Physical Activity and Movement Part 2

Before we get into the details of the movement program, I want to emphasize that this is meant to be fun. You have to drop your previous thoughts about exercise as work. This program cannot be something you ought to do, or should do, or have to do. If that’s the case, you’ll always have to apply significant willpower to get started. And we know from my other teachings that willpower can only take you so far.

Where Do I Start?

If you’re on a quest for your best health, then you have to start with a strong desire to experience your best health. Desire is the rocket fuel for reaching your goals. Desire is based on intrinsic inspiration. With that comes intrinsic motivation. You’ll not have to motivate yourself, it will just become what you do. It will feel natural and good. In fact, it will be hard not to follow this program once you make it your habit. It will become such an automated part of your daily behavior and habits that it will feel strange not to apply these principles.

When you’re taking the long view of movement, there is no rush.

This is supposed to feel good and be fun. You have the freedom to take it very slowly. We’re approaching this from the long view, not the short view. The short view is what feels good in a particular moment, and we often end up giving up our long-term goals to whatever will help us feel better in the moment. I’ve discussed this at length in my blogs. It’s why I’ve emphasized the role of mindset, habit formation, understanding your desires, and how to develop willpower so that it can assist you in hardwiring your new habits of health.

When you’re taking the long view of movement, there is no rush. You don’t have to drop 30 pounds in 6 weeks, flaunt six-pack abs, or complete a competition by a particular timeline. You’re just simply thinking about how to wake up each day a little healthier. You’re thinking about how 5 years from now, your body will be working well for you, and you’ll delight in what it can do for you.

The long view does not take heroic efforts. It simply takes a little daily focus. That’s the wonderful thing about this. I think you’ll appreciate the small, simple steps that you’ll be able to take that will reduce pain, improve function, give you energy, improve your sleep and mood, and help you experience your best health.

Visualize Your Movement

So Step 1 in this program is to do a little visualization. We’re going to stop and close our eyes, breathe easy, and just relax for a moment. I’ve provided other blogs that talk about the power of visualization and how it awakens our creative mind and integrates both hemispheres of our brain. When it’s combined with positive meditation and contemplation, it creates a powerful thinking and feeling state. The more we visualize what it is we wish to become, the more likely we will be to achieve that goal. It’s a simple principle that’s been proven over and over again. It does not take long.

The long view does not take heroic efforts. It simply takes a little daily focus.

You’re going to close your eyes and breathe, take a moment and just relax. While you do this, I want you to smile. Smiling will immediately make you feel better. Regardless of whatever limitations you have, think about how grateful you are to have this body and that you’re able to experience life through this body. Think about how it works for you, and how you want it to work for you. Think about how good it would feel, every day, to have this body be able to work to its highest potential for you, again, regardless of whatever limitations you have.

Woman with long hair reflecting while sitting and looking at waterfall.

Begin By…

While you do this, do a scan of your body. Feel your fingers. Move them. Feel the muscles and the tendons in your fingers work properly. Wiggle your toes. Bring your attention to your jaw, and relax it. Relax your neck. Feel your breathing, and the muscles of your chest and your diaphragm assisting you in your breathing. Feel your core muscles and how they hold your body up against gravity. Experience the feelings in your hips and legs as you gently pedal them back and forward. Take delight in this physical body.

In your mind…

Picture how good it feels to get up and use your body, how nice it feels to move it through space and to experience its function.

Think about how good it would feel to swim in cool water, or hike up a challenging slope to an incredible vista.

Reminisce about how good it feels to take a walk in nature, by yourself, with friends or family members, or with a beloved pet.

Recall how good it feels to experience the world through this body.

Now you’re going to imagine what it would be like to do this every day. What would it be like to use your body to improve your own health? What do you need to do to maximize the experience of enjoyment of your own body?

You’ll Need Awareness

It’s very important that you begin to get in touch with your body, feel your body, and understand your body. You have to have awareness of your own body, and awareness of what you desire for it, if you want to achieve your goals.

