As the New Year rolls in people will make their new year’s resolution- lose the holiday weight. Here’s a safe, natural way to lose the holiday weight now- no pills, no machines no exercise- guaranteed. Best of all this solution is free. Don’t gain weight over the holiday season, then you don’t need to lose it after.
The key is preparation. Read: Eat What You Love. It tells you how to eat what you love and not worry about your weight. (It’s a quick read)
Peter Drucker said “Whatever gets measured gets improved”. I would add something more fundamental- you don’t know if you have a problem if you don’t know what your have. That’s why you should write down what you eat. Unless you know what you’re eating you can’t say if it can be improved.
Meetings can be big time wasters or productive planning sessions. But there is one you should have daily- first thing in the morning – a meeting with yourself and it will increase your chances for success. This will give you time to prepare for the day and not rush into your morning. Let’s start with a case study of a typically morning for Eileen (based on a true story).
8:48am Eileen gets off her train at central station. She heads for the connecting bus and takes a seat- today she’s luck that she got one. She anxiously looks at her watch, still on schedule for her 9am conference call.
8:50am The Bus leaves central station. At this point it’s packed, Eileen is feeling the elbow of her neighbor in her ribs. Eileen glances at her watch and is glad the bus left on time.
8:55am The bus arrives at the front door of MegaCorp, where Eileen works. Eileen waits for her turn to get out and proceeds to the building. She’s still on schedule.
8:56 am Eileen is waiting at the elevator bank at MegaCorp. Only 4 minutes to her 9am meeting.
8:57am Bill from IT gets on the elevator just before the doors close, causing them to reopen. Eileen smiles at Bill, though secretly she’s upset at the 4 seconds he stole off her morning. They discuss the previous nights game as they ride up to the 20th floor, but Eileen is only partially engaged. She’s already thinking about her dash to her desk as soon as the doors open.
8:59am Eileen wishes Bill a good day and says “Gotta run, I have a nine o’clock”. She gets to her desk puts down her bag. Flips the on switch on her computer and sits down. Just in time as the phone rings for her 9am phone meeting.
9:02am Eileen scans her email during the call. She sees one from the client, just as the the content of it comes up. “I sent you an updated widget report overnight.” says the client.
“Yes I saw it. I’ll look at it closely and let you know my feedback later today.” she answers quickly while opening the attachment.
9:05am The subject of the new computer equipment comes up. Eileen says she’ll follow up on it and notes it on her to do list.
9:22am The client call ends. Eileen puts her bag in the corner where it belongs. She puts her lunch in the office fridge. She comes back to her desk to listen to her voice mails and processes her email.
9:40am Eileen goes through the client’s widget report and sends a detailed report of her feedback.
9:55am Eileen calls Bill from IT. They exchange pleasantries. Then she asks about the progress on the computer order.
10:00am Eileen dashes another email to the client about the computer order progress.
10:02am Eileen is happy with her productive start.
Now lets image Eileen changes just one thing- she has blocked her calendar so no appointments can be made first thing in the morning. Her 9am appointment is now at 9:30am.
8:48am Eileen gets off her train at central station. It’s a nice day for a walk to the office. She glances at her watch, she has time and strolls to the office. It’s a 10 minute walk or a five minute ride by bus. She’s glad she doesn’t have to rush and can walk.
8:50am As she walks she passes some school kids playing in the yard and thinks of the funny thing her five year old said that morning.
8:55am She’s two blocks away from MegaCorp but she sees the bus stops in front of her building. She sees people rushing out. It reminds her of the opening scene of the Charlie Chaplin Movie “Modern Times”. She chuckles to herself as she thinks of the pigs.
8:57 Bill from IT sees her coming in the building and waves to her as the elevator doors close in front of him. He waits for her to arrive. They take the next elevator up.
8:58am Eileen and Bill chat about the previous night’s game as they head up the elevator to the 20th floor.
9:00am Eileen and Bill finish their sports chat in front of the elevator banks. Eileen asks about the the equipment he’s ordered for “The Client”. He says he’ll look into it. She says “I have a 9:30 call with them. If you can get me the answers by then it would be great.” He assures her he can and they depart.
9:03am She puts her lunch in the office fridge as she passes the employee lounge.
9:04am She gets to her desk and puts away her bag. Flips the on switch on her computer. Eileen listens to her voice mails as the computer starts up. Then processes her email.
