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Health and fitness expert Drew Manning is the New York Times best-selling author of Fit2Fat2Fit: The Unexpected Lessons from Gaining and Losing 75 lbs on Purpose and has for years been a leading voice in the burgeoning Keto Diet movement. Drew is also the creator of the A&E Show Fit to Fat to Fit and the host of The Fit2Fat2Fit Experience podcast. With over a million social media followers, Drew continues to transform people’s lives all around the world.

Known for his straightforward and empathetic fitness and health coaching, Drew has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, CNN, Good Morning America, The Tonight Show, The View, and MSNBC, among other media outlets. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his daughters, who remind him every day not to take things too seriously.

1. Focus on Your Mental Health

When it comes to physical transformation a lot of people think it’s as simple as eating less food and working out more. Although, yes that’s true, the application of it and your ability to stay consistent is actually determined more by your mental and emotional state though, which is something I learned from first hand experience doing my Fit2Fat2Fit journey where I intentionally gained 75 lbs. in 6 months to gain a better understanding of what it was like to be overweight for the first time in my life.

I learned from that experience how wrong I was in my approach to help people. I realized that the mental and emotional struggles are what most people struggle with when it comes to sticking to a healthy lifestyle, which is why it’s so important to focus on working in (aka doing the inner work) and not just working out.

2. Avoid Emotional Eating

Behind every addiction is usually some type of pain. This is why so many of us are addicted to something that usually helps us deal with the emotional pains of life. Most of us reach for things like food, drugs, alcohol, etc. to temporarily numb the emotional pains caused by traumas, challenges, lack of love, etc.

Unfortunately, food is probably the most accessible drug that we have access to and it does the job! I experienced this during my latest fit2fat2fit journey in 2020 when I went through a rough break up in the middle of gaining all that weight and the food very quickly became my medicine to help me feel better from the sadness, loneliness and depression I was feeling after this rough break up.

This opened up my eyes to why so many people eat their emotions. After years and decades of training our brains to look for ways to escape from the emotional pains of life, it’s no wonder why so many of us are addicted to the delicious/hyper palatable, accessible, cheap/affordable, processed junk foods that we have access to 24/7.


3. Have Self Love

If you’re like me and have struggled with self hate or lack of feeling worthy or lovable, then you’ve probably learned what it’s like to self sabotage because of the constant feelings of feeling like a failure and that we don’t deserve to be happy. This has caused a lot of people to derail after only a few weeks or months on a fitness journey. We keep trying to attain some new skinnier or fitter version of our body in hopes that this new body will be the thing that makes us permanently happy and proud of ourselves.

What happens to most people though, even if they achieve those results, is that they realize something is still missing and they still feel not enough and most people end up going back to their old ways and gain the weight back.

When we learn how to operate out of a place of self love/worthiness, we realize that we want to treat ourselves and our bodies with kindness. And when we treat our bodies with kindness what does that look like? Eating whatever we want and watching Netflix all day? No. True self love is about realizing that we are worth it to have the results that we want from doing the hard work required to get it because now we have this true authentic loving relationship with ourselves and doing the hard work required doesn’t feel like a chore or a “I have to” do this anymore, but it’s about falling in love with the process because we are worth it. It makes doing the hard things easier and more manageable when we operate out of a place of self love vs. self hate.

4. Keep It Simple

When it comes to pure weight loss, sure there are a million ways to lose weight. All diets can work if we can learn how to maintain a calorie deficit over an extended period of time. How we get there is very highly individual. You can follow popular diets like keto, vegan, vegetarian, paleo etc. and they all have amazing benefits, but I can understand that it can be complicated to follow with all the rules involved with these diets. If you’re looking for something simple that actually works stick with this approach: High Water, High Protein and High Fiber! Drinking lots of water, eating lots of protein and fiber will help to keep you fuller longer and most likely you’ll be too full (and maybe peeing a lot too) to snack on the processed junk foods that we can feel addicted to at times.

5. Have a Support System

 I don’t care who you are, change is difficult and doing it alone is even more difficult. This is why I’m such a huge proponent of having a support system to stay accountable to someone besides yourself. So hiring a coach, trainer, joining an online support group or facebook group, working out with a friend or family member are all great ways to make sure that you are not alone on this journey. A healthy support system looks like someone being able to have empathy and understanding for you and your struggles, reminding you that you’re still worthy to be healthy, but also a balance of a good push every once in a while to remind you that you can do hard things!

Drew Manning

 New York Times best-selling author,  expert trainer and creator of Fit2Fat2Fit 
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