Hi folks! PHCI Curriculum Director, Erin Power is here for another round of Ask a Health Coach. Today, she’ll be answering your questions about popular weight-loss apps, navigating your doctor’s advice, and what to do when your friends and family chime in on your goals. We love getting your questions, so keep them coming over in our Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook Group or in the comments below. Sonya asked: “I’m considering signing up for one of those weight-loss apps like Weight Watchers or Noom. I’ve got about 45 pounds to lose and I could really use a structured plan to help me get on track this year. What’s your take on programs like that?” As a society, we have a lot of un-learning to do about how to lose weight. Honestly, we’ve made it a lot fussier than it needs to be. Apps like those are designed to tap into the messages we’ve been bombarded with on a daily basis about tracking what we put in our mouths under the guise that it’s helping us live a “balanced” life. I don’t like it. How on Earth is obsessing about what you’re consuming 24/7 called balance? From what I understand, some of the new changes Weight Watchers (or WW as it’s now called) has implemented move away from pure weight loss into more of general wellness. Even still, all the points and tracking and ups and downs of equating calories consumed to calories burned is a journey I don’t want to be on. Noom is slightly better since it teaches you to be accountable for your own choices, focusing on education and the psychological factors of behavior change. As a health coach, I wholeheartedly believe these are important elements for long-term fat loss. However, the app still labels foods with a green, yellow, or red rating scale. It’s not as dramatic as calling foods “good” or “bad” but it does walk a fine line on the subject. Here’s the deal with both options. Whichever you go with, you actually have to use them consistently. Sometimes, paying for a service is motivation enough to follow through, but often times, the only thing that gets lighter is your bank account. Today’s diet culture has coerced many people into believing that every morsel needs to be micromanaged down to the last crumb (trust me, it doesn’t). And contrary to what you might be telling yourself right now, your body really does know how to lose weight on its own. It’s just forgotten how to do so. Your body is a metabolically miraculous being — and when you learn a few game changing strategies, you won’t need an app, food scale, or tracking system to help you lose weight. 1. Believe that you can do it. Psychologically speaking, this is known as self-efficacy. Do a little self-reflection with me. When you think about reaching your weight loss goal, what comes to mind? If you feel wishy-washy about how capable you are of achieving results, practice … Continue reading “Ask a Health Coach: Who’s Nutrition Advice Should I Follow?”
Hey everyone! 2021 is on the horizon. And with that, many of you are ready for a change in your health, in your fitness, and in your relationships. But before you get too far down the New Year’s resolution path, check out these strategies from health coach veteran, Erin Power. Got more questions? Head over to the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group or post them in the comments below.
I’m struggling to get my husband to go paleo with me in January. I know it would benefit him since he’s always complaining about his aches and pains. Plus, we each have about 10-20 pounds to lose. What can I say that will convince him he needs to clean up his diet?
I applaud you for wanting to pay attention to how food — specifically standard American junk food, impacts your body. As you already know, all those sugars, refined carbohydrates, and highly processed junk can affect everything from your mood to your energy to the way your joints feel.
One thing I like to do at the end of every year is look back on how I spent the last 12 months. This past year was like no other. There were a lot of surprises. A lot of reasons goals were more difficult to achieve. A lot of forces in play.
It’s possibly more important to reflect on this year than any other year. My reflection practice follows loosely the same structure every year. I’ll go through my usual practice of asking myself tough questions about my successes and failures — and to be brutally honest with my replies. But this year, there’s another layer.
The overtone is, what did I overcome?
Now, this exercise must be done with some dedicated effort. A passing read through the questions while nodding only to forget about them in twenty minutes won’t get the job done. Discuss them with a friend, spouse, or loved one to make them real. Write them down on a piece of paper, or type your answers out. However you pay special attention to this exercise, give careful, thoughtful answers. This is about resolutions, but even more than that, this is about dialogue. Open, honest dialogue between your multiple selves, between the person that should be doing this or would rather be accomplishing that, and the person who does neither but desperately wants to. The resolutions will come, but expect it to take a little work. Let’s get to it…
We’re rounding the corner to another January 1st and all the New Year’s resolutions that come with it. I can almost hear the determined cries of “I’m going to lose 20 pounds,” “…get rid of this gut,” and “…stop eating junk food!”
It’s no surprise it’s on your mind though. Year after year, health and fitness are at the top of my clients’ resolutions lists (in addition to reducing stress and sleeping better).
As I always say, you never need to wait for New Year’s or another Monday to roll around to make changes. Every second of your day is another chance to begin your transformation. That said, since so many of you are ready to kiss 2020 goodbye, let me give you the same pep talk I give my clients so we can all start 2021 on the right foot.
