Recently, I heard someone use the term “startup body” for the first time, and since then I’ve been hearing it all over the place. Do you know how, when you buy a new car in that peculiar shade of blue that no one else has, suddenly you see “your car” everywhere? It’s like that. Yes, I’m in Silicon Valley, and yes, every other person here is in a startup. The other thing that’s true is that so many of us keep our heads down all day long and never get up and go outside. We have a decidedly workaholic culture here. So how do you lose your “startup body”?
Last year, I was asking myself that very same question. How do I dig myself out of this workaholic hole? I’d seemingly found a way to Stay Sane while Working from Home, but had also put on 15 pounds, practically overnight! Here’s what helped me. Now, this is a really simple plan. It wasn’t easy, but it was simple. I’m a big believer in simple.
Read Thinner This Year.
Actually, I became a beta tester for the book. The authors, Chris Crowley and Jen Sacheck, were looking for people to read and test their first draft. So I read it three times, each time making notes, and changing my diet and exercise. Many of the changes I made were a direct result of reading the book. Note: I am not an affiliate, and receive nothing from recommending the book (except maybe good karma!).
Exercise 6 Days a Week.
Yes, you read that right. For me, six days a week was the tipping point. Now, I don’t go all out every day. But I do four days of hard intervals every week. Mondays are my hardest aerobic workouts. Tuesdays I lift heavy weights at Alive! Fitness and do Pilates. Wednesdays are intervals again. Thursdays are for yoga or Pilates. Fridays, I do intervals and weights. Saturdays, I cycle or hike. And Sundays is usually for resting, or maybe a walk on the beach. And stretching every day, after working out.
Eat More Vegetables.
For me, that means I eat around 9 different vegetables for breakfast, along with scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast. As recommended by Crowley and Sacheck, I cut out most “white things” such as white bread and replaced them with whole wheat. If I don’t get started in the morning with vegetables, it just ain’t gonna happen the rest of the day. Lunch is a sandwich and/or a salad with some protein. Dinner is something like broiled salmon with green beans and a chunk of good bread. Snacks are usually fruit.
Pretend It’s Your Job.
You know how dedicated you are to your startup? Apply some of that same crazy dedication to losing your startup body. If you like gadgets, get the latest downloadable heart rate monitor with all the bells and whistles. Measure your Key Performance Indicators if it helps you. Get an exercise buddy. Or create a Meetup if that gets you to the gym. Most people in startups don’t slack in the motivation department, but knowing what kind of exerciser you are certainly helps. If you’re social and in social media like me, then going to the gym or working out with someone else is the only way to go. And if you’re competitive, you could train for a marathon or century ride.
Don’t Look at the Scale.
You know where I’m going with this one. Muscle weighs more than fat, so use your jeans as your first indicator and don’t get too obsessive-compulsive with looking at the scale every 5 minutes. Once a week is fine.
When you reach that goal (and you will), consider a reward–one that isn’t food. Only you know what will motivate you. But a reward is crucial. One thing people in startups don’t do is sit around and gloat for long. But basking in the glow of your recent victory could be a very good thing.
What About You?
If you’ve had to lose your “startup body,” how did you do it? No, really. Staying at your ideal weight is a constant struggle. Leave me a comment below! I’d love to hear what helped you!