Meal Template for Increased Energy

hiking

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:

Healthy Fat 

+

Healthy Protein

Fiber

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!

Ready to take the next step? Download your free balanced blood sugar guide here! And apply to work with me here!

Freedom from Compulsive Eating Patterns

compulsive eating

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.

Finding Freedom

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.

Related posts:

Change Your Relationship to Food, Change Everything

Shift Out of Anxiety, Fear, and Depression

Real Health is More Than a Number

13 Mindset Habits for Success

mindset

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.

  1. 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!
  1. 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.
  1. 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?
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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. 
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.  
  1. 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. 
  1. 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.
  1. 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. 
  1. 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.

Finding Weight Balance & Preparing for Adventure

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?

Related Posts:

How to Optimize Sports Recovery

 Hit Your Health Goals Faster: 6 Mistake to Avoid

How to Hike More Miles in a Day

How to Optimize Sports Recovery

sports

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.  

Prioritize Sleep

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.

Hydrate

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. 

Cold Therapy

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!

Related Posts:

3 Tips to Get More from Your Home Fitness Routine

6 Mistakes to Avoid to Hit Your Health Goals Faster (without dieting!)

Stress Eating: Why You Do It + How To Stop

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.

How to Hike More Miles in a Day

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. 

Carry Less

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.

Optimize 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

additional resources: 

Ultralight Healthy Meal Plan eCourse

Eat for Endurance eBook

Related Posts:

Healthy Lightweight Eating for Hikers: A Day in the Life

Supplements on the CDT for Energy, Immunity, and Endurance

The thru-hiker calorie myth: What your diet is missing and how to eat for endurance

Hit Your Health Goals Faster: 6 Mistakes to Avoid

adventure

This post is about how to fast track your health goals without using restrictive diets or overexercising. 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

I used to wake up at 5:30 to run 5-10 miles before working a full 12+ hour day as a baker. I was eating what the health magazines told me was the perfect diet. I counted calories. I cut carbs. I tracked my macros.

I didn’t know how I could be any more “perfect” with my health habits. And STILL, I was struggling with chronic fatigue, creeping weight gain, anxiety, and low energy on my runs.

In short, I was giving it everything I had and I still wasn’t experiencing the results I was after.  It’s disheartening to feel like you’re giving it your all and you’re not getting anywhere. I was overwhelmed with conflicting nutrition information and how to sort through it. I just wanted energy, strength, and endurance for my day to day life and also for my outdoor adventures.  

After trying and failing at many different approaches, I want to share with you the mistakes I made and the lessons learned when it comes to creating a wellness routine you can maintain for life; one that will allow you to have the energy, weight balance, mood, focus, and freedom you need to pursue big adventures in life. 

Mistake #1: I was overcomplicating it. 

I got caught up in what the media and different outside sources (even ‘professionals’) were telling me to do and I forgot that my body knows best. I was overriding signals of hunger and exhaustion to tame my body into submission. That’s not sustainable. The true process of coming to peace with food and my body was in learning how to pay attention to the feedback my body was giving me. Listening to hunger and fullness cues. Taking rest when I need it. These are a few of many examples.

When I pay attention to my body and trust what it’s telling me, I don’t need to follow strict eating rules or avoid entire food groups. With the focus on whole foods, cravings dissipate, taste buds adjust, the body regulates itself, and food no longer consmes every thought. 

Mistake #2: I was looking for the “perfect diet”. 

After much trial and error, I learned that there is no “perfect diet”. There are foods that work for your body and where you are in your life and for your current goals. The optimal diet for you may shift over time. That’s why I no longer give meals plans, and instead teach clients how to tune in to their body to see how it responds to different foods and macro nutrients and at different times of day. This gives you freedom from ‘food rules’ created by someone who knows nothing about you or your body.

Mistake #3: I thought fewer calories and more exercise would help me hit my goals.

This belief definitely slowed me down on my health path. It also caused my adrenals to tank and my hormones (especially thyroid) to get thrown out of whack. This caused a cascade of unpleasant symptoms like an autoimmune disease, fatigue, hair loss, weight loss resistance, and depression. 

Here’s why: Your body needs to know you’re safe. This is especially true for women. When you starve yourself or train too hard, it signals to your body that you’re in danger. You shift out of parasympathetic dominance (rest+digest mode), where humans are meant to spend the majority of time, and into sympathetic (fight, flight, freeze) overdrive. This causes stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to be released in the body.

Excess cortisol causes all sorts undesirable effects like fatigue, headaches, weight gain, lowered immunity, anxiety, and much more. 

Mistake #4: I thought being healthy was all about diet and exercise.