I think everyone can agree that things look a lot different this year. We’re planning smaller holiday gatherings with just our immediate families. There are restrictions at stores and restaurants. And, in some places, limited supplies of groceries and household items. One thing that looks the same (at least with my health coaching clients) is the internal dilemma of whether or not they’re going to stick with their healthy eating habits or say “Screw it!” and dive into a plate of real bread stuffing, cornstarch-thickened gravy, and multiple slices of pecan pie. On one hand, there’s the philosophy that holidays are a special occasion and should be treated as such. And that includes all the traditional carb-laden goodies. On the other hand, there are people who are 100 percent committed to their Primal lifestyle and prepare their holiday feast accordingly. Let me emphatically state that there’s no right or wrong answer here. Just Don’t Call it a ‘Bad Food Day’ Honestly, I don’t care if you indulge in several servings of green bean casserole or marshmallow-crusted sweet potatoes. What I do care about is the level of guilt you carry around with you after doing so. What does guilt have to do with food? Guilt is the feeling that you’ve done something wrong. At a young age, most of us are taught the difference between right and wrong. So, in a general sense, you might feel guilty if you stole something, hurt someone, or got caught up in a lie. On the other hand, you might have been rewarded or praised for doing something right (i.e. getting good grades, helping a neighbor, doing chores without being asked). Examples of Food Guilt: I shouldn’t have another piece Dessert/bread/wine is unhealthy Once I start, I can’t stop I’ve totally blown it I don’t want to see the scale tomorrow Diet culture tells us to feel bad if we overeat or indulge in *forbidden* foods. It says that a higher number on the scale is equal to lower self-worth. Don’t get me wrong, certain foods come with consequences. Depending on your bio-individuality, foods with higher amounts of sugar, industrialized oils, and artificial ingredients might leave you feeling foggy, fatigued, bloated and on the fast-track to chronic disease. But moralizing foods for their good vs bad qualities always backfires. Metabolism is Influenced by State of Mind In addition to the heavy emotional baggage you have to carry, deeming certain foods as negative actually discourages metabolic activity. It all starts in your hypothalamus, which processes senses, emotions, and biological functions like hunger. When you feel guilty about what you’re eating, the hypothalamus transmits signals that slow your digestion and cause your body to store more calories as fat versus burning them for energy. In theory, saying to yourself “this will make me fat” becomes kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. On the flip side, when you enjoy food as you’re eating it, the hypothalamus releases pleasure signals that stimulate digestion so that you thoroughly break down … Continue reading “How to Enjoy Your Holiday Feast, Guilt-Free”
Ever heard the quote, “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work?” Originally said by NBA all-star, Kevin Durant, this is a perfect example of utilizing a growth mindset — meaning your success can be cultivated by your efforts. When you operate from the opposite perspective (called a fixed mindset) you believe your talents and abilities are predetermined. Either you’re good at something or you’re not. End of story. Maybe you believe you’ll always have a layer of fluff around your middle because you never stick with anything. Or you avoid working out because everyone in your family is uncoordinated. Or you’re “so intelligent” but can’t seem to figure out how the heck to lose those last ten pounds. If that’s you, congratulations, you have a fixed mindset. When you start viewing things through a more optimistic lens, you move into growth mindset territory. And that’s where the magic really happens. Let’s Define Growth Mindset You can’t talk about this term without acknowledging the famous Stanford University psychologist who coined it. Decades ago, Carol Dweck published research that kind of changed the world. In the study, Dweck and one of her colleagues gave puzzles to 400 fifth graders. After completing the first puzzle, the children were either praised for their effort or praised for their intelligence. The group who was praised with statements like “you must have worked so hard!” ended up choosing a more demanding puzzle next time around than the ones who were told “you must be so smart!” Years later, Dweck and other researchers tested the theory again, following 373 seventh graders to find out whether or not mindset could predict their grades over the course of two years. In this study, they taught one group about the brain and how intelligence can be developed, while the other group had no intervention. As you might expect, students who adopted a growth mindset were more motivated and got better grades than their fixed-minded counterparts. Students with a growth mindset not only believed that their abilities could improve through effort and persistence, they actually made it happen. Examples of a Growth Mindset I’d like to get better at this Mistakes help me learn This has been a challenge, but I’m working on it I haven’t figured out how to do this yet This might take some time Dweck’s research proved that changing a key belief about yourself can make a big difference. But clearly, it’s not just students who can benefit from this concept. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadellauses growth mindset tactics with his management teams to create an environment of constant learning… Michael Jordan (who was initially cut from his high school basketball team and was passed up during the first two NBA draft picks) used it to persevere and become uber-famous… I use it in my own health coaching practice to help my clients overcome their previous, self-described failures… And you can too. You just need the right tools to shift your mindset. So, What Causes a Fixed … Continue reading “Having a Growth Mindset Can Be a Game-Changer for Your Health”
