Ask a Health Coach: Dealing with Overwhelm, Naysayers, and Kid-Friendly Fitness

Hi, folks. In this week’s edition of Ask a Health Coach, Erin shares her strategies for staying on track while sheltering in place, navigating toxic relationships online, and how to make fitness fun for the whole family. Remember, you can ask your questions in the MDA Facebook Group or below this post in the comments section.

overwhelmI’m really struggling here. Between my new routine and trying to eat healthy, it’s just too much. How do I avoid losing all of my progress during the quarantine? -Lizzie

I actually hear this a lot. Not just from my clients who are heeding the stay-at-home orders right now either. Feeling overwhelmed by a change 1 in routine or diet or job is normal. That said, choosing to stay overwhelmed is a choice.

Often, I’ll hear my clients say, “I can’t do this.” Sometimes it’s in the week after enrolling them in my health coaching program. But honestly, a lot of times it’s even sooner — like the moment I’m telling them the good news that they can reach their goals with a few tweaks in their diet. You can feel the panic setting in.

“I can’t” has become such a common phrase in our vocabulary. And it’s complete BS. You absolutely can do it. You may not want to, but you certainly can. No doubt in my mind.

You can do anything you set your mind to, even during the quarantine.

Can you load your plate up with protein and veggies instead of the refined, starchy carbs that make you feel all bloated and sleepy? Yep. Can you commit to starting your day with a nutrient-dense breakfast instead of eating grab-and-go snack foods from the pantry? Sure can. Can you dial down your sugar intake? Go for a stroll around the block? Put on a yoga video? Yes, yes, and yes.

Sure, buying groceries is a little more challenging right now. And exercising when your whole family is around may not be ideal. But using the excuse that a change in routine is keeping you from your health goals is nonsense.

It may be more difficult to make these changes, but I know without question, that you can make them. You can do anything if you decide it’s worth it.

My family and close friends are supportive of my Primal journey, but whenever I post about it on Facebook, I get a lot of negative comments. What am I doing wrong? -Annette

First of all, I love hearing that you have a great support system in your family and close friends. But here’s the deal with “online friends,” everyone’s a critic. It might be jealousy or trying to get your attention, or whatever. But the bottom line is that your journey is your journey — and every moment of it is worth celebrating. Every. Single. Moment.

I’ve learned the hard way that the jerks on social media are just show-offs who want to seem like they know more than you do. They’re always scavenging for the newest data and next-level research, and basically diminishing anything anyone else is doing. They want to appear bigger so that you feel smaller. Am I right? And they typically have nothing constructive to add to the conversation. Just know, when I say typically, I mean never.

What someone else has to say about your Primal journey, whether it’s online or in-person, has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.2 Their negativity is a direct reflection of their self-esteem (or lack thereof), so, turn the other cheek, turn off your notifications, or better yet, block those naysayers from your posts.

Keep doing what you’re doing and rely on relationships with your family and real friends for those times you need an extra dose of support.

How do I get my kids onboard with exercise. Without regular PE classes, they’ve become quite sedentary. Tips on getting them to exercise more? -James

This is a great question, James. With school closures and the suspension of team sports, a lot of families are struggling to find ways to get their kids moving. According to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, only one in three kids 3 is physically active every day. What’s worse is that research shows they’re getting up to 8 hours of screen time daily. And I’m sure that number is even higher now.

A recent study 4 found that teens who didn’t get regular exercise were more likely to develop depression too, so, you’re right to be concerned. But my first rule when it comes to kids and exercise is, don’t force it. You want to paint the picture that fitness is fun. And it can be, you just have to get a little creative given our current circumstances.

While playing at a park or running around with friends is out right now, activities like riding bikes, jumping on a trampoline, dancing, and creating American Ninja Warrior style obstacle courses in the backyard are all awesome forms of exercise.

Also, remember that your kids are always watching you. This is your opportunity to be a positive role model. If you’re lounging on the couch with a bag of chips and a can of pop, how likely are they to drink water and fly through obstacles? Not very. Show them that exercise is important to you as a family — that it’s something you do together — and they’ll follow your lead.

About the Author

Erin Power

Erin Power is an NBHWC board-certified health coach and the Coaching and Curriculum Director for Primal Health Coach Institute. She’s also the co-host of Health Coach Radio, the podcast by health coaches, for health coaches. Erin lives outside of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on a hobby farm in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

If you have a passion for health and wellness and a desire to help people like Erin does, consider becoming a certified health coach yourself. Learn the 3 simple steps to building a successful health coaching business in 6 months or less in this special info session hosted by Primal Health Coach Institute co-founder Mark Sisson.

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!