One of the foundational principles of daily movement habits is simply biomechanical awareness, or kinesthetic awareness.

It’s the sense of your body working rightly for you. It takes a heightened level of intentionality and awareness to notice this and begin to cultivate the movement patterns that help you to feel good. But you can do it. And as you do it, it takes less and less energy. Eventually, you won’t have to think about it at all. Your body will just function as it is meant to.

Doctor’s Conclusion

So I want you to think about how much fun this is, how relaxing it is, and how enjoyable it is. I want you to think about how maximizing the health of your biomechanical frame, and your mind, will give you the ability to experience life in the best way possible. You’ll get to go to the places and see the things that you desire. You will not be limited.

With this positive intention, we’ll move forward into some ideas about what it will take to optimize the health of your body through a physical activity habit.


Health Shepherds is on a mission to deliver personalized and compassionate healthcare. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Want to ask us a question? We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact us.

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 22

We’ve covered a lot of ground, including mindset, desire, habits, basic brain science, cravings, willpower, and pleasure versus well-being. If you’ve stuck with this, and thought through all of these posts, and have begun to apply the teachings, you’ll have made considerable progress in controlling your own mind and directing your thoughts.

It doesn’t happen overnight. You have to continue to practice this. This has to become your daily habit. You have to start your day with it and finish your day with it. It’s totally doable. I’ve experienced this myself, and I’ve watched others experience it.

Once you have this, health won’t be an issue, because you’ll be strongly attached to your good health and your energy. You won’t give it away again.

Once you have this, health won’t be an issue, because you’ll be strongly attached to your good health and your energy. You won’t give it away again. You’ll see through the charades that our modern marketplace has developed to keep us stuck in the matrix of their products and services and false comforts, and not experiencing our best health in real life. You’ll begin to see it for what it is and have the power to choose according to your desires.

You can live your best life with your best health, regardless of the context you find yourself in.

On this journey, it’s very important to continue all the tools you’ve learned, such as:

All of these are very important. All of these will result in you arriving at a healthier state of being.

Young man with hat looking up at sky

Doctor’s Conclusion

I hope this series of posts has been helpful. If it has, consider watching our upcoming video series on this topic. It will go into far more depth and give many illustrations and case studies. Also consider visiting us at healthshepherds.com, on Instagram, and on our Facebook page. Join our healthy and vibrant community. Come on board with the cause of your personal, and our collective, best health. It’s so important.

Finally, do this: Remember, knowledge is not power. Only applied knowledge is power. This will not become powerful for you unless you actually begin to apply it. You must do this in the end, and if you do, the reward is well worth it.

Thank you for your consideration of these teachings. May you experience your best health.


If you’re interested in personalized healthcare, you’re exactly where you’re meant to be. Please enjoy the free resources available to you. For those deeply curious about their most authentic health, I also recommend my book, Authentic Health

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 21

This is our last post on willpower in the series, “Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health.” We’ve focused heavily on this skill because it’s fundamental to you making the choices that support your best health.

I want you to understand the concept of self-forgiveness. Because, in this journey, we’re going to have setbacks. We’re going to have challenges that sometimes overwhelm us. There will be times when we want to give in to our old behavioral patterns. When we do, the faster we forgive ourselves, the faster we will exit that unhealthy behavior loop. Then we can restart the behaviors that we truly desire and that support our good health.

You cannot beat up on yourself or succumb to guilt and shame. These negative feelings and emotions will deplete your willpower, make you more restless, and increase the desire to do whatever makes you feel good in the moment. Instead, you forgive yourself, accept that this is just part of the challenge, and then you move forward with a new determination.

Happy healthy couple average size embracing on a walk

It’s very important to practice self-forgiveness. Forgiveness of yourself and others. This is one of the most important characteristics that we can cultivate. When we begin to forgive everyone else of everything that’s ever happened, and we forgive ourselves, we enter into a type of freedom that’s remarkable. It’s a wonderful experience.

