The Health Hierarchy | Building a Strong Foundation

The Health Hierarchy
Building a Strong Foundation

Why does this seem so easy for HER and not for ME?

Have you've ever wondered why it seems like it's so easy for HER to stick to her diet and exercise, but you're always struggling and quitting? Why is she successful and you're not? What does she know that you don't?  Or maybe you start thinking: "she's successful because she doesn't have to deal with the same (stressors, issues, body, health, genetics, etc.) as me."  

The truth is, she probably DOES know some things you don't! 😂 But the reality is that she also deals with stressors and issues of her own, life comes at her and tries to derail her just like it does you.  So why is she successful and you're not? It's what I call the "Health Hierarchy".  Those people who you see as effortlessly successful have actually poured hours, years, decades into improving their bottom of the hierarchy skills like: managing their mind, understanding and listening to their body, overcoming emotional eating, dealing with stress, getting good sleep, creating healthy habits, and improving relationships etc.  

It's human nature to want to jump straight from beginner to success; from the bottom of the hierarchy to the top, but that's why we haven't seen lasting success! We have to be willing to go through the "messy middle", the process of learning and applying, if we want lasting change.  

The Health Hierarchy has 3 levels: 
 - Bottom: Strong Foundation - Lifestyle skills - The fundamentals of life and how to deal
 - Middle: Change Maker - Understanding and applying habit formation and how to make change that sticks
 - Top: Targeted Interventions - Diet and Exercise Programs with specific parameters

When we want to make a change, we generally skip straight to the "targeted interventions" level like going on a diet or starting a new exercise plan, but as soon as life throws us a curveball, what's the first thing to go? Yep, that new diet or exercise program.  What you're missing is the strong foundation built by the first 2 levels of the hierarchy.  

And that's exactly what we do at No Nonsense Wellness and the Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Program.  Almost everything you learn from me is about building that solid foundation.  By just working on the first 2 levels you can be healthy, happy, fit, and fabulous, BUT if you want to go on and try any specific diet or exercise program it will be exponentially easier to stick to and be successful.  And then YOU'LL be the one every is asking "how does she do it?"  😃 

The HMHB Program opens up for registration on May 16th and we start coaching June 1st! Go to to learn more and get registered!


PS. If anything in this episode resonated with you, then share the LOVE! Post a screenshot of this episode in your stories and tag me @tarafaulmann! And join the conversation in our FREE No Nonsense Wellness Community!

Full transcription available at the bottom of this post

Show Notes: 

Links Mentioned in This Episode
Episode 38    "Six Areas to Address for Deep Transformational Health" 

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Ditch the Diets and Finally Make Peace with Food
If you struggle with yo-yo dieting then you know how hard it is to make any real lasting change.  Unfortunately most women get stuck in the belief that being on a diet is the only way to lose weight and get healthy, and when they inevitably fail they’ve destroyed their self esteem, destroyed their relationship with food, and get stuck in a guilt/shame spiral that starts the whole process over again.  
If you don’t understand how reprogram your mind that is sabotaging you, and reprogram your body for health, you’ll never make lasting progress.  
That’s why I created the Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Programto teach you how to make a real, lasting transformation in your Mind AND Body.   


Full Transcript: 

Welcome back to the podcast. Friends, I'm so happy you're here with me. Today, I want to take you through a sort of model that I came up with, because oftentimes, I think it helps to hear things from different perspectives. In order for it to really sort of sink in or make an impact. I hope that this framework of the health hierarchy will be helpful for you to see why maybe it's been hard for you in the past to stick to new changes like a diet or exercise program, and why maybe others have been more successful at it. So if you've been wondering, why can they do this? Why are they able to do this, and I just for some reason can't. This might be why so let's go.

Welcome back to the no nonsense wellness podcast, the place for women who are trying to do all the things and stay healthy, sane and actually enjoy life in the process. Hey, I'm Tara, a trained therapist, a life coach, a nutrition coach and a fitness instructor. And I'm on a mission to help you take back control of your mind, health and life. Each week, I'll be cutting through the nonsense and getting real with you, I'll bring you the insight and information you need to take control of your weight and health, find food freedom, and finally break free from the thoughts that are sabotaging you and holding you back. You, my friend, are powerful, and the world needs you to start showing up in a bigger way. It's time to get unstuck and start moving forward. So let's pop in those earbuds, tie up those shoes, let's walk and talk.

