Category: Habits

Ask a Health Coach: No Time for Self-Care?

Hey folks! In this week’s Ask a Health Coach, Erin is answering your questions about eating primally on the road, what to do when you feel like you’re forcing yourself to exercise, and the role coherent breathing plays in reducing anxiety. Got a question for Erin? Post it below or over in our Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group.

Angela asked:

“I have a predicament. I’m a small business owner and drive a lot during my day. I don’t get a lot of time for lunch, I just eat when I’m driving, so for the last 3 months I’ve been eating sandwiches (NOT primal, at all). All of my symptoms have come back in full force (migraines, acid reflux, etc.), and today I stepped on the scale and have gained 20 lbs!! What can I pack for lunch that can be eaten while also driving?”
Ok, so I’m dying to know. If you own the business, can’t you schedule time to eat? My guess is that you’re the one who makes the schedule. So, in theory, you could arrange to give yourself a 30-minute break in the middle of the day for a satisfying, satiating meal, where you’re not driving, multi-tasking, or taxing your central nervous system with added stress.

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Learn to Listen to Your Body Again

Summer parties, BBQs, a few adult beverages. Heck, it’s been forever since you’ve had a little fun — and this past year has been rough — so why not indulge? Why not pile on the treat foods and keep the sangria flowing? While you’re at it, go ahead and stay up way too late. There’s plenty of time to catch up on sleep later.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a hedonist at heart. I believe humans are driven by the pursuit of pleasure. The problem arises when we indulge mindlessly because we believe we deserve it and because it’s been 16 months since we’ve had the opportunity to let our hair down and interact with other human beings within a six-foot radius. Or, on the flip side, are so out of touch with our bodies’ sensations that even simple things like fatigue and hunger become totally overwhelming and unmanageable.
As a health coach, I’ve worked with hundreds of uber-disciplined, well-educated folks who have their macros completely dialed in, yet struggle to see results, as well as those who restrict like nobody’s business during the week or follow the health-fad-du-jour, then give in to a whole weekend’s worth of junk food (and all the guilt, shame, and judgement that comes with it). It’s one of the reasons I’ve become a staunch anti-diet advocate. And why I’m passionate about helping people re-learn how to listen to their bodies.

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Ask a Health Coach: Who’s Keeping You Accountable?

Hey folks! In this week’s Ask a Health Coach, Erin is answering your questions about shaking up your eating routine, wrangling sugar cravings, and how to know if you should hire a health coach. We love getting your questions, so ask yours in the comments below or in our Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group.

Diana asked:
“I’ve been paleo for about six months and I’m getting sick of eating all the same foods day after day. What ideas do you have for mixing things up?”
This is a question I get asked all the time. And my answer is typically something in the realm of, “if you’re sick of eating the same things, then eat different things.” Honestly, if a nutritionist tells you what to eat, you’ll have some resistance to some of those foods. It’s one of the reasons I don’t offer meal plans to my clients: I don’t really want to tell people what to eat! As humans, we’re pre-wired to resist when someone tells us to do something that goes against what we’re familiar with. That, and the fact that I want you to learn how to feed yourself long after our sessions wrap up.

Maybe you’re not sure what to eat. Thankfully the internet is filled with amazing resources, including this one right here. Eat anything on this list, in any combo you want. It’s that simple! No complicated recipes required. Still need ideas? Keep reading.

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Sober-curious: Experimenting with Ditching Alcohol and Going Dry

More and more people are questioning whether alcohol deserves a place in their lives. The popular media has dubbed this growing contingent of alcohol skeptics “sober-curious.” These folks aren’t so much worried that they have a serious drinking problem, though that might be a nagging thought in the back of their minds. Rather, they suspect that the negatives outweigh the positives, even if they only drink “moderately” (however they define it).

Sober-curious folks are ready to dabble in sobriety, yet the choice to stop drinking is a complicated one. Cutting out alcohol isn’t as simple as switching to mineral water and going on your merry way. For many, it means giving up a stress or anxiety release, a comfortable habit, and a way to unwind at the end of a long day.

Then there are the obvious social considerations. Drinking is woven into every aspect of social life, from celebrations to mourning, brunches with friends, first dates, work functions—you name it, alcohol is there. Drinking is so normalized that not drinking unsettles and perplexes other people more than drinking to excess.

The sober-curious crowd, which includes a growing contingent of young people, is ready to disrupt the system as they increasingly realize that a sober lifestyle has more to offer. Alcohol perhaps isn’t the cool best friend it’s supposed to be. It’s more like the sloppy, unhelpful roommate who needs a boot.

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Face Yoga and Eye Yoga: The Next Anti-Aging Revolution?

You know that feeling when you add something to your wellness repertoire, and it just clicks? Maybe for you it was meditation, daily walks, blue-light blocking glasses, or a particular supplement. For me, it was face yoga.

Face yoga is billed as a safe and effective anti-aging tool—a facelift without surgery or botox. That’s not why I like it, though. I use face and eye yoga to relieve stress and counteract the effects of looking at screens all day.

I don’t blame you if you’re feeling skeptical. My initial reaction was to roll my eyes, too, which is ironic since eye rolling is an eye yoga exercise. My friends look at me incredulously when I mention it. Reserve your judgment until you try it, though.

It only takes a few minutes a day and to reap the benefits. Even then, you might be thinking, “Seriously?! I don’t have the time or energy to add anything else into my daily routine, and you want me to try face and eye yoga?” Never fear. I’ve worked out a strategy that lets me check some self-care boxes and reduce stress levels at the same time. Read to the bottom of the post for details.

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Mastering Motivation Amidst Challenging Life Circumstances

It seems the hot fitness topic of 2020 is learning how to adapt and stay motivated when your gym is closed, events are canceled, and the awesome motivators of group energy and camaraderie are kept at a distance. Interestingly, some folks have been thrown entirely out of whack, with COVID-19 prompting “the COVID 20” in the same manner as the proverbial Freshman-15. Others have adapted and even thrived when forced to modify their fitness regimens. We can definitely take tips and inspiration from them, but if you are struggling in recent times, don’t stress about it. Falling off your A-game in 2020 doesn’t mean you’re lazy or undisciplined. Personality types who favor tight structure and carefully cultivated environments can really get thrown off. Others who are more self-directed and creative can keep going through all kinds of and obstacles and redirections.

My high school running buddy Steve Dietch ran a 2:47 Boston Marathon at age 49 despite an insane international business travel schedule for 200 days a year. New day, new city or country, new running route, new PR—no problem. In recognition of the closure of his gym back in March, 2020, Primal Health Coach (and frequent Primal Blueprint Podcast guest) Dude Spellings of Austin, TX set an hourly alarm on his computer to perform 35 pushups, 15 pullups, and 30 squats. Hit that 6-8 times a day, five days a week, for six months, and it’s easy to see how Dude reports being in his best shape in decades at age 50. Granted, setting an hour alarm and getting the job done to the tune of hundreds of pushups, pullups, and squats every workday is easier said than done. As Sisson says all the time, “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” The trick is to discover motivators and environmental triggers that work for you, take baby steps in the direction of your goals and never get discouraged when you fall short of the ideal. Let’s cover an assortment of suggestions that will hopefully make you impervious to distraction, inconvenience or busyness, and allow you to elevate your fitness endeavors into the hallowed category of “automatic” — daily behaviors that characterize a healthy, active way of life.

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