As an entrepreneur, staying in shape is really tough. You are busy with your business, and it feels like nearly everything you do involves a make or break decision, especially in the first year of business. You don’t have time to exercise, or so you tell yourself, and you’re probably not eating right.

Many entrepreneurs talk about the first year fifteen, very similar to the college Freshman Fifteen: that fifteen pounds you put on the first year of your company’s existence, and the weight that is the hardest to get off. However, this does not have to be the case. You can drop belly fat fast if you have the right plan, and you stick with it.

Here are some practical steps to taking off that first year fifteen.

Meditation and Yoga

While it doesn’t seem all that intuitive, yoga and meditation can do a number of things for you that will help with weight loss, and one of them is managing stress. Excess stress can cause headaches, muscle tension, digestive problems, sleep disturbances, depression, and now new research shows it may also wreak havoc on metabolism.

The stress hormone cortisol increases your appetite, cravings for junk food, and makes it easier for your body to retain belly fat. A few simple minutes of meditation throughout the day can make a dent in this stress, and a calmer you may mean a thinner you.

However, studies now show that even gentle yoga contributes to weight loss in a big way, but not in the traditional sense. You don’t work your butt off to burn more calories, but instead gentle yoga changes both the body and the mind, which leads to changes in behavior.

Essentially the stretching and relaxation, although it can help build muscle, primarily relieves stress in a huge way, reducing not only cortisol but other hormones in the body. The stretching relieves muscle aches and makes a difference in the decisions you make about food, exercise, and even how you respond to others around you.

Endorphins and Stress

Besides relaxation and yoga type activities, another way to reduce stress is simply through exercise. The reason is that prolonged, continuous exercise releases endorphins, which reduce our perception of pain, both physical and mental. Endorphins act on the opioid receptors in the brain similar to certain narcotic drugs, but without the addictive properties, at least to an extent.

The problem is that besides exercise, certain foods also cause the release of endorphins, including chocolate, which is why many consider it to be comfort food. Hot peppers are another food that causes this release, and the spicier the pepper, the more endorphins that are released.

While the endorphins themselves are not addictive, at times the foods or activities associated with them can be, and some of the food can be harmful to your efforts to lose weight.

However, things like acupuncture and massage therapy have also been shown to release endorphins and taking time for these whenever possible will help with stress levels, and help you alter your behavior and lose that pesky first year fifteen.

Eating Right

Taking time for meditation and yoga is one thing, but any good dietician or trainer will tell you that weight loss is only about 20% what you do, and 80% what you eat. This means that your diet matters more than the level of exercise and stress relief you undertake.

While you are in the first year or even longer of a startup, it is easy to grab food on the go, and your stress may increase cravings for things you should not be eating.

  • Bring food with you when possible. Bring a good lunch or snacks from home to the office, and more than one meal if you plan to be there long hours.
  • Stock an office fridge. Get one of those little refrigerators for your office, and keep good, healthy snacks and drinks in it so you are less tempted to eat things you should not.
  • Stay away from dessert: while it may be tempting, and you may find ways to justify it, too much sugar will contribute to your belly fat and weight issues.

At the best of times, watching your calorie intake and the types of foods you eat can be a challenge, but this is especially difficult when you are in the middle of starting a business.

Set reminders to eat snacks and meals, and try to spread your caloric intake throughout the day. Eat small and often. This will help keep blood sugar levels even and reduce cravings.


The first year of your business can be tough in a number of ways. Between stress and being busy putting out fires, talking time for self-care, a good diet, and exercise can be tough. But scheduling those things can help you take off that first year fifteen and keep it off, making you healthier. Your clients and your business will benefit as much as your waistline. What methods have you found helpful in maintaining a healthy weight? Leave us a comment in the section below.