Category: Habits

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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Want to Accelerate Your Results? Set Up Your Environment for Success

I’m a huge fan of keeping things simple (I even put it in my business name: eat.simple). I especially feel this way when it comes to food, fitness, and fat loss. If you’re sick of white knuckling it through your day, struggling with non-existent motivation, or the phrase “I’ll just start again on Monday” is on regular rotation in your vocabulary, there’s one life-changing tactic I use with all my clients that’s proven to accelerate results. I realize life-changing is a fairly dramatic word, but without this one step, you’ll be working harder than you need to. The simplest and most impactful thing you can do to accelerate your results is to set your environment up for success. The Role Your Environment Plays Think about the unfavourable snack foods that you keep in your pantry. You know, “just in case.” Or the fact that you have no clue where you put those free weights you bought during the pandemic. Does that get you closer to your results or further away? When you remove the foods that tempt you from the house and replace them with ones that support your goal, you have the best possible chance of succeeding. Same goes for exercise. If your workout gear is tucked away in a back closet, how likely are you to use it? Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behaviour. This nugget of truth from author and habit expert, James Clear is 100% spot on. People tend to believe that their healthy habits are a product of motivation, willpower, and effort, when in reality, it’s your environment that gives you the biggest bang for your buck. Clear says, “If you want to maximize your odds of success, then you need to operate in an environment that accelerates your results rather than hinders them.” Examples of how environment impacts you: Your phone is right next to your desk, so you check Instagram more often than you’d like You didn’t make time to go grocery shopping, so it looks like it’s take-out again tonight The room you work out in is cluttered with junk, making it hard to find space to do yoga You use a large dinner sized plate, and fill it up with more food than you need You keep ice cream in the freezer and eat it after a really stressful day Change Your Environment, Change Who You Are Environment plays a big role in your ability to reach your goals. Not just from a conscious perspective (remove the ice cream from the freezer so it’s harder to indulge), but also from a subconscious perspective. By altering your environment, your subconscious mind starts to adopt behaviours and attitudes that are conducive to your success. Say, you went ahead and purged all the cookies, bagels, muffins, and cereal from your pantry and replaced them with bowls of fresh fruit and veggies. The food you’re surrounded by begins to change the way you think about yourself. In other words, if your cupboard … Continue reading “Want to Accelerate Your Results? Set Up Your Environment for Success”

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Ask a Health Coach: When Should I Be Eating?

Hey folks! This week, Erin Power is back to answer your questions about when you should be eating. If you’re wondering if you should be having breakfast, how to avoid being ravenous after a cross-country flight, or the best way to navigate summer BBQs, you won’t want to miss this post. Keep sharing your questions on our Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook page or in the comments below.   Rachel asked: “I’m not typically a breakfast eater. Should I force myself to have breakfast even if I’m not hungry in the morning?” I’m a front loader when it comes to eating. That means I put the most emphasis on my first meal of the day. And you should too if you want to avoid the grazing, eating-every-three hours mentality that, in my opinion, is totally contradictory to the way we were meant to feed ourselves. Assuming you work a first shift job, it makes sense to fuel the day ahead of you. Plan on having your most nutrient-dense meal in the morning – or whenever your first meal of the day is. Remember, breakfast is when you BREAK YOUR FAST. It doesn’t have to be at 6am when you wake up. It could be at 8am or 11am or 2pm. But What If You’re Not Hungry? If you’re not hungry when you wake up, you’re not alone. Most people’s daily food intake looks something like this: Eat as little as possible throughout the day, constantly thinking about what you’re going to eat and when you can eat it Decide you can’t take it anymore and binge on a huge evening meal Feel unsatiated, so you continue to snack until bedtime Wake up still feeling full, likely with undigested food in your system   Breaking the Late-Night Eating Cycle As a health coach, I help my clients break old habits that no longer serve them. When you eat a large dinner late at night, it not only prevents you from being hungry in the morning, it also interrupts your sleep cycle and prevents you from becoming metabolically flexible. I typically recommend that my clients do *force* a morning meal loaded with protein and fat. I’m not saying to eat past your satiation level, but if you usually start your day with a quick protein bar and coffee, or a yogurt and banana, honor your body by sitting down for a full meal of eggs, bacon, and veggies, and then taper from there. How To Be Hungry at Breakfast Time By the time you get to dinner, you’ll naturally want a smaller dinner (and feel like eating it earlier). And you won’t be tempted to snack all night to make up for the calories and nutrients you missed out on earlier in the day. You’ll also be more apt to get a great night of undisturbed sleep because you’re not working on digesting that late night bag of trail mix or waking up because your cortisol has spiked. Research shows that habitual breakfast … Continue reading “Ask a Health Coach: When Should I Be Eating?”

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Habit Stacking Microworkouts (aka Working Out Without Having to Think About It)

The beauty of microworkouts is that you can do them virtually anywhere with minimal time investment, and the cumulative training effect really adds up… if you remember to do them.

To be successful with microworkouts, or any form of exercise, consistency is key. Not rigidity—we’re not big fans of rigidly adhering to a strict exercise schedule here—but you need to put in the time and effort. Workouts that don’t happen don’t change you. Unlike going to the gym or taking a Crossfit class, which you might schedule into your busy calendar, microworkouts are meant to be sprinkled throughout your day. Unfortunately, that makes microworkouts all too easy to forget or push off, until you get to dinnertime and realize you’ve barely moved your body all day.

If this sounds familiar, it’s time to get some systems in place to make microworkouts a built-in part of your day. This is a roundabout way of saying: you need to make microworkouts a habit.

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