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.
“I went off the rails this weekend…” “I feel like I lost all my progress…” “I couldn’t make it a day without eating a piece of bread…” The path to success is often paved with setbacks. And the fact of the matter is, if you haven’t had one yet, you probably will sometime in the near future. Is that a reason to freak out? No. But it is a reason to arm yourself with the tools to, as they say, make the comeback stronger than the setback. Changing behaviours takes time and patience. Trust me, I see this with most of my health coaching clients. And, like I always tell them, there is no expectation to knock a massive lifestyle change right out of the park on your first try. I don’t care if you’re trying to change your diet or your workout routine or your sleep habits — it’s never a linear journey. There’s always a combination of successes, plateaus, and setbacks. What Is a Setback? By definition, a setback is an event that delays your progress or reverses some of the progress you’ve previously made. It can be frustrating, humbling, and can likely trigger some negative self-talk. After all, you put time and energy into this endeavor. Maybe you spent money. Or you told all your friends and family what you were doing. And now what? Listen. A setback, or even a few setbacks, doesn’t have to be the end of your story. In fact, quite the opposite. A setback might be exactly what you need to get where you want your health to go. Can Setbacks Make You Stronger? Researchers in this study conducted in-depth interviews with 85 elite athletes and coaches, seeking to understand the motivating factors of what breeds success. Turns out, most of the top athletes interviewed had suffered a significant setback early on in their career. That’s what fueled their success. They found a way to turn the defeat of a setback into a reason to push themselves further the next time they competed. In another study, UVA economist Adam Leive compiled a database of medal winners in Olympic track and field events to see how their lives played out after winning. He found that the athletes who just missed out on getting the top podium spot were more ambitious in their post-sports careers than their gold medal counterparts. The trauma of not securing the top spot actually seemed to have made the athletes stronger. And, they actually lived longer. But it’s not just athletes who are able to reap the rewards of setbacks. Researchers have studied diverse groups from students to scientists and found the same thing — failures along the way can make you stronger than those who never had a stumble. 4 Steps to Overcoming Setbacks In light of this research (and about a decade of helping my clients through inevitable setbacks of their own), I wanted to share my personal strategy, designed to take you from setback to success. … Continue reading “What to Do When You Have a Setback”
Today we welcome guest author Dr. Ronesh Sinha, internal medicine physician and expert on insulin resistance and corporate wellness, author of The South Asian Health Solution. He is a top rated speaker for companies like Google, Oracle, Cisco and more. Check out his media page for lectures, interviews and articles from Dr. Sinha. Most of us have been sheltering-in-place for a few months now, and we have evolved into an unprecedented state of fear and hyper-vigilance in this pandemic. After a long period of being cooped up, we are now gradually released into the wild, which introduces us to a whole new level of anxiety. Public health recommendations appear to be flip-flopping regularly, and we are learning on the fly as the situation evolves. In today’s post, I’d like to share some thoughts on how we can regain some control of our lives. Rather than duck and cover for several more months, we can face this beast head-on. I don’t mean being careless and reckless and not following social distancing and hygiene protocols. Instead, we can adopt a mindset that we will do what is necessary to minimize our risk of a severe COVID-19 outcome. I titled this post “Training for the COVID-19” to help you reframe this pandemic in your mind, and view it like a warrior approaches an enemy on the battlefield or an athlete faces an opponent in a competition. Stay on track no matter where you are! Instantly download your Primal and Keto Guide to Dining Out Cognitive Reframing Coronavirus: From Fear to Readiness Cognitive reframing isn’t just some touchy-feely behavioral technique. Viewing the world through a more positive lens has a beneficial impact on your immune system, which is potentially relevant to COVID-19. One study shows that participants who were cognitive reappraisers, identified by a 10-item Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, and then exposed to an experimental cold virus (rhinovirus not coronavirus) had reduced nasal cytokine release compared to individuals who were emotional suppressors. As you’ll learn in a moment, excessive cytokine release is a crucial mechanism by which COVID-19 imparts significant lung and tissue damage. As with rhinovirus, the nose is a primary portal through which coronavirus accesses our body. So as you read this post and continue to keep getting bombarded by pandemic news media, remember the lens through which you view this content. Your external world has a direct impact on how your immune system might respond to an infection like COVID-19. Let’s start by summarizing COVID-19’s basic operating system for you. Fear of the unknown is one of the single most significant stressors to our nervous system. I want you to read this with the attitude that “I will acquire the knowledge I need to understand this virus and defend myself and my loved ones against its effects.” Rather than, “Oh my God, the extra fat around my waistline will be the death of me.” One way I view our pandemic and its relationship to our individual health is by splitting it into external … Continue reading “Training for “The COVID-19””
