self-efficacy health goalsWho’s that person? Nope, it’s not me. Although health coaches are a great resource for helping you set goals, overcome obstacles, and get out of your own well-intentioned way. For the record, that person is also not your spouse, your roommate, your friends, or your kids.

The one person who can make you reach all your health goals is YOU.

I see you out there working hard, swapping your typical yogurt and banana breakfast for a protein-rich meal of eggs and bacon. I see you squeezing in a few sprint sessions a week and limiting blue light at night. You’re committed to doing everything right. Until, something goes wrong.

Tell me if any of these statements sound familiar.

“I’ll start over on Monday”

“I guess I’m not cut out for this”

“My husband/wife/kid keeps sabotaging me with sugary treats”

The thing is, there’s a big difference between people who think it would be really cool to reach their goals and those who unapologetically knock those goals out of the park. Trust me, I know this scenario firsthand. I’ve worked with hundreds of men and women with a desire for the latter, and a mindset for the former.

If you’re in that camp too, there is a solution. And it starts with having a deep-down belief that you have what it takes to show up for yourself each and every day and accomplish the tasks you set out to do, no matter what happens. This is what’s called self-efficacy.

What Exactly Is Self-efficacy?

According to Albert Bandura, the social psychologist responsible for this theory, self-efficacy refers to an individual’s belief in his or her capacity to execute the behaviors necessary to achieve specific results.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14724662/‘>2

How to Improve Your Self-efficacy

So, how do you get more of it? According Bandura, your self-efficacy stems from four distinct sources, including:

  • Mastery Experiences – having previously mastered a task or skill
  • Vicarious Experiences – seeing others who you consider a role model succeed
  • Verbal Persuasion – being told by influential people in your life that you have the right stuff
  • Emotional & Physiological States – this is the idea that depression or chronic stress can lower your belief in yourself

Taking those sources into account, I created 8 strategies that allow you to improve self-efficacy by focusing on certain areas of your life that could use a boost. These are the same strategies I use with my own clients to help them believe they’re as insanely badass as they really are.

Strategies to Improve Your Self-efficacy

Even if you have a history of being told you don’t have the right stuff or you’ve struggled to master anything short of boiling water, you can start improving your self-efficacy right now by following these steps:

  1. Start small
  2. Get inspired
  3. Avoid comparison
  4. Do the work
  5. Watch your self-talk
  6. Know your triggers
  7. Adopt an “I never lose” mindset
  8. Add up your successes

Let’s unpack these steps.

1. Start small. Choose goals that are easier to achieve. Rather than attempting to not touch another piece of bread for the rest of your life, say “I’m not eating bread today.” Need it to be even smaller? Try this on for size: “I’m not eating bread at this meal.” Smaller goals give you easy wins.

2. Get inspired. Know someone who’s totally crushing their goals? Show your support, ask them questions, and remember that if they can do it, you can too. While it can be hard to celebrate other people’s wins (especially if you’re having a tough time achieving yours), allow yourself to get inspired by their success.

3. Avoid comparison. If scrolling through your Instagram feed or chatting with your neighbor who dropped 4 dress sizes causes your self-confidence to plummet, don’t do it. Comparing yourself to others who are at different parts of their journey isn’t a good plan for anyone (see strategy #2).

4. Do the work. Be consistent with your healthy habits every day — even when you don’t want to. Sit down to an epic protein-forward meal or make movement part of your routine without expecting an immediate result. Some days will feel awesome, others won’t. Your job here is to continue to show up and put in the work.

5. Watch your self-talk. Be aware of how you talk to yourself when the going gets tough. If you constantly beat yourself up for giving up on your workouts, try turning that negative talk into something more neutral, without emotion like, “right now, I get really tired during my workouts.” It’s just a neutral awareness. For more tips on overcoming negative self-talk, read this.

6. Know your triggers. The deli with the awesome hoagie rolls? The bakery case at your grocery store? Backyard BBQs at your neighbor’s house? If certain places or situations test your ability to stay on track, avoid them for now. Or better yet, have a plan that allows you to be successful, like not going grocery shopping hungry or bringing your own Primally-friendly foods to the party.

7. Adopt an “I never lose” mindset. I’ve always loved the quote by Nelson Mandela, “I never lose. I either win or I learn.” Pretty powerful, right? This kind of mindset allows you to look for the opportunity in every situation. Instead of an all-or-nothing, win-or-lose mentality, it helps you see what you can learn – and what you can do differently next time if something didn’t go the way you’d anticipated.

8. Add up your successes. This is a key factor in building up your self-efficacy. Start keeping track of your wins, no matter how small you think they are. Grab a journal and write each one down. You’d be surprised how fast they add up.

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The post Self-Efficacy: Reach Your Health Goals Every Time appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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EpigeneticsYou can’t change your genes. But you can program them.

The modern world presents a number of problems for our genes. The world we’ve constructed over the last 50 years is not the environment in which our genetic code evolved. Our genes don’t “expect” historically low magnesium levels in soil, spending all day indoors and all night staring into bright blue lights, earning your keep by sitting on your ass, getting your food delivered to your door, communicating with people primarily through strange scratchings that travel through the air. So when these novel environmental stimuli interact with our genetic code, we get disease and dysfunction.

The genes look bad viewed through a modern prism. They get “associated” with certain devastating health conditions. But really, if you were to restore the dietary, behavioral, and ambient environments under which those genes evolved, those genes wouldn’t look so bad anymore. They might even look great.

This is epigenetics: altering the programming language of your genes without altering the genes themselves.

Think of your genome as computer hardware. If you were to program your computer you wouldn’t be changing the hardware; you would be changing the software that tells the computer what to do. So just as we talk about reprogramming or programming a computer and don’t suggest that the hardware itself has changed we likewise can talk about reprogramming our genes without suggesting that the genes have changed.

Okay, so how does this play out in reality? Are there any good examples of epigenetics in humans?

One of the most striking cases of the environment altering gene expression was in an old study of a homogeneous population of Berbers from North Africa.https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-12/aafc-ilc122308.php‘>2 Since MTHFR is the gene that constructs the proteins we use to activate thousands of other genes, suppressing MTHFR suppresses all those genes that rely on MTHFR-related proteins for activation. This disrupts numerous physiological systems and can set the stage for things like birth defects, cancer, and heart disease. It’s an epigenetic disaster, and it’s one reason why smoking increases the risk of so many different diseases.

