Sometimes it can feel as if you are completely alone in your healthstyle struggles. While some problems are fairly commonplace (e.g. How can I fit a workout into my busy workday?), others can feel so uniquely your own that it feels nearly impossible to come up with a solution.

In today’s episode I help Ellen tackle a very specific problem, demonstrating the systematic approach I use to breakdown a complex issue and find an answer.

On the surface Ellen’s healthstyle is dialed in, and she juggles her family and career in tech like a champ. Unfortunately, several factors have conspired to make it so that she has an objectively unfair cooking arrangement with her husband. Because of it she often feels resentment during dinnertime, which triggers overeating and is ruining a part of her life she deserves to enjoy.

Ellen has already tried several strategies to resolve this on her own, but a fix has remained elusive.

Today Ellen and I explore her remaining options–a method that involves clarifying the different aspects of the issue that she can and can’t control–and come up with a strategy for her to use moving forward.

Ellen’s issue is an example of a problem that is very unique to her situation, but the systematic approach we use to land on a realistic solution can be applied broadly.

Wish you had more time to listen to the podcast? I use an app called Overcast (no affiliation) to play back my favorite podcasts at faster speeds, dynamically shortening silences in talk shows so it doesn’t sound weird. It’s pretty rad.

Related links:

Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes

Blue Apron

Mindful Meal Challenge

Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach

The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology by Jack Kornfield

Oak Meditation

Spirit Rock Meditation Center



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Show details:

1:54 – Darya explains the two kinds of influences that need to be thought through to fix any problem: external and internal.

5:18 – Start with what’s easiest.

5:45 – Ellen has a habit of overeating, that’s triggered by her husband and makes her resentful.

8:35 – Ellen has tried several things to control her overeating.

12:25 – Living in a man’s world.

15:40 – Making enough food to feed teenage boys and husband is exhausting.

17:15 – Ellen has thought through many solutions, but nothing has worked. She has fallen out of love with cooking and needs a reframe.

19:21 – Darya recommends cooking dinner fewer times per week to lesson the pressure it causes, addressing external/environmental influences on the problem.

20:04 – Does this need to be a conversation with her husband?

25:35 – Meal kits a possible solution for Ellen’s husband and kids to use on days Ellen needs a break from cooking.

31:02 – What about changing Ellen’s mindset instead of changing her husband?

33:45 – Why most people think about mindful eating the wrong way and how to make it a forever practice.

36:38 – How the skill of being mindful can make you aware of how your triggers affect your thoughts, emotions and body. This allows you to consciously relax, change course, or not engage with them to create more internal peace.

40:49 – Consider a more formal meditation practice to build your mindfulness muscle even stronger.

41:00 – What a formal meditation practice looks like.

41:30 – Why it can be better to change your perspective rather than change the world to suit your mood.

43:58 – Darya recommends the book Radical Acceptance, by Tara Brach

44:41 – …and A Wise Heart, by Jack Kornfield, who runs Spirit Rock (where Darya did her 10 day silent meditation retreat)

44:58 – …and the Oak meditation app (now live), which has easy breathing exercises, a good guided meditation and a timed, unguided meditation with light music in the background.

47:32 – Start small by meditating 5 minutes a day or just doing it a few times a week.


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