Yesterday on episode 900 of the Primal Potential podcast, someone asked a question that really got me thinking. Basically, she asked how to make hard choices. How do you eat well when you’re tired? How can you eat healthy when it is so convenient not to? Actually, let’s not paraphrase. Here’s exactly what she asked:
“On days where you don’t get enough sleep, how do you manage eating healthy? It sounds ridiculous as I type this, but I struggle when I work thirteen hours then come home and work another 3. I’m just exhausted so I eat convenience food.”
Oh man, I can relate. Can you? That was my story for years. I worked a long, stressful day and I just wanted a bit of an escape from things that felt hard. If ordering pizza felt easier than cooking up a healthy dinner, I made the easy choice.
Fortunately for me, I think about things differently now and that helps me operate differently. Here’s how I see it…
I make it as convenient as possible to eat healthy and as inconvenient as possible to eat unhealthy.
Here’s what I told her in episode 900: if your convenience foods are unhealthy, change that. Make healthy food convenient and make unhealthy food inconvenient.
It’s super inconvenient for me to make unhealthy food choices (compared to healthy ones). I’d have to load up the baby in the car and drive to the grocery store. But, that’s not enough! I have to make healthy choices more convenient (otherwise, I just have two inconvenient options and the most appealing one will win.)
There are lots of ways to do this, but I’ll tell you how I’m doing it now. About 2 weeks ago, I made a shift to make healthy eating way more convenient. I returned to using a meal delivery service. I either buy pre-cooked healthy meals or pre-cooked bulk items like grilled chicken, steak, salmon, cauliflower rice and sweet potatoes.* Usually, I haven’t had to go this far (or to this expense) to make healthy choices convenient, but with a full time job and a new baby, this is what makes it easy for me.
That might not be what it takes for you, but do consider what you need to do to make whatever change you desire more convenient. If it’s food related, maybe an hour of food prep each week is the game-changer. Or maybe it’s automating one of your meals each day (I do this by having the same thing for breakfast every day – a protein smoothie** that satisfies me for hours.)
Be sure to consider this outside of food and health, too!
What do you need to shift to make staying organized more convenient? What do you need to shift to make being financially responsible more convenient?
If it feels inconvenient, that’s an opportunity. It’s information you can use to switch things around to make it convenient. It doesn’t need to feel easier to make unhealthy choices than healthy ones. That’s on you!
For more on this, listen to episode 900 of the Primal Potential podcast! You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or anywhere else podcasts are found.
* I’ve been using Paleo Power Meals and their sister company Just Eat Clean. If you use the code Primal20, you can save 20%!
** My daily protein smoothie includes plant protein, probiotics, frozen cauliflower rice, cashew butter, unsweetened almond milk and 1/2 a banana.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.
This blog contains affiliate links to some things I love because I think you might enjoy them as much as I do!
If you haven’t seen my posts on Instagram, on Sunday May 2nd we welcomed our adorable son Roman into the world. As I write this, he’s not quite three weeks old but I’m out of the fog enough to be thinking about postpartum healing, postpartum weight loss and generally getting back to feeling good in my skin.
After two back-to-back pregnancies and two c-sections less than 14 months apart, I can definitely say that physically I’m not feeling my best. Of course, it’s not just about weight loss and I’m genuinely not in a rush to lose the baby weight (times two). I am, however, eager to feel my best and there’s a lot that goes into it.
I recently shared on the podcast that I’m going to be going through the 12 Weeks to Transformation and I’ve invited you to join me – I’ll be sharing the day-in and day-out process with those who are on that journey with me – but I wanted to share my general approach here on the blog.
First, let’s get on the same page about my starting point:
- I’ve had two pregnancies in 2 years plus two c-sections less than 14 months apart
- My first born, Dagny, died unexpectedly at just 14 days old making grief and emotional well-being a massive priority on this journey
- Walking will be my only form of exercise until at least 6 weeks post-op
- Balancing my hormones naturally is a greater priority (for me) than weight loss
- I’m exclusively breastfeeing (which plays into nutrition and weight loss)
I’m going to break down my postpartum approach into a few separate categories: mental health, nutrition, supplementation and movement.
Postpartum Mental Health
This most recent pregnancy coincided with the most challenging time of my life. Our daughter died traumatically and unexpectedly as 14 days old and I found out I was pregnant again exactly 6 months after she was born. Not only have I been navigated the rough waters of grief, but I knew that bringing home a new baby would be loaded. On the one hand, I’m tremendously grateful for Roman. I’m able to appreciate every second with him in a way I don’t think I’d be able to if not for having lost Dagny. Even when he’s up all night or having a total meltdown, I’m acutely aware of the fact that those moments are gifts I’d give anything to experience with Dagny. I know a long life isn’t guaranteed for either of us, and that makes it easy to love and cherish the good moments and the tough ones.
On the other hand, when I sat on the couch with Roman for the first time, holding him where I held his sister, I had an epic meltdown. I cried hysterically on the way to his first pediatrican appointment and when it hit me that I’d never take pictures of him with his sister. My heart drops every time someone asks me, “Is this your first?” This is a beautiful season and also a painful one.
For those reasons (as well as the normal hormonal upheaval that comes postpartum and guaranteed sleep deprivation), my mental health is a top priority when it comes to my focus on health at this time.
I shared this on social media and it might seem a little silly, but one thing that’s helping me a lot is the song “Keeping Score” by Dan + Shay. If you haven’t heard it, definitely take a listen. I play it a half dozen times or more each day, generally when I’m nursing baby Ro, and lyrics help me get my head in the right place.
Someday we’re gonna blink twice
Say it happens like that
How much money we saved up
For the time that we gave up
Well, it’ll all just be math
I know I’m only human
Don’t know how many sunsets I got left
And I don’t wanna ruin
This moment by wondering what comes next
I just want to love you
Like it’s all I’m living for
Hold you close, enjoy you more
And spend a little less time keeping score
Sometimes I’ll catch my mind drifting to what a disaster the kitchen is or how I’m going to find time to write this blog or what I can do to make sure my next book is a big success. But you know what? It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I stay present in these moments with my family. If the emails wait another day or the dishes pile up in the sink, that’s perfectly okay. With the right perspective, those things won’t stress me out or overwhelm me, I just have to keep choosing that perspective, and this song helps me do just that. I don’t want to ruin these moments by wondering what comes next.