9:15am Eileen notices an email from “The Client” and goes through the client’s widget report. Instead of composing a long email, she prints it out and marks it up so that she can go over it during the phone call. She highlights the four main issues.
9:25am Eileen goes back to finish processing her emails. She sees Bill’s response which includes the tracking number.
9:28am She prepares her notes on the meeting with a few bullet points.
9:30am The phone rings and Eileen picks it up confidently.
9:35am The subject of the new computer equipment comes up. Eileen gives them the update and says she has the tracking number if it’s not received.
9:45am “I sent you an updated widget report overnight.” says the client.
“I got it. I went through it and have 4 questions for you.” Eileen replies and they talk about the widget report.
10:01am The client call ends.
10:02am Eileen is happy with her productive start.
As you can see in both these scenarios Eileen was productive. But in the second one she had time in the morning to prepare. The preparation gave her more confidence and allowed her to accomplish two important tasks: First, the meeting gave her feedback on what she needs to do with the widget report. Second, she was a step ahead following up on the equipment order.
She was also able to squeese some relaxing exercise into her morning and wasn’t curt when talking to co-workers. Of course I worked out these times to correlate. But less stress and more time thinking help. The ideal scenario would be to come in early each morning, but that isn’t always possible. Coming in early allows you to prepare in a quiet environment.
Starting your day with stress can send a bad tone for your day. So don’t run, walk into your new day.
Recently I mentioned the The Best Diet- eat what you love. Here’s a way to eat and still lose weight: Eat breakfast. The study shows that kids who skip breakfast tend to gain more weight despite the fact that breakfast eaters consumed more calories.
Some diets say they’re the best but one I’m about to suggest really is and quickly you’ll agree. How do I know it’s the best? Simple, you choose the best foods- you’re favorites- and eat it. Try to do it in moderation, add your favorite fruits and vegetables and you’re all set.
Only Eat What You Love
We all know what’s healthy and what isn’t as healthy. The key is don’t eat anything that’s not healthy unless you really like it. Why waste the calories. This means don’t eat a mediocre steak- wait till you can get your favorite steak- add some of your favorite vegetables to complete the meal. This means if someone offers you good chocolate- don’t take it because it will prevent you from having your absolute favorite later in the day.
Add Fruits and Vegetables
At your meals and snacks add your favorite healthy fruits and vegetables. This will ensure that you get your nutrients and don’t over indulge on the main course. One key to this is preparation- make sure you have the sides dishes available. For those who are picky with fruits and vegetables- keep experimenting to find what you like. I don’t like leaves (e.g. the green vegtables that just look and taste like leaves) but tomatoes are good. I love pineapple, grapes and watermelon.
While you’re at it drink lots of water. Sometimes people think they’re hungry but they’re really thirsty.
Keep looking for ways to minimize the unnecessary foods. Try to keep eating a little less each week.
This isn’t a revolutionary plan and you won’t shrink overnight- but it’s a way of life you can sustain:
Note: I’m not a dietitian- I just know what worked for me with minimal effort.
“I hate going to the gym”, “I hate running”, “Exercise is so boring”. The more I speak to people who exercise the more negative responses I get. So let me get this straight people intentionally spend 30 minutes, 60 minutes or more daily torturing themselves. Isn’t there a better way?
Actually there are three better ways:
1. Find fun ways to exercise. If you enjoy playing basketball, then basketball isn’t exercise it’s fun time. Simple enough.
2. Replace exercise time with other productive physical activities. See: How Avoiding Exercise Can Make You Fit and Productive
3. Don’t be Lazy. During the day there are plenty of opportunities to be active- embrace them. Read: Exercise is for Lazy People
Do you ever wonder why people of the 17th century didn’t need to waste their time exercising? It’s because they exercised in their everyday tasks. Nowadays we’ve become too lazy- so we need to set aside time to exercise instead. In other words we’ve become too lazy to be active, so instead we torture ourselves with exercise. The solution of course is to stop being lazy and get our exercize in small bursts throughout the day.
Here’s some examples of how you can stop being lazy in everyday tasks and eliminate the need for exercise:
When you drive don’t waste time looking for a parking spot closest to your destination. Just park at the first decent spot and use the time you saved to walk to your destination.
Take the stairs
Walk (don’t drive) to your neighborhood grocery store or anywhere else in your neighborhood. (have you seen the prices of gas lately?!?)