Practicing gratitude and forgiveness is so powerful. I want you to apply this to yourself. Feel grateful and forgive yourself. Don’t judge yourself. It’s okay. You will continue this journey. You will continue to become the healthiest version of you.

We’ll see you in the next post.


Health Shepherds is on a mission to deliver personalized and compassionate healthcare. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Want to ask us a question? We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact us.

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 20

Now we are making some progress! We’ve recognized our cravings. We understand that they’re not personal, that they developed over time, and that we have a strong desire to create new pathways that result in the behaviors we want. The process to achieve this is based on a relatively simple concept. In fact, it’s so simple, people often won’t try it. They just don’t believe it’ll work. I discuss it in my book, Authentic Health.

Essentially, when you experience a craving, regardless of what it is, whether it’s to smoke, eat, drink, watch television, or any other behavior that’s not supporting your best health, you will pause and observe it. You’ll remind yourself of what you want for yourself, meaning you’ll use the power of desire and future continuity. You will not beat up on yourself for having this issue, as you actually have strong desires to be the best version of you. And you will then pick an activity that provides well-being. Pick from the list we described in our post, “Is Well-being Something I Have or Something I Feel”? Perhaps it’s gardening, or taking a walk with your dog, or meditating, or turning on some music. But you will pick a new activity that promotes higher mind activation and well-being.

Couple walking hiking boots in woods fall

Give yourself at least 10 minutes in the new activity before reexamining the craving. You should take that 10 minutes and engage in whatever the new activity was, whether it’s taking a walk or some other activity. You’re allowed to consider giving into the craving after that 10 minutes. But you don’t have to. You’re not fighting it. You’re just accepting it for what it is and creating a new pattern.

Essentially, when you experience a craving, regardless of what it is, whether it’s to smoke, eat, drink, watch television, or any other behavior that’s not supporting your best health, you will pause and observe it.

As you do this, you’ll begin to create a new pathway in your brain in response to the craving that results in you doing something good for you.

Ten minutes later, after you’ve been working in your garden, you’ll probably find the craving has diminished significantly. It has far less power over you. So then you should just continue the activity that’s giving you true well-being. I want you to pick something and practice this.

You can try different activities and journal about it, figuring out which ones are the most powerful and effective for you. With regular application, strong future continuity can change this pattern for you. I promise you, you can do this. This is based on a mindfulness process that has solid science to support why it works. You can trust this process. But you do have to actually do it.


Health Shepherds is on a mission to deliver personalized and compassionate healthcare. Want to ask us a question? We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact us.

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 19

Another important aspect of willpower is recognizing that whatever cravings you experience, they are just neurological pathways based on prior conditioning and habits. You want to depersonalize them. You no longer want to feel bad about yourself because you struggle with them. The neural networks that trigger these behaviors were established long ago and probably in a non-conscious way.

You should stop feeling bad about yourself for this. You should accept it for what it is, that you have these neural networks that are associated with powerful emotions and feelings. But you also have a strong desire to create new networks that will create new behaviors, and you will be able to do this by focusing your energy in the direction of what you truly want for yourself. You will no longer react to the cravings in an emotional way. You’ll begin to reduce the power of the old neural networks that aren’t supporting your good health and increase the power to the new neural networks that you are building that will automate the behaviors that support your best health.

Four Step Mindfulness Process

I’ve written a paper that describes a four-step process based on a model developed at UCLA of how to use mindfulness to create new brain pathways to support your behavior. I recommend you read that article, as it explains it very clearly, and outlines the four steps. It’s beyond the scope of this blog post to provide all of the details because it’s a fairly lengthy article. But if you’re interested in this topic, it will teach you how to implement the process. I promise you, if you apply it regularly, you will establish a new habit pattern, and the old one will slowly disappear.

woman alone sitting on a rock being present

So we want to acknowledge that we experience craving and that when it occurs it’s powerful. We also need to recognize that it’s based on prior conditioning patterns and we just want to observe it. We don’t want to try and fight it or suppress it; trying not to think about it will not work. Instead, we want to see craving for what it is and move into a new behavioral pattern. Essentially, we want the old pattern to trigger a new behavioral routine.

