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Episode 236: Paralyzed by Information Overload? 6 Steps to Get Back into Action!


Over the past few weeks I've had a few newer clients come up against a similar obstacle, one I'm sure you've probably experienced yourself: information overload that has you totally freezing up. 

You're bombarded with ads for dozens of supplements, all with promises of a quick fix for your stubborn weight, your low energy, your poor digestion, your thinning hair, your aging skin, and the like.

You see experts touting wildly different diets so convincingly you can't figure out which is the right one. 

One book assures you that cardio is king until the next one comes out telling you strength training is where it's at. 

And you're left standing there, unsure which way to to turn, feeling like any decision you make will be the wrong one, costing you more time, energy, and finances. So you do nothing. 

Luckily, my clients have me to talk them through their overwhelm, laying out a step-by-step plan for them, and redirecting their focus away from the cacophony of information sprawled across their social media channels. 

But what do you do when you have no one helping you wade through the noise, telling you how to direct your energy or focus? 

Consider me your guide for the day. Here's exactly what I tell my clients to do:

1. Start with central nervous system regulation.

Think about your central nervous system as having 3 modes: rest/relaxation, fight/flight, and freeze/fawn. It's normal for us to fluctuate between the first 2 throughout the day as we encounter different stressors and then recover from them. 

But when we live in a state of chronic stress where our body believes we can't escape the threat via fighting or running, it freezes up. 

Signs you're in this final phase of your stress response are: experiencing a sense of dread, difficulty making decisions, feelings of overwhelm or being stuck, procrastination, and lack of focus. Sound familiar? 

In order to get out of this freeze state and get our brain back into a place of action, we need to signal to your body that it's safe and free of danger. You can do this by...

1. Moving your wrists and then your arms in circles. Circular motions signal to the body that you are not stuck and can move freely. 

2. Coloring, drawing, or painting to signal that there is no threat. 

3. Taking a walk in nature. We find the sound of birds relaxing because birds generally don't sing when there are predators around, so on a primal level our body associates the sound of birdsong with safety. 

4. In freeze we tend to hold our breath. Instead, inhale for a count of 4 and exhale for a count of 8.

5. Noticing 5 things in your surroundings that prove you're safe. For example, a roof over your head, your pet sleeping on the floor, the chair supporting you right now, the sunshine outside, your partner walking by you, etc. 

2. Go back to the fundamentals. Get fancy later. 

So many people out there spouting advice are simply trying to stand out from the crowd and differentiate themselves. Which is why they hone in on some small, obscure nutritional nuance to promote. But with everyone doing that, it can feel like there are endless strategies to try. 

Instead of worrying about all the little things you maybe could be doing, bring it back to the big things you know you should be doing.

If you aren't eating 80% whole foods, moving your body daily (in whatever way you enjoy), getting 7-8 hours of sleep, drinking half your body weight in ounces of water, and managing stress consistently, you have no business trying to add in anything else. 

3. Take a social media break. 

This was literally one of the action items on my client's protocol this week. Part of getting out of information overwhelm is to stop overwhelming yourself with information. 

Take a break from social media altogether or at the very least mute accounts that are spouting conflicting information. Take a break from reading every new diet book that comes out. And when your friend starts talking about yet another supplement she's trying, redirect the conversation. 

Along these lines, if you are working with a coach, put blinders on. It turns into a too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen situation when your coach is trying to lead you down one path, and you keep taking side streets. Which leads us to...

4. Treat this as an experiment (but avoid shiny object syndrome). 

I find a lot of times when we aren't taking action it's because we're afraid to do the wrong thing, pick the wrong route.

But the truth is when it comes to nutrition, there's no way of knowing whether it's right or wrong before you put it into action. Your body will tell you as you go.

So know that just because you decide to try this strategy right now, doesn't mean you're married to it. It doesn't mean you can't change your mind or redirect if it isn't working for you.

With that said, whatever you do try, give it time to actually work. I've seen a lot of people sabotage their results by jumping from diet to diet, supplement to supplement, workout routine to workout routine because they aren't seeing results after a week or two. 

5. Start where you stand.

Be realistic about where you are in life and what makes sense for you now. If you're single, with disposable income, and a lot of time, it may be easy for you to cook more elaborate meals, buy a ton of expensive supplements, and dedicate an hour to the gym 5 days a week. 

If you're juggling feeding a family of 4 with an infant and a toddler, working a full time job, and have lots of other financial obligations, it would behoove you to go super basic. Maybe your goal is simply to add more veggies to your plate, take the kids and go for a walk every day after dinner, and skip the supplements altogether. 

6. Remember, you can't fuck this up. 

The only way to fuck this up is to remain in inaction. Even if you try a supplement that doesn't work, or you change an eating behavior that you can't maintain, or you implement a workout routine that's too intense... you haven't failed. You've learned more about what works and what doesn't work for you. And that information is invaluable.

If you just keep going, maintaining the habits that work and discarding the ones that don't, you'll land on a lifestyle that leaves you not only feeling and looking your best, but one that makes it easy to ignore all the 'shoulds' that will continue to get thrown in your direction. 

If you found this episode helpful but want to take it a step further with 1:1 coaching where I can help guide you through exactly what steps to take and in what order to get the best results possible, click here to book your free consultation! This is your shortcut to clarity, to sidestep all the trial and error, and to skip to the good stuff. 


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