How I’m thinking matters most. It matters more than how I’m eating, it matters more than if I showered, it matters more than getting things done or fitting in time for exercise.
However, a very close second is nutrition and I’ll tell you why: if I eat well, I feel better. If I don’t eat well, I feel worse. It’s easy to make excuses like I’ll start tomorrow, this one thing won’t hurt or I need the extra calories for breastfeeding but at the end of the day it’s really quite simple. I’m happier when I eat well. I enjoy life more when I eat better. I am in a better mood when I eat better. I’m more confident, more energized and more likely to be social when I eat well.
Postpartum Weight Loss
Weight loss is only one of a hundred or more reasons to eat well. As I’ve shared on the podcast, I hadn’t lost the “baby weight” from my first pregnancy when I found out just a few months later that I was pregnant again. Though I didn’t gain as much weight with my second pregnancy as I did with my first, I’m still heavier than I’ve been in years and it just doesn’t feel great. I don’t have a time frame for this postpartum weight loss, but I am still looking to feel as great as possible and every choice is an opportunity to create that improvement.
I’ll be sharing the daily details with those who are going through the 12 Weeks to Transformation with me, but for now, I want to share what it looks like at a high level.
Do you hate wasting time wondering what you’ll eat for your next meal as much as I do? Frankly, as an entrepreneur with a newborn, I just don’t have time for it. For that reason, the only meal decision I have to make is dinner because I keep breakfast and lunch basically the same every single day. It makes grocery shopping easier, it makes asking for help easier, it makes eating healthy easier and it eliminates most of the food decision-making.
At least six days a week breakfast is a protein smoothie. Fear not – if you’ve ever had a nasty protein shake, that’s not what I mean! I’ve tried just about every protein powder and ready-to-drink protein beverage under the sun and most of them SUCK. I won’t go near them with a ten foot pole! Plus, one of my primary food rules is eat foods you love that love you back. If I don’t enjoy it to the point that I look forward to consuming it, it’s off the list and out of the running! This protein smoothie is something I really enjoy and look forward to. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t drink it. Here’s what it looks like most of the time:
- Unsweetened almond milk
- Frozen cauliflower rice (no, you can’t taste it) I add this because it makes the drink cold and it adds nutrients, volume and creaminess. Do make sure you have a high quality blender so that it blends perfectly smooth and creamy
- Plant protein (this is the one I use because it tastes amazing, blends well, is very low sugar/carbs and is super clean – no junk fillers, no artificial flavors/colors/sweeteners, etc)
- 1/4 banana
- Greens powder or seed fiber (I typically rotate these using one on one day and the other the next)
It keeps me full until my next meal – I never feel the need to snack between my smoothie and lunch which is also super important to me. Any breakfast option that leaves me feeling hungry after an hour or two or not an option for me!
Lunch is either my “famous” cabbage salad bowl or a traditional green salad. No wimpy salads here! I LOAD UP on the veggies. We’re talking at least 3 cups of veggies.
The cabbage salad bowl is usually:
- shredded raw red and green cabbage
- 1-2 slices bacon (crumbled)
- 1/2 avocado
- a sprinkle of goat cheese
- 2 eggs (sometimes hardboiled, sometimes over-medium)
There’s no need (for me) for dressing because the avocado, goat cheese and egg mix up to add a lot of moisure. I mix everything together with my Oxo Salad Chopper (this and my blender are my most-used kitchen tools!)
If I have a regular salad, it’s only a little difference. Instead of using raw cabbage, I’ll use any organic greens. Do you want to know one of my healthy-eating hacks? I’ve found that growing my own veggies makes me want to eat better. It’s a lot like how getting new workout clothes can make you want to workout. You can grow your own veggies easily no matter the time of year! I always have sprouts growing inside (it’s super easy – you can read about it here) and lately I’ve become obsessed with my GreenStalk planter for outside where I’m growing a variety of greens plus tomatoes, herbs, peppers and cucumbers. I reached out to GreenStalk and they gave me a discount code for you! The code PRIMAL will save you $10!
With a regular salad, I’ll toss in a handful of homegrown sprouts!
That leaves dinner as the only daily decision and we have a short list of favorites that we rotate between based on what we’re in the mood for (having this short list of favorites also really helps with the grocery shopping)! Here are our current favorites:
- Burrito bowls made with cauliflower rice
- Shepards pie with cauliflower instead of potato
- Bunless burgers
- Steaks with a side of broccoli or brussels sprouts
- Grilled chicken thighs
- Beanless chili
- Spaghetti squash with ground meat and tomato sauce
Some of you might be wondering about snacks. One of my goals with meal selection is to choose things that fill me up so I’m not always hunting for a snack. With that said, some days I’m hungrier than others or I just want a little something after dinner. On hand for snacks we keep:
- almonds or pistachios
- cheese slices
- frozen fruit (I got really into frozen peaches and frozen grapes when I was pregnant)
- if I really want a treat I’ll pop some popcorn
- Halo Top ice cream
Let me first say that supplementation is completely unique to each individual and their goals. While I’m happy to share what I’m currently taking, keep in mind that it works for me because of my goals and priorities. You might need something all together different. Right now, my biggest priorities are hormone balance, stress management, nutrient diversity for me and the quality of my breast milk, fertility and weight loss. I’ll start seed cycling at about one month postpartum but because I’m not there yet, I haven’t included it in this list. Here’s what I’m currently taking.
For the first two weeks after my c-section, I followed doctors’ orders and stayed on the couch most of time. Getting up and down to do things around the house and take care of baby Roman was about all there was. Right at the two week mark, I went for a 1.5 mile walk. Since then, my exercise has been limited to walking around the yard but I’m planning to take baby to the water for walks along the canal more regularly. Now that we’re about at the 3-week mark, here is the very simple standard I’ve set for myself:
Walk at least 1 mile with baby every day.
That can be on the treadmill, around the yard or down at the canal, but that’s the standard I’m committed to keeping.
Once I hit the 6 week mark post c-esction, I won’t be rushing back to CrossFit. I’m not sure what it will look like yet, but I’m eager to get back to weight lifting even just here at the house as soon as my body is ready. Weight lifting is such an important part of health and weight management! For now, it’s just a daily walk but I’ll be sharing how exercise evolves with those going through the 12 Weeks to Transformation with me!