We will use a pattern of substitution to achieve this. That’s what I discuss in the paper I recommend you read, and what we’ll cover in the next blog in this series. We have a wealth of information on willpower and the other key habits to your authentic health.  


If you’re interested in personalized healthcare, you’re exactly where you’re meant to be. Please enjoy the free resources available to you. For those deeply curious about their most authentic health, I also recommend my book, Authentic Health

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 18

As discussed in our last post, willpower is a skill, not a character trait. Remember that willpower only overcomes so much. Strong willpower gives you the ability to pursue your goals. It can help you overcome a lot of challenges and temptations. But willpower alone is not sufficient for achieving your goals. It is very challenging to try and continue to override your desires with willpower. That’s why we keep stressing the concept of desire.

We want to keep a full tank of willpower. So it’s important to nurture our energy in every way possible.

Willpower is a Limited Commodity

Willpower takes a lot of conscious energy. You must continue to apply it. It’s a limited commodity. That’s why at the end of the day people tend to give in to temptations like nicotine, alcohol, social media, and sugar. The reason is that they’re tired, and they don’t have a full tank of willpower.

We want to keep a full tank of willpower. So it’s important to nurture our energy in every way possible. The most important thing is to create a strong and automated desire to make choices consistent with our best health, the choices that help us to feel authentically good. Then we no longer have to use willpower. We’ll just simply choose what’s best for us all of the time.

Woman chopping salad on cutting board healthy choices

Future Continuity

Future continuity is your attachment to your future self. You may have made some serious investments on a regular basis into your financial portfolio. Or your professional life. Or your family relationships. You have used the idea of future continuity throughout your life. But you may never have applied it to your health.

When applied to your health, future continuity is a strong attachment to your future body and mind being very healthy, free of disease, and able to live at your full potential all the way up until the day you die.

This is an area of processing in your higher mind that has influence over the reward system. It can’t overpower the reward system, but it can give you a leg to stand on. So this week, I want you to focus on future continuity. Get strongly attached to your future self. Visualize your future healthy self. Visit your future healthy self. See what they would tell you:

  • “Consuming nutritious foods was worth it.”
  • “Getting a good night’s rest added years to my life.”
  • “Being physically active helped me live happier.”

When applied to your health, future continuity is a strong attachment to your future body and mind being very healthy, free of disease, and able to live at your full potential all the way up until the day you die. The more you cultivate the future continuity for your health, the more willpower you will have.

Consider all of the value that healthy choices brought to your future self. Build that future continuity. It’s very important for where you want to go and how you get there.

Health Shepherds is on a mission to deliver personalized and compassionate healthcare. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Want to ask us a question? We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact us.

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 17

Almost everyone has some self-control. It’s just a matter of where they’ve applied it. When the brain’s reward system is strongly activated, we lose self-control. That system is designed to override your self-control and keep you engaging in behaviors that enhance your chance of survival. Unfortunately, eating sugary cereals while watching television does not enhance your survival. It’s working against it.

We live in a time where most of the things triggering your reward system are actually harmful to you and lessen your lifespan and your health rather than improve it. We have to get this balance back by focusing on well-being. When you have well-being, willpower naturally comes more easily. So we’re going to focus on the activities that enhance focus and improve awareness and higher brain function, such as:

Willpower happens when you’re fully aware. Willpower happens when you’re able to make choices consistent with your highest desire. I want you to revisit the whole concept of desire and what you really want for yourself.

We live in a time where most of the things triggering your reward system are actually harmful to you and lessen your lifespan and your health rather than improve it.

