The 10-Week Countdown to 2018

Inline_Countdown_to_2018_10.26.17Today’s guest post is offered up by one of our own, Erin Power. She’s our awesome Student and Graduate Support Lead for the Primal Health Coach Program as well as an amazingly successful health coach in her own right. I love her message of taking the reins of your life today—all the better to enjoy the holidays and meet the coming New Year with unprecedented health and possibility. 

Right around this time every year my inbox explodes. People are already dreading their impending, inevitable holiday weight gain and are wondering if they can somehow get ahead of the curve—make a preemptive strike, if you will. And that’s how it happens…one of the busiest times for my health coaching business, believe it or not, is the weeks leading up to and including the holidays.

“If I sign up with you now,” people often ask, “can you please help me make it through Christmas without packing on 15 pounds—again??”

I’ve got good news. Not only can you make big, bold change in your health and happiness right up to and during the holiday feasting season, but doing so is an incredibly fun experiment with a rewarding outcome.

This is the ultimate n=1 experiment because the lore of “insidious holiday weight gain” is so ingrained in our culture that—at its worst, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. At its best, however, maybe it can become a benchmark against which you can test yourself. Can you buck the trend and finish the holiday season leaner, lighter, healthier, happier, and better than you were before you started?

Upending (Unhealthy) Holiday Tradition

Imagine cruising through the holiday season enjoying your favourite indulgences sensibly, while having absolute control over your hunger, cravings, and willpower, such that an indulgence simply becomes what it was always meant to be: a treat to be savoured and celebrated by all of the senses—not a mindless binge.

Likewise, a slip becomes a moment in time, not a catastrophic setback that needs to be atoned for by attempting to make (and not break!) a host of New Year’s resolutions.

I’m not talking about avoiding your favourite foods. I’m talking about changing the expression of your hunger, such that those treats call to you more quietly. Your enjoyment of them becomes more authentic. Mindful, even.

This mindfulness is one of the most elegant subjective markers of what Mark refers to as metabolic flexibility. Once your body knows how to extract and use a variety of fuels—from the food you eat, and/or from storage repositories in and on your body—the entire experience of hunger and cravings changes.

A rather perturbed client said to me once (after I’d “taken away” all of the cookies, chips, and crackers she had a habit of snacking on in the evenings): “Now what am I supposed to reach for when I come home after an impossibly long day at work/carting the kids around to sports/getting my workout in/doing all the household chores/walking the dog, and I’m rifling through the cupboards ravenously looking for some crackers to tide me over until dinner?!”

My answer: That entire scenario goes away. Your hunger doesn’t present like that anymore. You gain control.

When you’re riding the rollercoaster of “dieting-cheating-failing-self-condemnation-dieting again” it’s incredibly hard to imagine that your sensation of hunger could change like this, that you could have no desire for cookies, chips, and crackers. But I’ve personally witnessed it in my clients time and again—liberation from food fixation.

Just think…if you begin the process of metabolic repair now, you could be this calm, cool, and collected even when Grandma shows up with her world-famous shortbread.

You Have 10 Weeks—Take Action Now

I roll in a lot of nutritionist, dietician, and health coach crowds, and we’re all selling the same thing: “New Year, New You! Beat holiday weight gain! Sign up with me today!”

As a Primal Health Coach, the way I approach this is by tapping into the biochemistry of human fueling, which is beautiful and simple in its relative black-and-whiteness. The body can get fuel from a few different sources. It can use these different fuels in a few different ways. And when the body is fuelled, hunger quite simply changes.

The trick is building the metabolic machinery to help train your body to achieve this flexibility. No weighing, measuring, diarizing, chronicling; no “earnin’ and burnin”—just simply building an understanding of how to get your metabolic machinery functioning in top form again. Trust me when I tell you that it changes the game.

2018 Could Look a Lot Different For You

New Year’s is often fraught with a mix of regret and urgency. How about meeting 2018 from a different angle? When January 1 rolls around, you could feel better about yourself than you ever have before.

Instead of going up a belt notch to accommodate your holiday bloat, you could be down a notch or two or more.

Rather than feeling like an abject failure for exhibiting no control over your cravings, you’ve successfully enjoyed the sensory pleasures of the season while being in control the entire time.

You could have more energy than you know what to do with, having trained your body to utilize a variety of readily available fuel sources.

You can join the gym alongside everyone else if you want to, but you won’t feel like you have to. (In fact, you can wait till March when the prices drop!)