If you want or need a little positive peer pressure around your goals as we go into the summer, I’d love for you to join me! You can learn more or get started right here.
If you follow me on Instagram, I recently shared that I have an incredible new hobby that I am beyond excited about! Today, I’m sharing it with you and going into all the amazing details.
What’s my new hobby? You might have already guessed but it’s growing sprouts, at home, in my kitchen. Hang with me…this is the FASTEST and cheapest way to make some of the healthiest food you could possibly eat!
I have to turn down my excitement so I can take you through this step by step. I want to tell you how to grow sprouts at home and share everything you’ll need, but first I want to tell you WHY you should be super excited to grow sprouts at home!
If you want to hear me dive into this on the Primal Potential podcast, click here to listen to this bonus episode.
Why You Should Grow Sprouts at Home
- They’re incredibly healthy
When we talk about growing sprouts, it’s important to first note that you can sprout just about any seed. You can sprout broccoli seeds, cauliflower seeds, sunflower seeds and all kinds of lentils, just to name a few options.One of the most studied sprouts is the broccoli sprout. It’s been extensively studied for its anti-cancer properties. (If you haven’t listened to episode 153 of the Primal Potential podcast to understand more about broccoli and other cruciferous veggies, definitely start there so you have the essential foundation.)Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain multiple anti-cancer compounds, but these are broken down when the vegetables are cooked. When you sprout these vegetable seeds, not only are you getting a digestible version that doesn’t require cooking, but broccoli sprouts contain anywhere from 10-100 times the amount of the cancer protecting compounds as compared to regular broccoli! Honestly, we could stop right there. Sign me up! Beyond that, sprouting these seeds reduces the amount of phytates and lectins contained in their typical (non-sprouted) form.This doesn’t even scratch the surface of the health benefits of sprouting and if you want to learn more, I suggest picking up a copy of The Sprout Book by Doug Evans.
- They’re the most affordable way to pack in nutrients (ever)
If you purchase sprouts at the grocery store, not only will they be far less fresh than the ones I grow at home, they’ll also be dramatically more expensive. Sprouting at home is a tiny fraction of the cost of almost any vegetable you can find at the grocery store.
- They grow in just days
From seed in a bag to food on your plate, we’re talking as few as 3 days or as many as 6. I started my first sprouting attempt on a Saturday afternoon and had them for lunch on Tuesday.
- It’s insanely easy
I kill every plant I bring into my home. My attempts at gardening have all failed. But sprouting? It’s so easy. If I can do it, you can do it. If you can measure seeds, pour water in a jar and drain it, you can grow sprouts at home. I promise. I’m going to tell you the steps, but I want you to know it’s easier than cooking dinner.
- They’re safe (don’t let sprout myths confuse you)
Some of you have probably heard that pregnant women shouldn’t eat sprouts or that sprouts caused a food borne illness outbreak at Jimmy Johns a while back. Sprouts have dramatically fewer incidents of causing food borne illness than chicken, beef and basically all other foods.Growing sprouts at home is far safer than buying them at the grocery store because you control the environment and keeping them safe. Like spinach and other vegetables often eaten raw, sprouts can come in contact with animal fecal matter when grown on a traditional farm or grow house. This can cause e-coli infection or similar issues. If you clean your equipment well and rinse your sprouts as directed, the chances of any infection are very low – far lower than your risk of illness from the chicken you cooked last night. If your sprouts smell weird, don’t eat them. Also, you can use things like grapefruit seed extract as a natural disinfectant if you want. I’m currently pregnant and feel totally safe eating the sprouts I grow at home.
- It’s fun
Call me crazy, but I think growing your own food, in your own kitchen, regardless of the climate, in a matter of days is really fun. I enjoy watching them grow and experimenting with different kinds of seeds and flavors!
- It’s a great way to educate kids
Honestly, I can’t imagine why anyone who has kids at home WOULDN’T do this. It’s an awesome way to get your kid excited about real food and nutrients!
How To Grow Sprouts At Home
There are lots of ways to do it and a great place to learn all the ways is by reading The Sprout Book by Doug Evans. I’ll tell you how I do it.
- Buy seeds on Amazon. I started with broccoli seeds, french lentils and a seed blend. You can start with these or pretty much anything else. I made sure to purchase seeds that are organic.
- Get a glass jar. I bought these but you could use a glass jar you already have and put a cheese cloth over it, secured by a rubber band. You just have to be sure the top is breathable and drainable.
- According to the directions on the seeds you purchased, soak the seeds. For example, I started with 1/4 cup of broccoli seeds and I let them soak for 8 hours.
- After soaking, drain your seeds fully. Make sure there isn’t excess water but be gentle in your shaking. It’s not a tamborine – treat your seeds gently.
- Turn your jar upside down and set at an angle. I bought these jars because them came with the holding tray that allowed me to set them at an angle but you could put your jar in a bowl for the same effect.
- Twice a day, rinse your seeds with cold water. Drain thoroughly but gently. Always return to resting in that slightly angled upside down position.
- Do not store in direct sunlight or in a closed container. They need to breathe. I keep mine on my kitchen counter away from the windows.
- Different seeds take different amounts of time to germinate. I ate my french lentil sprouts on day 3. I ate my broccoli sprouts on day 4.
- For details on storage, check out The Sprout Book by Doug Evans
Here’s How I Got Started
I absolutely could have used jars I already had and set them in a bowl, but I bought 2 of these kits that include 2 jars with mesh lids, a tray and a rack.
I started with french lentil seeds, broccoli seeds and this seed blend.
I bought this grapefruit seed extract in case I wanted to take the extra step but I haven’t used it and don’t know if I will.
I also bought and read The Sprout Book and think it’s a great resource!
I share more of my getting started story in this episode of the Primal Potential podcast and feel free to connect with me on Instagram if you have any questions!
Not my typical topic, huh? I know! But, I’ve been hit hard with pregnancy induced carpal tunnel in this pregnancy and in looking for solutions, many of you are struggling, too!
I want to share with you everything I’ve tried as well as what worked best, what only helped a little and what didn’t make a flip bit of difference. Of course, every human is different so don’t assume that what didn’t work for me won’t work for you or that what did work for me will work for you.
Let’s start with the basics, shall we?
