Journey of a Bullet

It’s late and I should be sleeping. A busy day is planned for tomorrow that includes the gym, taking my daughter on a playdate, working with a client, etc. All great things, indeed. But I’m wide awake. Wide awake and thinking about the shootings. Wide awake and thinking about the destructive path those bullets are still taking; ricocheting, ripping through the survivors, families, friends and communities of El Paso and Dayton. Tearing through all of us.

I’ll be getting tired soon as I took my medication not too long ago, though. The meds I take to help out with my PTSD and depression. The PTSD and depression caused by, put simply, a bullet. Just one bullet from a .22; a tiny piece of steel that would’ve killed me had my dad not been home from work that day. A bullet any bigger coming from any other direction would’ve absolutely muted my small, five-year-old body. Events such as the ones that transpired in the last few days are known triggers for me, they used to bring up night terrors, rage, sadness, irritability, anxiety, fixation and melancholy. But I’ve put in some deep work with that and continue to.

If anyone knows how hard it is to make sense of these tragedies, put them into perspective, and turn these emotional times into action, it might be me.

So, what can we do to turn these reactions into actions? To take a step back from our emotions, examine the representations of the reality they create, analyze their accuracy, and formulate a reasoned response?

There are things that work for me and might work for you, too:

  1. Focus on family and friends. Appreciate with deep gratitude the little things that we take for granted most of the time. Example: that first hug I get from my daughter to start off the day.
  2. Realize that there is no blueprint for how to feel. Emotions, especially around traumatic events are complex. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Take stock in your emotions, work through them, talk about them.
  3. Cast aside your own unfounded fears and judgements of others. Be kind, build community, seek out those persons and marginalized groups that need support. Learn about others. Make new friends.
  4. Focus on self care. In tough times, it can feel downright selfish to do something that is good for ourselves. That’s bullshit. A strong, resilient mind and body is not only key to optimal mental and physical health, but by taking care of ourselves, we are, in fact, putting on our oxygen masks first so we are able to support others.
  5. Turn off the news. Stay informed but don’t overexpose yourself to more, unnecessary stress.
  6. Continue practices that give you some emotional relief. For some it might be exercise or meditation, for others, it might be dinner with friends.
  7. Realize that bad things happen. Even to children.
  8. Do something. By donating to the families affected by gun violence. By voting for those who align with your values. By being prepared. By standing up to hatred and bigotry. By listening. By fighting for change.
  9. Don’t retreat/regress to destructive behavioral patterns to cope. This can include isolating, detaching, using alcohol and drugs to numb your feelings, acting out, etc.
  10. Ask for help.

 

If you need to talk, I’ll listen.

Be well.

 

 

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Journey of a Bullet

It’s late and I should be sleeping. A busy day is planned for tomorrow that includes the gym, taking my daughter on a playdate, working with a client, etc. All great things, indeed. But I’m wide awake. Wide awake and thinking about the shootings. Wide awake and thinking about the destructive path those bullets are still taking; ricocheting, ripping through the survivors, families, friends and communities of El Paso and Dayton. Tearing through all of us.

I’ll be getting tired soon as I took my medication not too long ago, though. The meds I take to help out with my PTSD and depression. The PTSD and depression caused by, put simply, a bullet. Just one bullet from a .22; a tiny piece of steel that would’ve killed me had my dad not been home from work that day. A bullet any bigger coming from any other direction would’ve absolutely muted my small, five-year-old body. Events such as the ones that transpired in the last few days are known triggers for me, they used to bring up night terrors, rage, sadness, irritability, anxiety, fixation and melancholy. But I’ve put in some deep work with that and continue to.

If anyone knows how hard it is to make sense of these tragedies, put them into perspective, and turn these emotional times into action, it might be me.

So, what can we do to turn these reactions into actions? To take a step back from our emotions, examine the representations of the reality they create, analyze their accuracy, and formulate a reasoned response?

There are things that work for me and might work for you, too:

  1. Focus on family and friends. Appreciate with deep gratitude the little things that we take for granted most of the time. Example: that first hug I get from my daughter to start off the day.
  2. Realize that there is no blueprint for how to feel. Emotions, especially around traumatic events are complex. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Take stock in your emotions, work through them, talk about them.
  3. Cast aside your own unfounded fears and judgements of others. Be kind, build community, seek out those persons and marginalized groups that need support. Learn about others. Make new friends.
  4. Focus on self care. In tough times, it can feel downright selfish to do something that is good for ourselves. That’s bullshit. A strong, resilient mind and body is not only key to optimal mental and physical health, but by taking care of ourselves, we are, in fact, putting on our oxygen masks first so we are able to support others.
  5. Turn off the news. Stay informed but don’t overexpose yourself to more, unnecessary stress.
  6. Continue practices that give you some emotional relief. For some it might be exercise or meditation, for others, it might be dinner with friends.
  7. Realize that bad things happen. Even to children.
  8. Do something. By donating to the families affected by gun violence. By voting for those who align with your values. By being prepared. By standing up to hatred and bigotry. By listening. By fighting for change.
  9. Don’t retreat/regress to destructive behavioral patterns to cope. This can include isolating, detaching, using alcohol and drugs to numb your feelings, acting out, etc.
  10. Ask for help.