Imagine feeling more connected to your body—to your appetite!—than you ever have before. You’ll know what true hunger feels like. You’ll know how to answer that hunger with satisfying and nutrient-dense foods. You’ll connect back to the long-forgotten feeling of satiety, which, by the way, is different than feeling “full.” There’s no need to unbutton your pants when you’ve eaten to pleasant satiety!

The concept of “willpower” (with its suggestion of struggle) could all but vanish for you. You’ll find yourself calmly in control. You can make a choice to eat one or two of Grandma’s world-famous shortbread cookies, and then stop. Or you can choose to forgo them without obsessive restraint.

Once you’ve adapted to new food habits that support your optimal human experience, you may find yourself continuing to get better year over year. As one of my clients succinctly put it after just 6 weeks on my health coaching program, “I love living like this. I can eat this way forever.”

It Works If You Do—But That Doesn’t Mean You Need to Go It Alone

If you’ve been reading Mark’s Daily Apple for any length of time, you’ll know Mark pulls no punches when he suggests that the act of making these changes is a paradigm shift in body and mind. Not only are you rewiring your body’s metabolic response to some degree, but you’re creating totally new behaviours around food. What you eat. When you eat. WHY you eat.

A Primal Health Coach is trained to educate you on the What and When. The Why becomes a team effort. Your health coach is there to help nurture you along the winding path to behaviour modification, helping you navigate and cultivate resilience through the choppy waters of big change.

If you could have done it alone, perhaps you would have by now.

Accountability is a funny thing. Clients will tell me that they’ve hired me to hold them accountable; however, accountability ultimately comes from within. A great health coach knows how to tease that out of you, so you can feel pride of ownership over your own health.

Eventually, if all goes according to plan, the concept of accountability vanishes. Once your “new” way of eating has become deeply-ingrained habit, you won’t have to hold yourself accountable to anyone. You’ll just live. You’ll just eat. You’ll just move.

Food decisions can casually move out of the intellectual nitpicking back into the automatic realm with all of the other survival mechanisms, like breathing. Your relationship with food changes, once and for all.

If I could give one gift to everyone on my holiday wish list this year it would be the gift of learning how to eat to support metabolic flexibility. There are almost no words to effectively capture the liberation and effortlessness that you can achieve in your relationship with food and your body. You have to live it to believe it.

And if you start now, you could be living it by 2018—and beyond.

What Will You Do with These Next 10 Weeks? 

And what will help you get there?

Are you ready to learn the life-changing lessons of becoming metabolically flexible? Pick up The New Primal Blueprint and/or The Keto Reset Diet (if you haven’t already!).

Are you ready to do it differently this time and invest in personal, Primal-minded support for your health vision? Check out our “Find a Primal Health Coach” directory.

Wishing everyone an awesome holiday season and good health as we move toward a new year—and new possibilities.

Erin Power, CHNC, PHC

Thanks to Erin for a great kick-it-into-gear message this morning. I know I’m feeling inspired! Tell me, who’s got a goal for the next ten weeks? I’d love to hear it, and I know others would love to offer their encouragement. Thanks everyone, and have a great end to your week. 


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19 thoughts on “The 10-Week Countdown to 2018”

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  1. I like resolutions that can start at any time. I deliberately have February resolutions (and random targets through the year) but I’m loving the idea of making changes now to set me up for an amazing start to 2018. Thanks for the inspiration and also the first time in 5 years that I have been moved to comment 🙂

  2. So is it possible, if you’re doing 80/20, to “save up” a year’s worth of your 20 percent and splurge it all during the holidays? Sadly, no. Your body doesn’t operate like your bank account.

    If I ate two of grandma’s shortbread cookies, which I love, I admit I would have a hard time leaving them alone. For me, the trick is to eat the Paleo or almost-Paleo items at a holiday meal and skip the non-Paleo foods that I know I like way too well. I know I’m not likely to want to binge on cornbread stuffing and gravy, for instance, if I have a few bites (although some people might), but I might have trouble getting those cookies off my mind if I eat any of them.

    I find it pays to be mindful of my trigger foods. The rest can usually be chalked up to a now-and-then occurrence and therefore not be something to stress out over.

  3. If I’ve learned anything over the last 6+ years about this life of MDA Primal/Paleo, it’s the HUGE freedom of “liberation from food fixation” that you so succinctly pronounced.

    For that, I am forever grateful.