Tobacco also induces hypermethylation (overactivation) of the GCLC gene which controls glutathione production. This causes a suppression of glutathione levels, an increase in oxidative stress, and initiation of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22666405‘>4

If the idea of someone being an exercise “non-responder” sounds ridiculous and unbelievable, you’re right. It turns out that while regular cardio is neutral or even detrimental to this genetic profile, high-intensity training confers the normal benefits you’d expect from exercisehttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18098291/‘>6

If you have some of the common MTHFR mutations, you need to eat more dietary choline (eggs, liver).https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20220206/‘>8

PUFA Metabolism Epigenetics

Your genes also affect fat metabolism. Some mutations in the FADS1 improve the ability of a person to elongate plant omega-3s into long-chained omega-3s like the fish fats EPA and DHA. In the context of a low-fish diet, they can still make the EPA and DHA they require to function as long as they eat some alpha-linolenic acid. This mutation is more common in populations with a long history of farming.

Another mutation impairs the ability of a person to elongate those plant fats into animal-type EPA and DHA; they need to eat a high-fish diet or supplement with fish oil to get the omega-3s their bodies need. That’s the boat I’m in—I fucntion best with a steady supply of long-chained omega-3s in my diet, probably because my recent ancestors ate a lot of seafood. This mutation is more common in populations with a shorter history of farming, or a longer history of reliance on seafood.

What’s the point of all this?

There are multiple future possible versions of you. It’s up to you to decide which version you will become. It’s up to you to make lifestyle choices that direct genes toward fat burning, muscle building, longevity and wellness, and away from fat storing, muscle wasting, disease and illness. The day-to-day choices we make—whether it’s what to pack for lunch, or hitting the snooze button and missing the gym, or even sneaking a cigarette break—don’t just impact us in the short-term (or even in ways that are immediately clear to us). That can make this scary, but it can also be empowering.

You can fix yourself. You can be better. Your genes can work better. Everyone, no matter how dire their circumstances or how “poor” the cards they were dealt were, can forge their own epigenetic destiny.

You can’t ignore the genes. They still matter. You have to figure out, of course, how your particular genes interact with diet, exercise, sleep, sun, nature, socializing, and every other lifestyle behavior. That’s the journey you’re on. That’s the journey we’re all on—it’s what this website and movement are about.

There’s a lot we don’t know about this topic. What if I don’t have a study I can refer to? What if I don’t sign up for a DNA analysis—am I out of luck?

Use your intuition when you don’t have a study or haven’t defined an epigenetic mechanism: Does it feel right? Does it feel wrong? Are you getting good results? How’s your energy? How’s your performance? Those subtle (or not-so-subtle) cues from our subconscious and direct feedback from our waking life are where true knowledge and wisdom lie. After all, your genes “want” you to do the right thing. If we’re cued into our subconscious and we’ve led a generally healthy way of life, we become more sensitive to those messages. Those flutters of doubt or little urges we get are the body’s way of telling us we’re headed for epigenetic ruin or success.

Listen to those, or at least consider and don’t ignore them.

This is what The Primal Blueprint, The Keto Reset Diet, The Primal Connection, and even Primal Endurance have all been about. It’s why the sub-title of my first book is “Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health and Boundless Energy”. And it’s what we talk about (either directly or indirectly) day-in and day-out here at Mark’s Daily Apple.

Now I’d love to hear from you. Do you have any questions about epigenetics? About how we can alter our genetic destiny through modifying our environments?

Leave them down below.

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The post Epigenetics, or What I Mean by “Reprogram Your Genes” appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Hi folks, welcome back for another edition of Ask a Health Coach. Today, Erin discusses how trusting your instincts might just be your best bet during these uncertain times, how finding your ‘why’ can help you stick with long-term goals, and the one thing you need to do to change bad habits for good. Got more questions? Keep them coming in the MDA Facebook Group or down below in the comments.

“I’ve definitely felt the pressure of having more time on my hands lately. Everywhere I turn I’m hearing people say, ‘what will you do during the quarantine?’ And ‘how will you come out of this better?’ What’s your take on all of this?” – Andrea

From my perspective, there are just as many people shouting “MAKE YOURSELF BETTER!” as there are “TAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF.” Honestly, I’m team DO WHATEVER THE HECK FEELS RIGHT FOR YOU.

We all have a new normal right now, even those of us who are used to doing the work-from-home thing. Your new routine might have you feeling unproductive, fearful, or totally out of it. Or it might have you living your best life 1 enjoying extra hours of glorious sleep, a reinvigorated sense of creativity, or desire to learn.


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I can’t say exactly what camp you’ll be in, because how one person responds to change isn’t the same as the next person. That’s the beauty of humans. We’re all different. And how we cope with uncertain times, new schedules, and strategizing on how to score a 4-pack of toilet paper is different too.

TP jokes aside, I’d check in with yourself to see if you’re using your situation as an excuse or an opportunity. People tend to see themselves as victims 2 or as empowered, which influences everyday behaviors, from what kind of groceries you put in your online shopping cart to how you interpret someone’s comment on Instagram.

If you’re thinking things like, “What if I can’t do it?”, “I’ll never be as good” or “Why bother?”, there’s a good chance you’re in the fear-based victim camp. Asking “What can I learn?”, “What excites me? or “How can this improve my life?” are signs you’re looking at your situation through an empowered, opportunistic lens.

See the difference?

So, if your days are spent lounging on the couch, it could be that you’re afraid of taking action. Or it could be that extra hours of relaxing with a funny movie or a good book you’ve been dying to read for 5 years is exactly what you need.

Only you know which is right. Not your online friends, your real friends, or your family on the other side of the country. You don’t need the pressure of keeping up with the overachievers or self-care advocates of the world who are unintentionally making you feel guilty for all the things you are or aren’t doing.

What you do need is self-compassion and a little clarity.

I don’t want you to look back a few years (or a few months) down the road and remember that you spent way too much time stewing over whether or not you should have taught yourself Spanish during self-isolation, tried to get washboard abs, or perfected a paleo banana bread recipe. It won’t matter. Seriously.

What will matter is the time you spent trusting yourself and not worrying about what other people think. Trust yourself and the rest will follow.

Stephen asked:

“Whenever I decide I’m ready to make changes to my diet, it never lasts more than a few weeks. Any advice for someone who chronically falls short when it comes to long-term goals?”

Let me ask you this: Do you really want to make changes to your diet? I know you say you do, but saying and believing are two entirely different things. Whenever I start working with a client, we spend significant time uncovering their ‘why’ — their real, deep-down reasons and motivations for wanting to make a change. It’s not just my approach either. Everyone from executives to athletes believes that uncovering your why 3 is one of the key elements of success.