 

If you need to talk, I’ll listen.

Be well.

 

 

Are You Killing Yourself for Your Art?

You might know that I’m also a musician. I’ve been at it for 20 years now (damn). I’ve put out some records and played some pretty amazing shows over those years… all under the influence of alcohol and drugs. It truly does come with the territory and I marked my territory like a drunken, territorial ram. Always singing my misery – if not into a microphone, then into a bottle.

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Photo by Dave Meister

It seems that I’ve always needed some extra courage to get in front of a crowd. Hell, I’ve needed extra courage to simply get in front of my microphone at rehearsal or to take even the smallest steps outside of my comfort zone. That courage always came in the form of liquid or smoke, which I truly believed that all great artists needed. If they didn’t, I would dismiss them as lame. Even sober members of my bands just “didn’t get it” and, in my opinion, would never really “get it” because of their lack of a useful buzz to “open their mind” or get the creative juices flowing.

In reality, if you can’t “get” or perform your chosen art without a crutch; alcohol, drugs, unhealthy food, ego, etc. you need to question why you found the passion in the beginning. Think back to when you felt those butterflies in your stomach for the very first time over a certain song, painting or sculpture. Think back to when you thought that you found your calling. Think back to when you felt magic for the first time. Did your daydreams about the future involve killing yourself in order to become the dream?

Let it be known that the alcohol and drugs were helpful in getting me to actually try my hand at music. If not for them, I would’ve never attempted to be a lead singer in a band. I thank them for that. But the pain and misery that my using caused myself and others over the years makes me question how much time I wasted. How much hateful, ego-filled lyrics I wrote on paper with the wrong intention. How much beautiful music, life and time I wasted by, well, being wasted.

Change was always boiling beneath the surface for me. I always attempted to “balance” the bad with what I thought was a decent diet and some form of exercise. On one side of the scale was an elephant, the other side, a feather. Note that if you are trying to balance out your life to keep room for drugs, alcohol or unhealthy food, there’s a good chance that you have a problem. I remember very vividly walking around a health food store while being hungover, choking on my own dried and swollen tongue and daydreaming about being a fit, health-conscious guy, who felt and looked good. A guy who would grab a smoothie and spend the night staying in and watching a movie instead of grabbing bottles off a bar and watching myself fade into eventual demoralization. A guy who didn’t have to drink again.

My answer to loneliness was solitude. My answer to hangovers was more alcohol. My answer to life was to disengage.

It’s hard to imagine those days now.
It’s hard to fathom ever going back to them.

I’m becoming the person that I dreamt of being. Seriously, it’s actually happening. Sometimes I wonder if it’s all a dream, is it? I wake each day and think of what I now have and count my blessings. I work hard and dedicate my life to helping others. I’ve found some serenity and peace of mind. It’s gorgeous. It’s brilliant. It’s obtainable for everyone.

Do you have that feeling, a need for peace of mind and change that’s boiling beneath the surface? Know that you’re not alone. I’ve been there, and trust me, the here and now is light years better than there. Is life perfect? No. There’s no such thing as perfection. The journey to change may take years… or never happen at all. Just seek it out, you can find your way. I just want to promise you that it’s possible. If the road you’re traveling makes you miserable, take a detour and get some help; change your diet, start exercising, try meditation, wake up earlier, practice gratitude, think about those who depend on you. Think back to when you felt the magic.

Fight for yourself. Fight for your art. Fight for your passion.

Be well.

 

 

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Christopher Hostetler is the founder of Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching. He’s a proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for the newsletter for more evidence-based tips on lifestyle, nutrition, health, fitness and wellness.

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Are You Who You Want To Be?

I know a thing or two about self-improvement. Hell, I would even call myself an expert on the matter. As it says below in my bio: He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work”. Trust me, I don’t just throw that word out there lightly as I know very well that there are thousands of “experts” out there on the internet. I wholeheartedly walk it, talk it, breathe it, coach it, live it and LOVE it.

