During turbulent times, one of the most simple, yet powerful, ways to remain afloat is by focusing on small daily acts of self care. Daily wellness routines need not take up a lot of time and can serve as the anchors that hold you in place when it feels like the waves of life are pushing you every which way.
As a woman, you may tend to put your own wellbeing on the backburner as you support everyone around you. However, to show up fully for others, it’s important to “put your own oxygen mask on first” as the adage goes. Incorporating a few key practices (what I refer to as stability anchors) in your day can have a big impact on your sense of groundedness and wellbeing. Stability anchors don’t have to be elaborate, time-consuming rituals; they just need to anchor you into yourself and the present moment.
What are your stability anchors? How can you start by adding just one more into your day today?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Consume a Nourishing Diet
How you feed your body throughout the day can be an act of self love. Food has a profound impact on your energy levels, your mood, and your mental clairy. Nourishing yourself does not require that you buy the most expensive superfoods available nor does it mean holding yourself to unrealistic standards and complicated food rules.
Nourishing your body is about fueling in a way that makes you feel your best physically, mentally, and emotionally. Most women find that consuming a mostly whole food diet with balanced blood sugar meals containing protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates is a good starting point. Find what’s best for you and use your meal times as a way to practice self care.
Turn to Your Herbal Allies
Herbs can be a simple and effective cornerstone to your daily wellness routine. Two categories of herbs that can be particularly helpful during trying times are nervines, which have a restorative effect on the nervous system, and adaptogens, which help the body modulate the effects of stress.
These herbs can be taken as teas, capsules, or tinctures, and can also be part of a mid-day wellness habit, such as a calming cup of mid-afternoon tea.
Carve Out “Me Time”
What sparks joy and makes you feel your best? Even if you only have 20 minutes available for yourself, it can make all the difference in your sense of wellbeing. Set this time aside in advance and make it non-negotiable. Use it for activities that fill your cup. Some ideas include going for a walk in nature, being in the sun, breathwork, meditation, journaling, or a cup of tea and inspirational reading.
By creating small pockets of time throughout the day for mini wellness rituals, you can remain grounded and calm as the world swirls around you.
Ready to take the next step in your journey? Schedule a free strategy call here
Could a lack of sleep be impacting the strength of your immune system?
Folk wisdom has long promoted the belief that “sleep helps the body heal”. Over the past 15 years, a growing body of research has accumulated supporting the popular wisdom that sleep regulates the immune system and enhances immune defense.
One mechanism for the impact of sleep on immunity is via the potential of sleep to improve the functioning of T cells, which are an important part of the immune system. Another way sleep impacts immunity is because sleep is when the body produces cytokines, a protein which targets infection and inflammation. Therefore, insufficient sleep equates to the production of fewer protective cytokines.
Insufficient sleep -anything less than 7 hours per night for adults- is unfortunately common in our modern world. Many people struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, or to get quality sleep. In addition to immune system suppression, chronically poor sleep can contribute to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, type II diabetes, and depression.
Fortunately, there’s a lot that can be done to naturally support healthy sleep cycles. For better sleep and a well functioning immune system, try the following tips:
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene Throughout the Day
A healthy sleep practice starts as soon as you wake up. Start by maintaining a consistent wake time each day. To reset your circadian rhythm, which will support healthy sleep cycles at night, get exposure to natural light in the morning, ideally within an hour of waking.
The habits you practice throughout the day also have a big impact on your sleep duration and quality. Give yourself a caffeine curfew, such as noon, or at the latest 2pm. This applies not only to coffee, but to caffeinated teas and even chocolate. Aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day, preferably outside, and no more than four hours prior to bedtime. In the evenings, avoid alcohol and nicotine, and try to finish your last big meal at least 3 hours prior to bedtime.
Create a Sleep Sanctuary
Your sleep environment is an important component of a good night’s sleep. Keep your bedroom temperature on the slightly cooler side. Thermoregulation strongly impacts sleep cycles. Studies have found that the ideal room temperature for sleep is around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above 75 or below 54 will likely cause some difficulty sleeping.
