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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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November 12, 2015

What’s Behind Your Poor Health: Life vs. Lifestyle Issues

By Mark Sisson
61 Comments

LifestyleOne of the things I love about our success stories is the far-reaching impact of people’s health transformations. They lose weight (or in some instances gain it in muscle mass). They get fit. They get their basic health in order, and the physical vitality takes on a life of its own with a unforeseen “carry-over” effect, leaving them happier, more confident and newly inspired to pursue other personal goals or productive changes in their lives. This got me thinking about how much the opposite holds true. What about the studies that tell us negative circumstances in our lives become risk factors for a variety of serious health issues, including mortality risk itself?

The thing is, we focus a great deal on the proximate causes of obesity and lifestyle disease (e.g. what people eat, how much they eat, what metabolic issues come into play), but sometimes the actual headspring could be considered “Life” rather than lifestyle issues—negative relationships, family dynamics or job situations, etc. that admittedly don’t force people toward unhealthy behaviors but leave too many of them groping for these as coping mechanisms. From there, the spiral begins. This isn’t to oversimplify the situation or to deny individuals responsibility for their own choices, but it raises a legitimate question: to what extent can getting our lives in order open the door to better health?

We see the headlines on a regular basis linking negative life circumstances or poor quality of relationships to poor health. The latest this week connected the “ambivalent marriage” (in which negative interchange is frequent but not constant and often unpredictable) with higher blood pressure. Research has previously associated hostile and consistently unsupportive marriages with the likes of higher systemic inflammation, slower wound healing, dysregulation of immune function and stress hormone alteration. Likewise, job stress and, in particular, job burnout can raise workers’ use of medical services as well as their risk for stroke and other cardiovascular disease.

While this brand of research relies heavily on self-report and often doesn’t narrow the variables to any gold standard, it’s hard to argue with the results. We know people in these situations or perhaps have been in them ourselves. We can identify or sympathize with what it means to live in an unhappy relationship, to feel lonely, to be in the wrong profession or dread our work environments, to live with various unresolved issues from our past. It’s hard to not feel the toll over time of chronic negative interactions at home, in the workplace or in an extended family or other social structure.

And so the coping begins…. Some people lean into healthy behaviors like exercise that may stay healthy or take on compulsive dimensions. Others begin to turn to less healthy “shadow” comforts like night eating, overeating or “comfort” eating, drinking or smoking, zoning out with sedentary screen time or overworking and undersleeping. An entire psychic-physiological helix gets set in motion, but the portion locking in the entire pattern is that original catalyst—that negative, eventually disempowering “Life” circumstance (or at least our fixed reaction to it).

While I’m not one to let people off the hook for their own choices, I think we know how this goes. People go into denial or feel trapped, “feed/medicate” the gloomy emotions with unhealthy behaviors, thinking that it’s a temporary situation or that they’ll figure some way out of this mess but just for today they need something to take the edge off. “Today,” all too often, becomes many days until it becomes routine. Their motivation to change anything in their lives, including their health, generally dwindles over time. Between the imposed stresses of the core circumstances and added descent into other unhealthy choices, they’re caught and now increasingly at risk for a host of stress related conditions, which (not surprisingly) are also the most common “lifestyle” diseases/conditions like cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal conditions and premature death.

We might in these instances be able to identify which came first (the chicken or the egg), but when we can truly trace poor health back to an unfortunate Life situation, where should the most effective approach begin? Should it be following the general prescribed route of adopting healthy lifestyle choices, or should it be pulling up and finally bringing to resolution that initial rotten root. In other words, do you fix the Life or the lifestyle first?

Some months ago I wrote that getting healthy can be an incredible boon to our vitality and equanimity (and, by extension, all good things these factors can foster in our lives), but it is not a panacea. Getting in shape or losing fifty pounds isn’t an automatic fix for all else we struggle with in life, whether it be a toxic work environment, a precarious financial situation, or a dead-in-the-water marriage. Eating a great diet and running a series of 5Ks might make us feel more energetic and raise our self-esteem, but it won’t erase an unreasonable commute that leaves us with too little family time. It won’t eradicate past trauma. It won’t resolve the grief of a major loss.