If you haven’t done an exercise like this, I highly recommend it. My go-to method is called Why-By-Five. Basically, it’s an exercise that helps you get in touch with your true motivating factors for change. And all you have to do is ask yourself ‘Why’ five times.

· Why is this change important to you? Think about why you want to lose fat or become more metabolically flexible. What is your current situation preventing you from doing?

· Why does that matter? What would be possible if you made those changes? Would you be less hangry, less achy, or have fewer cravings?

· Why is that important? Maybe you’re sick of feeling that low blood sugar crash or getting lectured by your physician or buying pants in a bigger size. Only you know why this is important to you.

· Why would that be great to achieve? Visualize yourself reaching your goal. Imagine all the things you’d be capable of doing.

· Why? Seriously, why? Is it to prove that you can stick with something once and for all? Or reverse the clock and be a bad ass into your 70’s? There’s no wrong answer as long as it resonates with you.

 

“I have lots of bad habits around sleep and hitting the snooze button. What’s your number one piece of advice relating to breaking bad habits and developing good ones?” -Eric

I would say pick ONE habit and go from there. Our society is so ‘all-or-nothing’ and frankly, it pisses me off. It’s either sleep ‘til noon followed by a Frappuccino and a fritter…or get up at the crack of dawn for a fasted 6-mile run.

Listen, you’ve probably had these habits for years. And changing them all at the same time is a recipe for disaster. (Just a side note here: some people do really well by changing everything at once, but since you’re struggling, I’m guessing you’re not one of those people. Sorry, Eric. I’m not either, if it makes you feel any better.)

Like I mentioned, instead of focusing on breaking all of your bad habits, the key here is to focus on one thing you want to change. If you’ve ever read the book, Atomic Habits, you know there’s a science to this stuff. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to go to bed earlier or trying to wake up earlier, behavior change requires a strategy. Say your goal is to stop smashing the snooze button. What’s one thing you can do to refrain from doing that?

How about putting your alarm in the next room with the volume up really loud? You’d literally have to get out of bed to shut the damn thing off!

You might also want to work with an accountability partner, which is what I’m doing right now. Truth be told, I’m a snooze button pusher too. At least I was until I decided that having an awesome relaxing morning routine (tea, journaling, reading, staring out the window serenely) was more exciting to me than lazily lounging in bed for far too long. Now my accountability partner and I text each other at 5:15 every morning to make sure we’re up.

For you, I’d see if there’s someone in your circle of friends who has the same goal as you do and partner up. That way you’ll be helping someone else break their bad habit too.

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The post Ask a Health Coach: Setting Goals, Breaking Bad Habits, and Making the Most of the Quarantine appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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When our survival and basic needs are threatened, our trust in authority figures broken and our human rights ignored, it’s pretty easy to lose your head. So how can we protect our brain and nervous system in these trying times? Well, I’m happy to say that returning to the show this week to help us out is Eliza Kingsford.

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sitting on the floorA while back, I developed an interest in the “archetypal postures” of ground-based sitting, squatting, and kneeling. My interest persisted, and I thought a full-on post about the potential benefits and logistics of floor sitting would be fun and helpful.

I’ve found that there aren’t very many studies examining the effects of floor sitting, kneeling, and squatting on health, posture, or pain. You’ve got the “stability ball literature” (long story short: sitting on a stability ball tends to “increase the level of discomfort”), 7but sitting on an inflated unstable sphere is more physiologically novel than a regular chair. I’m not sure there’s much benefit and it looks pretty silly. There’s also a brief study8 that showed sitting in a backless chair improved levels of consciousness in patients with prolonged consciousness disturbance. For the most part, though, it’s a pretty barren landscape of research.

I think that’s okay. I’m not entirely convinced we always need research to confirm what we already (should) implicitly know.

As Babies, We Start on the Floor

Sometimes hard data isn’t really needed, especially when you consider two unassailable facts about our relationship with the floor. First, individually, we all start out on the floor. As babies, we lie there, essentially kicking things off as eating, pooping sacks of wiggling, basically immobile flesh. Then, we graduate to flipping over onto our stomachs, lolling our heads around (once we develop sufficient neck strength), crawling toward vacant electrical sockets, hesitantly standing, and finally walking. It’s on the floor that we learn to move. We may not be doing terribly complex or impressive stuff down there, but that first year or two is incredibly formative for the rest of our movement lives. We’re building a foundation made primarily of contralateral crawling and “tummy time.” Graduating beyond the floor to full on bipedalism doesn’t mean we should totally ignore where we came from.

Chairs are a Recent Invention

Second, chairs only recently became part of our lives. Folks as early as the ancient Egyptians had them, but they were a luxury item reserved for the upper classes. Your average Neolithic human sat on chests or benches until chairs became a mass-produced staple that everyone could afford. Earlier than that, for most of human history, formal-sitting furniture simply didn’t exist. Paleolithic posteriors surely rested upon rocks and logs and stumps when the opportunity arose, but those aren’t the same as having permanent fixtures that allow you to take a load off whenever you want. Human bodies were not designed with chairs in mind. We did do a lot of lounging around – I’m not arguing we never stopped moving or anything – but we did so on the ground, rather than on a bunch of folding chairs.

Sitting down in a chair does funny things to our bodies. It stretches out our glutes, making them inactive, loose, and weak. People by and large no longer know how to activate their butt muscles due to excessive amounts of chair sitting. Sitting in a chair also keeps the hip flexors in a short, tight, contracted position for extended amounts of time, which can inhibit full hip extension and lead to that hunched over position you often see older folks shuffling around with. And that’s not even mentioning the extensive (and growing) literature showing how sitting for too long increases mortality and degenerative disease, which I’ve covered in plenty of posts and Weekend Link Loves. This post isn’t really about that, anyway.

What might be most important, though, is what sitting in a chair doesn’t do. It doesn’t allow us to rest in the full squat position, an ability we’re born with but quickly forget how to do. It doesn’t let us do much of anything. Sitting becomes a totally passive act, where we’re slumped over, shoulders rounded, feet twisted up and resting on the chair legs, totally dependent on the structure of the chair to support our weight – rather than using our musculature and arranging our skeletal system in such a way that we support ourselves. Doesn’t it seem inconceivable that an animal – any animal – would evolve to require furniture in order to rest comfortably without incurring a disability?

That’s partly why it makes some sense to hang out on the floor more.