What is pregnancy induced carpal tunnel?
Basically, it’s a range of symptoms impacting the hands, wrists and arms ranging from numbness and tingling to extreme pain caused by increased pressure on the nerves in these areas.
Some people just experience annoying numbness, which is how mine started, but it can progress to the point that it’s too painful to wash your hair or hold a pen (what mine progressed to).
It’s fairly normal to have a moderate amount of fluid retention during pregnancy, especially through the third trimester. However, this fluid can create pressure that leads to pain, as is the case in pregnancy induced carpal tunnel.
My experience with pregnancy induced carpal tunnel
I didn’t experience severe carpal tunnel during my first pregnancy in 2019-2020. I had some uncomfortable numbness and tingling in my wrist and hands at night, but it didn’t progress beyond a minor annoyance.
My second pregnancy (2020-2021) has been a very different story. Late in the second trimester, the discomfort from numbness and tingling started to wake me up every 30-40 minutes. It seemed that once I sat or stood up, the discomfort would subside. So, I started sleeping downstairs in a chair. It helped for a couple weeks but then the numbness and tingling turned to pain and the sitting position provided no relief.
The pain radiated through my fingers and up to my elbow. It was significant enough that I wasn’t able to sleep for more than 15-20 minutes at a time. Once the pain woke me, it could take hours to get back to sleep.
For a while, it seemed that the pain would subside in the morning and I could go about my usual activities. Once into the third trimester, the pain lingered throughout the day. I had a hard time holding a pen or a coffee cup. Putting my hair up became difficult. I was constantly trying to shake my hand out to get some relief.
Fortunately, after 4-5 really challenging weeks experimenting with different solutions, I found something that worked well. It hasn’t eliminated the condition, but the pain has gone from extreme to mild and it’s only disrupting my sleep 2-3 times a night instead of constantly throughout the night.
As I said, however: please know that my experience might not be yours so try everything and let me know what helps you!
Keeping my arms elevated at night – A common suggestion on the interwebs is to prop your arms up at night and ensure that your wrists stay as straight as possible. I stacked pillows on my belly/chest and rested my arms there. While it didn’t make anything worse, it didn’t help either. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to ensure that your hands don’t move or fall down off the pillows when you’re sleeping. This didn’t help me at all. I have heard from podcast listeners that this helped them.
Wraps and braces – Both during the day and overnight I tried several different hand wraps, gloves and braces. We easily spent $100 or more on a handful of different options. They provided no relief. I have heard from podcast listeners that this helped them.
Mildly Effective Approaches
Dry brushing – If I had to rank these “mildly effective” approaches, dry brushing would come out on top as most effective in this category. A dry brush is super affordable on Amazon and very easy to use. As the name suggests, you brush your dry skin. A quick Google search will give you a million free example videos, but you probably won’t need them. In short, you take the little brush and you sweep upwards from your fingertips toward the top of your arm. Dry brushes are used primarily to get fluid moving your body. Since pregnancy induced carpal tunnel is largely a fluid pressure issue, it makes sense that it works reasonably well. I kept my dry brush on my bedside table and before bed, I’d brush both arms for about 1 minute each. If I woke up with pain, I’d grab the brush and repeat. This did not eliminate the pain but it did seem to minimize it. If I had to quantify the impact, I’d say dry brushing gave me a 15-20% improvement.
Chiropractic care – I think seeing a chiropractor is super helpful for all pregnancy aches and pains – carpal tunnel is no exception. Think about it. Your body is constantly changing. You have new pressures all over and your physical body literally reorganizes to make space for your growing baby. I told my chiropractor about the carpal tunnel and he started adjusting my wrists and elbows. Think about it – if you have a minor misalingment, it can impair blood flow. If I had to guess, I’d say my visits to the chiro helped by about 10%.
Acupuncture – I hate needles. I have always hated needles. However, one of the theories behind acupunture is that it opens up channels that run throughout your body. I told my acupuncturist that I was having trouble with carpal tunnel and she targets points in my wrists and arms. I’d say it was about as helpful as the chiropractor.
Massage – my poor husband has been asked to run my hands more times than we can count. While this has provided absolutely no long term relief or improvement, it does offer momentary help. Honestly though, hand massages just feel nice so I’ll keep requesting these whether they help or not.
Wildly Effective Approaches
Very low carb diet – I stumbled upon this one. I haven’t seen it recommended for carpal tunnel relief but it makes a ton of sense. Carbohydrates are like little sponges. They hang onto water in the body. One single gram of carbohydrate hangs onto about 4 grams of water. You do the math – if you’re eating 100-400 grams of carbs a day, that’s a lot of water. Have you ever dropped a ton of weight in the first few days of a low carb diet? It’s almost all water. Given that pregnancy induced carpal tunnel is largely an issue of the pressure caused by water retention, I’m not surprised at all that this has been so incredibly effective.
I’m generally not a big carbohydrate eater – I tend to feel better with lower carbs. However, I’m more liberal with carb consumption in pregnancy so I had room for improvement. By chance, I happened to have a very low carb day and that night, I had almost no pain in my hands and arms! I still had some numbness and tingling but it was enough of an improvement for me to experiment. I intentionally ate low carb for 3 days and continued to see a dramatic decrease in pain. Over the weekend, I added back in some carbs (a cupcake, a banana, and even some pancakes) and sure enough I had a miserable night with pain that kept me from sleeping.
Eating low carb has never been easier because I’d do just about anything to avoid the pain and discomfort! It hasn’t been a 100% improvement but it’s easily been a 70-80% improvement! Of course, that’s not saying that you’d have the same experience. We are all different.
I haven’t gone “no carb” (after all, vegetables are carbohydrates and I love me some cabbage) but I have intentionally limited them. Here’s an average day for me:
Breakfast: protein shake with a low carb protein powder, unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 a banana, nut butter, flax seeds and greens powder.
Lunch: cabbage salad bowl with raw red & green cabbage, diced bacon, avocado, goat cheese and egg
Dinner: Beanless chili or another combo of meat and non-starchy veggies
Snacks: full fat greek yogurt or cheese
I still have a couple months to go in this pregnancy so I know my experience might change and I’ll be sure to update this post if it does! In the meantime, remember that your experience will be different from mine so try all of the things and do what works for you!