Reduce ambient noise and light. Did you know that your skin actually has receptors all over the body that can pick up light? If there’s light in your bedroom, your body is picking it up and sending messages to your brain and organs that can interfere with your sleep. Use blackout curtains or tape the blinds to get the room as dark as possible. An eye mask and earplugs can also work wonders!
Make sure you have a comfortable mattress, pillows, and bedding. Paint and decorate your bedroom in restful colors. Keep the bedroom for sex and sleep only and try to avoid doing work there.
Create an Evening Routine
While morning routines are well-recognized for their ability to contribute to enhanced wellness, creating a wind down routine is just as powerful. As with wake time, aim to be consistent with your bedtime as well. Additionally, to reduce melatonin-disrupting blue light, avoid looking at screens 1-2 hours before bedtime.
You can also draw from these tools to help you wind down:
- An aromatherapy bath with epsom salts and lavender oil
- Reading light fiction
- Herbal support, such as adaptogens or nervine
Experiment with these strategies to find what gives you the best night’s sleep, knowing that you’re supporting a healthy immune system in the process!
Ready to take the next step in your journey? Schedule a free strategy call here
How would it feel to have more than enough energy to check off everything you want to accomplish today without needing to reach for an afternoon latte or chocolate bar?
If you’re reading this, most likely you’re a high achieving person who wants to excel in pretty much every domain of life. Whether you want the stamina to hike a 20-mile day on your next backpacking trip, the focus for a full day of work, or the vitality to play a round of basketball with your kids, you need energy to do that!
And, I get it. Before I learned how to eat for consistent energy, I struggled to stay focused during afternoon work sessions, knock out high mile hiking days, and I generally felt like I wasn’t meeting my potential because my body couldn’t keep up.
Can you relate?
Below is a meal template to help YOU get through your busy day with more energy and ease. It works for any style of eating (vegan, paleo, etc.).
The intention is to provide you with the foundations of nutrition; basic principles that you can adapt to your own life to make healthy eating simple and sustainable (no more fad diets, please). This is not about short-term fixes, restriction, guilt, or shame around food or your body because that stuff doesn’t work over the long haul.
>>The key idea for consistent energy is balancing your blood sugar, which can be done through food, fitness, lifestyle changes, and supplements. Today, we’re focused on a simple way to approach each meal.
In addition to more steady energy, balancing your blood sugar can eliminate cravings, reduce inflammation, improve mood, enhance mental clarity, and reduce the risk of chronic health conditions. #win
>>>Here’s what to eat for balanced blood sugar and lasting energy:
Center every meal and snack on these 3 components:
Focusing on fat, protein, and fiber slows digestion, prevents massive swings in blood sugar, and keeps you satiated between meals.
Examples of healthy fats include avocado, avocado oil, nuts, seeds, coconut, coconut oil, olives, and olive oil. Examples of healthy proteins include hemp protein, pea protein, grass fed meat, fish, pastured eggs, and tempeh. Good sources of fiber include fruits, veggies, and legumes. If your source of fiber is not a veggie, I’d encourage you to also include something green (spinach, arugula, kale, etc) for a balanced meal! As always, go for whole food sources.
Everyone deserves an adventurous life (whatever that means to you) and it starts with a healthy mind and body!
This post covers 5 practical tools to shift out of compulsive or disordered eating behaviors so that you can become free from obsession, and eat and live in a way that involves more joy and supports whole body health.
A lot of clients show up to me feeling frustrated, having been on and off different diets, losing and regaining the same 15 pounds, and they’re over it.
They just want to find a sane way of eating that gives them energy, gives them a body they feel good in, and helps them live their life and go on more backpacking trips and feel more confident at work and, you know, not have a heart attack at age 50.
No matter what the specific health goal, a common obstacle which many of my clients are dealing with and which you may be dealing with is having eating patterns that they don’t like, like regularly eating past satisfaction or episodes of binge eating. There’s usually some level of obsession, feeling out of control, or experiencing guilt and shame around food and/or their bodies.