6 Floor Sitting Positions to Better Align Your Body

We need the “stress” of supporting our own body weight and making sure our structures are in alignment. Here are a few positions to try out:

  • Squat
  • Seiza
  • Half kneel
  • Crossed legs
  • Crossed legs variation
  • Make up your own

Resting Squat
sitting on the floor squat

Squats are the default resting position of humans. Kids can do this easily, but once they start going to school and sitting in a chair for six hours a day, they lose it. The goal here is to get your heels on the ground. Resting on the balls of your feet is easier, but it’s harder on your knees and thighs. The heels-down squat, which requires more flexibility but distributes the pressure across your hips, is far more sustainable.

 

Seiza

sitting on the floor seiza

Seiza is the formal way to sit in Japan, resting on the lower legs, butt on heels. Placing a small pillow or rolled up towel under your knees can make the transition easier, especially if you have a bad knee or two.

 

 

Half Kneel

floor sitting half kneel

 

Like seiza, except one of your feet is on the ground, heel down, in front of you in a squat position. Like these guys.

 

 

Crossed Legs

sitting on the floor cross leggedFor many people, this is the most comfortable, natural way to sit on the floor. You can place your feet flat against each other, cross at the ankles, or place your calves against each other. You can even go full lotus.

 

 

Crossed Leg Variation

 

This is one my favorite ways to sit. From the basic crossed leg position, place one hand flat on the floor and lean on it. Bring the opposite leg up and place the foot flat on the floor. Your opposite leg will be in a squat position. Switch hands and legs if it gets uncomfortable.

 

 

Make Up Your Own

Human limbs are funny, bendy things. We can contort ourselves into lots of positions, and as long as you’re on the floor, supporting your own weight and feel comfortable doing it, it’s difficult to hurt yourself. Our bodies are good at giving feedback before things go really wrong. If your arm starts to go numb or your toes get tingly, switch it up! Try coming up with some of your own variations for sitting on the ground and report back.

Floor Activities for Improved Body Alignment

  • CrawlContralateral crawling is one of the most fundamental ways to move. It’s a strong developer of shoulder and hip mobility and strength, and it’s simply a fun way to see and experience the world.
  • Watch TV on the floor. There’s nothing inherently wrong with TV. Sure, it can be taken to the extreme and crowd out active living, but it’s arguably a golden age of television as far as quality goes. The couch sitting, though, is what gets you.
  • Eat dinner on the floor. This isn’t something I created out of thin air; plenty of cultures eat dinner on the ground.
  • Try different positions. You’ll probably find that floor living is a constantly shifting existence, where instead of remaining in the same position for hours at a time, you’re moving around all the time without even trying. You’re switching from the right arm to the left arm to the right elbow to the full lotus position to the half kneel to the full kneel to the full squat just in the first two hours.
  • Practice moving between positions. Go from standing to a half kneel to a kneel to a seiza to a kneel to a half kneel to standing.
  • Practice standing up. We can’t live on the floor all the time. Sometimes, we need to stand up and get on with our lives. A smooth transition between floor living and standing is key to health and mobility. For an example transition, check out one of my buddy Erwan’s (of MovNat) methods.

Spend at least an hour a day sitting on the ground and another fifteen minutes practicing different ways to move between positions and another fifteen practicing how to stand up and sit back down. Shoot for ten minutes of crawling, too. You can do most of these things while doing other things, like watching TV or reading or talking, so it’s not like you’re wasting time. My guess is that you’ll take to this like a fish to water.

Why is this so important?

The way we sit, and where we do it, changes the function of our bodies. It even alters the length of musculature.Hi folks, in this edition of Ask a Health Coach, Erin discusses why fasting might feel harder right now, why you need more than just a good workout plan, and what to eat when you’re sick of having eggs for breakfast every day. Keep your questions coming in the MDA Facebook Group or in the comments below.

Being home all day has been a real test to my willpower. Fasting is harder and I’m hungry all the time. Any tips for navigating this “new normal?” – Stephanie

I’m with you Stephanie. A lot of things feel out of our control right now and with so much uncertainty, just rolling with it might be your best bet for the next few weeks. Does that mean saying “screw it!” and scarfing down a few donuts every morning? Or grazing on chips and cookies throughout the day? No. But it does mean acknowledging your new routine, your new struggles, the fact that you’re under more stress than usual, and of course, the reality that you’re surrounded by food 24/7.

Usually when my clients talk about willpower, I find that they’re white-knuckling it through their day. Flat out resisting the temptation to eat with no strategies other than trying not to think about food. By definition, willpower is simply ignoring hunger. You’re choosing not to eat when your body is begging you to feed it!

Stress Triggers Sugar Cravings

Hunger is a biological survival mechanism triggered by our cells and driven by our brains. When you’re eating food, you’re feeding your cells. And when you’re resisting or restricting it, you’re starving your cells. Also keep in mind that extra stress puts you into fight-or-flight mode, making those donuts, muffins, leftover Easter candies look extra good. Your cells are craving sugar! And when you give in, you start the vicious cycle of sugar high, followed by sugar crash, followed by feeling hungry, hangry, and craving everything in sight.

Sure, you might just be bored or procrastinating on a looming deadline, but if you’re genuinely hungry, put a sheet of bacon in the oven, fry up a few eggs with butter, and sit down to a meal. Actually sit down — don’t check emails, do chores, or stand in front of the fridge with the door wide open. And when it comes to intermittent fasting, no one’s going to come knocking on your door and tell you you’re doing it wrong. There’s no fasting police. It doesn’t make you a bad person if you usually fast for 20 hours and now you’re fasting for 12. As a matter of fact, there’s research that proves that fasting for as few as 10 hours has solid benefits.

Finally, if you are working from home, make sure your setup isn’t at the kitchen table. I know a lot of people have limited space, but having a designated place to work that doesn’t involve you smelling your family members’ lunches or putting you at arm’s reach from the fridge will serve you well.

I’ve been following Mark’s Daily Apple for 6 months, but I still have 30 pounds to lose. What’s the best workout for someone on a Primal diet? -Gerald

I love that you have a specific goal, Gerald. Determining your end point is so important for long-term success. It could be losing 30 pounds like you mentioned, or improving the way your joints feel, or being able to chase your kids around the yard without stopping to catch your breath.

Honestly, there are tons of workouts out there. Free ones too. In fact, I just Googled “workout plans for Primal diet” and came up with this, this, and this  in about 1.5 seconds. But it’s not just about picking a plan and following it. If it were that easy, everyone would do it.

Identify your Obstacles and Make a Plan to Get Past Them

Wellness is a journey. One that requires navigating obstacles and determining the path of least resistance. So, before you dive into your first set of squats, take some time to think about what barriers might stand in your way. Do you have the right exercise equipment at home to complete your workouts? Do you have the support of your family? Have you carved out time and space to exercise? You need to get real about what your obstacles are, so you can devise a plan to get past them and reach your goal. If you need a hand with this step, online health coaches and personal trainers can be a great resource.