What health can give us is a more formidable resilience within our lives, a stronger buffer against the impact of stress in its various manifestations. It can offer us a bigger reserve of emotional and physical energy to work with in life, but it doesn’t by any means wipe our slate clean.

Uprooting a festering situation that’s been weighing us down for long stretches of time can be freeing. It can dislodge our lives from seemingly immovable patterns. We can realize with a mixed bag of relief and consternation how much energy and attention that certain situation has drained from us for how many months, or year, or even decades.

And yet… If we’ve allowed ourselves (yes, allow) to go down those rabbit holes of self-denial, of self-diminishment, of self-destruction physically and emotionally, it’s probably unreasonable to believe that shifting an outer circumstance is going to be enough to dissolve all the negative patterns within our daily structure and the defeating self-talk that we’ve amassed (and internalized) within our own mentality.

I believe these situations, should we identify our issues in this way, call us back to the question of health integrity. At some point along the way, we gave away our own health step by step in the name of coping, in the name of avoiding, in the name of abdicating our responsibility. When we’re ready to face the facts of our “Life” conflict, we’re finally poised to cut our excuses off at that original root, but it’s also important to understand they can (and in all likelihood have) become self-perpetuating.

We have to do more than “fix” a problem we situate outside of ourselves. We have to reclaim our own authority. That means we clean up our own patterns by doing the footwork of health and self-care. We acknowledge that we’ll earn that vitality back by our own efforts. Blame has no more place in our day—from either end.

In the end, maybe it’s about finally asserting that our health has the best chance to flourish when our Life (the big choices, relationships and priorities of our lives) and our lifestyle (the details we live regularly) fully correlate.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Do you identify your own situations with this question? What was the answer for you along the way? Share your thoughts in the comment section, and have a great end to the week.

Prefer listening to reading? Get an audio recording of this blog post, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast on iTunes for instant access to all past, present and future episodes here.

TAGS:  mental health

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61 Comments on "What’s Behind Your Poor Health: Life vs. Lifestyle Issues"

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chantelle
10 months 16 days ago

Taking responsibility for our health nearly always translates into taking responsibility for our life, our choices and their repercussions. The choice to take charge of ones health is a noble first step to overcoming learned helplessness in a society that teaches us to lay the blame on others. Like succumbing to junk food and TV, blaming is arguably the easy route to not taking responsibility for all aspects of our lives.

Dana
Dana
10 months 12 days ago
All too often, what is labeled as “blaming others” is actually the person attempting to diagnose their problems. There isn’t an instruction manual for fixing your problems whether they were caused by you or by someone else, so it doesn’t do much good to tell someone to “quit blaming and take responsibility for your own stuff” if they don’t know how to do that. In short, you’re not helping the situation. And you should be spending more energy looking at your own stuff anyway, because when other people do cause any of our problems, it’s usually because they let their… Read more »
tired primal working mom
tired primal working mom
10 months 16 days ago
As usual, what an incredibly timely post! I’ve been battling with the idea of this for over a year. So what do you do when the “festering situation” is something that really can’t be changed (unless I were to do something against my own personal values)? In my case it is my kids and my home life. (As miserable as I am, I won’t abandon my kids, even though they are killing me!) I love my husband dearly, and he is so supportive and does so much for me, but I’ve considered divorce just so that we can have a… Read more »
tired primal working mom
tired primal working mom
10 months 16 days ago

I guess the better question is, how can I keep this rut from ruining my health? How can I find away to stay away from the bad stuff when stress has worn down my discipline?

Angel
Angel
10 months 16 days ago

Your solution is in your post. Don’t divorce your hubby. Tell him you need that regularly scheduled time off without kids, and take it. It’s not negotiable. It’s either that or you go nuts and the divorce happens.