What you eat and how you move is important, but there are other factors that play a big role as well. Specifically, sleep and stress levels matter more than you think. Sunlight, time in nature, and a reflective practice also contribute to overall wellness. Again, the reason relates to how these components affect your hormones, most specifically cortisol. Lack of sleep and excess stress in any form (emotional, physical, chemical) raise cortisol levels. See Mistake #3 for why that matters. 

Mistake #5: I didn’t define my outcome clearly.

To be honest, I got caught in the trap of thinking that the number on the scale was the metric that told me whether or not I was healthy. And while weight can be one component of health, when I think about my long term vision of a healthy life, it’s about feeling strong, free, present, and capable. Redefining what health means to me freed me from being trapped by someone else’s expectations. 

Mistake #6: I didn’t look deeper into WHY I was self-sabotaging.

When I would sabotage my goals by overeating or simply not engaging in self care, I thought it was just because I was a failure or had no willpower. When I began to unpack this, I realized that, as cliche as it sounds, I wasn’t truly loving myself. Any change that came from a place of self hate instead of self compassion wasn’t going to be effective. I had to look at where I picked up the programming that told me I wasn’t lovable unless I looked a certain way or ran enough miles or etc etc. Exploring what’s blocking you on an emotional and subconscious level is where lasting change starts.

In summary, I hope that seeing some of the mistakes I’ve made when it comes to achieving true health will help you to collapse the timeline on your own health goals, so that you can ditch the dieting, drop the obsession, and have a wellness routine that’s sustainable for life and gives you the vitality you desire.

PS. I’ve turned these lessons into a holistic methodology I use to guide private clients through this (and MUCH MORE) while customizing these concepts to your unique life and circumstances. It’s geared towards providing busy, ambitious, high achievers with a SIMPLIFIED health strategy that creates REAL results.

Ready to take the next step in your health journey? Apply to work with me.

Shifting out of Fear, Anxiety, and Depression

This post provides practical physical, mental, and emotional tools you can use TODAY to start shifting out of emotions, like fear, anxiety, and depression. If you like this, stay in touch over in my Facebook community, Holistic Health for the Avid Adventurer, where I do free trainings on topics like this one. If you’re interested in strategic 1-1 support, schedule a free call and we’ll see if we’re a good fit. I would love to help you achieve your goals now or in the future! ~ Katie

There was a time in my life when I lacked the motivation to even get out of bed. I felt hopeless and overwhelmed. I knew I wasn’t living the life I wanted to, but I didn’t know how to get out of my rut. I wanted to make better decisions for myself, and when I failed to do so, day after day, I would feel even more frustrated.

This cycle repeated itself until I finally started to make tiny shifts each day, which compounded, eventually resulting in an entirely new way of experiencing my day to day life. Having been in and out of this cycle multiple times, it’s now easier to recognize when I’m falling into a funk, and I now have a set of tools that get be back into an optimal state more quickly.

Having a toolkit of  physical practices and mental frameworks provides a means to move through these challenging emotions and into a place of greater personal power. From there, I’m much more effective at supporting those around me and acting in alignment with my truth. 

This post goes into some of those tools that have helped me shift out of anxiety, fear, anger, and despair. Feel free to take what works for you and leave the rest.

For a long time, I fell into the trap of believing that my mental and emotional suffering wasn’t “severe enough” to be worth addressing. I now realize that suffering is relative, and the world needs each of us feeling our best so we can show up to do the work we’re here to do, whether that’s through our jobs, or as parents, or by sharing our stories, etc. 

It’s important to note that our physical, emotional, and mental health are intricately intertwined. When one is suffering, the other pillars inevitably suffer as well. For instance, when you’re treating your body like crap, you’re less emotionally and mentally resilient. We’ll get more into why that is in a minute. 

Finally, I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t feel our emotions. I think it’s important to feel, to acknowledge, and to work through them, but not to get stuck in them.

Why do I feel like crap?

Before I get into the practices that help move me into a better mental and emotional state, here are some factors I’ve identified that consistently contribute to feeling less than ideal. When I notice myself in a slump, I can usually find one or more of these at play.

  • I’m caring too much about fitting in or meeting someone else’s expectations or being “perfect” … essentially, I’m giving other people’s/society’s opinions too much weight.
  • I’m hyper focused on myself, my needs, and my own experience.
  • I’m taking myself too seriously.
  • I’m creating the illusion that I’m alone.
  • I’m viewing my own sensitivity as a weakness rather than a gift.
  • I’m acting out of alignment with my value system.
  • I’m not supporting my physical body (e.g. under- or overeating; not enough sun; not getting out in nature; not making time for rest and pleasure.