As most of you know, my daughter Dagny died unexpectedly at just 14 days old on March 20th, 2020. Her death turned my entire world upside down. Not only was I facing the most unimaginable loss of my life, I was doing so during an unprecedented global quarantine and pandemic.
In March of 2020, liquor stores in our area were considered “essential” but funerals were not. On top of that, Primal Potential was being significantly impacted by the financial repercussions of the pandemic. I had hired a 6-figure COO just months before and now we found ourselves in a mess we never imagined.
For the first couple of weeks after Dagny died, I did as little work as possible. I checked in with our COO daily, but stayed out of the business to the extent that I could. Slowly, I eased back in to webinars, coaching calls, emails and social media. I made big changes that would allow me to scale back and focus on navigating trauma and grief and as I did, I wondered if I would ever be or feel the same.
I had been highly focused and motivated for years. I was a go-getter and I took a lot of pride in it. Even months after Dagny’s death, I struggled to engage in anything.
I remember telling one of my mentors that I feared going back to the way I used to be. I feared permanently stepping back into patterns of watching too much TV, overeating, overindulging and telling myself stories of “I’ll start tomorrow”. While I had, and still have, a lot of grace for myself as I learn to live with pain and loss, I didn’t want to become that version of me I used to be.
I told my best friend, “I need more structure” but struggled to implement it.
I started to play around with tools, routines and strategies to execute my priorities, emphasize self-care and create some semblence of balance. I had all these competing priorities and each day I’d tinker with a format and structure that worked for me.
Ultimately, what I landed on is now the Change Makers Productivity and Fulfillment Journal.
What I Needed
I didn’t just want to be productive. I don’t want a to-do list life where each day is just like the one before, only with different tasks on the list. Yes, I wanted to make meaningful progress towards my goals, but I also wanted to make time each day for the things that truly fulfill me like my marriage, self-improvement and relationships. I needed a process that would guide me toward emphasizing both each day: productivity and fulfillment.
I was tired of feeling overwhelmed by *all the things*. Like most people, I have 100 or more “to dos” in my business each week, with bigger business projects and goals on top of that. I have daily priorities outside of work like eating well, staying organized, cooking, working out, meditating and journaling. I want to be intentional in my marriage every day instead of just going through the motions. I have financial goals and projects. Friendships I want to cultivate. You know how it goes! When I thought about all these things, I’d often feel like there wasn’t enough time, when the truth of the matter was that I wasn’t using my time well. I wasn’t structured, organized or focused.
The Change Makers Journal changed that for me.
Last night as I was winding down for bed, I thought back to that conversation I had with a mentor. I thought about how nervous I was that I’d continue sliding down the slippery slope of apathy. I recognized just how much has changed since I said that.
- I’m working out daily
- I’m getting up early
- I’ve made epic progress on my second book
- I’m getting through my work more quickly and more efficiently
- I’m cooking more and eating cleaner
- I’m making time to meditate for a minimum of 30 minutes daily
- My husband and I are communicating better and spending more time together
- I’ve knocked off huge priorites like funding my trust, completing my 2020 taxes and several other “big rock” projects I had been putting off
- The baby’s nursery is ready
- I’m more organized
- I’m less overwhelmed
- I feel in control
I have a Facebook group that’s just for folks who have purchased the Change Makers Journal and the other day I asked them what wins they’ve created since they started using the journal and I wanted to share with you some of the things they’ve said.
What Others Are Saying about the Change Makers Journal
It is 100% normal to have ebbs and flows in your focus, drive and motivation. The thing is, staying in those down spots it’s a choice. There are tools available to you that will help you help yourself, and the Change Makers Journal is only one of them.
If you have questions about it, feel free to ask!
Buy Your Journal
We’ve got a couple (crazy) weeks of 2021 under our belt and today I want to get super practical and share with you my own daily process for staying organized, staying focused, balancing productivity and fulfillment and NOT feeling overwhelmed.
Like you, I have a lot of areas of my life that I want to improve. I’ve never been the kind of person to have just one priority or goal. When you want to eat better, workout more regularly, invest more time in self-care, save more money, improve your relationships, reduce clutter and spend less, it can be super easy to feel overwhelmed or not know what to focus on. For years, I felt like I bounced back and forth between so many goals that I didn’t really make substantial progress on anything, even though I felt like I was always trying so darn hard!
I tried dozens of different approaches, planners and programs but I always either felt scattered, or like I was so focused on one area that all the others were falling apart. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to just be productive. My goal in life isn’t to knock out my to-do list every day. I also want to have amazing relationships, make meaningful memories and generally be happy.
I have a solid daily process for this, and I’m psyched to share it with you. This is an abbreviated version of the process, but I’ve got a special bonus episode of the podcast that goes into a lot more detail.
Daily Process for Productivity and Fulfillment
- I begin every month by brainstorming what would make the month exceptional. I give a ton of examples on the podcast, but I want to make sure I’m including work but not limiting myself to work. I want to include finances and relationships, but I don’t want to limit my thinking to just those areas.
- I define which of these things would be the most impactful. Of all the ideas I brainstormed, which would improve my life the most or make me the happiest? That becomes my primary focus for that month. It’s not my only focus, of course, just the primary one.
- Each day, I commit to 3 small action items that drive that primary monthly focus. My goal, when possible, is to knock these 3 things out as early in the day as possible.
- Every day, I identify 3 other areas of my life that I want to invest in and one thing I’ll do for each. These other areas are outside the area of my primary focus and might include my marriage, my business, finances, etc.
There are some nuances to this strategy that I explain in the podcast episode, but that’s the crux of it.
After our daughter Dagny died in March, I had a renewed desire to make sure I wasn’t just going through each day doing what “had to be done”. I’ve been guilty of that in the past…most days were about work and other essential chores and responsibilities. I hadn’t been intentional about fun, adventure and connection.
So, early in the summer I created this template for what I described about and I found it incredibly helpful. I was able to focus and eliminate overwhelm while driving forward priorities (including the fun and most meaningful parts of life).
After using the template for a month or so, I felt compelled to make it into a hardcover journal/planner and share it with you! The Change Makers Journal can now be YOUR tool, too!
Since it’s brand new, I’ve only ordered a limited quantity and I thought we’d do something extra special for the inaugural batch. Before I tell you about that something special, let me clarify what the Change Makers Journal & Planner is all about.
