Why is maintaining health important to you? What does good health empower you to accomplish?
Maintaining a healthy body and mind means working at my peak potential. It allows me to enjoy all aspects of this world to the fullest.
Good health removes barriers for me mentally, physically, socially, environmentally, financially - it just puts everything on the table. Everything seems possible if I'm healthy.
Have you always been a “healthy habits” person?
Not always! It's been a bit of a roller coaster.
I was always athletic growing up, but that slowly declined as I went through college. Then I went into tech and had a desk job, which meant long hours, poor eating habits, and very little exercise.
I lost all my routines. It was out of control. A pint of ice cream a day was not uncommon. That’s a disaster!
I finally hit a low point in 2012 and decided enough was enough. I started reading. I read The 4-Hour Body, which was a game changer. That was the first time I heard about DEXA scanning.
That progressed into more books and podcasts and trying to apply it in real life. But it was all about changing my behavior, and behavior is difficult!
Tell us about your approach to maintaining and improving your health.
Unless you’ve created the components for a healthy, enjoyable lifestyle, you’ll never “feel finished.” So over time, I shifted to rely on more systems and habits, rather than just goal-setting.
I made exercise a priority and slowly started improving my nutrition. It took years but I finally developed consistent habits of exercise routines and surrounded myself with information on healthy eating behavior.
For example, I wanted to see meal preparation as less of a trial, so I started making it a habit to go to the farmers’ markets just for fun. Sometimes I don’t even buy anything, but it’s created a great connection to the food I’m eating.
Knowledge is a large part of it, but applying that knowledge in your actual life is the crucial part. Creating new habits and figuring out how to stick with them is everything.
And because I’ve created a template or structure for how I approach each day, I don’t have to worry if I’ve strayed a bit - since I know 90% of the time I’ve been disciplined.
You scanned with BodySpec before working for us, as part of your own health journey. How does the scan help you maintain your habits?
The scan has allowed me to better understand what's working and what needs to be adjusted. I don't have to guess anymore - I can actually see what is happening at a granularity that was unavailable previously. I can make changes much faster and, if I’ve set goals, hit them more consistently.
All the beneficial behaviors and good habits are reinforced quantitatively from scanning.
You're currently a health coach for BodySpec. How are people doing during such a difficult year?
This time has been physically difficult for most people. Isolation is hard. Trying to be everything all at once, it’s hard.
For many people who had good routines going pre-COVID, that all went out the window, and they’ve had to figure out entirely new systems. Unless you have deeply ingrained habits, health can be the first thing to go.
How have you encouraged your clients to create healthy habits if they’ve gotten off track?
This whole past year there’s been a certain level of underlying stress, which often equates to self soothing. I’ve really tried to encourage people to adapt and pivot their routines as best they can.
For example, I loved going to the gym and had a really good routine, but then my gym shut down, and I had to adapt. I used to strength train outside on public pull-up bars/rings but they've all been closed due to COVID. I've had to transition to using more kettlebells and get creative with public spaces: tree branches, playgrounds, scaffolding, you name it!
I also got in the habit of walking, which was not something I did before and now I’m a big fan of rucking (walking with a weighted backpack).
I really enjoy fitness, but for my clients who aren’t there yet, I remind them, life isn’t that binary. You are one decision away from being back on track.
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