Volunteer to go to the next room (or upstairs) to help someone in your family or a coworker retrieve something. (you’re so nice)
If you’re going to have a long discussion with your friend/significant other get up and walk around the neighborhood. (The change in scenery can make stressful discussions more calm.)
If you stop being lazy you’ll discover an interesting phenomenon- you’re a lot more productive.
There’s plenty of opportunities to stop being lazy- don’t be lazy too look for them.
What other everyday opportunities do you see to exercise?
Many people find doing exercise is boring and annoying. I know I do. The key is to find activities that you enjoy that will give you exercise. Unfortunately that isn’t always possible.
That’s where having a routine comes in. Sometimes we do things just because we are conditioned to. That’s why habits are so important: Do you really feel like taking a stick with bristles and putting it over your teeth. Of course not. We brush our teeth because it’s a simple habit and the consequences of not doing it is a visit to the dreaded dentist’s office.
Similarly try to create a habit to exercise. Try to make it as fun as possible. But there will still be days you just don’t want to do it. That’s perfect, we can take advantage of this. Here’s how I did it.
Each morning my alarm goes on at 6:00am and it’s time to exercise. One morning I didn’t feel like running. But part of my morning ritual is to get up early and I had running time. So instead I procrastinated and decided to reorganize the garage. I got the exercise i needed and felt really good after it was done- all the boxes that were cluttering the den (we’re in middle of a move) are now gone. The garage with it’s haphazard organization (e.g big mess) now has a system to it.
Exercise is about getting yourself moving. You should try to get some satisfaction out of it- even if it’s a clean garage. Look for other strenuous tasks you need to do, put it on your to do list and the next time you don’t feel like exercising, just procrastinate.
Being more productive has many advantages including getting more done and feeling empowered. But productivity on its own, can cause your belt to become less productive. You see there is no need for a belt when your stomach gets so big it can hold your pants without assistance. In fact, the more productive you become the more likely it is that you are getting fatter. Here’s five ways productivity can make you get fat and what you can do about it.
Being productive can make you too efficient at getting the wrong things done. For example your to do list will work perfectly when you’re shopping- even when this means adding a “family size” bag of chips to go with the super-sized chocolate bar. You end up buying all the wrong things because you’re used to it and you’re good at it.
Solution: Take the bad foods off your list. Replace it with healthy (or at least healthier) alternatives. Avoid being in a position to see the “bad” items.
Work Long Hours
A strange phenomenon happens to productive people, they get more responsibility. More responsibility equals more work. Long sedentary hours especially when coupled with the lack of time to exercise leads to more weight. Solution: Schedule breaks. Delegate: see if others can do some of your tasks(especially the ones you did before you got increased responsibility). Train others to do what you do- it’s worth the investment. Studies have shown that long hours lead to decreased mental function, so limit your work time. Use the extra time to do something fun and active.
Look to fill every second
Productive people don’t want to waste a second. You are always looking to use every minute of their time. So if you have an extra minute that may mean an downing an extra snack or treating yourself to a double moca latte.
Solution: Allow yourself time to soak in your surroundings and think. Thinking can lead to creative solutions. Let yourself unwind, being stressed can make you less productive.
Productive people look to save time – this includes doing two tasks at once aka multitasking. Sometimes people will combine food with another task- thinking they’re saving time. The problem is that they’re so busy doing the other task, like watching TV, they don’t realize they’re eating. Before they know it they have scarfed down a huge meal and they don’t even know what they ate.
Solution: Multitasking has been proven not to work, doing two tasks at once means one or both won’t get done well. Don’t multitask! You can combine tasks if you want though. Combining a task means that you’ll spend the right amount of time on each one- you are just doing them together. For example, you can schedule a meal with a friend- you’ll get your networking/socializing opportunity yet you wont be scarfing down the food. You’ll be eating at a reasonable pace and interacting- the best of both worlds.
Productive people like to finish everything they start. That means that super-sized meal will be finished in no time even if it isn’t needed.
Solution: Stop yourself, realize food is not a task. Even simpler, take smaller portions.
Of course there’s more you can do to become leaner and healthier but frankly changing your approach is easier than dieting or exercising. Keep your eyes open and see where your habits are bringing you into bad situations. Then use your productivity skills to productively wipe it out.