Everyone knows that hindsight is 20/20. We all wish we could go back and give our younger self’s advice. Today’s podcast focuses on the exact opposite idea. The past is in the past, we’ve learned lessons the hard way, and it is time to move on and look forward. In today’s podcast (one of my favorites!), I’m talking about lessons to my future self.
All of this introspection was inspired by the article, “20 Tips I’d Give Myself 20 Years Ago” which has NOTHING to do with fatloss. In the podcast, I’m breaking out key points from the article that really hit home for me, and I’m sharing the 3 lessons I would give to my future self.
This isn’t meant to be a self-indulgent post but rather to give you an inside look at what I do & how I stay focused without being deprived or insane. I’ve been traveling a lot and have more travel ahead. In fact, I’ll be speaking on Jimmy Moore’s Low Carb Cruise and I’m thinking about doing a podcast or blog series on successfully navigating an 8-day trip in terms of food & workouts. Stay tuned for that.
For most of my life, I saw travel (and really any change in my normal schedule) as an excuse to go hog wild (hog reference totally appropriate here).
I focused on everything outside of my control and completely convinced myself that “nothing” was in my control and granted myself permission to indulge in anything that wasn’t nailed down.
I immediately dove into the mindset of “since it can’t be perfect, anything goes and I’ll bounce back afterwards.”
What’s crazy about that mindset is that it implies that “perfect” was my default when not traveling. That’s not true at all! But, it didn’t matter what was true or logical. I readily snapped up the opportunity to over-indulge for days on end.
Here’s what’s actually true about traveling:
Though not everything is in my control, a lot is
Not being able to make perfect choices doesn’t mean I can’t make good choices
I feel awful and don’t enjoy my trip as much when I overeat and constantly indulge
I feel incredible and enjoy my trip more when I practice moderation & self-discipline
I’ll give you an example. The other day I flew to New England for my beautiful cousin’s bridal shower. I was up at 3am for an early flight and spent most of the day in planes & airports.
In the past, I’d be searching for breakfast as soon as I got to the airport. It usually included donuts & soda.
Here’s the thing though: do I normally eat at 5am? No! So why would I eat at 5am just because I’m within smelling distance of Dunkin’ Donuts.
Know what I ate throughout 12 hrs of travel? Nada. Nothing. I had a few coffees & a few bottles of water.
Was I hungry? Yes! Is that an emergency? No! Does it hurt? No!
Now, do I always fast in airports? No. Certainly not. It just so happens that I didn’t have a lot of time & during my layover I had some work issues to resolve so I didn’t have time to sit down and order a bunless burger.
In the past, I’d panic over hunger. I’d fixate on it.
OMG I’m starving!
I need a snack!
I’d think about it, complain about and act like I was losing a limb.
This time, I chose to stay really calm about it. The internal dialogue was intentionally different.
I’m hungry. I’m sure I’ll eat soon. I’m not going to starve.
Feel this, don’t fear it.
You’re sitting on your butt all day. I think you’ll make it.
When I finally got to my aunt’s house in Massachusetts, I was quickly offered banana bread and there were chocolates on the table. Did they look good? Sure did! How would I feel after eating them? Blahhhhh.
I sipped on my water and practiced patience & calm in response to hunger.
What can’t I do? Control the foods around me in someone else’s house.
What can I do? Choose what I eat.
Am I dying? No. Is this an emergency? No.
We started to talk about dinner and they decided to order pizza. I like pizza. How would I feel after eating pizza? Blah. Is there another option that would make me feel great? Absolutely!
Asking myself, “what can I do? What is in my control?” I asked my bride-to-be cousin if she’d like to go out to eat – just the two of us. I don’t see her often enough and we rarely have alone time.
Could I have worried about offending everyone else? Sure. But you know what? They were all thrilled that she & I would have some special 1-1 time.
We went out to eat. The server put a bowl of popcorn on the table. I was starving. I asked, “could you bring me a side salad before we order?”
That stale popcorn was certainly not a worthwhile indulgence.
I ordered a burger without the bun and side of steamed broccoli.
The brought out my burger with fries.
