February 5, 2021 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Building an eight figure company from scratch. Climbing out of thousands of dollars of debt to build a dream business. Leaving a 9 to 5 job amid a crisis to create a lifestyle business, propelling you to travel the world.
These are a small sample size of stories that we hear and see daily from entrepreneurs of all walks of life and various ages. To be an entrepreneur entails risk-taking, internal fortitude, vision, and a commitment to consistency, amongst many other attributes.
Entrepreneurs are competent individuals who typically possess an above-average intellect and have a handful of accomplishments under their belt. With these fantastic attributes and accomplishments, why are entrepreneurs prone to weight issues, rapidly aging skin, and declining health just like the rest of the population?
Perhaps the general population needs motivation, but that’s far from the issue with entrepreneurs. Instead, entrepreneurs face a unique problem society rarely discusses: the dark sides of success.
Most of your favorite books, Instagram posts, and podcasts glamorize success. But very few pay attention to the struggles that entrepreneurs have on the other side of success.
Entrepreneurs have a unique and demanding lifestyle. As you climb up success mountain, there are more responsibilities, more expectations, more pressure, more stress accumulating, which leads to less time available for yourself; thus creating a breeding ground for potential burnout and weight gain. Managing your weight isn’t complicated, but it can be complex for many reasons starting with three of the more overlooked ones below.
Just relying on hard work
Whether it’s scaling your business, getting it off the ground, or improving your revenue for the upcoming quarter—working harder (or as some call it “hustling”) is a large piece of the puzzle to achieving those goals.
In business, more capital, more resources, and more people: your business exponentially grows. Business rewards those who never let off the gas pedal.
Unfortunately, for entrepreneurs, managing your weight doesn’t operate under the same philosophy. Just throwing more darts at the board and keeping your foot on the gas pedal isn’t going to cut it.
Managing your weight (and your whole human system in general) is a delicate pendulum that requires you to act as if you’re a maestro. Just as the maestro has to find the right balance with his baton for each night’s performance, you must find the right balance with your weight loss plan.
A maestro knows the right grip has arrived once there’s cohesion within the team and its sound. You’ll know it’s the proper grip with your plan when there’s little-to-no friction between your daily health habits and entrepreneurial life.
Instead of just working harder and continually having your foot on the gas pedal through rigid diets and excessive exercise without any rhyme or reason, strategically hit the brakes and view your health and fitness as a symphony that requires precise actions to operate seamlessly.
In life, especially in regards to health and fitness, many have been taught how to shoot. But few have been taught how to aim. Precision matters for entrepreneurs—you can’t afford to guess and hope with your habits and strategies because you’re living a time-constrained lifestyle.
From the way you sleep, talk, exercise, breathe, supplement, and eat—precision is necessary.
Before taking massive action and blindly jumping into a plan, adopt the mindset of slowing down to speed up.
Do some preliminary work by collecting initial data and numbers such as blood work and body measurements, and auditing your life to see which exercise and nutrition plan truly fits your individual life.
Not fully addressing your mental and emotional world
Being an entrepreneur is far from being a beautiful montage of sports cars, private jets, millions of followers eagerly awaiting your next product, and sold-out arenas to hear you speak.
The entrepreneurial life is a roller coaster filled with highs that are indescribable, but also, and unfortunately, lows that you wouldn’t wish upon your greatest enemy.
Research published in the journal Small Business Economics found that entrepreneurs compared to comparison participants and the general population were 2x more likely to have depression, 3x more likely for substance abuse problems, 6x more likely for ADHD, and 11x more likely to have bipolar disorders.
The entrepreneurial life can be a vicious cycle of chronic stress left unmanaged that can lead to a suppressed immune system, sleep difficulties, and weight gain, amongst many other physiological effects.
Prioritize your mental and emotional well-being through activities such as meditation, consistent sleep, exercise, journaling, nurturing key relationships, and remembering that you are not your work.
Achieving your optimal weight and health is an inside-out job, not the other way around.
Being goal-oriented instead of process-oriented
To conquer any industry or build a business from scratch, you need ample amounts of ambition and motivation. This attribute is beneficial for your business but is counterproductive to managing your weight.
Perhaps you’ll hit your goal weight, but what’s next? You’ve completed the marathon, but what’s after the finish line? Often, for goal-oriented people, the spark vanishes, and nothing is left but an empty void that unfortunately is favorable for old habits (and weight) to reappear.
Sure, you may start another plan, but a feeling of déjà vu is likely to appear. Lose the weight, then gain it back is the yo-yo dieting cycle that many unfortunately find themselves running on.
Don’t think of managing your weight as a goal; think of it as a process. Much like accounting, it requires day-to-day attention to detail.
Many entrepreneurs have the goal of a million-dollar business, but a well-oiled sales and marketing process is what delivers the result. The goal is weight loss, but the process is your daily training, nutrition, and sleep habits.
The characteristics that make you a successful entrepreneur can unintentionally prevent you from matching your physical success with your financial success.
Weight management as an entrepreneur isn’t a black and white issue because your life is far from a black and white story. Therefore, your approach to sustainable weight management must include the many nuances that come with being an entrepreneur.