Once you’ve gotten that space for awhile and some of the desperate fog has cleared from your head, you’ll be better able to assess any further needs, including divorce, if necessary, but it sounds like it won’t be if your needs are respected and addressed.

Freckled Runner
Freckled Runner
10 months 16 days ago
It sounds like what you need right now is not a therapist. Not a divorce. Not to beat yourself up more. What you need is other Moms. Ever noticed how people from the military tend to hang out with people from the military? Or doctors tend to hang out with doctors? When you have a job that is heavily emotionally, physically, and mentally draining, the only people who really understand are those in the same situation as you. Your husband is wonderful, but he is also not a mom. He cannot quite get it the same way. I don’t know… Read more »
Kelly
Kelly
10 months 16 days ago
How old are your kids? If they are young, teach them that you need space. When mine were younger, quiet time in their rooms every day was a necessity for my sanity. Now, on bad days, I sit them in front of the tv for an hour so I can take a bath, read, do yoga, or whatever I need to feel better. They are 4, 6, and 8, and the bad days are few and far between because they learned how to keep themselves entertained. As far as getting out of bed too many times, you just need to… Read more »
Colleen
Colleen
10 months 16 days ago
Dear Tired: I have only one and sympathize. My husband and I could not have coped with more. A couple times I have come home from work, get in bed and close the door and let him deal with it. I had a friend in grade school in the 70’s, we were probably in about 6th grade and went to visit her Mom in the hospital. What was wrong? The long and short of it was her Mom was a stay at home Mom but every year she spent a week in the hospital to get a break from the… Read more »
tired primal working mom
tired primal working mom
10 months 16 days ago
Wow, thank you all for responding. I am so appreciate of your support and advice. This is like an interactive journal entry. Very therapeutic. Better ideas than I got in real therapy. I could write a book about this – my frustrations and everything we have tried to find happiness, improve family life and improve my coping with motherhood. In short, my kids are normal 3 and 6 year olds who are not incredibly misbehaved, though we are in a hard period now. This issue is more that I have poor coping skills and cannot tolerate commotion. I am pretty… Read more »
Lisa
Lisa
10 months 14 days ago
There are so many things I’d love to have time to say, but as another tired mom, I’ll just make one suggestion. Well, maybe two. (Many other people have made some great suggestions already.) Have you considered skipping the boot camp workout in favor of a walk outside? I’m not sure where you live, of course, but if the weather allows, getting outside can help. I love walking by myself, preferably on a city bike trail or at a metro park, but even just around the neighborhood is nice. But leave the kids at home. On rare occasions I can… Read more »
Dana
Dana
10 months 12 days ago
One thing you need to learn about kids and development is you can’t push it. Pushing development before its time is what causes the worst conflicts. Definitely discipline if it’s a behavior that’s going to have an immediate or almost-immediate bad consequence but if it’s just annoying, choose your battles. Discipline isn’t about controlling everything they do but about guiding them to learn to behave in a more mature way, and there are so many methods for doing that, not all of them involving yelling. (Take it from someone who yells.) Another thing. Do you have a tendency to get… Read more »
Amber
10 months 16 days ago
I’m sure this won’t be a popular answer but… these are beings you created, you brought them into the world. Perhaps you need to figure out why your kids are driving you crazy and correct the issues, instead of avoiding them. Your youngest kid is throwing tantrums, can you stop that with discipline? Are you handling the tantrums properly or further encouraging the behavior? Are the kids bored and thus annoying? Are they involved with activities that engage them and give them something to do with all that extra energy? I’m sorry you’re going through this, I hope you can… Read more »
Shary
Shary
10 months 16 days ago
Amber, a woman can love her kids dearly, to the point that she would lay down her life for them, and still be unable to cope with the everyday hassles. Not all of us take to motherhood like ducks to water. Sometimes it’s an ingrained lack of patience that’s the culprit, or a naturally short fuse. Sometimes, as with “Tired”, it’s the feeling that everyone wants a piece of you until there’s nothing left for yourself. ALL kids are difficult and annoying from time to time. Some parents simply deal with it better than others. As the mother of a… Read more »
tired primal working mom
tired primal working mom
10 months 16 days ago

I am certainly not avoiding the issues, but I can’t stare them in the eye 24/7 either 🙂 We try to ignore tantrums, when possible, and disciplining when we can’t ignore them, and we don’t feed into them. We are still trying to find and employ the best technique for this kid, who has a will of steel but is not unreasonable or normally attention seeking. The kids get enough activity, but I’m not sure about boredom. I don’t wish to become their entertainer; boredom fuels creativity.

