How You Can Find Health, Happiness and Freedom (from Someone Who Never Thought It Was Possible)

Sorry about that title above. I realize that it sounds tired and regurgitated like so many health and wellness articles. You know, the ones that certain friends endlessly share on Facebook and Twitter? You might be sick of hearing about a magical detox, meditation and finding yourself, and that’s okay. It’s safe to say that I read around 100 of those types of articles a week for research, and I’m here to tell you that I understand your contempt. But please don’t take this as a bashing or mockery of certain practices (some that I firmly believe in and use myself) that can be profoundly helpful to others, even if some of the benefits are short lived and permeate the scent of snake oil.

I didn’t get to where I am today by following any one particular dietary theory, new exercise routine or breathing technique, etc. But I did find optimal health, happiness and a new sense of freedom, so the title stays. True health and sustainable change involves experimentation, failures and many moving parts. It’s NOT EASY and there is no magical solution out there… unless you consider hard work and dedication a magical solution – if you do, I applaud you. Everyone has a different version of what health, happiness and freedom mean to them as an individual. Let’s take a look at the proper definition of each, shall we?

Health: The state of being free from illness or injury.

Happiness: A state of well-being and contentment. A pleasurable or satisfying experience

Freedom: The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.

 

Take a moment to reflect on and answer these questions:

How do you strive to be free from illness or injury?

Are you in a state of well-being and contentment and living a pleasurable or satisfying experience?

Do you feel imprisoned or enslaved?

 

Below are 5 suggestions from me; a gunshot survivor, someone who struggled with cravings and addictions and someone who never thought that finding health, happiness and freedom was ever possible:

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1. Don’t Allow Cravings to Ruin Your Life

I’m comfortable supporting clients with cravings (some people crave food like addicts crave drugs) and addictions because I’ve been there and understand how easily they can take the wheel and steer our lives down roads we would not go down otherwise. Cravings and addictions are deeply seeded and often never dealt with, leading to a truly unhealthy life (mentally, physically and spiritually) and often an early death.  

If you feel as if you can’t control your cravings or you find yourself managing your vices, know that this is not normal. Please talk to someone and look for support before it’s too late.

2. Stop Dieting

Diets are a $66 billion dollar industry in the US alone and they don’t work. Okay, they work for a short period and then *BOOM* the weight returns when the dieting stops. There are MANY reasons that diets just don’t work. From what your mother ate in the womb to the transfer of genetic material to our body clocks to environment to our gut bacterial population. Most often a diet seems to work because the chosen diet puts the body in a calorie deficit, which forces the body to use fat stores for energy causing weight loss. This is the way to lose weight quickly and has made many people incredibly rich off of some simple calorie calculating. 

Beware that this type of dieting often causes eating disorders, guilt about eating, decline in physiological processes, concentration, comprehension and overall judgment. If your idea of good health only equals losing some weight you might want to reevaluate what being heathy really means to you, especially in the long term.

3. Believe in Something Bigger than Yourself

Whether it’s the universe, Buddha or the love you feel for your child, the belief in something bigger than ourselves helps to curb ego and give life more meaning.  

Happiness is an elusive concept, find it where you can.

4. Newtrition

Forget what your friends, family or coworkers have to say about what you should be eating because 99.9% of the time they’re wrong. The nutritional and chemical make-up of each individual is different and therefore dietary needs vary from person to person. Finding what’s best for YOU as an individual is key.

A great place to start down this path is to try an elimination diet to acquaint yourself with any food sensitivities that could be causing problems without you even knowing it.

5. Habits Become Lifestyle

Find your reason to add new and healthy habits slowly into your life as they will eventually become part of your lifestyle. This is the root of sustainable health. Some of the benefits of tearing down the house and rebuilding piece by piece are clarity, strength, weight loss, less pain, less depression, a more positive outlook, joy, happiness, freedom, younger looking skin, more stamina, a leaner body, better sex, less cravings, less fear and better sleep.

Simply put, it feels good to feel good. Not to mention that you’re adding healthy and vibrant years to your life!

 

Be well.

