Bob Harper Says the #1 Key to Weight Loss Isn't Diet or Exercise — It's This

Deborah Feingold
Deborah Feingold

Bob Harper has had a transitional year — one that he told POPSUGAR was a year of "going back to the drawing board."

After surviving a massive heart attack, the celebrity trainer and The Biggest Loser star has made significant changes in his approach to health. He shifted from a Paleo diet to a carb-friendly, plant-based lifestyle, and designed a new weight loss plan in his book The Super Carb Diet: Shed Pounds, Build Strength, Eat Real Food. And not only has he changed how he eats, but he's also shifted his thoughts on weight loss in general.

"I [previously] structured my dialogue that when it comes to weight loss, it's about your diet first and foremost," Bob told POPSUGAR. "Then it's your exercise, then sleep, and then stress management," he said. He noted that he's been sharing this ideology for decades, but recently he's turned things around.

"Stress management is the number one key to a healthy body and a healthy mind."

"I have since changed the way I think," Bob said, and while "Those are still my four core beliefs," he has now flipped that hierarchy on its head. "I think that stress management is the number one key to a healthy body and a healthy mind," he said, and shared that stress management is really the foundation that the diet, exercise, and sleep rests on.

"When you manage your stress, you're more likely to make better food choices," he said. "If you manage your stress, you're going to be more likely to prioritize a workout to take care of yourself; your sleep is going to be so much better."

He also noted that the inverse is true: "When you're stressed everything else crumbles like a house of cards — you'll say 'F*ck it I'm gonna eat whatever I want,' and you're waking up in the middle of the night [from stress]."

Often we focus so much on the diet and exercise portion that these beneficial, healthy things become a source of stress. By prioritizing stress management, the rest can fall into place and work more seamlessly and efficiently — all leading to our ultimate goal of a healthy weight. Feel better and get healthier? Makes sense to us!