We are talking coping with stress and fatigue during a weight loss phase.
And before we get started, I wanted to clarify one thing.
This does not apply to athletes trying to lean down to a very, very low body fat level. That requires a different approach because.
You’re trying to get down to very inhumanely low levels of body fat. And for that, you need to reach out somewhere else.
This Instagram Live is specifically for people, for the general population who are trying to drop body fat, look great. Feel good about their body, live a healthy life.
But they’re facing some issues with fatigue or stress when it comes to sustaining that process.
Alright, so let’s get cracking.
The first thing that you need to ask yourself if you have been experiencing stress or fatigue for a very long time, is:
“Why is this stress happening?”
“Where is the source for the stress or fatigue?”
And the way you can go about this is to write things down.
Because a lot of the times, the things that you think could be the reason for the stress. Are not necessarily the reasons for the stress.
So sometimes people feel that:
“It’s probably because of the workload that I’m feeling stressed”,
but whereas it could just be because you are having some kind of relationship trouble.
Or it could be because you are exercising so much. That you are at the gym all the time. You’re doing a lot of cardio, you’re playing a sport.
But you don’t realise that’s what’s causing you stress.
Or it could be because you’re just not sleeping well enough. And the only way to figure this out would be to write it down.
Go back to last month and think of what were the things that were happening, which were causing you to feel off; the changes that you have made so far.
A recent technique that I have implemented with my clients; something that I came across very recently. Because I’ve been working with a business mentor and we do a monthly business review of what has been going on in the past month.
I thought this was a great addition to the check-in process. In addition to having a normal check-in like I do every week with clients, I started to implement this recently.
So I have started implementing a monthly review. Where you can look back on the previous month, assess your goals and assess the things that you did.
Assess the way you felt, your current barriers and all the different things that you worked upon. And the different things that did not work out.
Then you can go back and reflect.
It’s a very nice way to journal at the end of every month. And if you’re particularly feeling very stressed or fatigued, and you’re not able to figure out why that is.
I think doing an exercise like this would benefit you greatly.
If you’re feeling very stressed, very fatigued for a very long period of time, I would say take some time to journal. Exactly to pinpoint where this stress or fatigue is coming from.
If you have experienced this in the past while trying to lose weight and you’ll feel like:
“every time I try to lose weight, I feel so drained.”
“I feel so low energy”
If you have reinforced that.
Even if you’re doing different things this time. But you’re going into the process assuming that you will feel the same way.
It is very likely that you will experience similar symptoms because you have pre-conditioned yourself.
It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But all of these things, you can only figure out if you have taken the time to write down the thoughts from your head onto paper.
Is it because of work?
Is it because you are exercising too much?
Is it because you have some kind of other life stressor in the form of a relationship problem? Some issue with our family member?
It could be anything.
So you need to figure out where the source of distress lies. And once you have figured it out. You can then take steps to tackle that.
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If your stress is being caused by being overwhelmed by the amount of exercise.
By the amount of focus you are having to put into your nutrition.
If you feel:
“There’s so much work. I have to track my calories.
I have to get my steps done.
I have to go to the gym five days a week.”
And that’s causing overwhelm. What I suggest is having a ‘dial approach’ to your exercise and nutrition instead of having a ‘switch approach’.
Instead of thinking of exercise and nutrition in terms of a switch where you are either on or off.
“I have to track my nutrition. I have to do 10,000 steps a day. I have to go to the gym for 2 hours every day.
Either that or I do nothing at all.”
If you think of it in that way, you’ll feel very overwhelmed when things get hectic in your life.
But if you think of it in terms of a dial approach. Like a fan regulator or the dial of a microwave oven. Then you can adjust the dial from 0 to 100 depending on your life circumstances.
If your life is very hectic. It’s very stressful. You can dial your exercise and nutrition down. Not to zero (because then it’s completely off).
You may dial it down to 30 or 20.
And then when you have more off time, you can dial it back up to 60 or 70. It’s a very adaptable approach.
And that leads to less of feeling overwhelmed over time.
Because you know that if there’s more stress, you just need to do the bare minimum.