Let me be the first to tell you that there’s nothing wrong with you. You may have some patterns to unlearn, some self-love to embrace, and some new behaviors to embody, but seriously, there’s nothing wrong with you. If you want to change your negative self-talk, you’ve got to first understand where it comes from. There’s a famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi, that, in a nutshell says, “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. And your words become your actions.” So if your actions include binging on sourdough (again), rolling your eyes at your rolls and wrinkles, or subconsciously sabotaging your sleep cycle, you can go ahead and thank your belief system for that. You can also take comfort in knowing you’re not alone. On any given week I’ll hear my clients say that making a protein rich breakfast takes too much effort. Or that they’re too busy to work out. Or they can’t stop eating desserts. These are all beliefs. And, as we’ll be breaking down here in a second, there’s a big difference between beliefs and truths. Your Brain’s Role in Self-talk Here’s the deal. Your brain’s job is to keep you safe. Because of this, it will always choose what’s familiar and comfortable over working toward a change that’s different. Even if that change is in the best interest of your health and happiness. What’s familiar is safe and what’s unknown has the potential to hurt you. At least from your brain’s point of view. And so, it automatically creates negative thoughts (and negative self-talk) to keep you nicely tucked into your comfort zone. Examples of Negative Self-talk Here’s a scenario to illustrate what I mean. Say you’re thinking about ordering take out. Will it be a large, extra pepperoni pizza or a thick steak and roasted veggies? Depending on your past experiences and your personal belief system, your brain will automatically assign a meaning to that choice. If you choose the pizza, your self-talk might be, “well, I guess I’ll be heavy my whole life” or “I never make good choices” or “life’s too short not to eat pizza!!” Unfortunately, that reaffirms your negative beliefs, which you’ll continue to repeat unless you do something to change them. Other examples of negative self-talk might be: I’m always out of shape I’m too lazy Why bother I never have enough time Nothing ever goes right for me That’s impossible When will I learn It’s my fault I always mess things up Overcoming Negative Self-talk Reframing is a psychological technique used in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Also known as cognitive restructuring, it allows you to reprogram your brain, changing your pattern of negative thinking — and the way you feel about certain situations, people, places, and things (including yourself). This is important because, as noted above, your thoughts end up becoming your actions. And negative thoughts very often turn into self-destructive actions. “I’ll never be able to stick to the Primal Blueprint” quickly spirals into you speeding through … Continue reading “7 Ways to Change Negative Self-Talk”
Hi folks, welcome back for another edition of Ask a Health Coach. Today, Erin discusses how trusting your instincts might just be your best bet during these uncertain times, how finding your ‘why’ can help you stick with long-term goals, and the one thing you need to do to change bad habits for good. Got more questions? Keep them coming in the MDA Facebook Group or down below in the comments.
“I’ve definitely felt the pressure of having more time on my hands lately. Everywhere I turn I’m hearing people say, ‘what will you do during the quarantine?’ And ‘how will you come out of this better?’ What’s your take on all of this?” – Andrea
From my perspective, there are just as many people shouting “MAKE YOURSELF BETTER!” as there are “TAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF.” Honestly, I’m team DO WHATEVER THE HECK FEELS RIGHT FOR YOU.
We all have a new normal right now, even those of us who are used to doing the work-from-home thing. Your new routine might have you feeling unproductive, fearful, or totally out of it. Or it might have you living your best life enjoying extra hours of glorious sleep, a reinvigorated sense of creativity, or desire to learn.
Around here, we talk a lot about the stories we tell ourselves. You know, the limiting beliefs and thoughts that constantly dance around in our brains, preventing us from achieving our health goals. “I’m a terrible cook.” “I never have time to exercise.” “I’ll always be heavy.” Or, “I’m too lazy to stick to a plan.”
Why do you create limiting beliefs?
As humans, we’re wired to create narratives that string together the picked-apart aspects of our lives in a way that rings true for us. It might be things we heard our parents say or experiences we had growing up. Or even interpretations of those things and experiences. According to psychologists at Northwestern University, the narratives we create become a form of our identity — an identity that not only reflects who we think we are, but also what we believe we’re capable of achieving.
Just FYI, these are the false narratives and limiting beliefs you tell yourself and anyone else who will listen. As a veteran health coach, I know this drill firsthand.
Measuring. Counting. Depriving. IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). Labeling as good or bad. Cheat day. Diet. Guilt-free. I could go on and on. I’m so over all the ways we inadvertently sabotage ourselves. Maybe you are too. Maybe you’re so sick of being stuck on what you think you should be doing, that you’ve lost sight of what your body actually needs you to do.
It’s not your fault though.
In yesterday’s post, “My 7 Favorite Practices for Engineering the Good Life,” I included a curveball of sorts—right at the end. Chase down fear.
While all seven have been game changers, that one claims the pinnacle. The fact is, it’s the hardest one to embrace time and again, but it’s never ceased to move my life forward in very clear, tangible ways. Still, every time I have to talk myself through the same process.… How can I possibly take on something this substantial? What am I thinking? That one’s just too big, too complicated, too ambitious. This time, surely, you’ve overstretched, Sisson.