The Genius Life 2: The 1 Hack That Changes Your Life | Sarah Anne Stewart

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The Genius Life 2: The 1 Hack That Changes Your Life | Sarah Anne Stewart

Sarah Anne Stewart is a certified holistic health coach who connects people from all walks of life, strives to end body insecurity, and shows us how we can achieve the body we desire without shame or frustration by nurturing the mind.

What I discuss with Sarah in this episode:

  • Even someone growing up in a healthy, holistic household with the looks to make it in the world of modeling can develop body insecurity and life-threatening eating disorders.
  • The number one way Sarah believes we can reprogram the way we think about food.
  • Nutrition is just a fraction of the holistic equation to wellness.
  • Why high-strung entrepreneurs should seek balance now before it's too late to buy health back (and how it will actually make them better entrepreneurs in the here and now).
  • The quantifiable benefits of meditation and mindfulness on overall health—from decreased anxiety and depression to weight loss. 
  • And much more!

Most of us have experienced some form of dissatisfaction with the bodies we were given at birth. Many of us hang our heads in shame over how we've mistreated these same bodies or failed to hammer them into some idealized picture of perfection no matter how many diets we've tried or exercise fads we've bought into. Whether we curse divine forces for passing down flawed genes or ourselves for just not trying hard enough, the result often turns out the same: we hate ourselves in some way, which perpetuates the unhealthy cycles that got us here in the first place.

Despite entering the world of modeling at age 15 and growing up in a household that encouraged holistic health, my good friend Sarah Anne Stewart knows these cycles all too well. After overcoming life-threatening eating disorders and coping with the guilt and shame around how she felt about her own body, she now guides others through the holistic practices—including meditation and mindfulness—that rescued her from the brink of self-destruction.

Meditation and Mindfulness

Though she had witnessed firsthand the healing power of proper nutrition on her father's kidney cancer, Sarah's relationship with food was somewhat damaged. 

"I had this tennis match going on in my head of 'food heals' and 'food also kills' and I had to, through meditation and mindfulness, reprogram subconscious patterns and really find my way back to body love and self-esteem and self-worth and all the things that we forget when we're being programmed by media and social conditioning," says Sarah. "So years later, that's what I teach today: meditation and mindfulness, which I believe is the number one thing that can really help reprogram that thinking around food."

Find a Doctor Who Listens to You

Even when a doctor runs endless tests and still can't find anything physically wrong with you, the stress and anxiety that direct your actions may not show up on any medical charts to indicate cause for concern.

"You can still have symptoms and sometimes tests don't tell us what symptoms do," says Sarah. "So it's really important to have a doctor that's going to listen to your symptoms. My symptoms were still exhaustion, brain fog, adrenal fatigue—all these things that they just weren't seeing in the tests. So I had to find my way back through the physical side, which was the nutrition, and I started juicing again. I started eating really clean. I took out all gluten, all dairy, all diet soda—all the things that I would never touch in a million years now."

While this nutritional diligence was a step in the right direction, it still didn't complete Sarah's passage to wellness. Something else was missing—something that didn't show up on the medical charts.

Mind and Body

While the doctors were telling Sarah her physical health was improving, she was still an emotional wreck. It was only when she ran into a meditation teacher who helped her bound these emotional hurdles that she felt like she was making real progress. It quickly became clear that nurturing the body was only part of the equation; the mind needed tender loving care as well.

"You have to focus on the mind and you have to also focus on the body and you have to determine what's your why," says Sarah. "Why are you doing this work, and what's going to help motivate you every day to continue to choose health over fast food and lack of movement and stress and worry and all these things that come with really chronic sickness?"

Listen to this complete episode to learn more about the quantifiable benefits of meditation on overall health (from decreased anxiety and depression to weight loss), how making healthy choices empowers us to nudge our very culture in the right direction, why diets cause more problems than they solve, how we can start practicing meditation today, finding a sustainable motive for inspiration that aligns with self-love, how we can resist the marketers who tempt us to make unhealthy choices, where exercise falls into Sarah's regimen, when social media can be useful in spurring positive change (and when we should probably take a break from it), and how to handle haters with compassion

Resources from this episode:

Sarah's website

Sarah on Facebook

Sarah on Instagram

Sarah on Twitter

TGL 4: Fat Loss and Inflammation Hacks | Crosby Tailor

Emily Fletcher's Ziva Online (10 years of meditation training packed into 15 days.)

Headspace: Meditation and Mindfulness Made Simple

Calm: Relieve Anxiety, Learn to Relax, Meditate & Overcome Stress

Chandresh Bhardwaj's Break the Norms

The Four Types of Meditation with Dina Kaplan of The Path

After 'The Biggest Loser,' Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight by Gina Kolata, The New York Times

Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life by Max Lugavere and Paul Grewal M.D.

Join my mailing list and get access to the free PDF of 11 supplements that can help boost your brain function!

