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The ONLY Prerequisite You Need to Lose Weight

Aug 18, 2021

The ONLY prerequisite you need to lose weight boils down to two simple words. 

Intentional margin. 

This is the time, space, and energy that you’re going to need to steer your health ship in a new direction and develop better habits. 

Creating margin isn’t complicated, but it’s not easy. And it takes a sincere, focused, consistent effort to see long-term results. If you're the kind of person who is constantly busy, looking for ways to serve other people, you're a people pleaser, or you don't take full responsibility of your schedule, you probably struggle with intentional margin. 

With getting enough “you time” during the day. You may feel like you’re busy all day long, but never doing the things that you want and need to do just for you. Hobbies, meal prep, meditation, reading, prayer, exercise. 

The lack of intentionality towards your health has built up other areas of life like your career or relationships, but at the sacrifice of your health and wellbeing. 

This is a huge blind spot for many women who want to lose weight. They fail to recognize the level of effort, intention, and time that they need to invest in their health. 

Especially as women age, they may expect to see the fast weight loss they were used to in their 30s and 40s, but after menopause when your hormones shift, you’re faced with the hard truth that working may have worked then, isn’t working now, and you’re forced to try a new approach. Unfortunately, the right approach does take a long time. 

It doesn't have to be a large amount of time all at once, but you absolutely have to make time for yourself. You have to figure out where in your day you're wasting time, how to be more efficient, and how to say no. Everything you say “yes” to, means you’re saying “no” to something else. Usually that something else is someone else. 

And usually that someone is you. If you don't take full ownership of your time and your thoughts, your poor health habits will compound, and you will never achieve the level of health that you want. 

Intentional margin is the only prerequisite to lose weight. That's because you can implement whatever other strategy you need to do - whether that’s mindset work, or actual habit change work - to get results. But if you don’t make the time for yourself, you will not have the time nor energy to put towards your goals. Here are 6 tips to create more time in your schedule for YOU.

Time Hack Tip #1: Do a Time Audit

For those of you who really don't think you have time to dedicate to getting healthy, I've created a little time audit for you. The goal here is to honestly assess how you’re spending your “free” time and think about how you can find 1 hour a day for yourself to spend on your personal growth and development. 

  • How many minutes a day do you spend on social media scrolling Facebook or Instagram? 
  • How many minutes a day do you spend checking your email or text messages? 
  • How many minutes a day do you spend snoozing in the morning instead of getting up and starting your day?
  • How many hours of TV are you watching a day? 
  • How many hours a day do you spend in the car listening to music when you could listen to educational information that inspires you and motivates you? 
  • How many volunteer organizations are you a part of and how many hours per week do you give to them? 
  • How many minutes a day do you spend complaining, venting, or worrying about things that are outside of your control?
  • How many hours of unpaid work are you doing each day, either because you don’t have stronger boundaries for saying no, or because you are the kind of person who spends too much time going above and beyond for someone else that you’re left too drained to spend that time on yourself. 

As my mom likes to frequently remind me, “Morgan, sometimes good enough is good enough.” Now, add up all that time and how many hours a day do you get? There is no right or wrong here, this is just a quick assessment to see where you’re starting. 

I’ll tell you something, when I do this checklist, I get well over 3 hours per day that I could be spending in a more productive way towards my goals. 

The biggest area for improvement for me is spending too much time watching TV at night with my husband. It’s our sacred time to unwind and relax after getting our 1 year-old and 3 year-old to bed. I’ve been able to stop emotionally eating most nights, which is great, but we could still be cutting that time from 1.5 to 2 hours to just one. 

Even 30 more minutes a day of cleaning around the house, catching up on thank yous, doing something more intentional with my husband, working, or going for a walk would be better for me than the excessive TV we watch. 

My point with this exercise is two fold. 

Number 1, help you recognize all the places where you could have more intentional margin to put towards your health by reducing or eliminating non-productive time and energy sucking activities. 

Number 2, show you that just like everyone else who has a pulse, I’m still a work in progress. I’m not perfect. If I can get just 1% better everyday, I’m happy with that. I’m working to be an example of consistency and intention, not perfection. 

That's why I'm very, very cautious to ever say that I don't have time to do something. I choose not to make the time to do something. I choose to do things that are important and I choose not to do things that are not important to me. 

Time does not control me. I control how I use it. I know that sometimes, I don’t choose wisely, and sometimes I do. When I do, I feel much more fulfilled and energized than when I don’t. 

In a world of opposites, it’s important to remember that where there is a problem, there is a solution. There's up and there's down. There's left and there's right. There's night and day. Wherever there is a problem, or shall we say opportunity, there is also a solution. 

So, if you feel like you have no time to focus on your health, the good news is that there is a time solution. 

You just haven't found it yet. To dovetail on this time conversation to include energy. Sometimes people know they have the time but they don't feel like they have the energy. The trust is that investing in your health will increase your energy. 

This episode is going to give you some concrete things you can do to take control of your schedule and create intentional margin that you can use to pursue your health goals. 

A great quote I love from Marie Forleo is “If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way, if it’s not you’ll find an excuse.” So as you listen to these suggestions to find more intentional margin, look for the way, not the excuse. 

