Ask a Health Coach: The Adaptation Edition

Hi Guys! In this week’s Ask a Health Coach, Erin talks about adaptation – from the time it really takes to get fat to self-sabotage and how to get off the Standard American Diet roller coaster for good. Keep sending us your questions on Mark’s Daily Apple’s Facebook group or in the comments below.

Stacey asked:
“I’ve been on a strict keto diet for three weeks and I’ve only lost a few pounds. This seems very slow compared to what everyone else is reporting. Do you have any tips on how to speed up fat loss? “

If it were that easy to meticulously monitor your macros, everyone would be on their way to a six pack. Listen, fat loss can be persistent. And it doesn’t just depend on what you eat or how many calories you burn. Every signal your body receives from the environment affects how your genes express themselves.

Not only that, your attitude towards your company matters too. This includes your mindset, your mood, and your expectations. So if you expect to lose more weight than you do, you are already preparing for disappointment.

Stop comparing yourself to others

Expectations versus reality are a challenge that most people (myself included) struggle with in almost every aspect of their lives. What makes you think you should be further than you on your fat loss journey? Is it because other people have?

You may not even be aware that you are doing it, but I suspect that you are comparing and judging quite a bit. While it is in our human nature to do this, it is not a useful way to spend your time and energy. And it’s a sure recipe for unhappiness, discouragement, and jealousy. After all, it is none of your business how you measure yourself against someone else’s success.

This is a great place to practice how to say stay on track. It will be much more beneficial to focus on your habits, your goals, and the way you will be held accountable.

There is also an adjustment phase

Keto adaptation, also called fat adaptation, is the process your body goes through when it changes its preferred fuel source. You’ve probably heard that this adjustment period takes about 10 days before you see any positive effects, but it can take longer.

In fact, it sometimes takes up to twelve weeks for the body to get used to using fat for energy. So my advice is to be patient. Probably not what you want to hear, but reassessing your expectations – that fat loss may not happen to you within a few weeks – will help you in the long run.

As your body gets used to using this new type of fuel, you have some compassion for the rest of you. As you know, keto isn’t (and shouldn’t be) a quick diet. Prepare for success by being kind to yourself, adjusting your habits and expectations, and deciding whether to join in the long run – regardless of what your friends or people in your online keto groups say.

Ken asked:
“Is it true that feeling“ hungry ”has rather low blood sugar for the unadjusted? Would love to hear your familiar definition. “

Hangry is officially defined as irritable or angry because of hunger. It’s when you feel so starved that even the slightest of annoyance will blow you off the handle. And it has everything to do with blood sugar.

If you’re still on a standard American diet, being hungry is territory, as is type 2 diabetes. This is because when you eat highly processed, high starchy foods, or have some snacks on a regular basis, your blood sugar stays high. Then if you don’t rejuvenate the carbohydrate fire every two hours, the levels of glucose in your blood will drop. When it gets too low, it triggers a cascade of hormones, including the stress hormone cortisol and adrenaline, the combat or flight hormone.

This cortisol-adrenaline combination causes this hangry feeling in some people.

How to turn Hangry into Hungry

The good news is that you are listening to your body. You know what is happening. If you know when this hangry feeling is occurring, there is an opportunity to change it. I always recommend answering hunger with a meal, especially for customers switching from a sad diet.

Every time you satisfy your hunger with a food that supports your metabolic health, you are adjusting your response to fluctuations in blood sugar. I’m not just talking about skipping your daily muffin and OJ, I’m talking about choosing high-protein, high-fat foods that are filling, tasty and keep your blood sugar stable.

Hunger is not something to be afraid of

Eating a paleocentric diet most of the time is a great way to do this as it eliminates those blood sugar spikes and drops. It also helps lower your body’s ghrelin levels (also known as the hunger hormone), which not only helps you stay full longer. It plays an important role in bone metabolism and muscle atrophy.

Remember, hunger itself is not a problem. Getting the signal that you are hungry is how your body tells you it needs more fuel. It is not:

  • A reason to rob yourself more or beat yourself up
  • A confirmation that your willpower is suffering
  • The message of staying hungry = losing weight
  • An excuse to eat all of your snacks and completely ignore your satiety signals

Diet culture has trained us to believe that hunger should be feared. It is not. Food shouldn’t be miserable, and hunger shouldn’t be ignored. If it’s really hungry for “hangers,” consider it a sign that your body is increasing its demands for optimal function, which is always good.

Jackie asked:
“Seriously, I don’t eat primarily, even though it started well. For some reason I started snacking in the evenings and I find it hard to stick to it. My motivation just doesn’t seem to be there, or I’m kind of sabotaging myself. Do you have any tips to help me get back on track? “

It’s easy to think that once you get the hang of it – whether it’s a new job, a new routine, or a new way to eat – everything should fit together. The thing is, however, the road to success is often paved with setbacks. And your newfound evening snack is likely one of many on the horizon.

Changing behaviors over the long term takes time and patience. It’s never a linear journey either. There is usually a mix of wins, failures, and moments of self-sabotage.

Self-sabotage is part of the process

It’s also a way to protect yourself. Change is scary and your brain loves keeping you safe, even if it means staying right where you are, evening snack and everything. When your logical, conscious mind is at odds with your subconscious (the side of you that believes you DESERVE a bowl of ice cream before bed) your inner critic is trying to protect you by sabotaging your efforts.

The big question to ask yourself is, why are you sabotaging yourself? Take a few minutes to really think about it and write down what comes up for you.

Reasons you might be sabotaging yourself:

  • Your inner critic is running the show telling you that you are not worthy of success
  • You tell yourself that you are not good at sticking to things
  • They think it has to be perfect (FYI, it doesn’t)
  • You have failed to align your environment for success
  • It’s outside of your current comfort zone (and that’s fine)
  • You are afraid of what will happen if you succeed
  • You worry that you can’t handle this
  • You have lost touch with your why

Re-familiarize yourself with your why

Your why is a belief, cause, or purpose that determines your behavior. I always recommend starting here before embarking on a big change because when things get tough, which it usually does, you need something to remind you of why you got into it in the first place.

The concept of why is based on the principles of human decision-making biology and affects every action you take. It can also only come from within you. So, if you’re on a paleo diet because your spouse wants it or it’s trending, try a little more self-reflection. You may find that the reasons you are really bringing up go deeper than you think.

Do you have anything to add? Share your strategies for dealing with customization in the comments below.

About the author

Erin Power is the coaching and curriculum director of the Primal Health Coach Institute. She also helps her clients reestablish loving and trusting relationships with their bodies – while restoring their metabolic health so they can lose fat and gain energy – through her own private health coaching practice, eat.simple.

If you are passionate about health and wellness and want to help people like Erin for their clients every day, you should consider becoming a certified health coach yourself. In this special information session hosted by PHCI Co-Founder Mark Sisson, you will learn the three simple steps to building a successful health coaching business in a maximum of 6 months.

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