In the past, I’d have eaten them, not wanting to ruffle feathers and, seeing it as a “happy accident”.
Instead, I gently said, “I had ordered broccoli, not fries.”
I didn’t need to panic. I didn’t need to pour water on them or insist they take them away.
I didn’t need to create all sorts of negative energy. The decision had already been made to not eat the fries so they sat their on my plate and I didn’t eat them.
Why? Because that is something I can do. I can’t control that they brought them, but I’m certainly in control of what I put in my mouth.
I left absolutely satisfied.
As I went to bed that night, thinking about the wedding shower the following day, I asked myself, “What can I do?”
Well, I can win the morning. Everyone else will sleep in. I don’t have to.
I can get up at 4:30 (my normal time) and be productive. Feel accomplished. Get some work done.
I can workout. Do I have a gym? No. Do I need one? No.
In my room, I did 5 rounds of the following as fast as I could:
Equipment? None needed. Is it the best workout of my life? No. But it’s something I can do.
I’m writing this prior to going to the shower. There will be special cocktails & lots of treats, including mini donuts from a famous bakery in Boston.
What can I do?
I can ask myself, “what’s worth it?” and only eat that which I’m really excited about
I can have a treat or alcohol, but not both
I can be grateful for the family time instead of stressed over the food situation
I’m not perfect. I don’t have to be. Your travel choices are based largely on your attitude. If you’re fearing food and focusing on that which is beyond your control, you feel powerless.
If you’re focusing on all that you can do, you’ll feel powerful and confident.
Stay in your lane. Stay focused on what you can do. Stay focused on what is within your control.
When you see options, you’ll find them. When you seek excuses, you’ll find those, too.
On today’s episode, “How to Overcome Sugar Addiction & Cravings”, we’re talking about the truth behind sugar addiction, cravings & what you can do to overcome them! We even identify 5 ways to tell if you’re addicted to sugar! Changing your eating habits is very hard but it can feel nearly impossible when you’re legitimately addicted to sugar or constantly confronted with strong cravings for sweets.
Common Obstacle: Trying to make any healthy dietary changes can be incredibly difficult when you’re battling intense cravings or sugar addiction. Even when we WANT to eat healthy and make better choices, sometimes the cravings and draw to sugary treats can be so strong that it almost feels like we don’t even have the power to deny them. Our best intentions can be overcome by cravings and a physiological NEED for sugar.
Primal Potential Solution: First we need to understand that sugar truly IS biologically addictive. In this episode we talk about research that proves the addictive qualities of sugar. In fact, some studies suggest that sugar may be as addictive as cocaine. We discuss how the brain responds to sugar and how those responses manifest in our bodies as cravings. We talk about how cravings create both a desire for pleasure AND a strong sense of urgency, making them very hard to ignore. Then we go into pratical steps you can take to break free from your sugar cravings and addiction and avoid ever falling into the trap again. Want to know if you’re addicted to sugar? Dr. Mark Heyman suggests evaluating the following 5 signs that you might be addicted to sugar:
You consume certain foods even if you aren’t hungry because of strong cravings
You worry about cutting down on certain foods
You feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating
You have health or social problems (affecting your work or school) because of food issues but you keep eating the way you do despite negative consequences
You need more and more of the foods you crave to experience pleasure or reduce negative emotions.
Practical Implementation: This episode gives three different options for strategies that will allow you to overcome sugar addiction & cravings. We talk about specific strategies for reducing or removing sugar gradually as well as the pros and cons of jumpstart and detox programs.
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I was listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast recently while I driving home from Asheville, NC. I don’t remember who he was interviewing but they talked about a concept that really resonated with me and I wanted to share it with you.
The concept was that of pursuing 1% improvement. What if you could improve yourself by 1% every month? Where would you be in 1 year? How would your life be different in 5 years or 10 years? 1% improvement seems very manageable, like something you could work towards in just minutes each day.
Though I wasn’t actively working towards a specific 1% improvement, its this “baby step” approach that I used to help me achieve massive weight loss. I knew I couldn’t do everything all at once. I had tried that before. I would quickly become overwhelmed and feel like a failure and give up. I took an incremental approach to my weight loss and it made all the difference. I’d work to adopt one small change, practice it, master it, become comfortable with it and then move on to something else. Over time it resulted in a complete, radical transformation.
