44% of Americans feel more stress than they did five years ago. 40% of stressed people over eat or eat unhealthy food. In fact, research now points to overeating as our body’s effort to generate serotonin, the body’s natural “feel good” chemical.
My experience is that you can eat healthy and exercise but if you do not reduce your stress you will not achieve sustained weight loss. Having fun is the key to sustained weight loss.
How having fun helped me lose 30 pounds
I tried exercising as a way to reduce stress and lose weight. It increased my stress because I challenged myself to exercise to lose weight. I set, and questioned, my performance. Most tellingly, I jumped on the scales after exercising and too often felt dejected over not losing weight.
Then I read this quote by Tim Cook, CEO of Apple:
“We’re not focused on the numbers. We’re focused on the things that produce the numbers.”
I realized my weight loss efforts were failing because I was focused on the numbers. My mood rose or fell based on what the scale said that day. I was measuring but not enjoying. More importantly I was measuring and not seeing sustained weight loss. I knew this was breakthrough insight but what did it mean? When I figured out what it means to have fun and lose weight I ended up losing 30 pounds. I am still losing a pound or two per month.
How to have fun and lose weight
The reason we do not ask ourselves this question is because we have been told that weight loss success is a hard. It is a painful process. It involves denial. It means going hungry. We have to be disciplined. Weight loss means workouts that involve pain to achieve gain. It feels like work! It is work.
All of this is stressful. And stress causes weight gain. No wonder we keep failing to lose weight!
Figuring out how to have fun is the first step to sustained weight loss. Guess what? You probably don’t know anymore what is fun. Is watching TV night after night really fun? Is it fun to drive to the mall, fight for a parking space, walk among a crowd of people and then get a false rush from buying something just because it was 40% off. Or even worse, with all the pressures in life have you just given up on the idea having fun?
I started to have more fun and lose weight when I got off the couch, stopped going to the mall and switched off the TV so I could experiment with ways for having fun. Ask yourself what was fun when you were a kid. It probably meant being outside. It involved playing and not really carrying who won or lost. Typically it involved engaging with others. It often resulted in laughter.
Here’s the answer I came up for reducing my stress and weight. After some trial and error I figured out I love riding a mountain bike. I never expected this because I hated riding my bike to school. But riding a mountain bike, to me, is very cool. It helps me relax. It is time of prayer. I burn A LOT OF CALORIES! And often I end up laughing in celebration after doing something silly and not falling off my bike.
Stop measuring and learn to play
Before you focus on diet, recipes or workouts please focus on rediscovering how to play and have fun. This is the beginning best practice for sustained weight loss. Just do it is part of the answer. Having fun doing it is the key part of the answer.
One reason I enjoy riding my mountain bike is that I do not measure what I am doing. That is a huge breakthrough for this numbers guy! I have no idea how far I ride. I think on most days I ride ten miles. If I miss a day, who cares? I don’t. That freedom let’s me enjoy my ride so I ride more which means I burn more fat.
Have fun, live more+ and lose weight
Figuring out that fun enables weight loss appeared so important that I felt I had to write THE BOOMER GENERATION DIET. What diet says cheating is key to weight loss? What exercise plan tells you to stop measuring and just have fun? The Boomer Generation Diet is your tool box of best practices that you can customize around your definition of fun. It is your tool box for reducing stress and your weight.
About the author
Bill Roth is the author of The Boomer Generation Diet, now on sale at Amazon! Here’s what Jen Boynton, Editor in Chief of Triple Pundit says about the book: ”Written in Bill Roth’s lovable, relatable tone. The Boomer Generation Diet is a must-read for any Boomer who is looking to jumpstart their health and have fun at the same time. I hope my parents read it!” Follow Bill on Twitter and Facebook.