Truth be told, as much as I have turned everything around, there are always reminders. I was recently tagged in a “memories” photo on Facebook. It was from a NYE party at my sisters taken 6 years ago. I sincerely had to ask myself who that bloated, angry, disheveled, unhappy, drunk-as-a-skunk guy was! That guy was me. That guy was the father of my 3-year-old daughter. That guy was my parents’ son. That guy could very well be a challenging client of mine today.

It’s always a bit shocking to revisit my “old self” in all his rotting glory. Can you relate? I talk about him as if he’s a different person. I talk about him that way because he is a different person. Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware of where I used to be because remembering is my pilot light; always ready to fire up some inspiration. Always ready to ignite greater change. It also reminds me of how awful that time in my life really was. It reminds me of how I never, ever want to live that way again. I saved that picture on my phone for quick reference.

I lived in my “bottom” for many years and it’s a miracle that I climbed out of that fathomless hole. If you read “bottom” and can only relate it to drugs and alcohol, slow down. My “bottom” while involving booze and other unsavory party favors also had everything to do with unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, a devastatingly sh*tty attitude, lack of gratitude, judgement, heroic selfishness, lack of hope, lack of respect for myself and others, low self-esteem, confusion about what it even meant to be healthy,  lack of honesty, lack of hope. It’s all connected. The fact that I stopped the booze, etc. was the hardest thing that I’ve ever dealt (dealing) with in my life. Keep in mind that that’s coming from a guy who got shot in the spine at the age of five and was left handicapped. The thing is, I didn’t stop EVERYTHING to stay average. I want to live the optimal experience, doesn’t everyone? Don’t you?

He still resurfaces from time to time in my attitude and outlook, just ask my better, beautiful half. But I’m now stronger than he ever thought he could be. He is now an incorporeal part of me which survives only with my permission. By getting over the fear and conquering tasks that he never thought possible, I fill those dark, empty spots with vibrant and unapologetic hope for a better tomorrow. Focusing on self-care has allowed for a new clarity that I had only read about in science fiction novels. Before, I was part of the machine; a small mechanism (probably a loose rotary screw) that was not cared for, mangled by the air and fuel that kept everything running. Now? Now, I am the machine.

Here’s the deal: when it’s time to change your life, you will know. The key is to ACT on it. We are all blessed to live in a time where everything we need to know about becoming the best version of ourselves is literally a click away. The thing is, only a very small percentage of us will actually take the time, spend the money, put in the work and be what we’ve always dreamed of. We are too scared to admit that anything is possible. We will keep thinking that “those people” are just blessed with good genetics or come from money or have more time in the day or had an easier life or… or… or. We might even trick ourselves into thinking that we are happy where we are. That it’s just the way things are and life’s just fine. We will once again make resolutions to be better and not carry through with plans. We will try for a quick fix instead of something sustainable. We will risk disease and early death all because we never strived for better. We will just remain the he or she that we don’t want to be. Try. 

 

 

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Christopher Hostetler is the founder of Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching. He’s a proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for the newsletter for more evidence-based tips on lifestyle, nutrition, health, fitness and wellness.

Connect: Support/Website – Donotdieyoung.com Like – Facebook Follow – Twitter Pin – Pinterest Look – Instagram

 

Judas Feast: Tips to Prevent a Not-So-Happy Thanksgiving (and a Poll)

I sat down to write about making the “right” choices on Thanksgiving day. Maybe I’d mention that the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories on the holiday? Or maybe I’d talk about how important it is to get some exercise before (and after) gorging on all that crazy-rich food to put at least a little of it to work for you? Or how eating a low/no carb breakfast before filling your gullet with turkey, pumpkin pie, stuffing, rolls, stuffing, apple pie, cranberry sauce, pecan pie, more stuffing, etc. is a great idea. I could always talk about eating intuitively; eating to nourish your body and not getting caught in a binge? But I’m not going to. Not this time. There are hundreds of articles (trust me, I just read half of them) out there that offer similar advice that you can Google in seconds.

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This is for those who might overindulge. This is the other side of that mountain of mashed potatoes and gravy with extra butter. This is to help you out during and after the meal when you’re miserable, regretful and hating yourself for eating so much. I’m not advocating that everyone loses their damn mind Thursday, quite the contrary. But guess what? Many of us will. It happens. This is for you.

The practical, proven advice below is the same I give my clients who are dealing with digestive stress. While these tips will also help those who suffer from digestive issues that are acute and ongoing, I created the easy-to-follow list below as a way to help prevent or minimize the most common (gas & bloating, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea) sufferings that often parallel Turkey Day.

Keep those antacids on the shelf.