Based on the above, you might guess that some of the strategies for moving into a different state are essentially the opposite of the root causes.

How do I shift my mental and emotional state?

Physical Practices

  • Focus on eating real food. This means whole foods, like fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes, and salmon. Cut back on hormone-disrupting, inflammatory foods, like processed sugar. Quit dieting. Learn how to tune into genuine hunger and how to stop when satiated. For an explanation on why real food supports better mental health, read up on the food-mood connection, the role of the microbiome in neurotransmitter production, and the effects of blood sugar stabilization on mood. 
  • Don’t overcaffeinate.  
  • Move the body daily, from a place of joy, not punishment. 
  • Daily time in nature, ideally with some skin exposed to the sunlight. 
  • Serve others. Even if that just means holding the door for someone. 

Emotional + Mindset Practices

  • Give up perfectionism. As Brene would say, “Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be, and embrace who you are”. Perfection is a myth and chasing it stems from a feeling of not being ‘enough’, just as I am. So, I focus on the root of why that feeling is there in the first place.
  • Daily practices that rewire my brain towards seeing the positive. The negativity bias is the notion that we’re hard-wired to look for dangers and threats in our environment. For me, a daily journal session focused on anything that’s going right in my life (even if it’s the tiniest thing) slowly trains my brain to find the positive. 
  • Cultivate resilience by framing challenges as lessons and as an essential part of becoming my most whole, expressed self.
  • Raise my self awareness through personal development work.
  • Reframe sensitivity and empathy as a gift and learn to set boundaries appropriately.
  • Define what matters to me and what my values are. Act accordingly.
  • Zoom out to see the bigger picture. I have a Pale Blue Dot print which reminds me that this life is short and fleeting, and that my ‘problems’ are probably not as big as they seem in the grand scheme of things. 

Is it selfish to spend time on self care?

I believe that having compassion for others goes hand in hand with having compassion for ourselves. When I take care of myself, I’m better equipped to take care of others. Remember, it’s not selfish to put your own oxygen mask on first.

Related Posts:

Staying grounded during times of uncertainty

Stress eating: Why we do it and how to stop

The impact of happiness on health & how to create more of it

Real Health is More Than a Number

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This post is about questioning what you’ve been told and redefining what genuine health + wellness looks like to you. If you like this, stay in touch over in my Facebook community, Holistic Health for the Avid Adventurer, where I do free trainings on topics like this one. If you’re interested in strategic 1-1 support, schedule a free call and we’ll see if we’re a good fit. I would love to help you achieve your health goals now or in the future! ~ Katie

When it comes to your health, how do you measure “success”? How do you know your health efforts are “working”? If you’ve never given this much consideration, read on. 

I’m not a fan of the word success, especially when it comes to health, because it’s so nebulous. It’s not well-defined, and so we accept the default definition that’s handed to us by society at large. By not creating our own parameters for success, we succumb to other people’s metrics and take them on as our own. 

And what are the metrics we traditionally use to measure health? Here are a few: weight, calorie count, step count, and macro ratios. How much emphasis do we usually put on those numbers? In my experience (and I’m completely guilty of this), the answer is way too much. Those things might be part of health. But, in my mind, REAL HEALTH is about so much more.  

So, I invite you to consider this:

How are you currently measuring your health success? How do you know that the things you’re doing are working? Are the things you’re measuring leading to the long term result you want? If not, how do you want to redefine success and measure health more holistically?

To me, the point of eating real food, and moving my body, and getting enough sleep, and engaging in self care is to live a life of joy. It’s a life where I have plenty of energy, and I feel good, and I can go on outdoor adventures and feel strong. It’s a life where I feel sane around food, my inner dialogue is loving, and I’m moving my body from a place of joy. It’s a life where I’m present for my relationships and the work I’m here to do in the world. 

Though I rejected diet culture long ago (through much experimentation and self inflicted suffering), I still get caught in the trap of mainstream dominant paradigm. The one that tells me that my weight, and the number of calories I consume, or the amount of exercise I complete define my self worth. When in my heart, I know that my life is about so much more than that.

Remember that you don’t have to embody the toxic messages that come from much of the “wellness” industry (which, yes, I’m a part of; and yes, it’s confusing to find a voice you trust when there’s so much info coming at you. I get it.). 

You get to write your own rules. Or to say F it to rules, entirely.

I invite you to take a little quiet time to define for yourself what “healthy” truly looks like. How does healthy feel to you? How do you spend your time? How do you talk to yourself in the mirror? What are you able to do that is a struggle for you now? How do you show up in your relationships and in your day to day moments? Are you rigid, scattered, controlling? Or are you calm, grounded, and present?

If you’re willing to share, comment below!