And I think I spoke of this in one of the previous lives where I said that you need to have some sort of a floor for yourself.
Because when you have a ceiling for yourself, you can do as much as you want.
But a lot of people don’t set a floor for themselves; a baseline below which they are not going to come down.
If you don’t have that, you will just go back down to zero. But if you set your floor to something very manageable. Like:
“I just need to do 3000 steps a day if I don’t have the time.”
“I just need to eat enough protein if I don’t have time to track my calories.”
And you stick to those things on the very tough days. And try not to do as much as possible; things beyond your capability.
It’s less likely that you will feel very overwhelmed. So try to set a floor for yourself instead of trying to do everything at once.
And think of exercise and nutrition in terms of a dial approach.
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The other reason why you could be feeling stress and fatigue is because you have been just dieting for a very, very long time.
And this happens to some people, not to a lot of people.
Because most people “think” that they eat less
But when they actually start tracking their food intake, they realize that it is not the case.
But some people go on diets where they drop weight. And they continue to stay at those low calories for a very long period of time.
Trying to lose body fat; trying to lose weight is just a form of additional stress for your body. Your body doesn’t like to be under stress. And if you stay under that stress for a very long period of time, your body’s going to adapt to that.
And you’d have to decrease your calories even further to continue losing weight.
So if you subject your body to this stress for a very long period of time, it becomes chronic. Then you start experiencing symptoms of fatigue.
If that’s what has been happening in your case, you need to reverse the process. Start incorporating more food into your diet; more calories into your diet.
So that you can bring up your food intake to something that is more sustainable.
That gives you more energy. That makes you feel more alive and less fatigued.
Diet fatigue is a very real thing. People who diet for years at one go; they usually don’t realize it. But they get so used to eating less that it takes a toll on their body. It takes a toll on their mental health and their physical health.
You should not diet on low calories for very long. I would say after three, four or five months of continuous dieting, You should take a diet break. It could be even earlier than that.
A diet break is a time period when you bring back up your food intake to something more reasonable.
To a place where you’re not dropping weight.
Stay there for a while and let your body take some time off from a weight loss phase. Afterwards you can go back to that phase and start dropping weight again.
Especially if you’re feeling signs of fatigue; if you’re feeling like your weight loss has been stalling. Take some time off.
Another thing you need to take care of when you take a diet break.
A lot of people completely let go of the systems they had built and let go of their discipline.
They feel like they should completely take 100% time off. They forget that a diet break is part of the process. Not a break from the process.
A diet break is not going off your nutrition completely. Because when you do that, you will gain back a lot of your weight. And then you will again have to resort to extreme measures to lose that weight.
This leads to yo-yo dieting cycles.
Going on a diet break just means that you’re adding extra food so that your body can recover. But you’re doing this in a controlled, sustainable manner.
A diet break should last for 2-3 weeks; and you should feel much better afterwards depending on how long you have been dieting.
If you have been chronic dieting for years, then probably a little longer than a few weeks. Till you feel much better. You’ll feel the difference.
After a while if you want to. You can go back to your older diet.
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Next. Focus on things that get you results.
Don’t do things which don’t get you results.
The Pareto Principle applies to everything. 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.
And if you can double down on 20% of things that get you results. You’re going to be much less exhausted.
If you’re at the gym every single day trying to do as much as possible.
And you were trying to do other things as well. You’re playing a sport. You’re doing probably a martial art. You’re also doing yoga. You’re doing everything all at once.
But your main goal is losing weight.
Then your effort is distributed so thin that you’re not able to focus on what actually get you results. But you’re draining your energy reserves.
What you need to instead focus on are the 20% of the things that get you results.
Which in case of weight loss:
Are your activity levels for the day high enough?
Are you eating lesser energy than you are burning? And is it excessive? Then you need to increase your food intake. So just low enough that you’re dropping body weight.
Are you eating enough vegetables? Are you eating enough fibre?
If you’re taking care of these 3-4 baseline things. And you’re doubling down your efforts into these. You will see results.
But a lot of people tend to focus on things which don’t get them results.
“I’ll work out at the gym three hours a day, seven days a week because that burns calories.”
