As an American, you can now expect to live as long as someone in Mexico or Croatia. Do you find that shocking? I did!
Because of our increased weight, along with infant mortality and high homicide rates, Americans have a significantly shorter life expectancy that those living in South Korea or France.
The journal Obesity published new research linking stress to weight gain the same week the life expectancy study was published. This is not just coincidence. Professional awareness is growing on the role stress plays in our national weight crisis and our diminished life expectancy compared to other high income nations.
Moving more, eating less fails at achieving sustained weight loss
We have all tried and failed at weight loss plans centered on moving more and eating less. Here is what my research has documented on why we are failing:
Eating-less rarely achieves sustained weight loss. Our bodies are not designed to go hungry. Going hungry is painful and stressful. We then rebound against this stress and pain by breaking our eat-less diets. Too often we end up loading up on sugary foods and drink. Counterintuitively, my research concludes that eat-less dieting results in weight gain.
Eating healthy rarely achieves sufficient weight loss. Eating more vegetables, fruits and fish is documented to advance human health. But as a stand alone action it typically is insufficient in achieving meaningful weight loss.
Play, not exercise, promotes sustained weight loss. Exercising will burn off calories. It can also be stressful and painful. So we stop exercising. Playing, like riding a bike or aerobic dancing, is fun. Because it is fun we will sustain doing it.
Less stress means less weight. Figuring out how to reduce stress was the real breakthrough in my weight loss journey. Eating better plus playfully burning calories plus reducing stress is the winning formula for sustained weight loss.
How to reduce stress
Reducing stress is easier said than done. The very idea of setting a goal to reduce your stress can be stressful! The following are best practices for reducing stress. The key is to do all of them!
Play outside. Playing outside was my breakthrough first step in stress reduction. I discovered that I loved riding a mountain bike. There was something about pedaling away in a location with natural beauty that just melted away my stress. My typical ride is about 45 minutes. Most days I get on my bike worrying about something. I get off feeling relaxed and thankful. The cause of my stress didn’t change. But how I react to it was improved. Figuring out how to play, most especially outdoors, is a huge first step in reducing stress.
Prayer/Mindfulness. I actually pray while pedaling. It usually happens after the first 15 minutes of my ride. That much exercise relaxes my body which enables me to think spiritually. A lot of my prayer time is thanking God for my blessings. Research finds that most of us are touched by depression and anxiety caused from looking at ourselves based on what is wrong or missing. Focusing on what is right about our lives can sooth our spirit. It can brighten our perspective. Combining that with playful exercise has been my recipe for reducing stress and weight.
Sleep more. Research is confirming that at least seven to eight hours of sleep is key to achieving sustained weight loss. It is not that sleep reduces weight. It is that a lack of sleep is tied to weight gain.
Try this new formula for sustained weigh loss
The fact you have not achieved sustained weight loss is most probably linked to using a dieting plus exercising formula.
Try this formula instead:
- Figure out what healthier foods tastes great to you and then eat all you want so you never go hungry
- Learn to play and enjoy what life has given you
- Sleep at least seven hours.
What I found is that this formula will help you lose weight, have fun and live more. It is the reason I have lost 30 pounds and have kept them off for years.
About the author
Bill Roth is a clean tech pioneer who led the team that launched the first hydrogen fueled Prius. He is a featured contributor on Triple Pundit and Latin Business Today. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, has been used by thousands of business people to implement proven green best practices that make money and a difference. Bill’s latest book, The Boomer Generation Diet, is his personal story on how to achieve sustained weight loss while still having fun and living more. The book’s ten customizable best practices are the sustainable solutions to our national weight crisis that threatens our health and medical cost bankruptcy.