Practical Strategies to End Compulsive Food Patterns
Before you can have a more peaceful relationship with food, you need to take care of this physical body that you live in. Eating in a way that balances blood sugar and your hormones is going to help a WHOLE lot when it comes to breaking free of binge eating and other self limiting patterns.
1. Eat Real Whole Food
This includes fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, eggs, grass-fed meats, legumes, and other items that come from nature. Limit packaged items as much as possible and when you do choose them, scan the ingredient label. The shorter the list the better. Look for ingredients you recognize.
Real foods have water and fiber and the micronutrients that your body needs for optimal health. They’re harder to overeat, unlike foods that are manufactured in a lab, which are designed to have just the right combination of sugar, salt, and fat, making them hyper palatable and very easy to overeat.
Your body knows what to do with real food. Your digestion, your hormones, your energy will all be better.
2. Eat for Blood Sugar Balance
If all you’re eating is fruit all day long because someone told you that was healthy, and you can’t figure out why you’re exhausted and unfocused, blood sugar dysregulation. Your blood sugar is spiking and crashing.
To balance blood sugar, eat fiber, fat, and protein at each meal. You’ll experience fewer cravings and be more satiated.
Fiber is found in fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains. Choose sources that work for your body. Healthy fats include things like avocado, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil. Avoid trans fats and highly refined oils that are often rancid and harmful. Healthy protein includes eggs, meat -grass fed if you can afford it, and veggie sources like hemp or pea protein
3. Stop Skipping Meals & Restricting
Eating at regular times keeps your body feeling safe, your blood sugar balanced, and your hormones functioning properly so that you don’t crash and need to overcompensate later with a binge. Restriction or not allowing yourself something generally ends in a binge or overeating episode at some point.
However you’re eating – whether you’re following a certain program or tracking – always check in with yourself and ask: is this sustainable? Could I do this long term?
4. Rewire Your Thoughts
Start with acceptance and love for where you’re at now. Health and body changes don’t come from hating yourself. Most of us have years of mental conditioning around beating ourselves up and speaking negatively to ourselves.
Try this exercise: For 24 hours (preferably longer), pay attention to your thoughts. Notice every thought about yourself. When you have a negative thought, retrain it to something more positive, but still believable. Repeat. Neurons that fire together, wire together. Many of these negative thoughts have been happening automatically for years. Rewiring thought patterns requires repetition, but it’s completely possible, and it’s truly life changing.
Our thoughts create our emotions which determines our actions which determines the outcomes we get in life. When you’re thinking more positive and self accepting thoughts, the choices you make for yourself change and the results you get in life change. Specifically with health, when we start speaking to ourselves more lovingly, we decide we’re worth healthier food choices, and we have better energy, more clarity, and a greater sense of wellbeing.
5. Manage Expectations
This journey is anything but linear. It takes practice. Be patient and stick with it. Your peace of mind is worth it. If you over eat or under eat or eat something you’re not happy about, just be with the uncomfortable emotion. Feel it and let it pass. Know that the process gets easier with practice.
Ready to take the next step?
Book a free Health Made Simple Strategy Call and receive a free assessment of gaps in your wellness routine that are blocking you from your health goals.
Have you noticed how you can intellectually know all the practical actions you need to take to get the result you want, but you still don’t do it?
Of course! As Derek Sivers would say, “If more information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.” But we’re not. Because you need more than information. More than just the formula.
You need the belief system that will inspire you to take consistent action towards your goals, especially when you hit the inevitable obstacles. Without the right mindset, you’ll sabotage your own progress over and over again. Fortunately, cultivating an empowering belief system is something you can get better at with practice, at least it is according to Carol Dweck’s research on having a growth mindset.
Cultivating the right mindset is a key component to getting what you want, whether that’s losing 15 pounds, running a marathon, or writing your best-selling novel. For the purpose of this post, I’ll define mindset as a collection of thought habits and beliefs that shape how you interpret and interact with the world.
Mindset Habits for Success
Here are 13 mindset habits which I see in my most successful clients, in the top performers I study, and which I strive to cultivate in myself.