Julie
Julie
10 months 15 days ago
I’ve worked as a nanny and I’ve had my own child. I’ve also been in some quite liberal moms groups whose children are quite frankly ill-behaved because they are never disciplined. Ignoring a tantrum is fine unless you are ignoring it then giving in when he wears you down. If he’s getting what he wants, in any way, you are perpetuating it. There were times when my daughter was 3 and 4 that she would throw fits and even grab my legs when I tried to walk away or put her in her room. She hit me when I tried… Read more »
Dee
Dee
10 months 14 days ago

I don’t know if it’s still in print, but my mom had a book that I think was called The Strong Willed Child that she found helpful for one of us. 🙂

Dana
Dana
10 months 12 days ago
Okay. There’s the thing where a kid yells and screams in an unpleasant way. There’s the thing where a kid is exhausted and can’t self-regulate anymore, so has a fit. And then there’s a tantrum. My younger child is 11 now and I can’t remember anymore whether the latter two are really just one and the same thing. But we’re talking about a biological state where the kid has “run out of spoons”, can’t control themselves anymore and they’re feeling like crap, usually very tired, and that’s all she wrote. All you can do in a case like that is… Read more »
Erika
Erika
10 months 16 days ago
I have so much sympathy for you! I have been where you are, which directly led to my current job as a social worker providing education and support to young families in crisis. Two resources for tantrums: (1) The Happiest Toddler on the Block, by Dr. Harvey Karp. Great techniques for heading off tantrums before they start, while building a strong relationship with your child. (2) The Explosive Child, by Dr. Ross Greene. This is the book you need if your child’s meltdowns go way beyond what’s developmentally normal. It gave me a much better understanding of what was going… Read more »
tired primal working mom
tired primal working mom
10 months 16 days ago

Thanks. We are definitely working on the tantrum issues, and I think they are within normal ranges, though I’ll check out the books. My daughter had the same issue at the same age, and I’m confident it is mostly a stage but recognize we need to handle it properly.

I love the Stockholm syndrome joke 🙂

Dee
Dee
10 months 16 days ago
Others have given practical advice regarding your situation with your kids. I have to echo what others have said – do not divorce your husband. Aside from you possibly losing support from him (you clearly mention how much he does for you), it would be terribly unfair to him, and your real problem seems to be not getting enough of a break from the stress. I just want to add something from the other angle, that might be helpful. You are obviously feeling overwhelmed, to say the least. I would suggest getting a full thyroid panel done (TSH, Free T3… Read more »
tired primal working mom
tired primal working mom
10 months 15 days ago
Interesting what you mention about hormones. I was really extreme primal in 2014, working out hard and eating almost no carbs. I started to lose menstruation. Since then, I have been irritable and I have suspected a hormonal imbalance (with cortisol or adrenaline) but couldn’t convince my doctor to test me for those. T3 and 4 were normal, and my iron is good. Since then I’ve slowed down the work outs, stopped fasting and started eating more carbs and sleeping more, with some results, but I’m still out of whack I think. I’ve always wondered about a dopamine issue too.… Read more »
Dee
Dee
10 months 14 days ago
It sounds like you are making progress! There’s adrenal information at Dr. Alan Christianson’s site that may help you further. Bright sunlight early in the morning, eating breakfast within an hour of waking, and increasing the amount of carbs at meals so that you have most at dinner are kind of the highlights of his adrenal reset program. I would just caution that a “normal” free T3 and free T4 level doesn’t necessarily mean you have a really good thyroid situation going on. The normal ranges that many labs and doctors use are far too broad, and in some cases… Read more »
Noconago
Noconago
10 months 14 days ago
I think it says a lot just in your name: Tired Working Mom. My .02 cents worth… I think it’s insane to have children and go to work full time on top of that. That alone is just so stressful. Stress is the big killer. We have total imbalance in our society. As recently as the 70’s when I was in High School, I knew of not a single mother that worked in my middle class neighborhood. It takes two to work full time to make it for most couples now. I really don’t know what to tell you, it’s… Read more »
Deborah
10 months 15 days ago
Huge hugs and warm wishes. A few ideas that might help: 1) Since it sounds like you can’t afford a babysitter, do you maybe have a little extra cash to get a mother’s helper and stay in the house in another room while your kiddos are entertained? 2) if you have no extra money, join a mom’s support group and either swap kids for an hour or two OR have little get togethers and let the kids play while you all talk about how annoying the kids are right now :p 3) Are you a member of a gym, or… Read more »
Paul
Paul
10 months 14 days ago