Time Hack Tip #2: Get Up Earlier

So often when someone asks me where to start with weight loss, I tell them to start with their schedule. Start by carving out 30 to 60 minutes a day just to learn, reflect, and implement what they learn. I’m going to share my top suggestions that have worked in my own life to find the time to invest in my personal growth and health. 

The first suggestion is to get up 30 minutes earlier and create a morning routine. Before I had two young kids, the morning time was sacred. I called it coffee with Jesus. I would get up, make a cup of coffee and my oatmeal which I no longer eat, which is another topic entirely about low-carb and intermittent fasting. 

Whether you practice a faith, drink coffee, intermittently fast, or eat low-carb is not the point. The point is that the first thing in the morning was intentional quiet time to center myself around what was important to me. To think about the day ahead. 

To be grateful for what I had and work to maintain that level of peace and clarity throughout my day. To prioritize my action items and consider when I was going to exercise for the day. To make a plan. 

I didn’t recognize it at the time, but I was doing something called reflecting-for-action. Numerous studies have shown that planning your day, planning your meals, planning your exercise, will make it more likely that you’ll follow-through. But had I not gotten up early to do this, my day would have been less efficient, and less effective. 

Time Hack Tip #3: Learn on the Go

The second suggestion is to use your commute time more wisely. During my drive time whether that to take the kids to daycare, or between client visits, I used to listen to the same songs on the radio to the point of annoyance. I changed to the news and found my mood slightly always a little more down and anxious. 

Then I found the beauty of podcasts and audiobooks. I’ve chosen to be more intentional with what I listen to during my forced car time. For my members, I always recommend downloading the app version of the course because I know how much I’ve enjoyed listening and learning on the go. You’re spending your time listening to something anyways, it may as well be something that helps you grow. 

Time Hack Tip #4: Ask “How” Questions

My next tip is to ask “how” questions to create intentional margin with your schedule, no matter the season of life you’re in. Every day of every week you may not be able to spend 30-60 minutes a day on yourself. For example, a new mom, or caring for an aging parent, or starting in a new position at work. So instead of having a rigid all or nothing attitude, be flexible with yourself. I love the words structured flexibility. Have a plan, but give yourself the grace to bend with life. Ask yourself powerful “how” questions. 

So your brain may automatically say, “I don’t have time to workout today.” Whenever you hear those don’t or can’t words, that should be a limiting thought flag that goes off in your head. Instead ask yourself a “how” question around the same issue.

 Something like, “How can I create time to exercise today?” “How can I move my body for 10 minutes instead of the normal 30?” Feel the difference? Instead of shutting the door to movement, something that you know is good for you and will give you more energy, by asking questions you’ve opened up new possibilities to find the solution that you know exists. 

Time Hack Tip #5: Say No, Often

My fourth tip is to learn how to say no. One of my life mantras is if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no. Sometimes we have to say no to other people to say yes to ourselves. Sometimes we have to say no to something we want now to something we want in the future. 

To create more intentional margin, you’re going to need to learn how to say no. I’ve found that saying no to myself is quite a bit harder than saying no to someone else’s request. Saying no to staying up late all the time watching TV. Saying no to pressing snooze. Saying no spending too much time trying to make things perfect. Deleting tempting social media apps from my phone that were a complete time suck. Saying no to checking email 10 times a day. 

Saying no to allowing negativity into my life both through what media I consume, and how I choose to interpret situations. Saying no to excessive worry about things outside of my control. If saying no freaks you out because you don’t want to let someone down, I just gave you about 10 ways to say no to yourself first. 

Feel free to start there. Learning to become accountable to yourself, and internally motivated to follow-through is very rewarding, but just like anything else, it takes practice and time to master. 

Once you start creating more self-discipline and telling yourself no, telling others no and creating stronger emotional and time boundaries may feel a little easier. 

Time Hack Tip #6: Increase Your Efficiency 

While thus far most of these tips have been related to cutting things out to find more time, this last tip is about how to make things that you’re already doing more efficient to save more time. 

Once you have a desired behavior in mind, such as having healthy lunches instead of going out to eat every day. Ask yourself, “How can I make this more efficient?” Can you meal prep on the weekends and make all your lunches at once? 

Can you reduce the number of ingredients and simplify your recipes so they are easier to make, and log if you’re logging. Can you eat the same thing every day for a week for breakfast and lunch? 

Can you copy your meals from one day to the next if you’re logging your food? I’ve used all these strategies to make eating healthy a little faster and easier, freeing up more time in my schedule. 

I know some people love the meal prep delivery services, or they purchase pre-cut veggies to save time. The solutions to create time, and save time are ample. And I truly believe that after listening to this episode, there may be one or two things on the top of your mind where you’re thinking, “Yeah...I really should do THIS.” 

My advice for you is to do it. Stop thinking about doing it, and start taking action. Then do it again the next day, and the next. Until creating time in your schedule for you becomes a non-negotiable. 

Because you’re fully committed to becoming the best version of yourself, and because you know that the better you care for yourself, the better you can care for everyone else around you for as long as possible.

 

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