 

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GAS & BLOATING

What it feels like:

Uncomfortable fullness after eating a meal

Abdominal pain and/or distention

Excessive farting

Heartburn

Actions to take:

Chew your food well (15 + per bite)

Colon massage (following the line of your colon)

Foods to eat:

More fiber

Less (or no) dairy

Ginger, anise, fennel

Avoid sugar alcohols like sorbitol and xylitol

Supplements:

Digestive enzymes

Probiotic

Activated charcoal

 

heartburn

HEARTBURN

Causes:

Overeating

Eating too fast (see chewing above)

Too much caffeine

Too much sugar or refined carbohydrates

Low stomach acid

Actions to take:

Don’t over consume liquids with your meal

Eat slowly (yes, chewing again)

Foods to eat:

Increase vegetables

Avoid overindulging caffeine and sugar

Avoid ice-cold drinks

Supplements:

Probiotic

Apple cider vinegar (1 tbsp in water)

Fennel tea

 

An 8 month old baby boy crying really big tears.

CONSTIPATION

Actions to take:

Get some exercise

Gentle yogic twists

Child’s pose

Foods to eat:

More fiber

Ample water for hydration

No dairy

Probiotic foods like sauerkraut or kimchi

Flax and chia seeds

Garlic

Papaya

No processed foods

Supplements:

Probiotic

Digestive enzymes

Psyllium

Vitamin C

Marshmallow root

 

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DIARRHEA

Causes:

Food allergies or sensitivities

Lactose or sugar intolerance

Impaired digestion

Stress

Lack of good bacteria in the gut

Actions to take:

Drink a lot of fluids and stay  hydrated; green juices, tea

No sugar, fat, dairy, excess meat

Place something warm on the abdomen while reclining

Foods to eat:

Simple green juices

Mild fruit smoothies

Broths

Black currant or blueberry juice

Slippery elm tea

BRAT diet: bananas, rice, apples, toast

Supplements:

Probiotic

L-glutamine

Zinc

Aloe vera juice (2-4 oz)

Ground flax

 

Be grateful everyday

 

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Christopher Hostetler is the founder of Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching. He’s a proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for the newsletter for more evidence-based tips on lifestyle, nutrition, health, fitness and wellness.

Connect: Support/Website – Donotdieyoung.com Like – Facebook Follow – Twitter Pin – Pinterest Look – Instagram

The Ant Who Wants to Be a Lion

As a kid, I was always picked last for the team in gym class, backyard football, basketball, etc. Hell, I was even picked last when we were playing football IN MY OWN YARD. That stung deeply. Burning reminders that I was the chubby, disabled kid that I loathed seeing in the mirror each morning. After a while I just promoted myself the captain and quarterback of a team when we were playing ice football at my house. Those were just the rules. What’s ice football you ask? Undeniably stupid and dangerous (but so damn fun). In the winter months, I would spray down a portion of my yard or use buckets of water if needed to then allow it to freeze into our “field” of ice. We would then play full-contact football, usually without pads. As you can imagine, there were a lot of bumps, bruises, and blood. I thrived in these games because I was a decent passer. Plus, I didn’t mind the bone rattling tackles or the pain as much as the other kids; a benefit of having to deal with a lot of pain as a child. Don’t tell my parents.

Feelings of not being good enough, strong enough, fast enough or even smart enough carried on through the years. They live on to this day. Those “less than” feelings held me back from hundreds of things I dreamt of trying as a kid. However, I still wanted to be the quarterback, starting pitcher, point guard, President of The United States. There’s never been a middle; the ant who wants to be a lion. This lack of acceptance mixed with a dollop of self confidence that the universe has gifted me continues to offer up some staggeringly confusing inner dialogue. It’s probably the reason I became a lead singer and wouldn’t have had it any other way. It’s probably the reason I want to try to get in the ring fighting Muay Thai or boxing at 41 with one “good” arm and one “good” leg, just once. It’s probably the reason I want Do Not Die Young to help millions instead of hundreds. I continue to learn about all of this. I’m on a journey to that elusive center.

What I’ve learned is that I can, in fact, reach many of these goals. I’ve learned that I need to invite and ask for help. I’ve learned that needing guidance is not a weakness in any way. In fact, asking for help shows vulnerability and by opening up the gates to my truth, my story, a miraculous thing happens: I own my story. If you sit in the dark just a little past that fear, your eyes will refocus and you will see that there are no monsters in the room. The monsters are in my head, your head. The monsters are not good enough, strong enough, fast enough or smart enough to take us down.

Focus.

Modify your plan.

Breathe.

Fight.

Be well.

 

6649166

Christopher Hostetler is the founder of Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching. He’s a proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

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How to Defy the Odds and Reach Your Health Goals This Year

It’s approaching that time of year when those resolutions and goals to exercise, eat better, get more sleep, drink less alcohol, drink more water, quit smoking, meditate more, stress less, (fill in the blank) begins to fall by the wayside. With that being said, please don’t beat yourself up over it. Each and every year these types of failures reach epidemic proportions only to be forgotten and tried again the following January.