A plan is just a plan. It’s two-dimensional. And things always come up. That’s why it’s crucial to have a strategy for all the ups, downs, and unexpected in-betweens that come with your individual journey.

I’m tired of eating eggs for breakfast every day. Got recommendations for changing things up? – Jeanine

You were probably in a nutrition rut before you started the eggs-for-breakfast routine. Let me guess: a light yogurt and banana before work, sandwich for lunch, instant oatmeal packets, cans of soup, take out… Somehow you got yourself out of that rut and into another one.

Listen, everyone likes the things they’re familiar with, and most people don’t like change. It’s a human truth. You were familiar with eggs. You liked them. You started making them every day. And now you’re completely sick of them. Totally understandable.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

I’m in the business of getting people out of their comfort zones, but I don’t do meal plans or recipes, simply because they’re too fussy. If I say, “how about venison patties and chopped up veggies” and you don’t happen to like those, what good does it do?” As a health coach, I supply my clients with a comprehensive list of supportive foods they should be eating. I provide the education, but I expect them to go out into the world and figure out what that looks like for them, so they don’t need me to tell them specifically what to eat at every meal.

Like I’m sure you are, I’m a big fan of protein-rich breakfasts since they’re known to keep you feeling satiated throughout the day. Remember that breakfast doesn’t have to look like a typical breakfast though. There are lots of great protein sources out there — everything from bone broth, beef, and bison to salmon, sardines, and sausage, just to name a few.

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The post Ask a Health Coach: Why Willpower Doesn’t Work, Primal-Inspired Workouts, and What to Eat for Breakfast appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Successful Habit ChangeWe all know the grim stats about how many New Year’s resolutions fail. It’s not because making resolutions is hokey or people are inherently lazy. It’s because most resolutions come down to one of two things: adopting new (good) habits or breaking old (bad) habits, and habit change is hard.

People struggle at every step, from picking the right goals—ones that are motivating and achievable—through the implementation process.

The trick is to be strategic and intentional about changing your habits. Rather than relying on willpower and wishes, get good systems in place. As James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, says, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

What Are Habits, and How Do You Change Them?

Successful habit change is the process of taking a behavior that currently requires cognitive effort and making it automatic. 

“Automatic” is a word psychologists use to describe behaviors that don’t require a lot of cognitive attention or processing. Habits are any behaviors that have become automatic: walking past the cereal aisle at the store instead of turning down it, swinging your legs out of bed when your alarm goes off, going to yoga class on your lunch break.

Adopting new habits might feel difficult at first, but with enough repetition they feel easy, like you’re not even thinking about them. That’s sort of true. Effortful behavior relies on the prefrontal cortex, the higher-level thinking and planning part of your brain. Habitual behavior is governed by a different structure called the basal ganglia.

From a cognitive perspective, this is highly advantageous. The brain has a massive number of inputs to deal with each day. The more behaviors we don’t have to think much about, the better.

So if building habits is so desirable for the brain, why isn’t it easier?

How Habit Change Works

On a basic level, all behavior works like this:

Cue (trigger) –> Response (behavior, action) –> Feedback (consequences)

To make a behavior a habit, the feedback has to be rewarding. You also have to repeat the behavior over and over to reinforce the relationship between cue and response:

Cue (trigger) –> Response (behavior, action) –> Reward –> Repeat

It’s elegantly simple but obviously not easy. The process can break down at any point along the way. The good news is you can improve your odds of success by beefing up any part of the system—the cue, the reward, or the “in-between stuff” represented by the arrows.

You don’t necessarily need to do all of these for each new habit you’re trying to build. One might be enough. On the other hand, this is often a more-is-better situation.

Target #1: Strengthen the Cue

A cue can be a time of day (first thing in the morning), something you see or do in your environment (opening the fridge, watching a TV commercial), or a feeling (tension in your neck, boredom).

In order to build a reliable habit, number one: make the cue stronger. In the language of Atomic Habits, make it obvious.

Targets #2, 3, and 4: Mind the Gap

A lot happens in the space between noticing the cue and initiating the behavior. According to Dr. Steve Wendel’s behavior funnel, this includes:

  • Gut reaction – your initial “yay” or “ick” feeling about the behavior that’s being cued
  • Evaluation – your more thoughtful evaluation of the cost and benefits of doing the behavior
  • Ability and timing checks – deciding whether you have the resources to follow through and whether there is any sense of urgency

Thus, to increase the likelihood of making it to the response phase, you can:

  • Number two: Make it more appealing (“Make it attractive,” says James Clear.)
  • Number three: Make it feel more feasible (increase your ability)
  • Number four: Make it urgent

Target #5: Make It Rewarding

While developing better habits can be rewarding in and of itself, you can speed the process along by building in positive reinforcement. Especially if your goal is long-term (weight loss, training for a marathon), more immediate rewards can be helpful.

Target #6: Rinse, Repeat

To really ingrain the habit, you have to do the behavior over and over. The more you do, the stronger the cognitive association between the cue and the behavior and, over time, the more automatic it becomes.

The Process in Action

Let’s say you’ve decided to start going to the gym after work twice per week to lift weights. Here are 20 things you can do to increase your chances of success.

Strengthen the Cue

1. Leave yourself reminders.

  • Put post-it notes on your bathroom mirror, fridge, or laptop.
  • Set alarms on your phone.

2. Arrange your environment.

  • Keep your gym bag on your front seat.
  • Put your exercise tracking app on the home screen of your phone.

3. Use implementation intentions. This a fancy way of saying “make a plan.” Be specific. Use if/then statements. Research has shown that implementation intentions are incredibly powerful tools for instilling new habits.

  • “I will go to the gym on Mondays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m.”
  • “When I leave the office, I will head straight to the gym.”
  • “If the gym is crowded when I get there, I will adjust my workout instead of leaving.”

4. Use habit stacking, a specific type of implementation intention. Pair your new desired behavior with something you already do habitually. (This is the same as the anchoring principle in B.J. Fogg’s Tiny Habits protocol.)

  • “When I shut off my computer at work, I will immediately change into my gym clothes.”
  • “When I fold my laundry, I will set out two gym outfits.”

Make It More Attractive

5. Arrange to meet friends at the gym (also creates pressure to show up at a certain time).

6. Invest in nice workout clothes that make you feel more comfortable.

7. Designate podcasts or audiobooks you only listen to at the gym.

8. Use positive language to describe your habit, for example, “I get to go to the gym today” instead of “I have to go to the gym today.”