  4. Thank you Erin! This dovetails nicely with my current goal to optimize my circadian rhythm including getting more and better quality of sleep, to do what I know I need to do to increase mitochondrial biogenesis, and to improve the consistency and duration of daily meditation (which I have resisted for many years but now am coming to enjoy and really look forward to). I’m trying to avoid taking medication for my “sluggish” thyroid, so we’ll see what happens, hopefully in 10 weeks time I will notice an improvement.

    1. You may want to check out Hasimoto’s Protocol by Izabella Wentz. The supplements she recommends aren’t cheap, but by following her plan I have lowered the synthroid dose I am taking without negative health consequences and I’ve been taking it for 15 years. If you buy the book (or even just check it out from the library) you can access a bunch of really easy to follow guides on her website. IE PDFs that tell you in one page ‘do this with these supplements ordered from this website’ Another good one to check out for autoimmune hypothyroidism if you don’t want to go for supplements is Terry Wahls. Both women’s work is very compatible with the primal blueprint.

  5. Good article, makes me want to sign up for some coaching!!! May do that if my way doesn’t work.

  6. I am happy to say I have completed all my goals for this year and I am geared up for the next year. Thanks for the inspiration Mark. Have a great day.

  7. Love this Erin…we are totally on the same wave length. January 1 should be just another day. No need for any crazy resolutions…you can enjoy the holidays without feeling like crap or feeling the need to punish yourself in the New Year. Thanks for the inspo!

  8. I love this inspirational post! It makes me sad to think that so many people head into the holidays resigned to gaining weight. (That would make me dread the holidays!) I think you have provided hope to a lot of people. 🙂

    The liberation from food fixation is the most remarkable thing that I have personally experienced, and that I repeatedly see with my clients. They are just so thrilled to be free from the food drama, to eat when they are hungry, to have 100% satisfaction with the food they eat, and to effortlessly lose weight!

  9. Um, this post is kinda shameless advertising. I mean, I am inspired by this blog, but this time it read like one of those sales pages that puts a lot of rah rah at the top, and ends with a purchase button.

    1. Would you expect Mark to do everything he does and derive nothing in return? Yes, every now and then he does put up some advertising, but the articles he posts almost daily don’t materialize out of thin air, and they aren’t plagiarized word for word like so many internet articles are. They all appear to be researched and written by either Mark or the people he employs. Most people like to get paid for their work. You probably do too.

    2. Hi Alan! Darn, I’m bummed you thought this sounded like a “shameless plug.” I promise it came from a place of passion for me. We have TEN WHOLE WEEKS (well, nine now, I guess) to make a big change in our metabolic expression and liberate ourselves from the punishment/reward cycle of food, treats, indulgence, and holiday joy. And that gets me pretty fired up! I just want to see everyone achieve that effortless relationship with food, once and for all – whether they hire a Primal Health Coach to help them do it, or buy one of Mark’s books and do it on their own. (The “call to action” at the bottom of the post is kinda par for the course in the blogosphere these days. ??)

  10. I’m not exceptionally religious…actually not at all, but I’m gonna enjoy fasting at will straight through parts of this holiday season.
    Let’s face it, some degree of religious tradition guides our holidays. It’s not a bad thing. I just find it totally silly that every year people gather up and present all these delectable yet unhealthy food choices then stand around the tables absolutely dreading to eat because they know it’s so unhealthy. But eat anyway and eat a lot! Plates literally filled with pastry and desert items etc. Because nothing healthy could ever taste good?
    The religions of the west would do well to provide some re-education on diet to their members because the SAD is just decimating their ranks. American churches across every religion are filled with obese people. Fat on religion and bad health. What a miserable advertisement, but I digress…
    When I was part of a religious community, the idea of fasting was a widely accepted spiritual practice that was not actually widely practiced. It was widely feared.
    Not to dog religious traditions, but in my experience, they drive gluttony more than any other regular human practice, especially around holidays.
    This lifestyle helps to uncouple from that with very little stress.

  11. It’s hard to believe that we’re so far through the year already. I love the idea of starting to focus on your health now. The typical pattern is to make bad health and food decisions all the way up until the new year and then suddenly change things around – yet that never really seems to work.

  12. I started following the Primal Blueprint “food pyramid” in 2009 and my number one
    choice, of many, for which I am grateful is the freedom from hunger throughout the day.

  13. First post, first time on the blog. Just got the Keto Reset book in . Will use the next 10 weeks to begin the slow progression to ketosis and meeting my goals. Thank you for the inspiring post Erin.