10.. 9.. 8.. 7.. 6.. 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1… HAPPY NEXT YEAR!

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Why do we fail?

  • Your goals are not realistic

If you went from eating whatever you wanted that included foods that were high in calories and low in nutrients to “eating clean” where you stripped all those comfort foods out of the equation, you’re bound to struggle just dealing with the intense cravings alone. People often underestimate the power of cravings. Plus, for some, those cravings are actually addictions that must be worked through.

If you went from hitting the gym or taking a walk once or twice a month to flipping a switch and going 5x a week, those high aspirations (just like drastically changing your diet overnight) more often than not lead to failure, which in turn introduces a hefty helping of guilt. Fail to succeed at something too many times and you will begin to distrust yourself and not want to try it ever again.

“I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.”
― Benjamin Franklin

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  • Your goals are not specific

I always start by asking my clients what their goals are. A few common answers include “I want to feel good” or “I want to start eating clean” or “I want to get into really good shape.” Sounds fine, right? To me those answers are equivalent to a band telling their audio engineer that they want a “wall of sound” or the kick drum to sound “like a pillow getting hit with a sledge hammer.” My musician and engineer friends out there will know exactly what I’m talking about here.

Confusion often sets in when I ask what each of those goals actually mean. This is the beginning (and should be your beginning). This is when I play detective and find out, for example, that “feeling good” to them might mean waking up with more energy or not crashing everyday at 2pm or not waking up hungover every Saturday. When I might find out that “eating clean” to them (BTW, it’s different for everyone) means not eating so much sugar, trying to find out what veggies they will actually like, or if they should go on a Vegan, Paleo or the (insert dietary theory here) diet. When I might find out that “getting into really good shape” means that they want to lose 30 pounds or figure out how to get ripped abs like movie stars or look great in a bikini.

Health goals must be specific and measurable or they will fail.

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  • Your goals lack a system to succeed

 

When you’re trying to get better at something – your diet, regular exercise, playing the piano, skydiving, etc. it is crucial that you have a well-designed system to guide you in the right direction. While I know nothing about skydiving (and never want to – no way), I do know quite a bit about advising others on nutrition, fitness and lifestyle. Remember when you learned to ride a bike without training wheels with no adult supervision? Remember how you just hopped on that bike with carefree abandon and rode full speed down the biggest hill in your neighborhood while popping a wheelie the whole way? Of course not, because you had adult supervision – someone who knew exactly how to ride a bike – someone who taught you how to find your balance, steer and brake – someone who wanted to teach you how to ride correctly – someone who made sure you didn’t pull out in front of a car – someone who picked you up and dusted you off if when you fell down.

When focusing on the glorious outcome, it’s easy to get lost looking ahead, daydreaming about victory, forgetting that all accomplishments are rewarded for the systematic approach which was taken to get there. In fact, in many situations, the damaging effects of goal setting outweigh its benefits.

 

 

Focus on the process (the system you have chosen) on a daily basis and try your best to not get caught up in the need for instant gratification – this is how a new lifestyle is created, a sustainable and enjoyable one – self improvement should NOT equal deprivation. When creating this new lifestyle, it is incredibly vital that you search out a pro who has your best interests in mind. Someone able to create a system/program that is designed specifically for your unique life and circumstances.

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How to defy the odds; tips for long-term, surefire success with weightfat-loss and exercise

  • Smart weightfat-loss

Since fat-loss and sustainable exercise are the two most common goals, I will cover these in this blog.

Remember that the occasional treat is not a bad thing. In fact, having that cookie or slice of pizza from time to time can actually HELP you in the long run. Categorizing foods as “good” and “bad” can create an unhealthy relationship with food. The same goes for cheat meals as a cheat meal is stating that you’re cheating on a diet, being naughty. Plus, you’re not on a diet are you? Good – because they don’t work! Also, restricting certain types of foods puts you at serious risk of nutrient deficiencies that can leave you worse off than when you began.

A great starting point is to focus on the 80/20 rule. Example: if you eat 3 meals a day; breakfast, lunch and dinner – that equals 21 meals per week. Enjoying a comfort food 4 of those meals (20%) per week will help keep you satisfied and those feelings of deprivation and intense cravings should be rare, if at all. If you’re sneaking around dipping candy bars into peanut butter and eating it like you’ve just returned from being stranded on an island, there’s a good chance that you are on a diet and not creating a lifestyle. Try 80/20.