Make It Seem More Feasible

9. Invest in a few sessions with a personal trainer or watch YouTube videos to learn good form.

10. Download a fitness app that programs workouts for you.

11. Break big goals into smaller, more achievable interim goals.

12. Remove obvious obstacles.

  • Hire a babysitter.
  • Block off gym time on your work calendar so nobody schedules you for meetings.

13. Join the gym between your home and office, even if the one on the other side of town is fancier. Or, buy workout equipment for your home so you don’t have to go anywhere.

Increase Urgency

14. Tell people about your plan so you’ll be motivated to follow through and save face.

15. Hire a coach or trainer so someone who is counting on you to show up.

16. Have a deadline.

  • Register for an upcoming strength competition or obstacle course race.
  • Join a 30-day challenge.

17. Put your money where your mouth is. Use a service where you can bet on yourself following through on your plan. If you fail, you lose the money. If you’re successful, you get your money back. (Note: Spending money on your goal can increase urgency, but it has to be enough that you’ll feel bad wasting it. For some people that’s $10. For others it’s $10,000.)

Make it Rewarding

18. Use a tracking app or journal to record your sessions, or check off days on your calendar. Seeing your work accumulate is the grown-up version of getting gold stars on the good behavior chart in elementary school.

19. Post your progress on social media. I know, I know, but it’s more than just bragging! Getting likes and positive comments is actually quite reinforcing.

20. Structure rewards for yourself to celebrate milestones. For example, every time you increase a lift by 10%, put money aside for those expensive gym shoes you’re eyeing.

Different Goals, Same Framework

No matter what your specific goal, you can still use these same practices. If your goal is to get back into cross-stitch:

  • Leave your materials on the table where you’ll see them every afternoon. (Obvious)
  • Make yourself a cup of tea and put on relaxing music. (Attractive)
  • Start with two minutes per day. (Feasible)
  • Join a “pattern-a-day” challenge. (Urgent)
  • Turn your creations into gifts for friends. (Rewarding)
  • Try to cross-stitch every day. (Repeating)

See? And most importantly, no matter what your goal, stick with it. Don’t get derailed by minor setbacks. Habits take weeks or months to lock in. Be patient.

What say you? I’m a huge fan of habit stacking, but what techniques have you used successfully to build new habits?

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The post 6 Concrete Ways to Rewire Your Brain for Successful Habit Change appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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Goal SettingThis is the time of year where we audit what we can change, improve, and do away with in our lives.

What goals can we crush this year?

If there was a phrase that could be done away with it, this would be it for me: “CRUSH YOUR GOALS.” It sounds exhausting, and a little angry.

Here, instead, are a few nice promises that you can make for yourself. These five promises are all about loving kindness—the gentleness you need to thrive and survive in a world gone mad with goal-crushing.

5 Promises to Keep:

  1. Enable Your Environment
  2. Trust the Progression of Progress
  3. Offer Yourself Kindness
  4. Have the Full Experience
  5. Ask for Help

1. Enable Your Environment

We are what we surround ourselves with, and if you’re trying to make any improvement in your life, you’ll be more successful if your environment is set up to support you.
Trying to stick to a budget, diet, or fitness routine? Keep near you things that support those endeavors, and ruthlessly purge anything that gets in the way.

Let’s say you’re trying to curtail your alcohol consumption this year. Simply not bringing adult beverages into the home is the obvious first step to setting up your environment for success.

But go deeper than that. Rearrange your cupboards so the wine glasses or highball glasses are hidden away. Acknowledge what other rituals go alongside your cocktail routine. For example, is it how you wind down in front of the TV each night? If so, consider treating yourself to a great book, a true crime podcast series, or an indulgent epsom salt bath, so you have something to do besides TV, the activity in which your alcohol habit is tethered.

If your friends, loved ones, or life partners seem to influence whether or not you have a drink, speak up: Let it be known that you are changing your habits, and that a friendly internet stranger told you that setting up your environment is the first step. If they love you, they’ll be on board and won’t pressure you. If they do pressure you… it might be time to have a meaningful conversation about how you need your loved one to show up for you with support and love.

This is why many diet programs—including Mark’s 21-Day Primal Reset—begin with the Pantry Purge as step one. The willpower required to stick to a lifestyle change works better in the context of an environment that’s set up to remove the struggles and barriers. It’s a nice thing to do for yourself when you’re trying to change, grow, and improve.

2. Trust the Progression of Progress

You will not knock your goals out of the park on the first try. I repeat: YOU WILL NOT.

Simply acknowledging this already takes the pressure off.

In the world of coaching, we use a body of knowledge called the Transtheoretical Model, or the Stages of Change (which is much easier to remember, and to spell). Developed by behavioral psychologists, the Transtheoretical Model factors in six different stages of change:

  • Pre-Contemplation: You don’t even know you want or need to change. Given that you’re here, reading Mark’s Daily Apple, that’s probably not you.
  • Contemplation: You have begun to think about changing, though you haven’t yet taken action. This might ring familiar to you if you have a list of New Year’s Resolutions staring you in the face that you’ve not yet embarked on. There’s no shame in that—you should be proud of yourself for even contemplating change. Many never do.
  • Preparation: You’re ready to take action! You begin to make small steps toward your end goal. This is a big deal, and should be an exciting and celebratory time.

Think of a staircase with your ultimate goal at the top, and every necessary micro-step in between, leading you deliberately up to your final destination. At this stage, you’ve begun to take those tentative first steps.

This is the stage where folks tend to feel as though they’re falling off the wagon; failing at achieving their goals, just because their forward momentum up the staircase has slowed, stopped, or temporarily regressed backward. You aren’t failing. It’s impossible to leap from the bottom step to the top one in a single bound. You may take a step back down on the staircase, but the steps are small, so no harm is done. And that next upward step is always within your reach.

In the interest of closing the loop, the final three stages of the Transtheoretical Model include: Action (you’ve officially changed a behavior and are confident and comfortable moving forward with it); Maintenance (the change no longer feels like a “change;” it has integrated into your life!); and, Termination (you’ve effectively exited the change interstate, and are now a different person).

It’s the earliest first few steps of change where we’re hardest on ourselves, though. Understand that steps backward are allowed, and be kind to yourself when they inevitably occur.

Speaking of which…

3. Offer Yourself Kindness

This is why I don’t like language around sacrifice or deprivation when one is embarking on a change, and it’s why the phrase “crush your goals” feels like nails down a chalkboard for me. This hard language forgets one important thing: Your inner and outer worlds are unpredictable, and if you hang your hat on drive and discipline, what happens when you’re inevitably thrown a curve ball that you can’t program your way out of?

