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Don't let your appetite push you around [BLOG+VIDEO]

Don't let your appetite push you around [BLOG+VIDEO]

Don't let your appetite push you around

Our appetite can be like a well meaning but not so intelligent parent. It's obsessed with nothing other than our own survival, but only knows one way to do it and isn't aware of how the singular drive for more food can cause damage in other areas.

Everyone experiences hunger differently and for some, these urges are virtually impossible to ignore- evolution gone haywire in a way that can mean things like gastric bypass or other medical interventions are necessary.

But for the rest of us, far too many people are letting themselves be bullied or pushed around by their own appetites. We seem to have taken on a defeatist attitude that the only way to be healthy is to practice avoidance or to blame food itself for our choices.

The truth is that almost any type of food aside from the worst offenders can be integrated into a healthy diet. But because we admit defeat to our appetites before the battle even starts, we get stuck trying unrealistic diets that try to solve the problem by eliminating things that are delicious or cost effective and could be part of a diet where we lose weight and keep it off!

We resist urges all the time

It seems as if we almost have a different set of expectations around controlling urges with food than we do for other things in our lives. All day long we are faced with urges that we control and push through because we know the broader consequences are a problem.

If you're married or in relationship, the majority of people do a pretty good job of not cheating, at least not every day. It's normal for humans to have all sorts of violent urges that the vast majority of us don't act out on, or just urges to say something that might be cruel or inappropriate. We don't let these urges control and destroy our lives.

But for a few reasons, we let our urges for food run roughshod over our lives. The concept of even attempting self control or taking responsibility for our food choices seems to be vanishing. The most popular diets are built around avoidance and simply eliminating anything that could be trouble in excess, assuming the average person is incapable of showing restraint.

  • We are not as far away as we think from time when food was much more scarce. The overwhelming abundance of food available to us is less than 100 years old, and there's still some remnants of a psyche where you eat everything you can, when you can, as fast as you can. Our hunger mechanism is outdated and obsolete. 
  • Endless marketing of food, even "healthy" food choices. Hard not to get hungry when you're bombarded 24/7 by images of enticing food.
  • You cannot sell self control to people. You can, however, sell them diets that promise health and weight loss with every hard decision made for them. Problems with eating too much pizza? Let's just eliminate all carbohydrates because you can't control yourself!

Hunger can be a bully- fight back!

There are some ways in which we can get better at self control and making common sense food choices. You're like a farmer getting bullied by a mule- we need to give our appetites a friendly reminder sometimes about who works for whom!

Take a big step back and just understand that our hunger mechanism is much less important to listen to than our thirst mechanism. We need water 24/7. Food? Not so much. We are able to go weeks without food and many people regularly fast for days at a time. Eat on a schedule, and disregard what your appetite has to say about it.

Most importantly, you need to get a little angry here. Understand that you have been getting stuffed into a locker every day by some little twerp of an evolutionary urge that is causing you to be obese, tired and unhappy with life. You need to fight back! There is no teacher or principal coming to save you with this bully. It is inside your head and you've given it way too much power, as we often do with bullies. 

Maybe it's portion control, maybe it's time restricted eating. But find a way to stand up to hunger urges that aren't important to listen to if you're obtaining a base amount of macro and micronutrients in a day.

Take a stand! Just like in the movies, when you stand up to something that's been pushing you around- you find out how weak they really are, and how strong you are. 

Get in gear with High Potential!

For no nonsense, results driven fitness and lifestyle coaching in Vancouver or online, get in touch with High Potential today!

Check out www.gethighpotential.com and book a free consultation. 

 

 

Why December is the best time to get started on fitness [BLOG+VIDEO]

Why December is the best time to get started on fitness [BLOG+VIDEO]

Why December is the best time to get started on fitness 

As usual, we'll be seeing a lot of marketing for diets or workout programs once Christmas is over. It's an endless cycle many go through- spending January trying to burn off the excess calories picked up over the holidays.

Most people look at December as a complete write off in terms of fitness and diet due to the increase in social obligations or a lack of time. Even fewer would look at the holiday season as a good time to start a new diet or fitness regimen.

There is obviously some truth to December being a tougher month to maintain our health and wellness goals, but the truth is that the obligations and stress of the holidays are much closer to what we go through in any month than we realize; the holidays are often just another in a long line of excuses to delay getting started!

They also serve as a convenient excuse to fall off a program or failing to achieve goals- but the reality is that if you can't make something work in December, you're probably not going to make it work in any other month!

December is the perfect test month

It's possible, perhaps probable that December is the toughest month of the year for fitness. Operating under that assumption, it actually makes far more sense to test the feasibility of a new lifestyle over the holidays. 

Why? Because making a diet or a workout program successful has very little to do with being able to maintain it when things are perfect. When you're stress free, things are running smoothly at work or with the kids, money isn't an issue, etc, it's relatively easy to stick with something. 