To learn more about what it means to live a truly healthy life, find more freebies here.

Choose a Protein Bar That’s Actually Healthy

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You’re strolling down the ‘bar aisle’ at the grocery store. You know the one. The one with all the ‘energy bars’ and the ‘protein bars’ and the ‘meal replacement bars’ and ‘snack bars’, and… 

Perhaps, like me, this aisle overwhelms you a bit. But you need to stock your pantry for those mornings when you have to run out the door without breakfast, or maybe you need to refill your stash for your next weekend backpacking trip, so you start scanning the shelves. 

“Holy cow,” you think, “are there even more options than the last time I was here??”

New bar brands are hitting the shelves every day, and while this is great for adding variety when you inevitably get sick of your current favorite, it’s also overwhelming when you’re looking for one that’s going to power you up the mountains or through a long day of work. 

How do you choose one that’s healthy? How do you find one that’s not just a candy bar in sheep’s clothing? (If you’re going for a candy bar, that’s your call – just don’t pay protein bar prices for what’s essentially a well-marketed candy bar – e.g. those ‘nutrition’ bars with more sugar than a Snickers. #healthwashing.)

Why Protein + How Much?

First, what’s the big deal with protein? In short, it’s essential for every living being. You need it for proper immune function, and for muscle repair and recovery. It helps stabilize your blood sugar (and therefore, your energy levels) and keeps you full longer. It also carries electrolytes into and out of cells, and is a building block for muscles, skin, bones, and blood. 

How much do you need? There are a lot of opinions on this question. Protein needs vary based on gender, activity level, and your goals (weight loss, muscle gain, maintenance). The Recommended Daily Allowance is 0.8 grams per kilogram (1kg = 2.2 lbs, so that’s 0.36 grams per pound) of bodyweight. Personally, I feel best when I eat in the range of 0.6-0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. It’s generally recommended that more active individuals eat more protein.

How do I choose one?

Here are 3 steps I use for bar selection + tips on when to use different bars based on your goals (recovery, muscle building, weight loss, etc.).

  1. Look at Ingredients

At a very basic level, look for whole, real foods; things you can readily identify, such as almonds, dates, oats, prunes, hemp seeds, cocoa powder, and so on. The ingredients should be simple and as close to the form found in nature as possible. 

  1. Consider Your Goals

What are your needs? Are you looking for a snack bar to tide you over until dinner? Or for a meal replacement? Do you plan to eat it while you’re being active, like on a long run or a hike? It’s helpful to know how and when you intend to use the bar because it can influence what you’re looking at in step 3.

  1. Scan the Nutrition Label

Look at the protein. To me, a protein bar should have, at minimum, 5 grams of protein. If you’re looking for a meal replacement bar or one to use when you’re exercising strenuously or during heavy lifting, look for 20+ grams of protein. If you’re on a specialty diet (e.g. vegan), look at the source of the protein and choose accordingly (e.g. avoid whey if vegan).

Look at the fiber. I generally prefer bars with 6+ grams of fiber. This keeps you full until your next meal, stabilizes blood sugar, and promotes a healthy gut microbiome. Fruit and nut-based bars generally have more fiber.

Consider calorie ranges. When searching for a snack bar in my day to day life, I’ll look for bars in the 200-calorie range. If it’s a meal replacement bar, 300-400 calories is a better choice, assuming I want it to keep me full until my next meal. If I’m on a thru-hike, I look for the highest calorie per ounce bar I can get.

Evaluate the Protein to Carbohydrate Ratio

Okay, just a little simple math required on this one. If you’re interested in losing weight, a bar with a 1:1 or 2:1 protein to carbohydrate ratio would be a good choice. If you want to build muscle, or improve workout recovery, or get a burst of quick energy, anywhere between a 1:2 to a 1:4 protein to carbohydrate ratio is what I’d look for. 

What to Avoid

There are a few things to avoid, if possible. One is sugar alcohols, like xylitol, sorbitol and maltitol, as these can cause bloating and cramps. I’d also steer clear of trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial colors.

Final pro tip, find a handful of brands that suit your criteria and stock up on multiple flavors, because you will inevitably get sick of them. Having a rotation at least slows that process. Knowing some go-to brands makes future shopping trips faster and less overwhelming. Having a criteria for selection, as outlined above, makes the process quicker if you’re in a new store and you can’t find your go-to brands. 

I believe in meeting our nutritional needs through food first, but when you need an on-the-go meal or snack option, healthy protein bars can be a healthy option. You just have to know what to look for 🙂

You can find some of my go-to options here!

To join our free Healthy Ultralight Meal Planning eCourse, CLICK HERE.