Often I’ll work with people who identify, proudly, as: “being very black and white.”

“I need to be absolutely ON, otherwise I’m OFF,” they’ll say.

While I admire the boldness of this statement, it simply can’t and won’t work for most people, for a lifetime.

Life is not black and white. And the sooner you can get comfortable hanging out in the grey between Winning and Losing, the more at peace you’ll be as you navigate the inevitable ups and downs of personal growth. Heck, of life.

So be kind to yourself. Feel proud when goals are “crushed,” absolutely. And when they aren’t? That’s okay too. Sit with it; observe it, journal it, declare out loud why you experienced your struggle or slip up. Recognize it. Give it a face, a name. Take the power back. And then dust off and move on.

I want you to achieve your goals. And I want the entire process of that journey to feel good in your heart and mind, even the screw-ups.

When you can flip the switch from driven discipline to loving kindness, the process of navigating change feels friendlier.

4. Have The Full Experience

This is one of those ideas that I thought I had invented… and then I heard Mark describe it perfectly on a podcast.

His example was cheesecake, a dessert he loves… and one that is not particularly Primal!

When he orders the cheesecake, the very act of that decision comes from a place of excitement and happiness. He wants the cheesecake, and doesn’t hesitate to order it. The entire experience of ordering the cheesecake is considered: how exciting it is to see it on the menu, to make the decision to order it, ask the waiter to bring it, patiently await its arrival while chatting and laughing with loved ones at an amazing restaurant.

When the cheesecake arrives, how does it look? How does it smell? How does your body respond when it’s put down in front of you: Joy, delight? Anxiety, disappointment? There is never a wrong answer, only a necessary observation.

Take the first bite. On a scale of 1-10, it’s a 10. Second bite: about an eight. Third bite: solid five. Fourth bite… four…

And so on and so forth, stopping when the awesomeness of the cheesecake experience has been fully enjoyed, and before you’re just still eating it for the sake of eating it. Once the joy has faded, it’s time to put the fork down, and bask in the memories of those first few epic bites.

With my clients, I take it further. What happens after the cheesecake? How does your body feel: Tired? Foggy? Do you have a stomach ache? Or do you feel fine?

And then we keep going: the “after” after. The next day, has the cheesecake awakened the sugar monkey that lives on your back? Are your sugar and refined carb cravings awake and alive? How do you feel having indulged your cheesecake craving: satisfied and happy? Or have you descended into guilt and shame? Were you able to return to your regularly scheduled programming with no hiccups?

Was it, ultimately, worth it?

This is an incredible teaching moment.

You may know this as “mindfulness.” I wanted to give it a more descriptive title since I think the concept of mindfulness has been too vague for too long, and though folks think they know they “need to be more mindful,” not too many can put their arms around what it really means.

So have the full experience any time you make a choice that supports your goals—or doesn’t. If it was worth it, hooray! If it wasn’t, what can you learn from it?

5. Ask For Help

This is a hard one for anyone who prides themselves as being proud, stoic, or strong. Whether we don’t want to bother people with our struggles and strife, or we don’t feel comfortable declaring our goals and challenges out loud, one of the best promises you can keep to yourself is to ask unapologetically for help when you need it.

I can tell you from experience that big change and growth only happens when you stretch yourself out of your comfort zone. So get comfortable with discomfort, and don’t be shy to seek a mentor who specializes in what you want help with. Finances? Hire a money coach. Health? Hire a health coach. Love? Get thee a relationship coach. Confidence? Yes, there are even confidence coaches out there.

If you knew that there was a trusted expert out there who could help solve your specific problem, imagine how liberating and transformational it would be to form a partnership with that coach. I promise you, it’s a life-changer.

Let’s make this the year we kindly and lovingly make and keep promises to ourselves.

I’m Erin, the coaching director for Mark’s Primal Health Coach Institute. And if this little missive can help you start this year off feeling extremely pumped up, optimistic, happy, and empowered about the exciting opportunity for change ahead of you, then I’ve done my job.

If you need any help along the way, we have thousands of Primal Health Coaches with vast specialities who are trained to help you mentor you toward your health and happiness goals for 2020 and beyond.

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Erin Power Erin Power is the coaching and curriculum director for Primal Health Coach Institute. She also helps her clients regain a loving and trusting relationship with their bodies—while restoring their metabolic health, so they can lose fat and gain energy—via her own private health coaching practice, eat.simple.

The post 5 Easy Promises to Make and Keep This Year appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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‘Tis the season for consumption.

Cookies, cakes, and pies abound. Feasts happen on a regular basis. Candy is given and received as gifts. And there are parties immeasurable—at work, with family, with friends—where calorie-dense, rewarding food is handed out, like, well, candy. The holiday season is a practice in overeating, and it can be very hard to avoid. You may not want to even avoid it; there’s something to be said for letting loose now and again on special occasions, especially when holiday cheer is in the air.

But what happens to your body when you overeat? And what can you do about it?

The type of overeating most people do across the holidays is high-sugar, high-fat, and relatively low protein. These are your cakes and cookies. Your brownies and fudge. Your pie for breakfast. This is the worst kind of overfeeding you can do. Research shows that just six days of high-sugar, high-fat, low-protein overfeeding rapidly increases fat deposition in the liver and muscle. Seven days of overfeeding reduces whole body insulin sensitivity, inhibits glucose clearance, and impairs endothelial function.

If you keep doing it, say, over the course of a month, bad things pile up. You get incredibly insulin resistant. Your liver fat increases. Your body weight and overall body fat increase. Your C-reactive protein increases, an indication of inflammation. A class of antioxidants called plasmalogens also increase, which means your body is fighting oxidative stress.

One problem with the studies is that you have to distinguish between quality and quantity; overfeeding with different foods elicits different effects. For instance, in the study that looked at overfeeding’s effect on lipid metabolism, the subjects overate by eating more cookies, potato chips, and cheesecake and drinking an oil-based liquid supplement. Overeating a bunch of that junk food is different than overeating steak.

In fact, research shows that overfeeding protein has little to no impact on fat or weight gain compared to carbohydrate or fat overfeeding.

Another factor to consider is individual variability. Some people are “obesity prone.” Others are “obesity resistant.” In one study, obesity prone and obesity resistant subjects had different responses to three days of overfeeding. The obesity prone people saw their fat oxidation rates drop during sleep; they burned less fat. The obesity resistant subjects saw their fat oxidation rates unchanged during sleep; they continued burning fat like normal.