Young kids can be very trying and draining. Sometimes a shift in perspective is needed. Often the behavior we see from young children (and older too) is them trying to communicate with us in the very limited ways that they know how. A great resource that helped us a few years ago was “Language of Listening” where you’re taught to recognize the types of things the kids are trying to communicate and let them know they’ve been heard. Check out: http://www.languageoflistening.com. Good luck.

SuzU
SuzU
10 months 14 days ago
I can so relate to your post! I remember my years of motherhood with a sense of despair; I was stressed far beyond caregiver snap and went into severe chronic depression. Yes, I loved my children. No, I did not love being a mother. I’m going to disagree with the posters who suggest spending time with other mothers. This is, of course, coloured by my own psychology, and that should be taken into consideration. What I needed was NOT other mothers, but my own company and the company of adults who could talk about anything other than children, but particularly… Read more »
Marge
Marge
10 months 14 days ago
Dear Tired Primal Mom, Your situation really resonates with me. I am a bit of a health nut who raised 3 kids. My husband and I both had corporate jobs throughout. Raising kids while working and trying to stay healthy was the hardest thing I have ever done or ever will do. HOWEVER, I don’t think I could have worked and raised my kids and stayed married and successful throughout without staying healthy! My youngest was incredibly needy, high-energy, and willful. I can tell you from experience that you need all your strength and health to deal with a difficult… Read more »
ShaSha
ShaSha
10 months 16 days ago
Yes, I can relate to the above post. Life situations involving toxic family interactions set the stage for “shadow” compulsive/overeating behaviors when I was no more than 10 years old. It took me several decades, unfortunately, to rid myself of family relationships that only helped to reinforce negative childhood patterns that became habits. It wasn’t that I was unaware that I bore responsibility for my actions. It was just that when a child is programmed by older people in the family, it is often much more difficult to make the kind of choices (such as ending those relationships) that will… Read more »
ShaSha
ShaSha
10 months 16 days ago

To tired mom,

Your post appeared after I entered mine. So sorry to sound unsympathetic to what you are going through.

When you have children, things get much more difficult. You can’t just walk away.
I applaud your idea of finding a different room/space in the house at a time when you CAN get away because you need that personal time/space to be a good mother. Moms have the toughest job sometimes because there is no getting away from it all the was some people can do. Best of thoughts for you.

tired primal working mom
tired primal working mom
10 months 16 days ago

Haha, I figured you probably were not suggesting I cut ties with my young kids, even if things get toxic at times 🙂

