I have to tell you a secret.
I used to work on Wall Street.
At the time, I was logging a ton of hours, traveling frequently, and not sleeping well. I was ambitious, and there weren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. Something had to give.
I’d been pretty fit my entire life, but I was now carrying around at least 10 pounds of extra weight. Not noticeable from the outside, but my pants were snug around the waist and I just felt “thick”. I was also exhausted most days, even if I actually got more than 5 hours of sleep (which wasn’t very often).
I wanted to lose that excess weight. More importantly, I wanted my energy back!
Eager to “make it happen” on my own, I hit the internet for a solution.
I didn’t know it then, but that started me down the health and nutrition rabbit hole.
I read an article that suggested I do cardio workouts 4-5x per week and reduce my calorie intake. “Consume less calories than you expend”, it said.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work.
I failed at shedding the excess fat, made myself even MORE exhausted, and added more stress to my already stressful life.
Working out 4-5x per week meant even less sleep and counting calories felt like a full-time job.
- Fat-burning supplements
- Three-day juice cleanses
- A variety of exercise programs
- Extreme diets
I even tried fasting. As in, not eating any food. That helped me lose weight, but I felt terrible and couldn’t think clearly at work.
Needless to say, none of those solutions helped me look better AND feel better.
I was frustrated and losing hope.
That’s when my friend Nick offered to help. Nick was a professional fighter who also worked a full time job. This guy had what seemed like an unlimited supply of energy on tap. He told me he had gone through his own struggles with nutrition as well. So I finally asked him, “What’s your secret?”
“There aren’t any secrets,” he said. “There’s just a few simple steps I took that helped me regain all the energy I once had.”
When he told me the steps, they sounded too simple. “No shit sherlock, I know that stuff already,” I told him.
“Are you actually doing it?” he asked.
The steps were obvious but the execution was really hard. With his help, I actually DID the things I already knew I should be doing and the results were amazing.
We’ll talk about how to make execution easier in a moment. But first, let’s first review his steps.
1. Know Your Why
The biggest issue people run into when it comes to eating healthy, or any other habit they want to form, is how to stick with it. We are not talking about the desired result here, but the higher level purpose.
“I want to lose weight” is not a purpose.
“I want to live a long and healthy life so I can be active with my children for a long time.” Now there’s a higher purpose you can commit to!
Purpose is the most powerful force on the planet. Being pulled into the future is a powerful thing because it pulls you through the inevitable challenges and difficulties you will face on your journey.
Most people are pulled back by the past, or pulled by a multitude of distractions. It’s easy to give up after a bad day, or be annihilated after a bad month.
If you want something to pull you through the toughest of times and beyond where you are now, you have to get clear on your purpose.
2. Eat More Veggies
The bottom line is, Americans are still not getting enough vegetables.
If you have ever wondered why you have heard this record on repeat since you were a child, it is because they are so vital to your health.
Vegetables are extremely nutrient-dense, providing your body and mind with a lot of the vitamins and minerals most people are deficient in.
Several vitamins and minerals act as antioxidants that help to strengthen your immune system, fight inflammation and protect the heart.
These antioxidants, including vitamins A, C and E, as well as selenium, are found mainly in produce.
In addition, they are chock-full of fiber, which helps with detoxification and keeps your digestive system running smoothly. Vegetables also contain phytonutrients (plant nutrients) that can guard against premature aging by preventing cell damage from stress, the sun, pollution and other environmental toxins. The list goes on.
You can’t eat too many vegetables, so add them to every meal. If you don’t like to eat them, soak them in butter. They’ll taste amazing 🙂
Speaking of butter…
3. Eat More High-Quality Fat
Contrary to popular belief, fat isn’t what makes you fat. The truth is, the right fats are essential for bodily function.
They are a clean, nutritious energy source for your muscles and brain cells, and the building blocks of healthy cell walls and hormones. Moreover, our bodies do not produce essential fats, so we have to get them from the food we eat.
As it turns out, the large majority of people are now highly deficient in essential fatty acids, which are also needed to absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, E, D, and K.
To make matters worse, the low-fat foods the food industry has been pushing for the last several decades not only deprive you of the critical nutrients found in high-quality fats, but replace them with a zero-nutrient ingredient that sets off hormonal responses and insulin spikes… sugar! (we’ll get to that in a moment)
Not all fat is good for you. You want only high-quality fats.