- Focus on the Gain (the progress you’ve made) vs the Gap (how far you have to go). Where were you a year ago? What have you accomplished? Pat yourself on the back!
- Get back on track quickly. Goal progress is rarely linear. Sometimes you get off course. Recovery quickly. Don’t make it mean something about you. It’s just part of the journey. Just keep moving forward.
- Curate your consumption. This applies to every area of life, including the food that fuels your mind and your adventures, the media you consume, the relationships you imbibe. Everything you take in is impacting you on some level. For everything, ask is this helping me become the person I want to be or not?
- Focus on process over result. Knowing where you’re headed is important, but once you set your sights, focus your energy on the day to day actions. Like a thru-hike, progress happens one step at a time. Looking at the finish line too often can overwhelm you.
- Prioritize and optimize your energy above all else. It’s your most precious resource. Do something daily just because it feels good and restores your energy. This is a true expression of self love and it’s not woo. It literally primes your brain for more consistent positive decisions.
- Be weird. If you want an average life, do what everyone else is doing. If you want an extraordinary life, do things your way. Let go of caring what other people think and instead focus on creating the life you want.
- Clarity comes from action. You might not know the best way forward, but moving 100 mph in the wrong direction is better than staying stuck in analysis paralysis. Take action, get feedback, iterate, move forward.
- Your past is not your future. Even if you’ve tried and ‘failed’ at a goal multiple times before, use the failure as feedback of the path that doesn’t work. Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.
- Ask for help. None of us achieves everything alone. Getting support in your goal can help you hit goals 100x faster than you could alone, figuring it all out yourself. Before you take advice from the random guy in the internet forum, ask yourself if he has the result you’re seeking.
- Don’t wait for motivation to strike. Mood follows action, not the other way around. Act in the direction of your goals and the motivation will follow.
- Focus on getting the basics right and push back on complexity. You don’t need a more complicated diet or $200 running shoes to get the body you want. Have you mastered the basics? Are you eating mostly real food? Are you committed to 30 minutes of walking each day? Start there. Put your attention on a strong foundation.
- Commit to higher vision for yourself. You’re here to live an extraordinary life. You’re totally capable. It’ll take effort. Recommit to your vision daily and take action.
- Define the outcome clearly. It’s hard to get to where you want to go if you don’t know where that is. The brain needs a target to aim for. Be specific.
Which of these do you already embody? Which would you like to adopt? Remember that changing your mindset is a matter or repetition and practice. When you catch yourself in a limiting thought loop, pause, and re-frame the thought to some believable, yet more empowering. Little by little, you’ll upgrade your thoughts and your entire life.
Ready to take the next step on your journey to your best life? Schedule a free Health Made Simple Strategy call to apply to work with me.
Three key changes this client made to return to his high school weight, increase energy, and live a life that’s “off the charts.”
I always find other peoples’ stories inspiring, so this week I want to offer a case study of one of my clients who’s been crushing his health goals in preparation for a challenging autumn hike in Colorado.
Joe is a well educated, high achieving executive in his late 40s with a history of success in many areas of life. He was already in a relatively good place in his health, but wanted to break through a weight loss plateau and reach the next level of what his body could achieve. He was tired of looking in the mirror and feeling disappointed. He was tired of restricting, dieting, and overexercising but not seeing the results. He had adventure plans and was ready to collapse the timeline and finally start feeling good.
Here are the changes we worked on together:
>>Dial in a unique nutrition plan.
There is no one size fits all diet. Finding a sustainable way of eating for you involves finding which foods support health for your body and which don’t. It also involves learning how different macronutrients affect your body.
Joe increased his protein intake to an appropriate level for his age and fitness level. He shifted away from processed foods and into eating more whole foods, which kept him full between meals and balanced his blood sugar and hormones. He got off the restrict and binge cycle and developed a healthier relationship with food and his body (more below on how he did that). He stopped focusing on the weight as much and learned to trust his body.
>>Incorporate lifestyle changes beyond diet.