If you’ve read Tim Ferris’ 4-Hour Workweek, you can just jump to the end of this post. For everyone else, I invite you to take a closer look at your relationship with time. Especially those of you who are too busy to spend, oh, I don’t know, 5 or so minutes reading this. Somehow, “I’m busy” has become the new “I’m fine” in response to being asked how you are. I get it thought — I know you actually ARE busy, but stay with me here. Whenever I’m working with new clients, they’ll typically tell me they don’t have time to sit down for a satiating, nutrient-dense breakfast, so they just grab a “quick toast and coffee.” Or they have too much going on and can’t get to bed on time. It’s not just a once-in-a-while-thing either. It’s day after day after day. Sound like your life? If so, let me ask you this: why do some people seem to effortlessly crush their to-do lists and others find theirs growing out of control? Seriously, There’s Not Enough Time I never like to say “We all have the same 24 hours in the day,” because that logic is fundamentally flawed, and can come off sounding privileged. In truth, all of us are filling our 24 hours in different ways depending on our jobs, lives, families, hobbies, obligations, and unique life goings-on. Sometimes I choose to be busy during my 24 hours because I have lots of things that are important to me — family, friends, my clients, my home life, my role at the Primal Health Coach Institute. And *usually* I like that because I enjoy my work and I like being productive. I’m choosing to be busy because it leaves me feeling fulfilled. The problem arises when it leaves you feeling like a victim, like you can’t keep up, or like you just want to bury your head in the sand. Lack of Time = Lack of Priorities It all comes down to priorities. If better health or a leaner waistline was really important to you, you’d make it a priority. Unfortunately, if you’re like most people, you unknowingly put other, less important priorities in their place (everything from stewing over a mean comment on social media to worrying how you’re going to get it all done). Whenever you catch yourself having an I-don’t-have-enough-time moment, remember that what you’re spending your time on is a choice — and you always have options. This is the perfect time to take a step back and ask yourself these four questions: What’s important here? What’s not important? Am I wasting time on things that aren’t important? What else could I be doing with my time? Go ahead and do this exercise with me for a sec. Get out a piece of paper (or the notes section on your phone) and jot down your daily schedule. What time do you typically get up? When do you go to bed? How much time do you … Continue reading “How to Deal with the Pressure of Never Having Enough Time (and Why It’s Total BS)”
Things are going great. You’re eating well, moving your body regularly, lifting heavy things, getting good sleep. Then wham! Something happens, and all your best laid plans are out the window. Maybe it’s a crisis at work, the loss of a loved one, a vacation, or, I don’t know, a global pandemic that changes everything. Sometimes it’s nothing memorable, you just sort of… stop trying.
What do you do when you realize you’ve fallen off the wagon?
It’s simple. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and climb back on.
Who can help you reach your health goals every time? Nope, it’s not me. Although health coaches are a great resource for helping you set goals, overcome obstacles, and get out of your own well-intentioned way. For the record, that person is also not your spouse, your roommate, your friends, or your kids.
The one person who can make you reach all your health goals is YOU.
I see you out there working hard, swapping your typical yogurt and banana breakfast for a protein-rich meal of eggs and bacon. I see you squeezing in a few sprint sessions a week and limiting blue light at night. You’re committed to doing everything right. Until, something goes wrong.
Tell me if any of these statements sound familiar.
“I’ll start over on Monday”
“I guess I’m not cut out for this”
“My husband/wife/kid keeps sabotaging me with sugary treats”
How bad is working and eating late at night? Wondering why you’re not losing weight? And what if you don’t want to go back to the gym? In this week’s edition of Ask a Health Coach, Erin is back to answer more of your questions. Keep them coming in the comments below or over in our Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook Group.
“My nighttime habits are the worst. I stay up too late working, then I’m hungry and go looking for a snack at 1 or 2 am. I don’t think I should be working and eating that late, but how bad is it really?”
Your intuition is spot on here, Jacob. The late-night artificial light. The late-night insulin spike. The stress of a disrupted sleep cycle. It all comes down to your circadian rhythm, which as reiterated in this study, can lead to a myriad of metabolic ramifications. For those not familiar with circadian rhythm, it’s basically your internal, 24-hour cycle of biochemical, physiological, and behavioral processes.