v
v
10 months 15 days ago
i don’t think anyone has mentioned that maybe your kids need more closeness and affection. you husband is away a lot and you are trying to get away from your kids in your mind even when you are in the house with them. my mom was a nurse with 4 kids and an unsupportive husband that put her down regularly. when my mom was home, she was sleeping from depression and our house was disgusting. luckily i had my grandmom down the street and could hang out at her house. also i had caring teachers. whenever i got just a… Read more »
LK
LK
10 months 16 days ago
It sounds like some of the stress from the kids is due to misbehavior. I would suggest taking a class called STEP – Systematic Training for Effective Parenting – this is a parenting system taught all over the country for many years and it can be highly effective for parents to understand why their children are misbehaving and how to handle it. This system was used in my family and taught on a volunteer basis to other parent groups by my parents for years, and I have seen first hand how well it works. Many family counseling centers offer classes… Read more »
Chuck
Chuck
10 months 15 days ago
I have five kids ages 12 to 26, and a blended family. When all five were in the home, it was a madhouse. Over time, my wife and I learned that we needed to set clear and loving boundaries between the kids and our marriage. Kids are kids and they will eat you alive with their demands. But when they are gone, it will be you and your husband taking care of each other. I’d like to add the book “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend to the list of suggested resources. This book explains it all in easy to understand… Read more »
Kelly
Kelly
10 months 16 days ago
Forgot to add, have blood work done if you haven’t recently. I was severely anemic a few years ago and had terrible brain fog, depression, fatigue, no ability to handle stress, and a general feeling of overwhelm all the time. I thought it was just the exhaustion of 3 kids under the age of 5, but it turned out to be anemia. My practitioner prescribed a high-protein diet, digestive enzymes, acupuncture, and a couple other supplements. I felt better in a few months, though I still have to watch it when it comes to strenuous exercise. No cross fit for… Read more »
Dan H
Dan H
10 months 16 days ago

I just want to say WOW!!! This site is amazing, and visited by a lot of amazing and caring people. There is some fantastic advice in the comments today. I just want to say THANK YOU to all those who gave some very helpful advice to “tired primal working mom”.

tired primal working mom
tired primal working mom
10 months 16 days ago

My thoughts exactly – extremely helpful advice and delivered very compassionately.

Tazza
Tazza
10 months 15 days ago

I’d like to second Dan’s comment. Tired Mom was clearly in distress when she wrote her comment, and people could’ve easily glossed right over it. Instead, I was really moved by all of the thoughtful responses to her; they really reinforced what a special, amazing community this is. I’m not a mother yet, but Tired Mom, I hope you find at least a little bit of solace in others’ words! I hope your situation improves soon.

Monikat
Monikat
10 months 15 days ago
Clearly this is fodder for a separate post from Mark. Our society is so messed up with the lack of alloparenting–moms in their separate houses, dealing with their separate kids. I think Mark alluded to this phenomenon in a recent post, talking about the redundancy of these situations. It would be great if we delved into this particular specific situation. Tired Primal Mom, the advice here is so great. Please know that the situation can be at its worst when your kid is three. They are not in school yet, and starting school connects you to the other kids’ moms… Read more »
Dr. Dana Leigh Lyons
10 months 16 days ago
This message is so important, Mark. Eating and lifestyle “details” are totally entangled in the bigger “Life” stuff. In my personal experience and when working with clients, I can’t imagine focusing solely on the details…and expecting big, lasting shifts. Usually, there are underlying patterns that play out everywhere, in different ways. Looking from another angle, working on the “details” (including changing eating and lifestyle patterns) often brings bigger Life issues to the surface. Many times in our work these relate to past history, family and relationship, for example. Also “limiting core beliefs” and addictions (whether to substances, beliefs, thoughts or… Read more »
Jack Lea Mason
Jack Lea Mason
10 months 16 days ago
Great topic and it hits a vein for those of us bearing a PRS (Primal Resistant Spouse). Whenever I see someone I have not seen in a while and he or she looks happy and fit, my first tounge-in-cheek comment is, “You look great! Did you get a divorce?”. More often than not the reply is yes. A bad marriage is like bear trap. There are spring loaded iron jaws clamped around your ankle. It’s very painful but even more so if you fight it and try to pull loose. You realize the only way out is to knaw off… Read more »
Julie
Julie
10 months 15 days ago

Jack, This is exactly what people said to me after I got divorced. I lost close to 30 lbs. People said you look 10 years younger. The unhappiness and stress takes its toll.

