.

So every time you hear yourself say something that limits you again, tell yourself “It’s that voice acting up again,” and most importantly, don’t ever believe what it says. When we really understand that long-term health and weight loss is about us: our behaviors, our habits, and our inner narrative, we’re already on the track to become that small 8% that truly succeeds.

More by this author

10 Reasons You Should Get Rid of Your Beer Belly ASAP The #1 Weight Loss Tip That Health and Fitness Experts Will Not Tell You 5 Ways Being Healthier Makes Entrepreneurs More Successful The #1 Reason Why Most Blogs and Businesses Fail (And The 3 Questions You Need to Answer to Save Yours)

Trending in Health

1 7 Stress Management Techniques to Get You Back on Track 2 Weight Loss Plan And Program: Create Your Own One 3 4 Simple Desk-Based Stretches for Effective Lower Back Pain Relief 4 Why You Should Go For Vitamin D But Not Vitamin C To Prevent The Cold 5 Reasons of Insomnia and How to Combat It (The Complete Guide)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 30, 2020

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Feeling tired all the time?

Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

What Happens When You’re Too Tired

If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

  • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
  • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
  • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
  • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
  • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
  • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
  • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

Unfortunately, yes!

Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

  1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
  2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
  3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

Advertising

Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

Symptoms of fatigue include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low stamina
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Low motivation

These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

  1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Using stressbusters
  4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

Advertising

I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

  • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
  • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
  • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
  • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

L — Living Healthy

Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

1. Unplug

Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

2. Unwind

Do something to relax.

Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

3. Get Comfortable

Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

Advertising

Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

E — Exercise

Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

That’s what happened in my case.

But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

That made sense to me.

So, I decided to swim.

I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

A — Attitude

Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

Breathing.

But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

Advertising

Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
  2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
  3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
  4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
  5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
  6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

N — Nutrition

Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

  1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
  2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
  3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
  4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
  5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
  6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
  7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
  8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
  9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

The Bottom Line

If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

  • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
  • Regular Exercise You Love
  • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
  • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

More Tips to Help You Rest Better

Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
[2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
[3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
[4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
[5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
[6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
[7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
[8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

Read Next