Generally speaking, you’re choosing according to your desires. If your area of struggle involves food, then think about what’s happening when you experience the craving for food. Just pay attention to the feelings and observe them, and then begin to think about what you really want for yourself. You have to be aware in the moment to even make choices. Otherwise, it’s just too challenging.woman sitting writing in journal with awareness

So this week, we’re focusing on our awareness. We’re focusing on the experience of craving, the areas where we seem to lack willpower. But we’re also focusing on the areas where we do have willpower, the parts of our life where we’re always able to take care of things in a way that serves our best interests or the interests of our family.

Next week in the series we’ll dive even deeper into willpower, bringing you more insight into how you can apply it to your daily life.


Health Shepherds is on a mission to deliver personalized and compassionate healthcare. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Want to ask us a question? We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact us.

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 16

It’s important to understand that willpower is a trainable skill, not a character trait. Everybody can cultivate willpower. Some are better than others based on genetic factors or nurturing. But everyone can develop it. You just have to want to do it.

Principles of Willpower

Your willpower is housed in what I often refer to as your higher mind. It’s an area of the brain responsible for many functions. One of those is helping you make decisions best aligned with what you truly want for yourself. This area of your mind is a heavy processing center. It requires a lot of energy to work properly.

It’s important to understand that one of the fundamental principles of having a healthy mind and cultivating higher processing skills such as willpower is that you have to provide your mind with the right energy. You must introduce the right nutrients and avoid the toxins, substances, and nutritional stressors that negatively impact the function of your mind.

 

Your brain requires a lot of energy to function well, and the type of processing I’m talking about requires even more. It’s very important that you support your good energy through the right approach to nutrition by getting adequate sleep and managing stress properly. You can read our book, Authentic Health, visit www.healthshepherds.com, or browse our other blogs to better understand these overall health attributes.

It’s important to understand that one of the fundamental principles of having a healthy mind and cultivating higher processing skills such as willpower is that you have to provide your mind with the right energy.

Health is Holistic

Understanding that every aspect of health is holistic is important. If you don’t have the right nutrients, and you expose yourself to pro-inflammatory substances, you’ll struggle with your willpower. It’s all holistic in the end. That’s why every bit of this matters.

I’m stressing this point because it’s really important. We’re trying to develop your mind in such a way that it functions at its highest level, and that you are in control of it. We’re trying to give you the owner’s manual for your mind. In order for it to work well for you, you have to take care of it properly.

For this week, I want you to stop and think about your overall habits. Are they supporting good brain functions and helping you become a better thinker? Are they helping you get the kind of rest you need so you can focus on what you need to focus on? If not, ask yourself why. Ask yourself why you continue to engage in habits that are taking your health from you. Start thinking about how to improve your nutrient intake and reduce your exposure to harmful substances.

It’s very important that you support your good energy through the right approach to nutrition by getting adequate sleep and managing stress properly.

Again, for more information about that, we have plenty of resources. In our next post, we’ll discuss aspects of willpower development. 

Health Shepherds is on a mission to deliver personalized and compassionate healthcare. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Want to ask us a question? We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact us.

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 15

Wellbeing is the feeling of happiness, gratitude, contentment, and satisfaction. It’s not the same as the euphoria associated with the reward system. It doesn’t have the same rush, but unlike euphoria, wellbeing is a sustainable state. The reward system that produces euphoria interconnects with the areas of the brain associated with wellbeing. However, they are not the same and these feelings arise from different areas of the brain.

Why is Wellbeing Important?

We want to focus on wellbeing because, to the extent that you have it, you will feel authentically good. To the extent that you feel good, you’ll not be as susceptible to the escape behaviors that lead to the bad habits that make us sick. We want to cultivate a sustained state of wellbeing and then allow for the experience of pleasure in appropriate portions and in healthy ways. I describe this in more detail in our upcoming video series, and in our book, Authentic Health.

How Can I Experience Wellbeing?