It is a TOOL. It’s not a blank canvas for your unruly thoughts. It’s designed to help you:
- create clarity about what you really want for your life
- focus daily on actions that move the needle
- balance productivity and fulfillment
- invest in the areas of your life that matter most
- hold yourself accountable to progress
- eliminate overwhelm that comes from a multitude of priorities and obligations
- follow a clear and simple process for productivity
For those of you who feel like this is a tool you need, you’ll not only get your hardcover journal, you’ll also be invited into an exclusive Facebook group with everyone else who has purchased the journal. For 3 months, we’ll use this tool together and learn from each other! Community, energy, support and accountability will make this even more powerful! On top of that, (at least) once a month for our 3 months together, I will go live to support you and answer any and all questions you have. You’re basically getting coaching and mentorship (for an absurd price). The price on this checkout page includes your journal, membership to this 3-month FB group and the 3 group calls with me.
A few things to note:
Order Yours Now
- One of the cool things about the Change Makers Journal is that it includes QR codes you can scan if you feel stumped on a given question or you want some examples to encourage your own thinking.
- INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS: You will only be able to check out on this page if you’re in the United States. I am willing to ship these journals internationally, but you’ll have to reach out to me for a shipping quote. As you probably know, shipping rates have jumped and I can’t set a fair, flat international shipping rate. In some areas of the world, shipping might be $35. In others, it might be $20. For this limited run, we’ll invoice international orders separately for those who are willing to pay for the shipping to their international address.
- If you have additional questions, please listen to the podcast episode before reaching out – it’s likely answered there.
- Yes, you can order more than 1 (as long as supplies last. Quantities are limited)
- Below are a couple pictures of the journal. If you want to know more about the contents of the journal, please listen to today’s podcast.
Last week, I shared on social media that I’m pregnant again. I’m currently in my 2nd trimester and we’re expecting a boy this spring. On episode 827 of the podcast, Chris and I talked about this new pregnancy and what changes I made to allow my body to conceive as quickly as possible. I shared a bit about my supplementation routine before getting pregnant and I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the best supplementation during pregnancy.
Today I thought I’d share what changes I made after Dagny’s birth to help my body prepare for another pregnancy as well as what changed after we conceived baby #2. None of this is medical advise. What works for me might not work for you and might to be best for you. Please consult a qualified health professional for your own care.
Not all of these recommendations are supplements, but I think lifestyle and sleep are even more important than supplementation. Some, but not all, of these links are affiliate links. Rest assured that I wouldn’t use or share anything that I don’t wholeheartedly believe in.
Supplementation Before Pregnancy
It’s important to note that prior to conception (and quite honestly, since conception) I was in a very difficult hormonal and emotional place. My first daughter was born via c-section on March 6th 2020 and she died traumatically and unexpectedly on March 20th 2020.
Because of my age (I’m 37 as I write this) and our desire to have a large family, we knew we couldn’t wait long before trying to conceive again. However, the odds weren’t in my favor due to the physical and emotional stress I was under.
One month after Dagny’s birth I started seed cycling. My menstrual cycle had not yet returned by my dear friend Dr. Beth Westie encouraged me to help my hormones normalize by treating April 7th as a hypothetical “day 1” of my cycle and add in the appropriate seeds.
Seed cycling couldn’t be easier. I simply added the appropriate seeds to my daily breakfast smoothie (more on the smoothie shortly). You can get these 4 seeds anywhere, but it’s important that they are raw and unsalted. I strongly encourage organic. I use the brand Terrasoul and I buy them in bulk (2 pounds at a time) and store them in glass jars so it’s easy to see when I need to re-order.
My first period after delivery started on May 9th (Mother’s Day – that was a mixed bag) and at that point I started temperature charting. If you’ve read any book on conception, accurate temperature charting is a fairly reliable way to indicate when you have ovulated. The downside, of course, is that your temperature rises after ovulation, not before. By the time you notice the temp increase, the fertility window is largely closed. Either way, I did it daily to get a sense of how long my cycles were and on what day of my cycle I was ovulating. The key to accurate temp monitoring is to take your temperature before you get out of bed and at the same time each morning. If you get up and go to the bathroom first or if you check a few hours later on the weekend than on weekdays, it won’t be very accurate.
A couple weeks after my cycle resumed, I decided to complete a DUTCH test. Essentially, this is a dried urine test evaluating your hormones. Even if you have a regular period, you likely won’t conceive if estrogen & progesterone are out of whack. You might not even ovulate, even if you’re having a regular period. (DUTCH testing is incredibly valuable even outside of fertility concerns. It’s a great tool for any and all hormonal concerns or for weight gain/loss challenges.) Dr. Beth and I chatted about the DUTCH test and my results on episode 804 of the Primal Potential podcast.
My DUTCH test results showed that estrogen and progesterone looked fantastic but cortisol (one of our stress hormones) was off the charts. Essentially, with stress levels that high, my body wouldn’t allow for post partum weight loss or conception. Lowering stress became my #1 priority and focus.
The lifestyle changes I made to control stress were probably the most significant adjustment I made in this process. At the recommendation of Dr. Beth Westie, I adjusted my morning routine to optimize rest and relaxation for the first few hours of the day. No, this was not easy. First, when you’re deep in grief, rest and relaxation seem impossible. Second, I do my best work in the morning. Not getting right into it was very uncomfortable. But, I did the best I could. Progress is the goal; perfection doesn’t exist.
I’d start my day with a cup of tea on the couch. I’d read a little bit, pray, meditate, sometimes even watch mindless or humorous TV shows.
I made sure to eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking as extended fasting can be an additional stressor on the body.
As best I could, I tried to minimize other forms of stress. I can’t say I was super successful here as grieving the loss of a child, running a business and navigating an unprecedented global pandemic and quarantine are all stressful. But, I think any improvement matters and I certainly made every effort. For example, some family phone calls stress me out. I stopped answering them.
I added in some expensive self-care, too. Really, healing my body and having a healthy family matter most to me so I was willing to take on these investments, knowing they wouldn’t be “forever” add ons. They included:
- Massage twice a month
- Chiropractic adjustment twice a week
- Acupuncture once a week
I believe all these changes helped tame my body’s stress response.