Whether you are striving to lose body fat OR have your mind set on a specific aesthetic, as stated above, it is an absolute must that you stop looking at food as good vs. bad and realize that your caloric intake plays the biggest role – burn more calories than you consume (calorie deficit) and you will lose weight. But… but… that internet health guru said that I don’t ever need to worry about calories… that calories don’t matter… that I can eat as much as I want as long as it’s “real” food. Sorry, this is just not true. While I don’t preach counting calories (I have other methods) they most definitely, without question, matter. But your Paleo friend eats what seems to be a TON of food and says you don’t have to? That’s because high fat foods and protein are very satiating. Your Plant Based or Vegan friend is thin and doesn’t worry about calories? Maybe they’re under calorie every day. Your friend at work eats whatever they want and they never gain weight? They could have more lean muscle tissue or it could be their non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). With that being said, don’t take that as advice to eat whatever you want as long as you’re under a certain amount of calories per day. This is where many in the IIFIYM world get it dead wrong. You could hit your goals by only eating Pop Tarts, protein shakes and taking supplements – why would you want to? This is an absolutely terrible idea for long term health AND body composition. Consult with a knowledgeable professional and use, you know, common sense. Keep your overall health and longevity at the center of your aspirations – I suggest applying this principle to every aspect of your life. Know that calorie counting is NOT for everyone AND that calories can differ greatly depending on how far food travels to get to the grocery store, how it was cooked, your digestion, individual metabolism, etc. With that being said, calories are still the best we’ve got when it comes to measuring energy balance. By the way, if you do have your mind set on a certain body composition or sport/fitness performance – the optimal makeup of your macros (protein, carbs and fats) is paramount.

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  • Smart exercise

I train Muay Thai and strength train 4-6 days each week. Before that, my exercise routine included a lot of walking (especially after my hip resurfacing surgery 5 years ago) and the occasional gym visit – usually for a month or so and then I’d quit going. Again. The potent mixture of low self confidence and limiting disabilities were potent reasons for me to stay away from a world that I viewed as out of my realm. I now hold my head high and walk (limp) with confidence when I train. Reason being, I found something that I truly enjoy. Even though I am held back by physical limitations and even though it takes me much longer than everyone else to figure out techniques, it’s okay. I am forced to learn in my own way – to modify movements in a way that works for me. The point? Find something you love and keep at it no matter what. Consistency is key.

Don’t like regular gyms? Don’t go to a regular gym. Don’t like exercising indoors? Find enjoyable exercises that can be done outdoors. Never exercised a day in your life and don’t know where to start? Research and have fun. Try out different exercises, gyms, etc. You will find that most gyms offer free (or cheap) classes. Take a month or two and visit different places until something clicks inside you – it will, I promise.

Here‘s a great article on restarting (or beginning) your exercise habit.

If fitness already plays a part in your lifestyle and you can’t lose fat OR reach an aesthetic goal, it is time to change up your routine; nutrition, exercise or both. As stated above, to reach a certain aesthetic goal, it’s imperative that you find out what you need to be eating in accordance with your fitness routine – this is where “eating clean” won’t cut it. You need to know what your unique body needs in the way of macronutrients, sleep, rest, etc. to destroy and conquer your aesthetic goals; finally seeing those abs to losing 50 pounds. Always aim to step up your performance in whatever you take part in; from martial arts to body building to yoga to meditation.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”  ~Jim Rohn

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Christopher Hostetler is the founder of Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching. He’s a proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

Connect: Support/Website – Donotdieyoung.com Like – Facebook Follow – Twitter Pin – Pinterest Look – Instagram

Healthy Gift Ideas From a Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Holistic Health Counselor and a Strength and Conditioning Coach

 

I thought I’d change up my annual gift list a bit this year and invite my partners from Healthy Green Athlete over to help me create a truly one of a kind top-ten gift list for you. By the way, if you haven’t checked out HGA, you’re missing out on a game-changer. Our approach will shift the way athletes and beginners alike train, eat and think.

 

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We know it can be extremely tough to buy gifts for family and friends who are into fitness, nutrition and wellness. So many brands, so many styles, so many dietary theories, so many options! It can be downright annoying. We created a list of things that WE LOVE and that WE ACTUALLY USE ourselves. The following list is made up of products that we would (and often do) suggest to our own clients. We’ve got you covered with phenomenal gift ideas your loved ones will actually want to open on Christmas morning.

