Category: Habits

The Best Way to Hydrate, According to a Health Coach

We’re all looking for the perfect formula, right? Just tell me how many grams of fat and carbs to eat. How many steps to take per day. And how many glasses of water I should be drinking within a 24-hour period.

We love the precision of it all. The safety of micromanaging every detail of our life with the promise that if we can dial it in enough, we’ll enjoy perfect health for the rest of our days. But when you think about all the forcing, measuring, counting, and obsessive overplanning that goes into this kind of micromanagement, there’s actually nothing healthy about it.

There’s nothing healthy about ignoring your body’s own cues in favor of what general nutrition — or random social media influencers say. Nutrition might be a science, but it’s also an art form. And learning to trust your body and what it’s trying to tell you trumps any water-to weight-ratio chart you’ll find online.

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7 Strategies for Making Change Less Stressful

Whenever I meet with a new client, I can feel their apprehension about making any lifestyle changes within the first few minutes – especially once we start talking about food .

It’s the worry about never being able to have their favorite foods again. The fear of not being able to stick with it. The judgement from friends and family, who, in their opinion, are going to alienate them from social functions, happy hours, and dinner parties (you know, once those are in full swing again).

The emotions and ‘what ifs’ that come up for some people can seriously derail them from a life they love and completely deserve. Just the idea of change becomes such a roadblock that they’d rather stay stuck in their current patterns than take steps toward something different.

Sound familiar? If so, stick around because I’m going to unpack why change is so stressful and tangible steps you can take to make it easier.

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Ask a Health Coach: The Adaptation Edition

Hey folks! In this week’s Ask a Health Coach, Erin is talking all about adaptation – from how long it really takes to become fat adapted to dealing with self-sabotage and how to get off the Standard American Diet rollercoaster for good. Keep sending your questions our way in the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group or comments below.
Stacey asked:
“I’m three weeks into a strict keto diet, and I’ve only lost a few pounds. This seems very slow compared to what everyone else reports. Do you have any tips for expediting fat loss?”
If it were as simple as meticulously monitoring your macros, everyone would be low-carbing their way to a six-pack. Listen, fat loss can be stubborn. And it’s not just reliant on what you eat or how many calories you torch. Every signal your body receives from the environment affect how your genes express themselves.

Not only that, your attitude towards your endeavour matters too. That includes your mindset, your mood, and any expectations you may have. So, if you expect that you should be dropping more weight than you have, you’re already setting yourself up for disappointment.

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How to Let Go of Clutter without Feeling Like a Jerk

Wondering why your feed is filled with tips on how to declutter your space? Clean mildew out of the showers. Swap your regular detergent for a better-for-the-environment one? It’s National Cleaning Week, or, as one of my clients put it, national “feeling bad because my house is a mess and I have zero interest in doing anything about it” week.

Even though having a clean, organized space can increase your focus, reduce stress, and sometimes even improve your relationships, most people are far too busy to embrace the decluttering-is-awesome mindset, but is it really a lack of time that prevents you from doing it or is something else at work?

I’m willing to bet there are lots of things in your home you’re not using (hello, burnt up plastic food storage lids), but for some reason, you just can’t bring yourself to throw anything away or even donate it.
Why Can’t You Get Rid of Stuff?
Jean Piaget, one of the founding fathers of child psychology, says the reason we’re so attached to our belongings is due to a psychological phenomenon called the Endowment Effect. Basically, we put more value on items we own versus items we don’t own.

There have been tons of studies on this phenomenon too. Like this one where participants were divided into three groups, then asked to assist with research and given a reward for helping out. The first group was offered two choices for their reward: a coffee mug or a bar of chocolate. Half chose the mug, and the other half chose the chocolate, which suggests that they valued each reward equally. In the second group, participants were given the mug first, then offered a chance to swap it for the chocolate bar, but only 11% took the researchers up on the offer. A third group started out with the chocolate bar, and most preferred to keep it instead of swapping it for the mug, which was offered after the fact.