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The Genius Life 1: How to Meal Prep Like a Boss | Amanda Meixner

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The Genius Life 1: How to Meal Prep Like a Boss | Amanda Meixner

Amanda Meixner (@meowmeix on Instagram) is a widely popular meal prep and fitness fanatic who knows her way around an Instant Pot, doesn't shy away from egg controversy, understands that occasional indulgence in pizza is good for the soul, and may in fact be part squirrel.

What I discuss with Amanda in this episode:

  • How meal prepping once a week keeps Amanda eating healthy and well even on a busy, full-time schedule.

  • Healthy eating is not about eating less; it's about eating right (and can even be downright indulgent in proper balance).

  • Calorie density vs. nutrient density.

  • Amanda's tips for anyone trying to gain more exposure on social media.

  • The seemingly science-violating kitchen sorcery of the Instant Pot.

  • And much more!

When you're busy working a full-time job, fitness goals can easily fall by the wayside. But setting aside a few hours to prep meals for the week ahead can ensure your diet doesn't take ugly fast food detours for the sake of convenience.

Celebrated food prepper Amanda Meixner—followed by over half a million as @meowmeix on Instagram—joins us to share how she began her meal prepping journey, what she's learned along the way, and how we can incorporate her strategies and secrets into our routines to be happier and healthier.

The Benefits of Meal Prep

Though Amanda had been conscious of maintaining a healthy diet and fitness regimen after struggling with an eating disorder in high school, she found that entering the working world upon graduating from college presented a new set of challenges to her routine. On the job from 9-6 every Monday through Friday, she quickly realized that buying lunch every day—even when it was a Trader Joe's salad and not a Whopper—simply wasn't practical.

Amanda started setting aside some time on Sunday to prepare snacks and lunches for the week ahead, and then realized she could just as easily prepare all of her meals in advance. By sharing this journey on her blog and Instagram, she began amassing followers who marveled at the spectacle of a week's worth of meals, the time saved by preparing meals this way, and the health benefits of knowing exactly what every bite contained—and didn't contain.

"It is a little impressive having five days of prepped meals," says Amanda. "It looks like a lot! Coming from a place when I was younger, where I thought healthy eating was more about eating less...luckily I was able to turn that around...realizing it's not about eating less, it's about eating the right foods, it's about the right exercising, and combining that all together to fit your schedule."

There's No One-Size-Fits-All Fitness Routine

The fact there's no one-size-fits-all diet and exercise routine that works for everyone was initially a surprise to Amanda, but she's learned what works for her. She knows how the occasional indulgence can be scheduled into her diet in a way that doesn't disrupt the entire program and send her into an emotional spiral of shame and despair. This may involve periods of calorie counting depending on what Amanda's trying to accomplish with her fitness goals, but she admits she's hardly militant about it.

For my part, I know that when I eat quality food my hunger levels self-regulate, so counting calories isn't part of my routine. We're all different. But Amanda and I agree that working out regularly and focusing on weights over cardio (more muscle carried amounts to a higher basal metabolic rate)—and reaching for proteins first when hungry—help regulate a sustainable  fitness balance.

Growing Social Media Presence

With 602k followers on Instagram, Amanda knows a few things about growing a presence on social media.

"Pick your niche, and then just think about what kind of value you can share with people," says Amanda. "But the tricky part on social media is you can't just be providing value—you kind of have to make it pretty; make it easy to read. Look at the trendier formats that are out there. Look at the experts in your niche and then you'll see the trendier formats and what subjects people are really attracted to. Based off that, you can kind of change your value proposition towards those formats."  

Amanda stresses that while social media niches can be competitive, coming from a good place and paying attention to what people need will take you far.

For instance, my audience seems well-served by infographics that visually provide data in an easily digestible format. Amanda's Instagram posts tend to feature excellent comparisons and contrasts in fitness and nutrition. Your audience may thrive on something completely different.

Amanda also stresses the importance of engaging with your audience and understanding that sustainable communication on social media is a two-way street.

"You're not just blasting things out; you're responding to people, you're replying to DMs, you're listening to them...having that two-way connection," says Amanda.

Listen to this complete episode to learn more about Amanda's love of controversy (particularly when eggs and meat are involved), how Amanda takes her eggs, why we want to expand our messages beyond the paleosphere, Amanda's favorite meal prep tips, the best way to avoid overindulging in processed food, what we both like about 85% dark chocolate, the hyperpalatable potential of bee pollen and almond butter, the science-violating kitchen sorcery of the Instant Pot, what Amanda wishes she knew about food prepping when she was just getting started, and lots more.

Resources from this episode:

MeowMeix: Meal Prep Tips, Healthy Recipes, and Weekly Meal Plans (Amanda's blog)

Amanda at Instagram

Amanda demonstrates the difference between 1700 calories of fast food and 1700 calories of whole food.

One example of my Healthy Swaps infographics.

The Egg: Myths vs. Reality

Fit Flavor spices

Flavor God

What is the difference between biltong and beef jerky?

Instant Pot

 

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