All posts by Hilary Achauer

How to Reduce Holiday Spending and Love the Season More

How to Reduce Holiday Spending and Love the Season More

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Before online shopping was a thing — and before we had kids — my husband and I took care of our Christmas shopping in one day. We’d pick a Saturday in December and drive to a local design district, a beautiful street lined with quirky stores selling everything from outdoor apparel to home decor.

Taking our time, we’d stroll in and out of the shops, holding up our finds:

“A fleece jacket for your dad?” I’d ask.…

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4 Better Sleep Solutions (That Don't Come in a Bottle)

4 Better Sleep Solutions (That Don’t Come in a Bottle)

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In high school, I had a friend whose mom lived a glamorous life of parties, concerts, and late-night socializing. She’d sweep into the room on her way out for the third night in a row, and tell us in her husky voice, “Girls, you can sleep when you’re dead.”

My friend would repeat this phrase to me any time I said I was too tired to go out, and it usually convinced me to reconsider and head out the door.…

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4 Tools to Overcome Negativity Bias (and Learn to See the Positive)

4 Tools to Overcome Negativity Bias (and Learn to See the Positive)

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Quick, name three good things that happened to you recently.

Next, name three things that aren’t going well.

Which was easier?

If you’re like most people, coming up with negative examples was much easier. It probably wasn’t difficult to think of more than three things that are causing you stress or worry.

The reason for this is something called “negativity bias.”

This is a phenomenon that causes our minds to react more strongly and persistently to bad things.…

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4 "Secrets" to Accountability That Aren't Really Secrets at All

4 “Secrets” to Accountability That Aren’t Really Secrets at All

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Accountability is what keeps us all on track, but most of us struggle when we’re answering only to ourselves — especially when it comes to health and wellness.

Add in work stress, family obligations, and the constant presence of unhealthy food, and staying accountable becomes extremely difficult.

But if you want to have a long, healthy life, then sooner or later, you’ve got to figure out how to hold yourself accountable, even when (or, perhaps, especially when) life gets complicated.…

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How to Not Fall Off the Health and Fitness Wagon

How to Not Fall Off the Health and Fitness Wagon

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The world of health and fitness can be confusing.

Recommendations change. Studies conflict each other. A food is a super food, and then it’s to be avoided. A new exercise is the only way to health, and then it’s dangerous.

I’ve come to realize it’s not exactly which diet or exercise you choose, just that you commit wholeheartedly to something.…

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What Is Moderation? How to Define It for Yourself

What Is Moderation? How to Define It for Yourself

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Much of the advice about healthy living comes down to a simple instruction that in reality can be extremely difficult to follow: everything in moderation.

Okay, but what does that mean? What is moderation?

While it would be nice to spell it out in portion sizes and workout prescriptions, moderation is more challenging than that in practice.

Here is the challenge — moderation is relative.…

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How to Read a Nutrition Facts Label—and Make Better Food Choices

How to Read a Nutrition Facts Label—and Make Better Food Choices

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A few years ago, I picked up my favorite energy bar and looked at the nutrition facts label.

I had a suspicion about these bars. They advertise simple, natural ingredients, and they are delicious and sweet—a little too sweet. I selected my favorite flavor and looked at the sugar content: eighteen grams.

I find “grams” hard to visualize and without a lot of meaning, so to give myself some context I divided eighteen by four—this is how you convert grams to teaspoons, which is a measurement I can get my head around.…

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The Purpose of the Phase 3 Assessments: Blood Lipids and Blood Glucose

The Purpose of the Phase 3 Assessments: Blood Lipids and Blood Glucose

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Want to know how far you’ve come? You need to know where you started.

Self-assessments are an important part of the Whole Life Challenge. Measurements at the beginning let you know what kind of progress you’ve made, and provide an objective picture of your health.

The Whole Life Challenge includes three assessment phases.

  • Phases 1 and 2 include baseline measurements: weight, waist and hip size, and fitness tests.
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    How to Break a Bad Habit

    How to Break a Bad Habit

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    It all started with dark chocolate.

    I’d read about how dark chocolate can reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and raise HDL, or “good” cholesterol, so I began ending the night with a few squares of 85% cacao dark chocolate.

    It was good, but not very sweet, so I usually stopped after a few squares. It’s easy to avoid overdoing chocolate with so little sugar.…

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    Why You Need to Put Yourself First and How to Do It

    Why You Need to Put Yourself First and How to Do It

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    Before I had my daughter in 2005, at age 32, I spent my time boxing, surfing, traveling the world as part of my job with a tour operator, and fixing up a dilapidated beach house with my husband. I had lots of fun, but spent very little time doing things for other people.

    I made time for my husband, my family, and my friends, but I was mostly able to do what I wanted, when I wanted.…

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    Nobody Wants to Hear About Your Lunch: How to Talk About the Whole Life Challenge

    Nobody Wants to Hear About Your Lunch: How to Talk About the Whole Life Challenge

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    I looked at the food truck menu, trying to find something to order. I had just started the Whole Life Challenge and was attending an event at my kids’ elementary school. Hamburger, no. Tacos, no. Ahi poke salad — that could work.

    I approached the window.

    “I’d like an ahi poke salad, no wonton chips please. Also, can you tell me what’s in the dressing?”

    The woman looked up from her notepad and fixed me with a glare.…

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    How to Play the Whole Life Challenge When You're Sick

    How to Play the Whole Life Challenge When You’re Sick

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    It’s easy to stay on track when things are going well. When life is predictable, there’s time to plan meals, exercise, meditate, and get enough sleep.

    Unfortunately, life is rarely predictable. Even if your sleep, nutrition, and exercise are on point, you might get sick at some point during the Whole Life Challenge.

    This doesn’t mean you have to give up!…

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