 

Karen “Flamingo” Baird

Certified Holistic Health Counselor and Nutrition Coach

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The Tiger Tail or what I refer to as the “magic stick” in our house. This tool works great for myofascial release of soft tissue, which means it shortens recovery time, increases muscular mobility and reduces soreness and tension after a rigorous gym sesh

 

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Rbx Leggings not only make a girls’ butt look just as fantastic as a $100 pair of yoga pants but they are much less expensive, extremely comfy and don’t sag in the butt (or anywhere else) after an intense squatting session. Plus, they come in crazy patterns and fun colors which is so in these days

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Bose SoundSport In-Ear Headphones. As soon as I started using these babies I started killing it in my workouts. There’s something to be said about a good set of headphones pumping the Top 40 of the 2000s in my ears while canceling out any other noise.  Plus, they stay in my ears no matter what type of exercise I happen to be doing

 

Michael “Hoover” Anderson

Experienced Strength and Conditioning Coach

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Rogue Tri-Blend shirts are so soft that they feel as if they are woven with hairs from a unicorn’s mane, and they nestle gently on muscles acquired from lots of time spent with a barbell

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Chucks not only look super badass but they are completely neutral shoes and allow your feet to work properly when doing lifts like squats and deadlifts. Most gyms don’t let you go barefoot so these are a great / cheap alternative

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Nike Pro Compression Shorts are by far the best training underwear in existence for men! They will gently and appropriately support you in the places you need gentle and appropriate support while allowing for a full range of motion in your hips and glutes. Compression shorts from other brands often bunch up and make certain movements feel funky.
While I can’t personally vouch for their comfort, Nike Pro compression training shorts are perennial favorites of female track, volleyball and CrossFit athletes

 

Christopher Hostetler

INHC, Pn1, founder Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching

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Greens Plus is my go-to for clients who aren’t eating 5-10 servings of vegetables a day. I always have Greens Plus on hand for those days when I can’t get enough veggies in my diet. I also regularly add it to my little one’s oatmeal to start her day off on the right foot (and to ensure that she’s getting the antioxidants, enzymes, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that her body needs). The kicker? All the flavors taste great by themselves or added to a protein shake or smoothie.

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Onyx Airtight Glass-Stainless Steel Containers are a stronger, safer way to keep your meals and leftovers stored. Other than plastic being TERRIBLE for our planet, plastic is hazardous to your health (sorry, even the BPA-free kind). Another finding that many people are unaware of is that endocrine disruptors found in plastics can even make you fat.

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A coaching program will quite literally change someone’s life. Conquering goals is never accomplished without a proper support system. Ask any successful athlete, entrepreneur or someone who has sustainably kept weight off if they got to the top of the mountain alone. You will find that every single one of them had a knowledgable and supportive team that propelled them to greatness. The Healthy Green Athlete and Do Not Die Young have programs and options available to take you from average to elite. Giving a friend or loved one the gift of a happier, healthier life will never be forgotten.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

 

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Christopher Hostetler is the founder of Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching. He’s a proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for the newsletter for more evidence-based tips on lifestyle, nutrition, health, fitness and wellness.

Connect: Support/Website – Donotdieyoung.com Like – Facebook Follow – Twitter Pin – Pinterest Look – Instagram

You Are Here for a Reason 

wish that I could travel back in time to that day the bullet lodged in my spine. Travel back in time, and when that 5 year old, innocent child lay in a pool of blood, grasping for air, I’d whisper in his ear. I’d tell him that everything was NOT going to be okay. I’d tell him that even though he would survive being shot that the future was going to be paved with physical and psychological land mines. I’d tell him to choose the word survivor and erase the word victim from his vocabulary, because the acceptance of being the victim was like choosing eternal night over sunny days for the next thirty years of his life. 

I’d tell him to not be afraid. 

 The last few years have been a time of great introspection for me. I have finally and sincerely decided to use my life story to help others. Sharing what I’ve been through and what it’s like now has been another step in my healing process, but there has also been an intransigent part of my soul that wants to walk away and push it down, burying my story in the same cold, shallow grave where it stayed for such a long time. The dirt used to fill that tomb is made up of fear, self loathing, solitude… drugs and alcohol.

What I’m doing is right. Right for me and right for the world, right now. I’ve had the chance to share my story on incredible podcasts, which is very humbling because of the inspirational guests that have told their stories before me. Being part of such a special movement is something I have always dreamed of. What didn’t kill me now allows me to make others stronger. Just writing that last line gives me the (good) chills! The thing is? I AM up for the task. I feel that I’ve been blessed with a gift and that the curse was of my own creation. My gratitude is ocean sized. I know that the 5 year old little boy, so wrapped in fear and confusion would get something out of my story.

My hopes are that anyone, at any age, can take something positive away from my life journey. 