Certain activities promote a sense of contentment and happiness:

  • Praying
  • Being with friends and family who are positive
  • Playing sports and games
  • Being outdoors
  • Gardening
  • Hiking
  • Dancing
  • Exercising
  • Meditating
  • Yoga
  • Getting adequate sleep

State of wellbeing with three friends outside on a fall day.

All of these take some effort but result in a feeling of satisfaction and contentment. The more fulfillment you have, the less susceptible you are to the manipulations of your reward system because wellbeing counterbalances it. Binge eating, smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse do not create wellbeing, neither do gambling, video games, or excessive television viewing. All of these things actually create stress responses and contribute to sickness and feeling bad.

To the extent that you feel good, you’ll not be as susceptible to the escape behaviors that lead to the bad habits that make us sick.

You have to understand the distinction between wellbeing and euphoria and begin to choose the activities that will give you genuine satisfaction. In our upcoming post on willpower, we’ll discuss a process where you substitute a beneficial activity that promotes wellbeing for a habit that robs you of your health. It’s very important that you apply this. It almost seems too simple, but it actually works.

Woman kayaking and experiencing sense of wellbeing

So think about your wellbeing. What leads to genuine, authentic, and sustainable contentment for you? What activities truly bring you joy? Let’s begin to invest in ourselves and participate in healthy activities as often as we can.

Health Shepherds understands the importance and difficulties related to changing habits. If you have questions about how to get started on this path, contact us. You also can like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.

Eating Behaviors and the Brain Part 1

Frequently, when I’m seeing patients who have health issues that are strongly influenced by their eating behaviors, they will reflect how they just need more willpower so they can make the changes that will help them to be healthy. While it’s true that willpower is involved in any change, I think they’re misunderstanding how eating behaviors are actually regulated.

We overestimate how much conscious control we have over our eating behaviors. I want to help people to understand this issue, so I’m creating a series of blog posts. It’s that important. Because if you don’t know what you’re dealing with, then you can’t possibly make the changes you hope to.

Where Do Eating Behaviors Originate?

We tend to think that we choose our eating behaviors, that we choose according to our own preferences. However, our conscious control of eating actually has minimal influence over our eating behaviors. Our eating behaviors are largely determined by central nervous system signals involving our reward system and satiation control, as well as hormonal signaling influencing our energy balance.

Most people, when it comes to hunger and eating behavior do not know what they’re actually dealing with. These posts hope to answer that question and empower the readers to be able to take back control of their eating behavior. I find so many people addressing this area from a perspective of shame, self-doubt, and guilt. Additionally, they tend to view willpower as an issue of character, and if they can’t control their eating behaviors, then they must be deficient in their character.

Man with chips, soda, and burger

People who are dealing with chronic obesity and metabolic diseases feel very badly about themselves for how their eating behavior contributes to these diseases, but ultimately, they should not.

You can finally choose foods that nourish you, and support your good health, and give you energy.

Most of the influencers of eating behavior occurred before we were at an age of conscious choice. Therefore, our eating behaviors are based on conditioned patterns in our brain that are beyond the reach of conscious control. What we call our preferences are often eating habits that were established before we even knew how to form a preference. Our focus is for all of our preferences to become healthy.

Be Empowered to Make Changes

I hope this series will help many people who are confused by their current situation regarding eating and weight. This is meant to be encouraging, to help you feel better about yourself, and to give you the tools you need so you can finally choose according to your preferences. You can finally choose foods that nourish you, and support your good health, and give you energy. You can finally, forever, walk away from the foods that actually make you sick.

Healthy salads with mixed greens

Stick with this series and pay close attention to what we teach. There’s a lot of depth behind what I’m teaching, but I’m going to try and keep it simple. Everything I’m teaching is based on solid science and credible studies. I believe this will be enlightening for you and empowering.

Are you searching for a more integrated approach to healthcare? That’s what Health Shepherds delivers. If you have questions about a more personalized path to your wellbeing, contact us. You also can like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.