Losing Weight when you’re living in Stress City


One of the biggest barriers to long term weight loss is that every time things get stressful, they stop doing all of the stuff that is making them lose weight.

Once you’ve given up, it’s just another diet that didn’t work, another fitness regime that was too hard, and another time that you didn’t succeed. Which is like napalm to your confidence.

The obvious starting point is to reduce the stress itself - but for most of us, eliminating the causes of your stress is a long-term project. We can’t just pack up and move to an island paradise - as much as we’d like to - so instead, I have two key things I help clients to do in the short term when times are tough. The first is to


The absolute worst thing you can do in stressful times is to criticise yourself more for not following through on all the lofty goals you have set for yourself while things are super hectic. Developing healthy habits and losing weight TAKES TIME AND PRACTICE. You will get there, just not at this moment. And that’s ok. The second is to

have a game Plan in place BEFORE the proverbial hits the fan

For the most part, we actually know the things that cause us the most stress. And they are more predictable than you would think. Aside from unexpected personal tragedy (which we cannot predict), we actually know a lot of the commonly stressful things that might cause us to abandon our healthy habits - think deadlines at work, EOFY madness, sick kids in the winter months, clients cancelling without notice….the list is endless and specific to you. So BEFORE they happen, you need a quick, easily implementable plan that you can do as soon as things go south.

For some clients I suggest a plan which involves a set of ‘bare minimums’. These are one or more core weight loss habits that they know they can do 100%, no matter how stressful the day/week/month is. This is a SHORT TERM PLAN and is designed to get you through the tough times but is not meant to be there forever. Sticking to these habits may not help you to lose weight during this period of time, instead it is a holding pattern that stops you from:

1. Feeling like you have dropped the ball completely, which means you maintain a level of control on the situation

2. Stops you from gaining weight when things are stressful, which prevents you from feeling like you are never going to succeed and

3. Allows you to get back on track sooner once the stress dies down because you didn’t give up altogether when the going got tough.

Some examples of Bare Minimum plans that clients and I have worked out are:

  • No snacks, just eat three meals a day (but it doesn’t matter what those meals are)

  • Drink two litres of water a day and go on three x 30 minute walks across the week

  • Include a palm size of protein dense foods with every meal

  • Develop and use a go-to, pre-designed meal plan for your dinners that you know you can make easily and the family will happily eat

  • Meditation for five minutes before bed and doing a 14 -16 hour fast before the next morning meal

  • Taking a good quality multivitamin daily and including vegetables with every meal

  • No or limited alcohol and/or limiting coffee to one or two a day

Sound like a plan?

And if you want to know more about how to design your own weight loss habits once the stressful times settle, you can read about it here!