Ask a well being coach: stress consuming, sabotage and why there isn’t any automobile to fall off
Hi Guys! In this week’s issue of Ask a Health Coach, Erin is here to share her insights on how we manage stress, what to do when you are living with a saboteur, and how accountability and self-efficacy can help you get on the right track Way to stay. Do you have any further questions? Write them in the comments below or on the Marks Daily Apple Facebook group above.
I’ve been eating quite a bit of stress over the past year and I’m ready to clean up my diet. I like the idea of using exercise to relieve stress rather than drinking junk food. What kind of exercise routine do you recommend?
You are not alone in letting your habits flow. But first, let’s pull back the curtain on your motivation.
Is Stress Eating Really Bad?
Any time we eat for reasons other than to satisfy hunger, it can be classified as emotional eating (and that includes stress eating). It’s a way of dealing with or numbing the feelings that we don’t want to deal with. We all made it. Even I. And while the term gets a bad rap, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
People who recognize their stress-eating behavior have a better chance of finding healthier ways to deal with them. Why? Simply because we can’t change things that we don’t know we are doing! That being said, chronic emotional eating can have negative consequences, as you have noticed, in addition to feelings of guilt, shame, and the potential to develop more serious disorders.
Chronic exercise is also a coping mechanism
When it comes to diet culture we get the message that it’s a bit ashamed to pounce on sacks of french fries or overdo it on ice after a busy day, while something to celebrate is tossing free weights around for steam to drain. Coping is coping. We deal with (or avoid entirely) our emotions in so many ways – food, alcohol, television, and yes, exercise.
Some are simply viewed as “more acceptable” in the name of health.
Healthier coping strategies like exercise can help you tolerate stress or provide temporary distraction, but it’s important that you face your emotions at some point. And while I firmly believe that exercise is essential to your metabolic health, you dive headfirst into your exercise routine to offset stressful sounds like there were some less healthy intentions behind it. By trading one coping mechanism for another, you are doing yourself a disservice.
Consistency is the best approach
My recommendations for exercise routines are the ones you enjoy doing – things that you can consistently do yourself. And there is research to back it up. One study tracked participants who had lost 30 or more pounds and stayed off and found that the secret to their success was the consistency of their exercise.
Instead of using exercise as a punishment to balance your behavior during the pandemic or to deal with guilt or shame, you do so because your body is a miraculous organism that deserves to be honored and moved on a daily basis. Trust me, you will see results without spending most of your day in the gym.
Every time my wife and I eat out, she has something to say about what I order. I’m not trying to make her eat the way I do, I just want her to stop giving me such a hard time just because I don’t want to eat my burger with a bun. Any tips for dealing with difficult spouses?
People love to judge, don’t they? Unfortunately, humans are so wired. When they perceive a person’s actions as a threat to their own personal beliefs, they often return the favor with unnecessary snarkiness.
What your spouse’s comments really mean
Even if her comments are more about her than you, eating together makes it an uncomfortable experience. I see this all the time with my health coaching clients. Half a couple will decide they feel fat and foggy, while the other will feel “good” and find no reason to change their eating habits. You want their love and support, but instead you are stuck with someone who acts irritably or even tries to sabotage your efforts.
Dealing with a Difficult Partner
I firmly believe that you cannot change other people, but you don’t have to allow your spouse’s judgments to derail your own goals. Here are some strategies I use with my own clients to help them manage partners who are not on the same page:
- Have an agreement in advance. Often there is a division between what couples expect from each other. Your spouse may know that you are eating paleo, but may not realize that it means all of the time (not just at home or when you are “good”). Let them know what you are doing, why it is important to you, and that you would like their support.
- Be empathetic. It’s easy to get angry in this situation, but consider the emotions your spouse may be experiencing. There’s a good chance she’ll feel insecure, jealous, or worried about your future together, which will lead her to act.
- Find common ground. You two might disagree on what is on your plates, but when you find something that you both enjoy (hiking, walking, watching movies) you reduce the perceived separation that creates tension between you.
For more tips on dealing with a difficult partner, check out this article I wrote for Marks Daily Apple last year.
I easily follow a paleo and keto diet, but always seem to have too many goodies creeping in. I know it’s not good for me (I’m pre-diabetic and heart disease occurs in my family) but I keep trying. then fall off the cart and become discouraged. What can I do to stay on track?
I’ll start by saying that “falling off the car” is kind of a cop. For me, it’s an excuse that people use to give themselves permission to give up. So easy, right? You just fall off the car and get back in when it suits you.
Here is the deal. There is no car. That means there is no car from which you can fall off or get back on. This is not a diet that you try and if it doesn’t work just shrug your shoulders and chalk it up as “not right for you”. This is your life and you have the ability to choose what to do with it. And that includes how you feed yourself and whether you’re cool about taking actions that contribute to chronic illness.
Start believing that you can
There is a concept in psychology called self-efficacy. It’s basically the idea that if someone believes they can change their behavior, they will be more successful at it.
Self-efficacy is measured by how well you deal with temptations or situations that trigger you (i.e., treats that creep in). You may want to avoid desserts or stop buying processed foods altogether, but when you feel like you haven’t been able to deal with the engagement, challenges, and the ups and downs that come with it, you’re sabotaging yourself to begin with. walk.
Strong self-efficacy looks like:
- Think of challenging problems as tasks that can be mastered
- Appreciation for yourself and your actions
- Stay committed to your goals even when the going gets tough
- Getting back on track without wallowing in guilt or shame after a setback
Then hold yourself accountable
Let me ask you this: Do you believe that eating habits can help prevent diabetes and heart disease? Or do you think that you are always addicted to sugar, or you can’t stick to a plan, or that everyone in your family is overweight, so will you be too?
Admitting that you are “loosely” following a plan is a serious disadvantage for you. Be clear about what you are doing. And I don’t mean “paleo” or “keto”. What do you have for breakfast tomorrow? What will you do when you get hungry? When and where do you buy more meat and vegetables? Then identify the actions you will take and evaluate how you are doing. But most importantly, figure out why this goal is important to you. Finding your why is a key element in uncovering your true motivation for change – and staying on the right track.
What else would you add? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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 you want to help people like Erin for their clients every day, you should consider becoming a certified health coach yourself. In this special information event 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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