Fat Loss, Health, and Pregnancy: Part 2

In Part 2, we expand the discussion into the realm of The Four Tenets of Health.

Continued from Part 1.

"Ok, here we go. As mentioned in the other email, fat loss will come with improved health. Improved health will come from paying attention to these four areas.

These are the 4 Tenets of Health, as I call them. Each one is an equally-important part of pursuing peak health, and they are in no particular order.

Tenet #1: Nutrition

I would get your thoughts away from the amount of food you eat and onto they type of food you eat. If you want to read a little more about why you shouldn’t be counting calories, I’ve actually started a series about it on my website. But if not, suffice it to say that that’s not where your emphasis should be.

The only times you should actively focus on the calories you consume are when snacking and drinking. That is not to say that you should focus on low-calorie snacks, but rather that you should be mindful of how often and how much you’re snacking. Some people can get into boredom- or stress-induced snacking and not have any idea how much they’re actually consuming. Ifyou’re hungry, eat something to tide you over until your next meal, but try to cut snacking out of your day as much as you can. And as far as drinking goes, try your very best not to drink any calories. I won’t begrudge you a glass of wine after a long day, but try to limit that and cut out completely all other calorie-containing beverages (sodas, juices, smoothies, etc.). Water is your friend.

You mentioned to Lauren possibly going low-carb. I actually don’t think that would be a bad strategy for you at the moment. However, I would prefer you to think about it as replacing carbs rather than removing them. One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying out a lower-carb protocol is that they simply remove the carbs they were eating and don’t replace them with anything else, and thus they end up not eating enough and giving up because they’re hungry. If you cut the pasta portion out of a meal, be sure to replace it with more of everything else (namely meat and veggies).

The world of fats can get very complicated and it’s very easy to get caught up in the minutiae. Omega 3s, Omega 6s, saturated versus unsaturated, blah blah blah. DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT! If it’s from a whole food source—regardless if that’s a steak or an avocado or some nuts or whatever—consider it a healthy fat. Everything else at this point would be getting too caught up in the small stuff. Don’t be afraid of fat – eat a lot of it.

If you’re like most people, you probably ought to try to eat more protein. Meat. Nuts. But again, don’t worry about counting anything.

Tenet #2: Stress Management

The key word here is management. There is no way to eliminate stress. The thing that you can control, though, is how you handle it. Make Brandon give you a massage every night. Set aside time for just you or to do something you really want to do rather than something you have to do. Go get a mani-pedi. Download a meditation app.

There’s actually a book out there, too, called 8-Minute Meditation. It’s a really easy step-by-step guide, and it’s pretty good. I meditate every morning, and sometimes in the afternoon, too. Most people—myself included, at the very beginning—tend to think of meditation as simply clearing the mind and trying to relax. What it really is, though, is essentially exercise for your brain. You’re practicing the skill of letting thoughts go and not letting your mind wander. And after not too long, it’s much easier to not let stressful things stress you out even more.

This is totally something we can talk about at dinner, because it’s pretty cool.

Tenet #3: Exercise  

When it comes to exercise, people have some really crazy ideas. But what would I suggest for you? Two things:

  1. Walk a lot. As much as you can, in fact. Whether that’s a sixteenth of a mile or 3 miles is irrelevant – just try to fit it in when you can. And I don’t mean heavy-breathing, get-sweaty walking. Just…walking.
  2. Try to get stronger. That’s not to say “you’re weak;” it’s to say “that’s what your exercise efforts should be geared toward.” You would probably see amazing benefits from lifting weights 1 or 2 days per week. And I specify that you should focus on getting stronger to eliminate any silly ideas of lifting tiny pink dumbbells for 15 reps and then hopping on an elliptical machine. Exercise does a lot more in your body than “burn calories.”

Tenet #4: Sleep

Sleep is simple to explain, but can be difficult to actually do. The point is, you need to sleep. Shoot for 8 hours per night. If you need to do some shifting and planning and make some sacrifices (of the “watch one less episode of The Bachelor” variety), then do so. It might seem disconnected from weight loss, but it’s very much not. You gots ta sleep!

So there you have it. Give it a once (or even a twice) over and we can discuss anything else you might want to discuss."