Alice
Alice
10 months 15 days ago
Personally, I was a pretty easy-going Mom. I decided that happy un-nagged kids were more important to me than a tidy house, though I got good workouts in keeping the house CLEAN. I also decided very early in my difficult son’s life that my sanity was paramount because I would be no good to him dead (it seemed a real possibility at one point) . When I had more kids, I used to take a sick day about once a week and stay in bed with a book, except for making supper. I didN’t tell the kids I was sick… Read more »
cat
cat
10 months 15 days ago

Could be postpartum depression. It doesn’t always go away, two kids later it may be lurking in the background and it is real. Between that and/or a lousy thyroid life can become crazy.

Geoff
Geoff
10 months 15 days ago

I have long thought that the “Avoid Poisonous Things” Primal Law should be understood broadly to include emotional, spiritual, and psychological “toxins” as well as physical ones. This post is a great example of the toll those “poisonous” situations take on our health when unaddressed. So addressing and uprooting the mental stressors I face will always be a central component of my Primal life.

Elizabeth
10 months 15 days ago
Wow, this was a thought provoking post! I have had some ups and downs in my life, for sure, although I know I am fortunate compared to most. The biggest thing for me, that keeps me on track, is gratitude. I look for the silver lining in even the worst situations. I am even teased about this sometimes, but I believe that positive attitude really carries over to my health. I also have created such a routine of little healthy habits that even during stressful times I am still kind of on autopilot. It’s easier to stick with them than… Read more »
Ross
Ross
10 months 15 days ago

Timely article.

In the last few months I’ve come to realise that losing a lot of weight and getting much fitter have actually been a diversion from some pretty deep-seated problems unrelated to weight or fitness.

And it’s turned out to be frustrating now that my regular fix of diet and exercise has become the norm; that is, it’s no longer the all-consuming diversion it once was.

Thanks for the great head-check.

Josh
10 months 15 days ago

Great article! I found in my life that health came first, for certain. I think the new energy and attitude I got with better health has helped me motivate myself to be better in all areas of my life. As a minister, this has been essential in allowing me to form better relationships and doing my job better!

invah
10 months 15 days ago
It is no surprise that the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study, co-conducted by the CDC and Kaiser-Permanente, started at an obesity clinic: http://acestoohigh.com/2012/10/03/the-adverse-childhood-experiences-study-the-largest-most-important-public-health-study-you-never-heard-of-began-in-an-obesity-clinic/ “One way it was a solution is that it made them feel better. Eating soothed their anxiety, fear, anger or depression – it worked like alcohol or tobacco or methamphetamines. Not eating increased their anxiety, depression, and fear to levels that were intolerable.” “The other way it helped was that, for many people, just being obese solved a problem. In the case of the woman who’d been raped, she felt as if she were invisible to men.… Read more »
tired primal working mom
tired primal working mom
10 months 14 days ago
I just want to again say THANK YOU to everyone for the thoughtful suggestions and also for giving me a place to vent and be heard. The purpose of my post was mainly to get feedback on whether to keep pursuing my primal goals or if they are contributing to my problems (I still hope for some feedback there – anyone think they may have been overdoing it? How do you differentiate between overdoing it, true depression, and a crappy life?) and I was not expecting such an overwhelming show of support and understanding for my family situation. I am… Read more »
Dee
Dee
10 months 14 days ago
I applaud your determination to make it through. Please do look for some outside support as well. If you haven’t been able to find a mom’s group or something similar, I’d suggest church. There are often people willing to help with babysitting and that type of thing when you need a break. And there are many willing to lend a sympathetic ear. I have a small suggestion that may sound silly, but could help a lot if noise is one of your triggers (your mention of the youngest one’s crying fits sound like it) – earplugs! I realize they are… Read more »
Hedgie
Hedgie
10 months 13 days ago
Hey tired Mom, I am sending some love your way. There is no need to blame yourself. Parenting is hard and stressful. It just is. I have three kids under the age of four, so I get it. I am also deeply introverted, and that poses a huge challenge when parenting. To throw in my two cents and respond to your questions, if I were you I would absolutely give up on cooking all meals for your kid from scratch. We gave up on that a long time ago. It’s great if you can do it, but not everyone can.… Read more »
tired primal working mom
tired primal working mom
8 months 16 days ago
An update to my November posts. I have been doing (even more) internal reflection after this post by Mark and all the great advice from everyone on my situation. I’ve been evaluating the life I’ve made and the life I want. In short, I need to ease up on my standards, as I’ve created a monster. I’m running myself ragged and it is of no benefit to me, or anyone. Working harder doesn’t always mean better productivity, and it really doesn’t equate to increased health or happiness, which are my goals. For the last two months, I’ve been working to… Read more »
Sheila
Sheila
4 months 16 days ago