The participants always put greater value on whichever reward they started off with.
Decluttering Has an Emotional Component
Another reason it’s so hard to part with your stuff? According to this study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, it all comes down to self-worth. Rather than looking at the things you own as “mine” you think of them as part of who you are.

If you value relationships, you might have trouble parting with gifts. Kind of like you’re being disloyal to the person who gave it to you. If you value success, it could be challenging to part with items that serve as a reminder of your accomplishments, like an award at work or a decades-old trophy from your high school soccer days.

Some possessions also make you feel closer to people. Take family heirlooms for example. Maybe you’re having a hard time getting rid of a piece of artwork or jewelry that was passed down from your great grandma, because those items make you feel connected to her.

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Ask a Health Coach: Consistency, Control, and Chronic Cardio

Hi there, folks! In this week’s Ask a Health Coach, Erin is back to answer your questions about the pros and cons of consistent eating patterns, how to avoid chronically overdoing it in the gym, and staying motivated when everyone around you is addicted to a SAD lifestyle. Do you have questions for Erin? Post them in the comments section below or over in the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group. Angie asked: “I read somewhere that eating the same foods at the same time every day is best thing for fat loss. You know, for consistency. Can you tell me what times you recommend eating for the fastest results?” Instead of telling you the best time to eat, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The key to fat loss isn’t eating the same thing day after day after day — or eating it at the same time. Your body isn’t keeping score on what you ate and when you ate it. And it’s certainly not built for sticking to a rigid schedule that goes against everything our bodies and brains are designed to do. Yes, Your Body Thrives on Inconsistency Life, by nature, is totally inconsistent and training your body to adhere to a strict eating plan is the fastest way to fail because life will always get in the way. Always. There will always be curve balls: waking up too late to make a satiating protein-packed breakfast, forgetting to go grocery shopping, enjoying a much-needed vacation one day with free-flowing margaritas that in no way, shape, or form fit into your daily macros. Hanging your hat on consistency in an inherently inconsistent world might yield results, but you deserve better than obsessing over food, sticking to a strict eating window, and constantly trying to force the situation. Listen, the body is highly adaptive — it thrives on inconsistency. When the body gets used to a certain way of doing things, it starts to conserve its efforts (i.e. stall progress). You’ve likely seen this in the fitness world. Train your body the same way day after day, and after a while your strength will plateau. That’s why personal trainers recommend changing frequency, intensity, and type of activity every so often, so that you can increase your ability to adapt to new variables (and keep crushing it). Same thing goes for food. Ever Heard of Metabolic Adaptation? Sure, your body will adapt at the beginning of a hyper restrictive eating plan, but then it won’t change again until you change the variable. When it comes to cutting calories for fat loss, the body will adapt to that consistently-delivered lower number of calories. It gets used to what you give it! The problem, is, you’ll need to continue going lower and lower until you can’t possibly decrease your calories any further. You won’t win this one, trust me — your body will keep adapting. That response is called metabolic adaptation. And it’s a good thing. While it works … Continue reading “Ask a Health Coach: Consistency, Control, and Chronic Cardio”

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Is Fear of Success for Real?

It seems counterintuitive to fear the very thing you want. But let me assure you, fear of success is real and there’s a good chance it’s what’s holding you back right now.

You’re familiar with the fear of failure, right? Those of you who’ve had a major setback or flop in one or more areas of your life probably know this one pretty well. That fear of feeling disappointed, embarrassment, shame, or even public humility can stop you in your tracks.

Fear of failing isn’t the only thing that keeps people stuck though. Spoiler alert, it’s not a lack of willpower or motivation either. Like a lot of challenges in life, the issue is rarely the thing you think it is.
What is Fear of Success Anyway?
It’s not success itself you’re afraid of, but the potential price you’ll have to pay for it. I see this a lot in my health coaching clients. Their fears often manifest as anxiety around the changes and consequences that may occur if they were to knock their goal out of the park. Even before we really get started in our sessions, they’re obsessing over the regular workouts, the uncomfortable conversations they’ll be having about why they don’t eat bread, the glaring they’ll get from envious friends who no longer want to associate with them because they’ve “changed.”

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