We evaluated all areas of Joe’s life, including his fitness, sleep, and stress levels. He made changes which reduced how much cortisol he was producing, which was responsible for fatigue, weight gain, and anxiety. Joe began a regular meditation practice and stopped running hard every day. He prioritized sleep and made time to relax, often in nature.
>>Shift mindset + underlying patterns.
Long term results hinge on shifting not just diet and lifestyle habits, but on looking at how you make decisions for your health and why you choose to treat your body the way you do. Joe had a history of disordered eating behaviors. I’ve been there and I know how frustrating it is to know the decisions you want to make for yourself but to not follow through.
Once he was on a whole food nutrition plan that satiated him and supported his physiology, we could address the mindset and triggers that were keeping him from hitting his goals. Restriction, skipping meals, and stress are common scenarios that lead to binges. He learned other forms of emotional coping. He learned to slow down so that he could hear the feedback from his body. He learned to tune into what his body needed and to trust it.
All of this was incorporated in a way that fit Joe’s life and supported the creation of new habits.
In summary, cookie cutter strategies don’t work.
Joe was able to achieve the health he was after by customizing his diet for his unique needs, adjusting his macronutrient ratios, tuning into his body, reducing cortisol through lifestyle changes, and by removing the beliefs and triggers that were keeping him in a cycle of self sabotage.
Hopefully this inspires you to know that you can have the health, the body, and the adventurous life you desire at any stage and age of life. It takes strategy + mindset shifts, but it’s absolutely possible!
Ready to take the next step towards a healthier you? Schedule a complimentary Health Made Simple Strategy Call to see if we’re a good fit to work together.
We’ll discuss your health aspirations and a potential plan for how to move you closer to those goals. We’ll see if we’re a good client-coach fit and you’ll come away with clarity on next steps, whether or not we decide to work together. Why wait another day to have a healthy body so you can have more energy to go on that dream trip?
This post is about how to optimize yours sports recovery habits, so you can get the most out of your training routine. If you like this, make sure to get in touch over on my Facebook community, Holistic Health for the Avid Adventurer, where we cover topics just like this one. If you’re interested in strategic 1-1 support, you can also apply to work with me. I would love to work with you now or in the future! ~Katie
Your sports recovery habits are just as important as your active training time if you want to get the most out of your fitness routine. During your workout, you break down muscle tissue, deplete glycogen, and stress the body. In order to repair, rebuild, and grow new muscle, you need proper recovery, so you can build more strength and endurance.
Proper recovery is essential for every body, and if you find yourself sore for long periods of time, dealing with chronic injuries, and unmotivated to complete your workouts, you’re likely overtraining. It’s time to listen to your body and focus extra attention on rest and repair. Use the following tips to optimize your recovery periods.
Focus on Whole Food Nutrition
Muscles need protein and carbohydrate to recover. Protein repairs and rebuilds muscle fibers, while carbohydrates restore depleted glycogen stores. It’s also important to ensure you’re consuming enough calories, especially if you want to build muscle. Focus on whole food sources, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, eggs, and lean meat. Eating whole foods helps you get adequate vitamins and minerals, which are essential for reducing inflammation and speeding recovery.
To properly recover, your body needs enough sleep, which is 7-9 hours for most adults. Inadequate sleep negatively impacts growth hormone production and insulin sensitivity. Optimize sleep through basic sleep hygiene, like cutting off stimulants after noon, sleeping in a dark, cool environment, limiting blue light exposure 1-2 hours before bed, and maintaining a consistent sleep and wake time.
Proper hydration can support recovery by helping you to digest the nutrients needed for the thousands of biochemical reactions in your body that keep you healthy. Furthermore, dehydration following a workout can slow the protein synthesis needed for muscle repair. Rehydrate after exercise by drinking 16 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during exercise. If you’re significantly dehydrated, consider adding an electrolyte mix, coconut water, or even a pinch of mineral salt to your water.