 

 

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Christopher Hostetler is an Integrative Health & Nutrition Coach, proud father, 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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Get Fit, Healthy and Still Eat Pizza and Pancakes

It’s Friday night, you’ve been SO “good” with your diet of late. You have plans to get dinner with friends you haven’t seen in a while, you get a text that they’re picking your favorite pizza place on earth. You smile and begin to salivate thinking about that ooey gooey cheese and those bread sticks… THOSE BREAD STICKS! And then you think about the progress you’ve been making with your health, you think about those vision goals and all the hard work you’ve been putting in, you think about how that pizza and those evil breadsticks will ruin everything. You then get depressed and make an excuse not to join your friends for dinner and end up having a green smoothie instead. Cue the sad trombone.

Bummer. Maybe this eating healthy thing isn’t for you? Maybe this crazy way of living will take all the “fun” out of life?

I’m here to tell you to go ahead and eat the pizza. Seriously, eat the damn pizza. I always get the “ummm, but you shouldn’t let me eat things like that, right?” look whenever I tell a friend or client to just eat the food. How could a Nutrition Coach promote eating badly, you might be asking yourself? Well, I’m not. A healthy lifestyle is all about PATTERNS and not about one meal or one day out of the calendar. Plus, it’s imperative to an enjoyable life to have close friendships, to let go a little and most importantly, to realize that food is not the enemy. What is the enemy? Repeated bad choices that we never learn from. These ongoing decision are what lead us to be overweight, unhealthy, depressed, lethargic and often lead to disease.

Whether you’re trying to lose 20 pounds, trying to get shredded OR you’re a high level athlete in training, the occasional fun meal is important for your overall wellbeing. Good food can be one of the great joys of life. The following tips will help you kickstart your way to a life of joyful, sustainable, optimal health.

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Eat any food you want in up to 10% of your meals; in the other 90% eat foods that will fuel your mind and body to success. I strongly suggest removing fast food and highly processed foods from your diet completely. In my opinion, these are simply not food at all. But if you’re used to having fast food multiple times a week try cutting back a meal each week until you’re down to zero. The less rigid you are, the better chance you have in making these lifestyle changes sustainable.
NOTE: Make sure you do the math (I know, I know – everyone hates math) when attempting this style of eating. For example, if you’re eating 4 meals/snacks per day through the week – that equals 28 meals. 10% of 28 meals is about 3 meals. So, you’re allowed to “break the rules” 3 meals each week.

NO CHEAT MEALS

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I loathe this popular term in the health and fitness world. The thing is when you “cheat” it implies that you’re doing something terribly wrong. Those who always talk about (or hashtag) cheat meals are usually the ones who eat way more unhealthy food than they think. Do you take cheat naps? How about cheat vacations? Catch my drift?

DON’T BINGE EAT

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Binge eating can downright DESTROY any progress that you have going for you and make you feel terrible. Binge eating all day does not equal a cheat meal contrary to what some in the fitness world preach.

The 10% can have some foods that might not fit into your plan like a couple of slices of pizza, a beer or glass of wine after dinner a couple of nights a week, a slice of pie once a week, some sourdough waffles for brunch, etc.

The best way to stay on course is to schedule your 10% meals ahead of time. Pick a day and your meal just like you would a certain time to exercise or meditate. This will keep you committed and give you a little something to look forward to.

*As mentioned above, I highly recommend ridding your diet of fast food and heavily processed foods. Try not to consume these in your 10% meals. I thought I’d mention that again for good measure.

MAKE YOUR 10% HEALTHIER

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With a little practice, you can turn your 10% meals into healthy options that fit into your 90%.

From pizza to pancakes, you can hack those usually unhealthy meals and turn them into delicious, healthy, nutrient dense meals that stay within the lines of good nutrition.

Many of my clients are amazed when they learn how simple it is to shift unhealthy meals to healthy meals. It’s also pretty fun to experiment! Eventually you will decrease that 10% without even noticing (or missing) those not-so-healthy choices.

TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

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Do you get angry or frustrated as you are trying to get healthy, transform your body or change your overall lifestyle? Well, good. Yes, good. Use that frustration as fuel to step it up even more. Don’t direct that anger at your coach or trainer. You are being coached based on knowledge and experience. Keep in mind that most any coach or trainer you will hire has dealt with very similar experiences in their past. In other words, they know your pain and are there to help you succeed, that’s why they chose their profession: they want to change lives.

You might be thinking that a plan/program just isn’t working. The thing is, the plan/program, if created by a caring and knowledgable coach or trainer will usually work. Maybe it’s YOU that is not working the program to your best ability? Of course, this is not always the case as there are rotten apples out there.