It was late September when I first heard this concept and I decided I’d do an experiment, taking it quite literally. I decided to pursue a 1% improvement in my body composition each month for 3 months. Every morning when waking up I’d write down the one or two things I was going to do that day to push towards that goal. Some days it was a workout. Other days it was a commitment to avoid specific trigger foods that were challenging me (nuts is a big one for me!). I am determined to reduce my body fat by 1% each month in October, November and December.
What if you decided to improve your mindset by 1% each month. Let’s say that this month you decide to work on eliminating all negative self talk. Each day when you wake up you write down 1 thing you love about yourself. Every time negative thoughts come into your head you replace them with the days one positive affirmation. Think about how much improved you’d better and happier you’d feel after one month!
What if you decided to improve your health by 1% this month. To do that, maybe you opt to cut out artificial sweeteners. Every morning you take a minute to think about why its important to you and how you’re going to go about it. I recently did this and I was surprised at what a positive difference it made in my cravings and hunger. Until I removed the artificial (and natural) sweeteners, I didn’t realize how much they were increasing my hunger and cravings! When I stopped putting stevia in my coffee and drinking naturally sweetened diet sodas my sugar cravings virtually disappeared. There’s no question that this improved both my health and my physique.
Sure, 1% is a little arbitrary and requires some estimation, but the bottom line is this: when you constantly strive for very small, manageable improvements, the effect is exponential. A year or two from now you’ll hardly recognize the healthier, happier you!
I’m not sure how, but it’s already the end of October! It’s crazy how time flies. Halloween is only a few days away. For some people (including me, for most of my life) Halloween marks the beginning of the downward eating spiral through Christmas. There’s candy in the house for weeks and just when it’s finally cleared out its time for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a massive day of indulgence with a week of leftovers and as soon as you work through those, the holiday parties begin. Between holiday parties and cookie swaps, there’s food everywhere, all the time.
It can be totally overwhelming. You’re in this frenzied tail-spin until you wake up in January feeling exhausted, bloated and 10 lbs heavier than you were before Halloween. Let’s break that cycle, shall we?
I know Halloween can be a tough holiday for parents who, while they certainly don’t want to restrict their child from the fun of the holiday, they dread the constant sugar-induced hyperactivity and attitude problems. I’m all for enjoying tradition, but I believe there are ways to make the most of Halloween traditions without making the focus the candy and treats. It IS possible to have a healthy Halloween and embrace moderation while still enjoying the holiday to the fullest!
Try to switch the focus this year to some of the non-food aspects of the holiday. Have a family pumpkin-carving contest. You can even use oranges and let your kids “crave” a face into the peel with a plastic knife. Emphasize decorating the house or let your kids decorate their rooms in a Halloween theme. Go on a hayride, tour a haunted house or go apple picking. (C’mon, you know you’re impressed by my crazy pumpkin carving skills!! haha. That’s my puppy, Oakley, in pumpkin form)
Don’t keep those bags of candy in the house the week leading up to trick-or-treat. Make fun, healthy holiday treats together like roasted pumpkin seeds, apple crisp or banana ghosts.
Trick or treat is another thing all together. Kids come home with buckets full of more candy than they should optimally eat all year and wolf it down in a matter or days or weeks. There are a ton of strategies out to keep your kids from becoming sugar monsters. Here are a few of my favorites:
Host a buy back. When your kid comes home with their big bag of treats, assign a monetary value to either the whole haul or to select pieces. When they trade it in, they get the cash.
Offer a non-food incentive for their candy. Is there a pair of sneakers your son has been begging for? Offer a swap – candy for sneakers.
Let them pick the 5 pieces they want most and take away the rest. Maybe you can let them continue to pick 1-2 pieces per week for the next few weeks.
At the end of the day, letting your child consume an entire bucket of candy, whether its over a few weeks or a few days, is not the best strategy for their health, for their emotional relationship with food and certainly not for their behavior and focus. Get creative; there are tons of awesome ideas out there!