- Grass-fed meats
- Grass-fed butter
- Coconut oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
4. Reduce Refined Carbs and Sugar
Avoid These Refined Carbs
Carbohydrates get a bad rap these days, but not all carbs are bad for you. In fact, vegetables are a source of high-quality carbs. It is refined, or simple, carbs that you need to avoid.
Refined carbohydrates are ones that have been processed or altered with the addition of artificial chemicals and sugars, and their natural nutrients such as fibers, vitamins and minerals have been reduced or eliminated. Unfortunately, refined carbs are still the primary source of dietary carbs in many countries – including ours.
The main problem associated with refined carbohydrates is that artificial sugar products are often added in abundance. These additives are not only addictive, but they’re also detrimental to the general health of the body, and therefore, it’s best that you refrain from consuming high quantities.
- packaged cereals
- white bread
- white rice
- white flour
- sweet white wine
Don’t Accidentally Ingest Sugar
Fat has been demonized for the last 60 years as the cause of people getting fat. We have discussed how that is flawed. Instead, a more likely culprit is added sugar.
Sugar has a lot of calories, but zero essential nutrients. When people consume a good chunk of their calories as sugar, this contributes to nutrient deficiencies.
Sugar is also addictive.
Eating sugary foods releases dopamine, the “happy hormone.” But the constant release of dopamine will make you dopamine-resistant. The more sugar you eat, the harder it becomes to feel the positive, happy effects that you get from dopamine. Thus, you keep eating more.
Overall, sugar is very detrimental to hormone function, and it’s the leading contributor to weight gain and disease.
Here’s the thing: you probably don’t even realize how much sugar you consume every day. Just because you aren’t putting massive amounts in your coffee or eating a bunch of sweets doesn’t mean you are safe.
Sugar is “hiding” in a lot of processed foods and beverages… even things you thought were healthy:
- Fruit juice
- Sports drinks
- Yogurt parfaits
- Reduced-fat foods
- Salad dressing
- BBQ sauces
- Granola bars
- Packaged/canned fruits
- Canned soup
Once you eliminate sugar and processed foods, you will immediately feel different.
You’ll have more energy, better focus, and burn fat more efficiently.[Tweet “Knowing what to do is easy; it’s doing what you know that’s the hard part.”]
5. Don’t Skip Meals
How many times this week have you slept through breakfast, worked through lunch, or arrived home so sleepy that you headed straight to bed? My guess is at least a couple.
While skipping a meal here and there, sometimes referred to as “intermittent fasting,” can be beneficial, harnessing those benefits requires careful planning. Otherwise, you risk nutrient deficiencies which can lead to fatigue, poor mental function, and other health concerns.
If you combine the low blood sugar that follows a skipped meal with the mental and physical demands of work, chasing your kids around, and your other daily obligations, it’s no wonder you are exhausted mid-way through the day!
Those are the steps Nick taught me. It’s the 80/20 solution to look better and feel more energized every day. It seems simple, but it works when followed.
Like Nick told me, knowing what to do is easy; it’s doing what you know that’s the hard part.
If you are anything like I was, you don’t have time to cook and plan every meal. You are way too busy. You need systems in place to make execution mindlessly easy.
It all starts with your environment. If only healthy food is available, you’ll eat healthy without having to think about it. So step one is to clear your environment of all processed and sugary foods. Just throw it out and don’t buy it anymore.
Then, keep your fridge stocked with healthy options.
Ideally, you would plan and cook all your meals. But let’s be real – you don’t have time for that. Neither did I. Eating healthy at the lunch spots near the office? Good luck. I have a secret to tell you…the BBQ chicken wrap you get from there is not healthy.
After talking with a lot of people about this, I realized I wasn’t alone in this problem.
Tons of us are struggling with this.
Nick and I decided to create a solution. We started Factor, a prepared meal delivery service for busy professionals like you and me. It’s like having a personal chef and nutritionist plan, cook, and deliver some of your meals each week.
Notice I said “some.” We are not a full scale solution – we are a supplement. We are in the ‘fridge so that you stop skipping meals on the days you don’t have a lunch meeting. We are here so you don’t have to go to the office deli for another terrible sandwich.
It’s the mindless way to eat all the right foods.
Our healthy, chef-prepared meals make it incredibly easy to burn more fat, increase energy, and feel better with practically NO effort on your part. We make delicious, fat-burning meals that are simply a mouse click away from being delivered to your door.
If you want to fill your fridge with pre-cooked, organic meals so you don’t have to lift a finger or stress out about eating healthy, then check out what’s on the menu this week.