I am so glad things area going better for you now tired primal mum. The tantrums and crying fits are such a difficult phase of motherhood, and all while you are not getting enough rest and sleep and peace. I think you are doing really well and it’s good you can articulate your difficulties so well. I hope things continue to improve and life gets better for you and your family.
Love from Sheila

tired primal working mom
tired primal working mom
4 months 16 days ago

Thank you 🙂

Ellen
Ellen
10 months 14 days ago
Tired mom, my daughter uses art to distract her kids when they start to get on each other’s nerves and before the fighting starts. Plain paper, markers, water colors, crayons (and who doesn’t like to color) all come out on the table and she sits down with them and colors until they get into it, and then she can sit there quietly and read. Also, if you can pick up on the “pre-tantrum cues” you might be able to divert the interest away from the tantrum. Also, when my kids were little and CONSTANTLY talking and I thought I might… Read more »
Marlene Affeld
10 months 14 days ago

Delighted to discover your blog and insightful informative articles. I will follow you, for inspiriation and motivation. Thanks for being a role model.

v
v
10 months 14 days ago
“How do you differentiate between overdoing it, true depression, and a crappy life?” you have 2 healthy children and you didn’t say your husband was a jerk or that you had heavy financial struggles. therefore you do not have a crappy life. you seem to have some degree of depression. did you say you were going to see a doctor- that’s the main thing you need to do. i was anemic from heavy periods (10) and vitamin d deficient (17)- i forget the units of measurement. but anyway, i feel much better just from addressing those two deficiencies. if you… Read more »
Denise Syrett
Denise Syrett
10 months 12 days ago
Dear Tired Mom, Being chronically exhausted, overwhelmed by noise and too much activity, yelling. Those are all things I felt and did even WITHOUT little children! I had adrenal exhaustion and Major Depression. The first basic thing is realizing you are doing too much. There are things you can let go. It’s OKAY to do that! There’s no relaxation or fun in your life to refresh yourself. Ramp it DOWN on the working out and doing all your cooking from scratch. Get an on anti-depressant if you need to. Talk to a girl friend about silly things. There isn’t one… Read more »
Erika
Erika
10 months 14 days ago
Dear Tired Mom, I wish I could just give you a giant hug and watch your kids for the weekend. I so much know how you feel. I was depressed on and off for the better part of seven years after I came home from work to be a homemaker and at-home mom to what was eventually three kids. For me, my rages and “scary mommy” moments were due to depression and sleep deprivation and always being in that “flight or fight” mode. (I, too, would have persistent escape fantasies, that for a time even bordered on suicidal.) I’m very… Read more »
Leonardo
Leonardo
9 months 26 days ago
I was thinking, writing and spending a good time on ideas that came to me while reading this article. I found 4 things, that form a chain: 1) Circunstances (“Life”) 2) Emotions (the emotional response to circunstances). 3) Health Habits (“lifestile”). 4) Health. Every one of them can affect the next one: -Bad circunstances can lead to bad emotions (through the way one reacts to the circunstances). -Bad emotions can lead to bad habits (through excuses, emotional eating). -Bad habits lead to bad health. -Bad health can make the circunstances worse (when it becomes one more problem to deal with).… Read more »
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