Hi Guys! In this week’s Ask a Health Coach, Erin answers your questions about eating mostly on the go, what to do when you feel like you are trying to force yourself to exercise, and the role of coherent breathing in reducing anxiety. Do you have a question for Erin? Post it below or above in our Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group.

Angela asked:

“I have a predicament. I’m a small business owner and I drive a lot during the day. I don’t have much time for lunch, I only eat when I drive so I’ve been eating sandwiches for 3 months (NOT primary at all). All of my symptoms have come back in full force (migraines, acid reflux, etc) and today I got on the scales and gained 20 pounds! What can I pack for lunch that can be eaten while driving? “

Okay, I really want to know. If you own the business, can’t you allow time to eat? I’m guessing you are the one setting the schedule. So, in theory, you could take a 30-minute mid-day break for a filling, filling meal that doesn’t involve driving, multitasking, or adding stress to your central nervous system.

You need to rest to digest

Each of us has a built-in on-off switch for our digestive and metabolic systems. Driving around urgently eating sandwiches (or any food, let’s not blame sandwiches for it) activates your sympathetic nervous system, also known as the fight or flight response. This reaction occurs whenever you experience stress – both real and perceived. Are you thinking of an urgent meeting? Worried about the traffic? Are you judging yourself for the extra £ 20? These are all stressors. And they all signal your body not to digest food optimally, which can lead to acid reflux, gas, and, yes, weight gain.

Eating out on the go is a recipe for indigestion, whether lunch is a sandwich or meat on a stick. Whenever possible, it is best to have your body in a parasympathetic state in order to properly digest food. Just the sight and smell of food stimulates your brain to release digestive enzymes. Also, when you’re relaxed, you’re more likely to chew your food than chop it up because you’re short on time.

I don’t love eating on the go

Listen to me because sometimes I know it’s just a reality that we’re super busy and eating on the run. I’m just asking that it be the exception, not the norm, wherever possible. I don’t have on hand a practical list of primal lunches to eat while driving, and here’s why: call it self-care, self-love, or respect yourself enough to have time for a supportive meal, though You say it’s you For the fastest, easiest food idea in the world, I hear, “I’m not important enough on my own to-do list.” I’ve heard it’s more important to you, in a steady stream of Remaining stress than allowing your body to engage in the miraculous process of digestion.

Your awareness of your migraines and acid reflux is great. But swapping bread for a lettuce wrap isn’t the (only) answer you need. Removing grains and processed foods from your diet will be a big part of your wellbeing, but it’s only part of the equation. Find out how to make time for a real lunch – one that doesn’t stress yourself out behind the wheel. Since you’re the boss of your own small business, my question for you is, can you take even 30 minutes to look for something nutritious?

Lauren asked:

“I know I should be exercising more (I still have about 15 pounds to lose), but I feel exhausted all the time because I don’t have to expend energy on exercise and I have even less interest in going to the gym. Any tips on how I can get new inspiration? “

The “should” raises its ugly head. “I should have lost this weight”, “I should have done more exercise”, “I should take my time.” What we often say to ourselves is, “I should be more like someone else”. The word should is an illusion that is supposed to shame us into a false sense of self.

Every time you force yourself to do something (what you do when you do something because you think you “should”), you are consciously consuming your energy. Anytime you behave in a way that is inconsistent with what you intuitively feel right about, you are neglecting who you are on an authentic level. And above all with the word should means that you are not accepting who you are – you are rejecting yourself at the most basic level.

Since your question is not about training recommendations, but about being inspired to exercise more, let’s try this. Instead of spending more time on the treadmill or in the weight room, take a step back to see where those feelings are coming from. In my experience, it often lurks in one of two places:

  • Internal pressure = I have to look a certain way and practice is the way to get there
  • External pressure = Someone else thinks or suggested that I do more sport (attention: these could be the fit influencers in your Instagram feed!)

Enter self-compassion

Right now you are feeling the pressure to do more sports. But it’s not about going to the gym or losing the weight, is it? The word should indicates regret and rejection, and is often rooted in negativity and critical thinking. I don’t know about you, but I am much more productive when I run a place of self-compassion and positivity. I’m much more inclined to do something that gives me pleasure than to indulge in self-criticism.

Research shows that self-compassion can lead to healthier food choices, mitigate the effects of regrets, and even encourage efforts to improve oneself.

What if you put weight loss aside and treated yourself with kindness instead of negativity? What if you loved and cherished your body for the wonder it is? What if you practiced a little self-compassion?

When you have the energy-draining pressure of everyone should from your life you will find that you are naturally more motivated to do what you want to do. Hell, when the pressure is off, you might even want to hit the gym.

Brian asked:

“My office is starting to implement a hybrid work model, and as much as I hate to admit it, I’m scared of going back. What can I do to get over it? “

Post-pandemic anxiety is a real thing, as much as you may look for ways to “get over it,” it’s important to cover a few basic things first.

  • For over a year now, you (and everyone else) have been told to stay home to stay safe
  • You have a solid routine of working from home
  • Every time you venture into a new routine or habit there is a certain level of insecurity
  • The brain doesn’t like uncertainty

Insecurity = fear

For many people, not knowing what is around the corner is a major source of anxiety, anxiety, and stress. The brain is constantly judging what is safe and what is not based on your existing beliefs. And if it’s not sure what will happen next, it can’t do its job of protecting you.

Depending on how you’re wired, your brain may also be happy to assume the worst, jump to conclusions, overestimate threats, and underestimate your ability to deal with them. For this you can thank your innate survival instinct.

How breathing can overwrite your thoughts

Your thoughts are just thoughts – they are not the truth. And just because your brain thinks them doesn’t mean you’re stuck with them. Research shows that a change in breathing can send a signal to the brain that adjusts the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system. With certain breathing you can slow your heart rate, improve digestion, strengthen your immune system and reduce the release of the stress hormone cortisol.

Studies also show that breathing can have a positive effect on chronic problems such as insomnia, PTSD, depression, ADD, and anxiety.

While there are many breathing techniques (and as many apps to help you do them), the one I recommend is called coherent breathing, where you breathe through your nose at a rate of 5 breaths per minute. Do this quick exercise with me and bookmark this page so you can come back to it if you need to:

  1. Sit quietly and away from distractions
  2. Inhale through your nose and count to six
  3. Exhale through your nose and count to six
  4. Repeat 4 more times

If you’ve never practiced coherent breathing, you may need to work up to the 6 second count, but it’s worth it if you want to disperse your thoughts, calm your anxiety, and get to a place where the thought will return to work you don’t hide under the covers.

Do you take time to care for yourself? Let me know 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 a loving and trusting relationship 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 have a desire to help people like Erin does for her clients every day, consider becoming a self-certified health coach. Learn the 3 Easy Steps to Building a Successful Health Coaching Business in 6 Months or Less in this dedicated info session hosted by PHCI Co-Founder Mark Sisson.

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