Pillars of Wellness Part 4: Adventure

Adventure Girl Kayaking

Adventure, the final pillar of wellness is often the most overlooked and one of the most important pillars. Pillars 1, 2 and 3 are essential to health, adventure is all about thriving. You won’t be chasing your health and weight loss goals your entire life, eventually, you need another goal to chase. What will you do, what characteristics will you identify with once you achieve your health goals? Often the person we perceive and live as when we feel like garbage is a bit depressed, anxious, and little self-loathing.

Achieving your health and weight goals CAN help with this but often there is some of that former person still there. As you achieve your health goals, you need to think about what you want your life to be like afterward. If your body changes and your mind stays the same, you will likely slip into old habits as previous conditioning starts to come back into play. Ask yourself, “What the healthy, thriving version of you do and be like?” I would say the doing component is probably the most important.


Pillars of Wellness Part 3: Stress Reduction

Woman stressed over computer

Now that nutrition and exercise are dialed in, let’s dig into pillars of wellness part 3: stress reduction. Stress is kind of a strange thing, often people focus too much on it or don’t focus on it at all. We also have a hard time defining what stress is. A major misconception is that stress is only emotional and has little to do with physical exertion, nutrition, and positive as well as negative life events.

Really, stress is anything that exceeds our resources, those resources can come from numerous biological and emotional categories. If stress overwhelms any of these categories, the immune system can plummet, the body releases an abundance of cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. You become more resilient for a period, then you crash and have to deal with the consequences of pushing yourself beyond your allostatic threshold for this period.


Pillars of Wellness Part 2: Exercise

Woman Exercising

In pillars of wellness Part 2: Exercise we’ll discuss how to incorporate exercise and movement into your general wellness plan. The 2 basic pillars essential for developing optimal wellness would be nutrition and exercise/movement. For these pillars I’m not talking about highly specialized dietary recommendations or a daily brutal exercise routine, I want to introduce the basic building blocks that will eventually allow you to maintain wellness effortlessly.

Exercise should not be torture and choosing healthy food should not cause a panic attack. We’ve already discussed food, let’s move on to exercise. The goal with exercise is to discover how much you need, you shouldn’t be trying to do as much as possible. Once you’ve established how much exercise you can do without being in pain for a week or sustaining regular injuries, do that once a week and try easier exercises throughout the week.


How to Hack Your Stress Response

Woman doing yoga on a mountain

There are various ways to hack your stress response and today I will share with you one the most potent ways to do this. I know this sounds weird, but what if everything you’ve been told about stress causing you to develop negative health outcomes related to stress was wrong?  Researchers have based their careers on spreading the message that stress leads to negative health outcomes. It turns out your perception of life challenges as either overwhelming or a challenge worth overcoming, goes a long way to determining how harmful stress can be in your life.


Essential Guide to Meal Planning and Prep

Woman Eating Dinner

To really enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle it’s important to know how to meal prep and plan your week, this essential guide to meal planning and prep will get you started.

We have so much happening in our daily lives that finding time to cook a healthy meal can get put on the back burner. On the days when our energy is recovered, we think of all the healthy things we want to eat and doing but we don’t take advantage of these days. If we prep our meals on days we feel motivated, then we have healthy food available when we feel less than motivated.


Primal Essential Movements

Primal Essential Movements

The Primal Essential Movements (PEM) are a series of exercises designed to maximize your time, generate functional fitness, optimize gene expression, balance your hormones, and sensitize your body to insulin. This sequence of exercises should be performed in 2-3 sets till you are exhausted. Do not exercise to failure, you want to stop an exercise once you begin to lose form. The goal is to get stronger, not injured. Primal essential movements are also a great way to relieve stress.

After doing a set, it is best to wait 3-4 minutes before the next set, this will maximize muscle and strength gains. You will also be fully recovered when going into your next set of exercises. I prefer to not start a second PEM set completely exhausted, wheezing, and coughing. Feel free to do the following exercises in whatever order work best for you.


Managing Stress with Social Support

Social Support

Social Support is a significant resource for managing/buffering stress (4). Essentially, it boils down to reaching out to friends, family, neighbors, therapists or even strangers (hotlines, virtual chat, etc.). People who seek social support are engaged in an active coping strategy, in contrasts to passive coping strategies.

Active strategies are constructive and are often problem-solving focused. Passive coping strategies are palliative in nature and usually involve self-medication in some way: eating, drugs and alcohol, taking out feelings on loved ones, etc. (1).


How to Increase Self-Efficacy


One of the core components of my coaching strategy involves building self-efficacy, a term you might be more familiar with as “confidence”. Researchers also define self-Efficacy as your perceived ability to apply your energy to a situation and achieve a positive result (I feel confident I can overcome this!).

The opposite of self-efficacy is learned helplessness, which is a perception that no matter how much energy you put forward, a negative outcome will come about.


Hidden Stress and Allostasis


“The term allostasis refers to the process whereby an organism maintains physiological stability by changing parameters of its internal milieu by matching them appropriately to environmental demands 2”. Think of allostasis as a rubber band that bends and flexes as you pull it and then returns to its original state at rest. It differs from the term homeostasis, which is your body’s preferred state of equilibrium or balance. Homeostasis is the rubber band and allostasis is the rubber band’s ability to adapt and return to normal.

Allostatic load is how much ‘wear and tear’ your body can handle through repeated adaptation responses activated during stressful situations.