Though I’m not sure this is an exhaustive list as some things were added for just a week or two and then discontinued, but these are the predominant supplements I added to either lower stress or prime my body for conception:
Daily Breakfast Smoothie – I’m including this under “supplements” because this is where I packed in a bunch of supplements in one tasty morning drink.
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup frozen cauliflower rice
- 2 scoops plant protein (I prefer chocolate)
- 1 scoop mentabiotics (this is a probiotic blend that focuses on hormone balance and stress resilience)
- 1 scoop greens powder (these phytonutrients help your body combat physical stress and promote healing)
- 1 tbsp cashew butter
- 1 tbsp each seeds for seed cycling (based on where I was in my cycle – for hormone balance)
- 1 tbsp maca (for hormone balance)
- optional: 1/2 banana
(As I’ll discuss below, after conception, I made a couple changes to this smoothie but I still drink it daily. I just no longer include the seeds or the maca)
Mood+ – this is a blend of adaptogens aimed entirely at lowering cortisol and helping my body adapt to stress. I took 2 capsules 3 time per day.
Kids Mood – a different blend of adaptogens that works on the stress response from a different angle. This is a pixie-stick like powder and I took 1 packet twice a day.
Multivitamin – if you don’t have adequate vitamins and minerals, none of your body processes can function optimally
Probiotics – this blend is specifically for digestion & immunity
I also purchased and started wearing the AVA bracelet. This is a tracking device you wear only while you’re sleeping that monitors temperature, resting heart rate, heart rate variability and respiration to help you predict your fertile window. You have to be consistent in wearing it every night or else your predictions will be inaccurate.
We found out that I was pregnant exactly 6 months to the day that Dagny was born.
Supplementation During Pregnancy
Since then, things have changed a little but not a lot.
Let’s start with the easiest part – what was I doing that I stopped doing when I got pregnant?
- I stopped seed cycling. I do often toss a handful of sunflower seeds in my morning shake because they’re super nutrient dense but there’s no cycle to seed cycle with.
- I also stopped taking Maca
- Stopped wearing the Ava bracelet
- While I’m still trying to ease into my day more gently, I’m not as rigorous about not working for the first few hours of the day. I probably get to work about 60-90 minutes after waking.
I now go to the chiropractor twice a month but that will become more frequent as my pregnancy progresses. I still get a massage twice a month and I haven’t been to the acupuncturist since getting pregnant but I will add that back in within the next few weeks.
I’ve also added a a couple supplements
I still do my morning shake at least 6 days out of 7 because it feels great to know I start the day with all those critical nutrients, I just no longer add the seeds or the maca.
The primary lifestyle shift since becoming pregnant has been sleep. When I was pregnant with Dagny, I had a lot of trouble sleeping. Between struggling to get comfortable and getting up to go to the bathroom, I didn’t get much sleep at all. In this pregnancy, it’s actually been a lot worse because I’ve been having traumatic nightmares. For that reason, I’ve been going to bed earlier and allowing myself to sleep later because I need more cumulative time in bed due to broken sleep in the night. On average, I’m in bed by 9 (but there have certainly been some 7 and 8pm days) and I’m getting up around 6.
If you have any questions about any of this, do not hesitate to let me know! I’m happy to share more details, or, if there’s something you think I’ve left out, ask and I’ll answer!
Related Podcast Episodes:
Episode 635: THIS Could be Behind Your Hormonal Challenges
Episode 804: Do YOU Have a Hormone Issue?
Hi friends! In today’s new podcast episode, Chris and I are back answering listener questions about consistency, motivation, and how to change your inner dialogue.
Have you ever heard the joke where one fish asks another fish, “How’s the water?” and the other fish replies, “what the heck is water?”
Just like a fish doesn’t recognize water, I think the same thing happens with people and their inner dialogue. Your inner dialogue is always with you. It’s always going, and a lot of people’s inner dialogue sounds like, “I’m so tired. This is so stupid. I’m not dealing with this.” And they wonder why they’re not motivated. Changing your inner dialogue first requires that you pay attention to it, that you practice bringing your awareness to your thoughts, pausing, and analyzing what you are thinking about.
Listen in on the full episode to learn more truths and practices around consistency, motivation, and your inner dialogue. Stay tuned for the end of the episode to find out who won this week’s free giveaway!
4:33 How do you change your inner dialogue?
9:09 How do I move past previous mistakes and current self-doubt to be better able to act on desired change?
11:32 How to get consistent, I’ve lost 60 lbs but have been stalled inconsistency, motivation, and how to get the next 50 off
17:29 How do you stay motivated?
20:37 Once reaching my goal, how do I stay there?
23:16 How do you set up processes to get your brain in line to do what you want to do to reach your goals, things you know are great for you, how do you get your brain on board?
27:54 How do I stay focused when a million things stare me in the face, anxiety overcomes me and I end up doing nothing instead of trying to tackle everything.
To win next Saturday’s giveaway, leave a review of the Primal Potential podcast on Apple Podcasts, review Chasing Cupcakes on Amazon, or share an episode or lesson that you’ve learned on Instagram or Facebook (be sure to tag me)!
Hi friends! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been frustrated with how slowly I felt my progress on my goals was. This was true for me when I was losing weight, getting out of debt, and even back when I was writing Chasing Cupcakes, and my impatience made all of those things take even longer.
I felt like the least consistent person in the world or the most impatient person on earth, but these are skills that I have been able to build!
As CrossFit superstar Mat Fraser says, “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”
If you pair patience and consistency you will be unstoppable; and you can practice being more patient today. You can practice being more consistent today.
Patience paired with consistency is an unbeatable comb and that is why, for a long time now, I have been really looking forward to sharing today’s message which is inspired by the module on patience from Breaking Barriers, my self-guided e-course which walks you through the process of transforming your mindset to break through the barriers to your goal achievement.
The module on patience that I am drawing from here is especially useful for anybody who is an emotional eater. Listen or read on below!
1:00 Patience Is the Hardest Part of Achievement
Can anyone relate to this? Many, many times, I have taken a hiatus from my self-improvement journey only because I lost patience.
This happened to me countless times in weight loss, writing chasing cupcakes, and when I was getting out of debt. I wanted results faster than they were coming and, somehow, I twisted the logic to think, “I don’t care. I can’t deal with this right now. It’s not going to happen for me.” And, I would stop.