Take responsibility, trust your coach or trainer, dive in head first and trust the process.

BE ACCOUNTABLE

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When making positive changes, tell your friends and family. Form a tribe of like-minded individuals by making some new friends at the gym, yoga, martial arts class, etc. Join new Facebook pages based on your health mission, search out local workshops that coincide with your health, nutrition and fitness interests, post progress pictures on line or share with a close friend(s) who support you.

Tell your friends, family, coach or trainer to hold you to it. Let them know that it’s okay to push you if you start to sway or doubt yourself.

NOTE: Beware those who use “tough love” as it usually ends up to being belittling or condescending. If it feels like someone is crossing the line from motivating talk to mean talk – run or the hills.

MIND BODY SPIRIT

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If you’re making lifestyle changes just to get rock hard abs or a better butt, you are missing the most important elements of self evolution. While aesthetics are important and can be rewarding, eventually they will lose that new car smell. Strive to shift your entire life perspective.

Search out ways to improve yourself holistically, remember that it is all intimately interconnected and losing a few pounds is only part of the whole.

Go with an integrative approach to self care by searching out someone who can not only give you advice on personalized nutrition but someone who can help heal your gut (where health starts), teach you meditation techniques, help you find exercise that is right for you as an individual. Someone who will support you in finding balance between Primary Foods (spirituality, jobs, relationships, recreational and physical activities) and Secondary Foods (what’s on your plate). This is where real and sustainable change will truly take place for you.

 

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Christopher Hostetler is an Integrative Health & Nutrition Coach, proud father, 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.

Don’t forget to connect! Support/Website – Donotdieyoung.com Like – Facebook Follow – Twitter Pin – Pinterest Look – Instagram

Age Is Just a Number and I Hate Math

I woke up with a head full of a million thoughts streaming like shooting stars across my brain. So, I quickly brushed my teeth, got dressed and made my way to a coffee shop where I now sit attempting to form some sort of meaningful constellation pattern. My head and heart have been in overdrive lately. I attribute it to my birthday, which is under a week away: the big 4-0.

Yes, the dreaded 40. For months now I’ve been joking about how it’s going to feel to turn 25 or 30. Always chuckling but secretly wishing those numbers were still there to be achieved. I’ve come to realize, this morning, that journeying into this new decade has spun me like a top. Introspection, doubt, fear, you name it – they’ve all been simmering in my life stew… and it’s time to ring the bell.

Soup is on.

Knowing that the three big C’s (Compare, Contrast, Control) are incredibly detrimental to my life, I’m usually hyper-aware when any of the three start creeping into my subconscious and quickly squash them before they see the light of day… not lately, unfortunately. I’ve been comparing myself with other fathers, business owners, successful friends, you name it. I’m wondering how I can control aging and the inevitable death of friends and family. I’m regretting choices I’ve made in the past and have a truck load of resentments toward myself. I’m wondering how 40 came so damn fast. All of this is toxic and poisons us both physically and spiritually.

Inhale.

Upon further reflection, these are my truths:

-I’ve dedicated my life to self evolution through nutrition, education, fitness and a spiritual path.

-I support others in the same way using evidence-based methods and my life experiences.

-The change that I’ve gone through (and continue to go through) in recent years is nothing short of miraculous. With that being said, I put in more work than some will ever know. For many years I doubted that I would even make it to my 4th decade on this planet and this week I will reach that milestone!

-I’ve never felt healthier, stronger or more focused in my life.

-My confidence in helping others is tremendous and my dedication to being the best father, partner, son, friend and coach is unbreakable.

-I can hold my head high, look others in the eyes and know that I am trying my best in everything I do. These things are what make a man.

Unfortunately, there is no solution for getting older but there are solutions to remedy these feelings that may surround big life events. Ways to get us back to our happy place. I hope my thoughts can help those out there that might be turning 40, 80 or just having a big life moment. Be sure to give yourself some credit for where you are because where you are now is right where you’re supposed to be.

Exhale.

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Christopher Hostetler is an Integrative Health Coach, proud father, 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.

Don’t forget to connect! Support/Website – Donotdieyoung.com Like – Facebook Follow – Twitter Pin – Pinterest Look – Instagram