It happens… and, seemingly, not just to me.
Yesterday, I broadcasted on Facebook Live as part of my #TipTuesday series about entrepreneurship and weight gain. I never expected it to hit such a chord with people! I had more engagement on this video than any other topic I’d done so far.
So, it seems I’m not alone. A lot of people reported having gained weight since delving into entrepreneurship. One client who works with a multi-linear marketing company says they’ve branded their own “freshman 15” phenomena because it happens to so many of their market partners when they go full-time!
If you’ve been following my blog and Facebook page recently, you may have noticed that 1) I’m a little obsessed with Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive, and 2) I’m a very slow reader. I talked about her book in my last blog post, Why More Sleep is Essential for Your Business, and now it’s popping up again as being such a useful resource!
As you may or may not know, Thrive is about the third metric to measuring success. Most people think of success as defined by money and power; however, Huffington urges readers to think about it in a completely new way – in terms of wellbeing. She offers really useful tips and research related to why taking care of ourselves is going to help our entrepreneurial endeavors way more than long, stressful hours and getting no sleep will.
And she also talks about the art of slowing down.
This is something I have yet to master… but at least it’s a learnable behaviour.
We as business owners have so much one our plates. Everything is up to us. (That is, until you find the right team to delegate tasks to!) We have to push forward to make things happen and ensure our paycheque arrives.
Basically, our bodies and brains are constantly in Go! Go! Go! mode.
So, what effect does this constant buzz have on our wellbeing? First of all, we are constantly stressed whether we realize it or not. Speaking from my own experience, we might think we’re enjoying a relaxing weekend off… until we tune in to our bodies and realize our shoulders are still up to our ears, our back is tense, and our mind cannot shut off from biz-think (“Oh, I should post about this. How can I get a good photo for Instagram? Hmmm… maybe that angle… no, that one.” Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about…).
And this Go! Go! Go! mentality is also affecting our weight.
Since we’re so used to rushing around – from one meeting to the next, from one thought to the next – we bring that hyperactive energy to the table with us… if we even take the time to sit at the table for a meal.
Apparently, it takes 20 minutes from the time we start eating to the time our brain gets the signal that we’re getting full. That’s a hell of a lot of time if you’re like me and scarf down your lunch in front of a webinar or squeeze it in during the 5 minutes between meetings.
So, if we’re speeding through our meals, our bodies aren’t able to give us the appropriate signals we need. And so we overeat.
Huffington says, “New studies have confirmed that eating more slowly leads to lower calorie consumption.” (And she even throws in this useful tidbit: “Even sex is better when slow since stress from rushing inhibits production of dopamine, a chemical that affects libido.” You’re welcome.)
So, what can we do about it?
Obviously, learning to slow down isn’t done overnight. Bringing mindfulness into our lives has to be a conscious decision and is a habit that can be created one piece at a time. But I do believe there are a few ways we can take care of our bodies and avoid the weight gain.
Here are a few suggestions from my Facebook Live viewers plus my own ideas for avoiding the freshman 15 of entrepreneurship:
- Prep in advance. Lunch is where I really get thrown off course because there is just so much work to get done mid-day. Try cutting up veggies to snack on throughout the day rather than high-calorie snacks like crackers and chips. I also like to prep big batches of chickpea salad and soup for the week’s lunch. (Want my recipe? Just comment below and I’d be happy to share.)
- Refuse to eat lunch at your desk. This is one of my worst habits. It instigates my stress because I’m basically telling my brain that I’m never allowed breaks. And if I’m at my desk, I feel like I need to be moving quickly to get things done, therefore taking massive bites and not even thinking about what I’m consuming.
- Set an alarm. If you’re constantly forgetting to eat and drink water, then something has got to change! Try to drink at least 1L of water before noon by setting an alarm every 30 minutes that reminds you to take a few big gulps. And, of course, make sure to set an annoying alarm for lunch time. Heck, if you work at home, place the alarm clock in the kitchen so you physically have to go there to turn it off!
- Get an accountability buddy. If you can’t trust yourself to be accountable, then ask an entrepreneur friend who’s also always forgetting to eat lunch, too. Call each other when it’s lunch or snack time and make sure the other stops for a break. You might even plan out healthy meals together.
- Set an end time for your day. This might be the most challenging thing, but we if are strict with our schedules, we can achieve a much healthier work-life balance. If you decide to end your work day at 5pm, then that is a signal to move on to your next activity – likely, cooking supper.
Like I said above, entrepreneurial weight gain seems to be widespread. So don’t beat yourself up about it! You’re adjusting to a new schedule and a new lifestyle. That’s bound to come with a few bumps in the road.
But there are ways to conquer it by becoming more mindful and by creating a schedule that works for you. Besides, what’s the fun of entrepreneurship if you don’t have complete control over your life?!
So, what do you think? Will you give it a shot? Let me know! And if you need an accountability buddy, reach out. Lord knows I need one!