I see a lot of people getting caught in this trap of impatience, where every thought of quitting wastes energy you could be using to make success faster and easier.
If we could just work to become more patient, we would have done the hardest part of achievement. Impatience, getting frustrated, and letting that derail us is what makes it take so long, for getting out of debt, losing weight, starting a business, for everything we want to achieve.
In the words of one of my favorite authors, James Clear, “The most overlooked and under-appreciated growth strategy is patience.”
This idea, right here, can and will change your life and accelerate your results if you turn it into a practice. Progress is a slow-burn. It’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint.
If you just decided that you’re not stopping, no matter what, no matter how hard or easy, no matter how many ups and downs there are. If you only refused to stop trying, you’d eliminate at least 50% of the stuff that messes you up.
Write this down: If I can wake up every single day, deciding to be patient with the process, patient with yourself, it’s going to be easier.
Too often, I am rushing to the next thing. I have had so many thoughts recently that I should be further along, further along with losing my baby weight, further along with writing my next book, further along with my business, but when I take the perspective that I have time, there is no rush. I don’t have to wish away my baby weight. There is no rush to finish renovating my house.
That is patience and that is the most underappreciated and overlooked strategy.
6:01 Patience Isn’t Fixed
All you have to focus on is what you can do today.
Recently, I received an email from someone who says that they are too easily distracted by new tactics, “Maybe I should try this or maybe I should try that. No, I should start with this.”
I think this phenomenon is sometimes a convenient way to distract ourselves or let ourselves off the hook because we don’t have to take action if we tell ourselves we’re planning and figuring it out.
Action is available to all of us. What lies beneath that frenetic energy that sounds like, “What happens next? Why is this taking so long?” is impatience.
Patience isn’t fixed.
You can grow and develop it; you can become more patient. I’m telling you right now, whether your goal is related to finances, health or fitness, the best thing you can learn to develop is your own patience.
If today you decide you’re going to be patient but next week rolls around, you start thinking about months down the line, the holidays, the new year, you’re thinking too far ahead because you are impatient.
If you show up every day and do your best, it will take care of itself.
A lot of people are letting themselves off the hook, thinking “I don’t know if I should do this or that. My schedule is wonky.” We all have the ability, today and every day, to make the choice that is an improvement from yesterday.
For health or fitness, it can be as simple as asking, “What does it look like to take great care of myself today?”
You don’t have to have all of the answers or have everything figured out, you can answer that question and execute on the answer.
11:09 Decide That You Will Never Quit
No matter your goal, if you focus on how fast it’s going to happen, and what happens after that, and what happens after that, and so on, 12 steps ahead, you’re wasting your energy. That energy could be applied to what you need to do today, what you can do today, and what it’s going to take.
Impatience is destructive, distracting, and it becomes a story that you use to let yourself off the hook.
Start by giving energy to what you need to do today.
Embrace this fact: it’s going to take longer than you want it to.
There are going to be days where you want to quit. You will get frustrated and discouraged so if you have it in your mind that quitting is an option, then you are setting yourself up for it to take even longer. Now, if you accept the fact if quitting is not an option, you will know that you will eventually get there. It doesn’t matter what happened last week. It doesn’t matter what you’re afraid of.
You just have to decide that you are never going to quit.
It is going to require patience.
You’ve got to stay focused on what you need to do to develop the skill and pattern of behavior that will carry you there. For all of the drama and consideration of quitting, every ounce of that is energy taken from what you could use to deliver results and make success faster and easier.
14:33 For the Rest of My Life I will Invest in Myself
Before the fall 12 Weeks to Transformation started, someone emailed me saying this was their “last-ditch effort” to lose weight. She shared that she had tried so many things and this was her last attempt.
I was surprised and concerned by that, like, “Really? 12 more weeks and then done for life if you don’t create success?!”
Here’s what helped me when it came to weight loss. I would get very, very frustrated that I was doing so well and yet it doesn’t seem like I was getting results. I felt like I was working so hard and it was going so slow. When I was trying to lose a specific amount of weight, or I was trying to fit into a certain clothing size, if I didn’t lose weight at the pace that I had decided was acceptable, then I was done.
Here is the mindset that I shifted to, I am here to take great care of myself for the rest of my life. That is not contingent on my body composition, the size inside my pants, or the number on the scale. For the rest of my life, I will care about and invest in my health, in my finances, and in my relationships.
That is who and how I choose to be.
I will always come back to that, even if my budget is blown for a year, even if I snap at my husband, even if I miss the gym for a month.
If weight loss comes, great. If weight loss is slow, great. If I reach a weight where I no longer desire weight loss, great.
I want you to embrace that there will be periods of progress and periods without progress. There will be periods where you’re motivated and engaged and periods when you’re not.
16:30 Create a Lifestyle of It
Let’s use the example of money. If you are only a good steward of your finances until you get out of debt then if you feel like something is throwing you off course, or something is slowing you down, you might decide that you won’t bother trying.
On the other hand, if you decide to be financially responsible for life, then it’s not about how quickly or slowly you pay off debt. Sometimes there will be great results, sometimes you will do the work, and sometimes you won’t, but you continue to engage in it.
If you’re only interested in the short-run, to save $1,000 or lose 50 pounds, what happens after you get there? If you don’t have a commitment to that lifestyle, don’t be surprised if you regain the weight, and don’t be surprised when you’re back in debt.
It doesn’t have to be agony. If it does, you’re doing it wrong and you need to change the process. There needs to be joy in the journey or else you won’t stick with it.
Check yourself when you’re feeling frustrated and ask these questions:
If I am in this, committed for life, no matter the outcome, who and how do I want to be?
Am I being patient?
What would it look like to truly have patience in this situation? How would that change my perspective?
Start to audit your thoughts, rationalizations, and look at how patient you really are.
The most overlooked and under-appreciated growth strategy is patience.
What is the key to consistency, results?
How do I get out of my own way?
Do the work. Stop worrying about what comes next and what it’s going to look like. It’s amazing, taking action feels so much easier when you are no longer dramatic and wasting energy being frustrated.
More on Breaking Barriers
This lesson is a piece of the module on patience from the Breaking Barriers course. Especially for my listeners who were thinking about the 12 Weeks to Transformation but couldn’t swing it financially, this course is a lower-priced option. If you have questions, email the team or send me a DM on Instagram!