 After the accident, a nun who was a friend of my grandparents would spend time with me. I can clearly remember her soft, paper-like, wrinkled hands holding mine as she would encourage me that everything was going to be okay. That bad things happen to good people, even little children. There is one thing she said that has been rattling around in my brain for thirty years. Something that at the time was far too profound to grasp for a 5 year old. For a long time I cynically transformed these words as simple coddling by an adult used as a tool to help a poor little kid to strive, to get through tough times. Eventually, I began to believe what she said. I began to study my life closely, to see if by chance I was fulfilling her prophecy. She said “You are here for a reason”. Those 5 words have filled my dreams for an eternity. I’ve searched for the reason my whole life. Every day another existential easter egg hunt. 

I’ve come to realize that the reason is not close to any of the grandiose ideas that I would create; being a famous musician, a poet laureate, the President of the United States or a famous sports star (a boy can dream). The reason is much simpler than that: to help others. Included in that is to be a great father, partner, son, brother, grandson, friend. To live a life worth living and to never forget that it can all be gone in a millisecond. To always remember that the slightest of winds can snuff out a flame. 

Remember that we are all filled with greatness. Remember that we can all get/be better. Remember that we all hold the tools to save a life, the key is to start with ourselves.   

 

“I don’t confuse greatness with perfection. To be great anyhow is…the higher achievement.”

– Lois McMaster Bujold

 

 

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Christopher Hostetler is the founder of Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching. He’s a proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for the newsletter for more evidence-based tips on lifestyle, nutrition, health, fitness and wellness.

Connect: Support/Website – Donotdieyoung.com Like – Facebook Follow – Twitter Pin – Pinterest Look – Instagram

The Last Time

I used to sell home alarm systems in the early 2000’s when I called Columbus, Ohio my home. It involved an ungodly amount of travel throughout the state, traveling up to 200 miles per day. My boss was overly caffeinated and always bright red in the face A portly fellow who had just moved to Ohio from Missouri. He always seemed mere minutes away from a heart attack. His pep talks were meant to inspire, but usually just revolved around how we could all be like him if we just tried to sell, sell, sell! He drove a rusted, beat up late 80s Chevy Caprice and treated his wife like a servant. No one wanted to be like him.

From time to time, I would get lucky and have an appointment in Mansfield or Marion where my family lived. This would allow me to have some downtime, grab a bite or just relax in between appointments. This is probably the only reason that I stayed with the job as long as I did as I barely broke even each month. It also allowed me the freedom to be by myself all day, stopping in for drinks across the state of Ohio. I would find the dirtiest, dive-iest looking bar in whatever tiny town I was in and order a beer and a shot. Not the best idea while driving, I’m well aware.

Perhaps my biggest regret in life happened during this time period: I had an appointment in Marion, Ohio, where I was born and where my grandparents still lived. It was early evening and I wanted to get back to Columbus to meet some friends at the local bar. No special occasion whatsoever, just drinking. I never needed a special occasion to drink, anyway. I had a tug at my heart to stop by and see my grandparents, especially my grandpa who was seriously ill and had been in and out of the hospital. I decided to call instead. I proceeded to lie and tell them that I had another appointment in Columbus, that I was in a big rush to get back. I told my grandpa that I would stop by next time. The next time never came. My grandfather passed away the next morning in my grandmother’s arms. I’ve shed an ocean’s worth of regretful tears over that single decision.

I never want to shed those kind of tears again.

We never know when it’s the last time until it never happens again. 

– when it’s the last time you have the chance to see someone before they pass

– When it’s the last time you’ll have the chance to go on that trip you’ve been dreaming of

– When it’s the last time you’ll have to stop drinking

– When it’s the last time your mom or dad will call you to check in

– When it’s the last time your pet wants to cuddle

– When it’s the last time your best friend will be there to give you a pep talk

– When it’s the last time your entire family is together for the holidays

– when it’s the last time your child will want you to read them a bedtime story

Isn’t it true that in the end, those seemingly meaningless moments are the ones most sacred? What seem like everyday annoyances, like your child screaming or yet another phone call from that friend who just needs to talk. These moments make up the blood in our veins and the blue sky above when we are stuck in the scorching, dry desert of our uncompromising subconscious. To appreciate these things is to love ourselves. To be grateful for all these things brings us closer to being part of the whole. To be awake and aware that these moments mean everything is, in my opinion, to live life to the fullest.

A life with no time for regret.

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Christopher Hostetler is the founder of Do Not Die Young – Integrative Health & Nutrition Coaching. He’s a proud father, gunshot survivor, musician, writer and Muay Thai enthusiast residing in Los Angeles. He has made self evolution through nutrition, lifestyle, and mental and physical wellness his life’s work.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for the newsletter for more evidence-based tips on lifestyle, nutrition, health, fitness and wellness.

Connect: Support/Website – Donotdieyoung.com Like – Facebook Follow – Twitter Pin – Pinterest Look – Instagram