But how often do we really have all these things going at the same time? Whether we're a billionare or working at Walmart, chances are there's some element of our lives that's draining us. There's always problems or obligations popping up, there's always bad food close by and there's always things that can stir up negative emotions (as the holidays do for a lot of people).

So if you want to really see how feasible your new program is, launch that thing Dec 1st, or even better, today! Start during the most excuse filled month of the year.

Even though, as discussed, December is much close to normal than we realize, there's a big psychological barrier where we've built it up so much that achieving dietary or fitness goals over the holidays can give you a huge boost going forward! If you can control your intake of junk food or alcohol or exercise when the world is giving you a pass not to, you'll be in excellent position to make this work the rest of the year.

Any program or big diet switch is probably not going to work if it can't pass the "stress test" of the holidays. Many of them are overly ambitious and don't take the normal excuses to be undisciplined that life offers into account- as the ultimate excuse month, December can be a much better test for how things are going to go than launching in January when your body and mind is desperate for a break from overindulging.

Practical benefits

And practically speaking, much nicer to start a new program when the gyms are quiet and you have a little privacy to try new things. You'll also get way more attention and help from gym staff, personal trainers etc during December than any other month. It's also nice to just get out in front of things and enjoy the holidays without Jan. 1st hanging over your head, knowing every bite you take is going to make it harder.

Don't wait to get started- just make room for a couple days where you might eat a little too much or have last minute obligations to attend to.

Sounds like every other month of the year!

Get in gear with High Potential!

For no nonsense, results driven fitness and lifestyle coaching in Vancouver or online, get in touch with High Potential today!

Check out www.gethighpotential.com and book a free consultation. 

 

 

 

Depression can be an opportunity [BLOG+VIDEO]

Depression can be an opportunity [BLOG+VIDEO]

Depression can be an opportunity

As is the case with many of the challenges we face in life, depression, however painful, can be used in a positive way.

This is less plausible with long term, clinical depression where serious harm is being done, but for the less debilitating forms that are more common, depression can be a way to gain insight or recharge the batteries when we're failing to do so in our regular life.

As humans, we naturally are quick to immediately start looking for ways to avoid pain and fight depression. But the origins, causes and purpose of depression are not well understood. For all we know, it's a way for a part of us to impose a state of mind that gives us no choice but to shut down or think about things we're avoiding.  

But something I learned from a 20 year battle with depression is that you can't always "fight" it! Depression can sometimes be like the ocean- you have to swim with it and simply survive, focusing not on how hard things are, but how much stronger we'll be for the experience. 

A natural part of life?

Again, there is far from consensus on the origins and causes of depression. Regardless, let's face facts- many of us can get to a point in life where we have every reason to be "depressed"! Is it not plausible that our subconscious minds are screaming at us to make changes by causing us to be in this painfully reflective and muted state?

Even if this is untrue, I believe it is a helpful belief to hold on to in the face of depression- the idea that there is a greater purpose and potential benefit can provide some solace when you're in a bad place. 

Try and think about this depressive state as a natural, normal part of your life that is happening for a reason:

  • A chance to reflect on our life in a way we refuse to do so normally. So many of us are living in contrast to our values, hopes and dreams. For some of us, this may be the only way we can really examine if we're really living how we want to. Pay attention to what your mind is saying.
  • I think it's safe to say almost all of us have lost our appreciation for how lucky we are. In every economic class we're living better than we ever have before and our expectations can get out of control. Coming out of a depression can be such a relief that we regain appreciation for the simple joys of life.
  • A time to rest, when so many people obsessed with success and money refuse to do so. Grinding through depression when your body is screaming at you to stop doing so much is a recipe for trouble. Sometimes you need to just tread water for a bit and recharge the batteries.
  • A challenge, when sometimes we might actually lacking true challenges in our lives. Depression is going to try and push you around and if you want to have a good life, life is going to try and push you around even more! Try and think of depression as sparring in preparation for the what life is going to throw at you.

As usual, attitude is everything

I'm well aware that some of this stuff sounds like nonsense when you're really in the grips of depression, nor do I think these are surefire ways to breeze through a bad stretch. But in reality, this is like a lot of things in life- they suck, period. What choice do we have but to make some attempt to learn something or come out stronger on the other side?

Make an attitude adjustment. Depression is not always a reason to panic. Try and look at things as if you're simply observing this depression happening to yourself, shrugging your shoulders as if it's normal. In the same way lifting weights can make you stronger by tearing and damaging muscles, depression can do the same thing for your mind.

The alternative is to start beating yourself up about being depressed in the first place, just inflaming things even further. Tread water for a while, observe, listen and you'll often be stronger for it!

Get in gear with High Potential!

For no nonsense, results driven fitness and lifestyle coaching in Vancouver or online, get in touch with High Potential today!

Check out www.gethighpotential.com and book a free consultation.