So, when we talk about the effects of overeating, we have to keep in mind that the effects will  differ between individuals and vary if you’re eating a pound of roast lamb versus eating half a pie. But the general point still stands: Overeating can make you gain weight, gain liver weight, induce oxidative stress, cause insulin resistance, increase inflammation, and make you sicker, fatter, and more unwell the longer it goes on.

But am I too late in saying this? Are you already dealing with the effects of excess? Here are 8 tips for scaling back and minimizing damage. 

1. Favor Protein

As explained above, overfeeding protein has more neutral metabolic and body composition effects than overfeeding fat and carbs. Some effects are even positive, like boosts to energy expenditure during the day and during sleep. Load up on the turkey, the lamb, the beef rib roast and keep portions of mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, stuffing, candied chestnuts, and cookies more reasonable. One advantage of overeating protein is that eating less of the other stuff tends to happen inadvertently.

2. Eat Vinegar

Vinegar, whether it’s organic apple cider vinegar with the mother still swimming in it or standard white vinegar from a two gallon jug, improves glucose tolerance and keeps postprandial hyperglycemia and insulin tamped down. The trick is eating the vinegar (maybe a side salad before the big meal dressed with a vinegar-y dressing) 20-30 minutes before you overindulge.

This is most relevant for meals containing carbohydrate.

3. Exercise

No, exercising after overeating is not “binge behavior” or evidence of an “eating disorder” for most people. It’s simply physiological common sense. You consume a ton of calories, calories in excess of what your mitochondria can process and convert to energy. What makes more physiological sense—just sitting there, letting that extra energy circulate and eventually accumulate on your body, or creating an energy deficit so that the extra energy is utilized?

This isn’t about “calories,” per se. It’s about throwing a ton of energy toward your mitochondria and giving them a job to do—or letting them languish in disuse. It’s not about “weight gain,” necessarily. It’s about energy excess and the oxidative stress and inflammation that results. It’s about not being wasteful. If you introduce a ton of energy and then do nothing, you are wasting that potential.

Besides, research shows that exercise counteracts the short term negative effects of overfeeding, including countering the negative epigenetic effects seen in the adipose tissue of over-consumers. The best time to exercise is immediately after eating. Of course, I wouldn’t suggest doing an intense CrossFit workout with a belly full of food, but something light like the several sets of 10 pushups, squats, lunges, and situps in this study done immediately after does the trick.

4. Accept It As a Positive Experience and Move On

That overeating induces oxidative stress enough to trigger the release of antioxidant compounds may mean the occasional acute bout of overeating can act as a hormetic stressor that makes you stronger in the long run—provided it stays acute and hormetic. It could actually be good to overeat once in awhile. Yeah, go with that.

5. Have Some Black Tea

I just did a big definitive guide to tea, and it turns out another benefit of the stuff is that it actually speeds up digestion after eating. It beats alcohol, espresso, and everything else that people tell you helps digestion.

6. Go For a Walk

Right after you overeat, a 20-30 minute walk will reduce blood glucose and speed up gastric emptying—helping you process the meal much faster and reducing the feeling of fullness. Longer walks are even better and can also reduce the postprandial insulin spike. It has to be immediately after though; waiting even 30 minutes will suppress the effects.

7. Get Out Into the Cold

It’s the perfect season for cold exposure (in most places). Even mild cold exposure—just 18°C or 64.4°C for 2.5 hours—is enough to increase energy expenditure without increasing hunger or subsequent food intake. That’s downright comfortable for a lot of people. If you went out into sub 50°F weather, I bet you could get the same effects even faster.

8. Don’t Throw In the Towel and Continue Overeating For the Foreseeable Future or “Until the New Year”

A consistent finding in the literature is that people gain weight during the holidays and never quite lose it. They don’t do this because they had an extra slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving or five cookies on Christmas morning. They gain and retain the weight because they consistently overindulge for the entire duration of the holidays. They figure “Oh, I ate badly yesterday, which means this week is shot. I’ll just do better next Monday,” and then keep that mindset going for months.

Well, one way to break that cycle is to stop that “this week/month is shot” mindset. No, just because you ate badly yesterday doesn’t mean you should eat badly today and tomorrow. That will compound your problems and dig an even deeper hole. Stop overeating immediately.

Overeating happens. It’s okay, or even beneficial if used judiciously. There’s nothing like filling your belly with your grandma’s signature dish, or really letting loose with your favorite people in the world. Humans are feasters by nature. We like to make merry and eat big to ring in the good times. Just make sure you contrast it with leaner days. (Intermittent fasting around the holidays is great for this.) A feast no longer qualifies as a feast if you do it consistently. A party’s not a party if you party every day. Contrast is the stuff of life—heed that rule and all will be well.

How do you approach holiday overeating? What do you do to counter the effects? What physical behaviors and mental models do you adhere to? Let me know in the comment board.

Take care, everyone, and happy feasting!

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References:

Surowska A, Jegatheesan P, Campos V, et al. Effects of Dietary Protein and Fat Content on Intrahepatocellular and Intramyocellular Lipids during a 6-Day Hypercaloric, High Sucrose Diet: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Normal Weight Healthy Subjects. Nutrients. 2019;11(1)

Parry SA, Turner MC, Woods RM, et al. High-Fat Overfeeding Impairs Peripheral Glucose Metabolism and Muscle Microvascular eNOS Ser1177 Phosphorylation. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020;105(1)

Leaf A, Antonio J. The Effects of Overfeeding on Body Composition: The Role of Macronutrient Composition – A Narrative Review. Int J Exerc Sci. 2017;10(8):1275-1296.

Schmidt SL, Kealey EH, Horton TJ, Vonkaenel S, Bessesen DH. The effects of short-term overfeeding on energy expenditure and nutrient oxidation in obesity-prone and obesity-resistant individuals. Int J Obes (Lond). 2013;37(9):1192-7.

Bray GA, Redman LM, De jonge L, et al. Effect of protein overfeeding on energy expenditure measured in a metabolic chamber. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;101(3):496-505.

Ostman E, Granfeldt Y, Persson L, Björck I. Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005;59(9):983-8.

Solomon TPJ, Tarry E, Hudson CO, Fitt AI, Laye MJ. Immediate post-breakfast physical activity improves interstitial postprandial glycemia: a comparison of different activity-meal timings. Pflugers Arch. 2019;

Heinrich H, Goetze O, Menne D, et al. Effect on gastric function and symptoms of drinking wine, black tea, or schnapps with a Swiss cheese fondue: randomised controlled crossover trial. BMJ. 2010;341:c6731.

The post Post-Binge Biology: What Happens To Your Body When You Overeat (and 8 Things To Do Afterward) appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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