But these are just misconceptions.
You must be able to figure out the minimum dose that gets you maximum results. And double down on those key 1-2 things.
If you have any trouble figuring out those things for your weight loss progress. You only need to book a free strategy call.
And I’ll see if I can help you out.
Besides this something very simple; make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
This is highly overlooked because people think weight loss is all about exercise and nutrition. But your sleep often is the main culprit when it comes to the source of your stress.
It’s most likely that you not prioritizing it. A lot of people that I’ve spoken to in recent times have told me things like:
“I go to sleep at 4:00 AM in the morning” “at 3:00 AM in the morning.”
And it’s crazy because they also have a day job. It’s not like they’re a shift worker.
If you’re doing that to your body over time. How I like to look at it is that you will start to accumulate sleep debt. Like you have debt with money, you will have sleep debt.
And then over time, the sleep debt will accumulate.
Till there comes a time when you experience burnout; you crash and burn. Then you have to take two weeks off, three weeks off. Go on a vacation and shut out everything before you recover.
You don’t want to wait for that to happen. So prioritize sleep.
And the most important thing in this case; reduce screen time at night.
Because your body runs on a rhythm; a 24-hour day-night cycle.
When it’s daytime, your body wants exposure to bright light. But at nighttime, if you’re still giving it that exposure.
Now it’s confused. Is it night or is it day? Should I go to sleep? So there are a lot of mechanisms that go on here.
At night keep your lights dim and warm.
In the morning, go expose yourself to sunlight so that your biological clock is in sync with your environment. So you’re able to sleep properly.
When you go to sleep at night, make sure to do relaxing activities.
Take a shower. Keep the temperature of the room cool.
Listen to nice soft music. Don’t hype yourself up by listening to crazy hype music before you go to bed.
Don’t workout right before bed. Don’t do these high energy things.
If your sleep is on point, a lot of things will be taken care of. Before looking for medicinal herbs and aids to help with sleep. Make sure you are taking care of the basics.
Like no screens before sleep. Making sure you’re getting daylight sun exposure. Things like that.
Also when you are exposed to screens throughout the day. You might’ve realized that you experience screen fatigue. You feel tired because you have been staring at that screen continuously.
And especially for someone who likes to read books. And I’m a huge proponent of eBooks. Now a lot of people read eBooks on their phone screens, iPads.
Don’t do that.
You should invest in a Kindle. I can’t recommend this enough because a Kindle uses digital ink. It doesn’t give you screen fatigue. It is just like reading on paper.
So you need to get a Kindle or read on paper if you’re an avid reader.
Try not to read on screens because you’re already staring at screens throughout the day. If you’re a social media addict, don’t keep continuously scrolling.
Set a limit for your social media time. 1 hour. Then shut it off.
This is something I experience as well. Because I have to be very active on social media as this is a primary channel for Workday Physique.
So set boundaries for yourself and make sure that you actually adhere to them.
If you think chronic stress, chronic fatigue have become a pattern for you. That you are always experiencing this.
You need to ask if you’re taking care of yourself.
Are you doing enough self-care activities? Besides things that take you to your goals.
Are you doing things that you enjoy? You should actively take care of this.
“These are the 3 things I’ll do for self-care this week.”
If you use the review sheet which I was talking about earlier, where you can figure out and review your past month’s progress.
At the end, there is also space for self-care activities.
Would you like to go out with friends on the weekend?
Would you like to join an art class? It could be anything.
And then, you need to actually action those.
The next month, when you come back and review. You’ll be able to figure out if you took care of yourself the way you had planned.
Make this an active part of the process. If you just let things be. You will keep repeating the same mistakes.
The same patterns will keep recurring.
So if you’re experiencing chronic stress and fatigue. These could be the various reasons because of which you are experiencing it.
And the different ways to tackle each of them.
If you have been trying to reach your weight loss goals for a while now, but are struggling a bit in the process.
It’s probably because of a lack of consistency, a lack of guidance or a lack of support.
If you’d like a 24×7 support system to hold your hand and guide you through the process till you get to your goals, you should consider 1-on-1 coaching with Workday Physique.