Engage in Rest Days + Active Recovery
Workout frequency is an important aspect of a proper sports recovery plan. Include at least 1 rest day per week and avoid working out the same muscle group two days in a row. Engaging in active recovery activities like gentle yoga, walking, stretching, and foam rolling can promote blood flow, help move waste products out of the body, and speed recovery.
Consider taking a dip in a cold lake or a plunge in an ice bath after workouts. Research has shown cold immersion to significantly reduce muscle soreness.
To get the most out of your workouts, remember that including optimal recovery techniques is just as important as the time you spend training!
Ready to take the next step on your journey?
Schedule a free strategy call here. In 30 minutes, we’ll define your top health + adventure goals, we’ll determine the primary obstacles in your way, and we’ll discuss a clear path to close the gap between where you are now and where you want to go.
Do you want to hike more miles in a day without injuring yourself or not being able to get out of bed the next day?
Increasing daily mileage is a common goal for backpackers and hikers. Whether it’s because you want to expand the trails and trips available to you during your limited time off work, or because you need to finish a thru-hike within a weather window, or for entirely different reasons, here are the strategies I’ve used over the course of 8,000+ miles to consistently hike 30+ mile days.
To be clear, I’m not telling you this should be your goal. I’m simply sharing strategies I’ve used to increase daily mileage while remaining largely injury-free. As always, take what serves you and leave the rest.
Fuel for Performance
Hiking all day puts a lot of demands on the body. To reduce inflammation, optimize recovery, and have more stable and abundant energy, what you eat matters. Eating healthy doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. The simplest advice is to focus on eating mostly whole foods. That means things like veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, or anything without an ingredient label. Your body will digest these types of foods better, giving you more energy for hiking. This doesn’t mean there’s no room for treats. Just aim for 80% of your calories to come from real food.
Be sure to consume adequate calories, including enough of each macronutrient (protein, fat, and carbs). Eat and drink water regularly throughout the day. On a long hike, I snack (200-300 calories) at least once every 2 hours.
Hike Longer, Not Faster
Trying to hike faster, at a pace that’s not natural to you, usually doesn’t work, and it can often lead to injury. A more effective strategy is to put in more hours. Start earlier in the day, take shorter breaks, and hike later into the afternoon. I like to organize my gear the night before, so I’m ready to hit the trail in the morning. I also look at my maps for the next day to avoid (as much as possible) getting off route. In the mornings, I put snacks in convenient spots so I don’t need to dig into my pack every time I’m hungry.
Being intentional with what does and does not go into your pack serves a variety of purposes. First, carrying a lighter load is easier on the body. It requires less energy to carry a lighter weight, so you can hike further with less exhaustion. Additionally, carrying fewer items simplifies setting up and taking down camp, creating more time for hiking. There’s a lot to share about how to carry less safely, but that’s a topic for a different post.
Build Miles Gradually
Too much, too soon is a surefire recipe for an overuse injury. Many hikers hit the trail with a lot of exuberance and not much training under their belt, only to end up sidelined shortly thereafter with shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or knee pain, or other inflammatory injuries. Much of this can be avoided by building miles the smart way. In general, this looks like increasing mileage by no more than 10% each week, taking practice hikes with a pack on, and including adequate recovery.
To perform well, your body needs proper rest. A big part of recovery occurs during sleep. Optimize sleep through basic sleep hygiene, like cutting off stimulants after noon, sleeping in a dark, cool environment, limiting blue light exposure in the evening, and maintaining a consistent sleep and wake time. Other recovery exercises that can move lactic acid out of the body and help you perform better include foam rolling (a water bottle can suffice o on trail) and stretching.
Master Your Mindset
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” This famous Henry Ford quote sums it up pretty well. To achieve anything, you must first believe you’re capable. When I was first getting into long distance hiking, the thought of hiking more than 15 miles in a day seemed absurd. The more time I spent in the community watching others do this, the more it seems achievable for me. For anything you want to achieve in life, it helps to see that there are others already doing it, and to see that they’re no different than you. It may take work to build up to your goal, but with time, you can absolutely get there!
For the complete blueprint on preparing your body inside and out for a healthy adventure, take the Adventure Ready course.