In the process of becoming a wellness and nutrition coach, I knew what I didn't want, I knew that I didn't want to be just another diet coach, like here's your meal plan, eat this don't eat that one size fits all, kind of cookie cutter same plan for everyone sort of diet coach, I knew that things like that didn't work long term, often they do work short term. But for most of the women that I know, strategies like that just don't work long term, there was just something missing. And I had seen women for a few years commit to something for like 30 days max, and then just sort of completely abandon it and go back to exactly what they were doing before. And so they were constantly on the diet off the diet on the diet off the diet, nothing stuck. And because of my therapist training, I know that there was something deeper going on, right, there's some deeper level that needs to be addressed. And that's really where I wanted to put my focus instead of constantly telling you here's a meal plan, eat this, don't eat that. I want to address the things that are deeper so that you don't need me to tell you to eat this, don't eat that you have an understanding of that for yourself. And that's where those sorts of health hierarchy framework comes from. It's the need to help on a deeper level so that you can make lasting changes to help with weight loss, but to not make that the sole purpose. And really to help you understand how all of this works, and maybe why it hasn't worked for you yet. I know it gets so frustrating when we look at other people. And we're like, well, she's sticking to that. And she's been doing this for you know, so long and I can't stick to it for longer than a month. There are reasons why. And that's kind of where this health hierarchy framework comes from. 

So let's talk about what that looks like. I kind of want you to picture a pyramid. And at the bottom of the pyramid, right is the biggest layer. And then there's a middle layer and then there's a tiny triangle top layer. In this health hierarchy pyramid, there's three layers. First, let's talk about the bottom layer. Think of this bottom layer as the deep health layer. If you haven't listened to Episode 38 of this podcast, it's called six areas to address for deep transformational health. This is the fundamental level for you to be able to build lifestyle changes on top of this very fundamental level includes physical health. So how your body is functioning, but also having an understanding of how exercise works? How does movement work? How does your body work? How does food work in your body? What Foods work for you and what foods don't work for you? Just having a really clear understanding of where your body's at right now. And having a knowledge of the signals that it sends to you how your body speaks to you what it's telling you and How to address that. 

The second piece is emotional and mental health. And that is anything that has to do with you as you walk through your life, how you deal with things, especially how do you manage stress? And how are you managing difficult situations emotionally and mentally, and how are you managing your thoughts and yourself, the third piece is spiritual. And that is you having a connection to something bigger, we all have a spiritual connection in some way, even if your spiritual beliefs don't align with mine, we still can have a conversation about how that affects us as humans as we walk through our life. The next piece is relational and social. So you and in relation to not just the people, closely related to you, like your family, your friends, your co workers, but also you in a larger situation related to the people that you follow on social media, the news outlets that you follow how you relate to the people in the world around you. The next piece is occupational and financial. So this is a huge source of stress for pretty much all of us money and our job, and understanding how that's impacting us emotionally, and relationally. And in all the other ways. 

And then the last piece is environmental. So the physical environment in which you find yourself, but also the relational, the mental, the spiritual, all the different environments that you find yourself in, in your life. So those six things make up the whole you, your whole life as it is right now. So if we're going to talk about real change, and real results, long lasting results, we have to address the whole you we can't leave out any parts. So often I find that diet coaches, are just talking about what you're eating, and how much you're exercising. And we're not really addressing all the other things in your life that could get in the way of what you're eating, and how much you're exercising. So we have to be able to address all of these things on this very fundamental level, when you're in elementary school, they talked about being a good self manager, okay, I that term always stuck with me for my kids, because truly, that is what we're trying to do. We're trying to be a good self Manager. Now In school, they were just really talking about behavior and controlling your own behavior. In this realm, we're talking about much more, we're talking about understanding our own thoughts, understanding our own body, how they work, how to change them, how to be in control of both your mind and your body. Most of us are never taught these skills, we didn't learn them in school, we didn't learn them from our parents, we didn't learn how to deal with stress, we didn't learn how to understand, manage, and listen to and be an observer of our own thoughts. We didn't learn how to take control of our brain and make it work the way we want it to. We didn't learn these skills. That's why we seek out therapy and to coaches, and even very wise friends, right, because we didn't learn these skills. That's my job. I am here. That's why I'm here to teach you these skills. But what I'm saying is, if we don't get this very fundamental toolbox, at this level, to deal with all the stressors of our life, to deal with all the areas of our life, to be able to understand and manage this very deep fundamental level, these six areas, we can't then stack on other changes and interventions, because they just won't stick. If we don't know how to manage the basics, then the stuff on top that we try to change is not going to stick. And that's the problem that almost all of us have, when we try to do stuff. And it doesn't work when we try to try things or make big changes or go on a diet or start an exercise program. When we have not spent the time working on the fundamentals and learning and expanding our toolbox and learning about ourselves and our life and how to manage it, we end up not being successful at the changes that we want to make. So we cannot skip working on those things. 

So let's talk about then the middle layer. The middle layer is what I call the change layer. So the change layer is where you are trying to create long lasting lifestyle changes. You're creating new consistent habits in targeted areas like eating less processed foods or getting more sleep or adding exercise addressing emotional eating stressful relationships. This is the layer where we start taking all the skills and tools that we learned in the fundamental layer, we start applying them to new situations so that we can make change. Does that make sense? This is where we get really intentional and really clear about the changes that we want to make. And we create sustainable systems in order to make those changes and make them permanent, the Healthy Mind healthier body program. And basically, this entire podcast really resides in those two bottom layers, the fundamentals of life and how to deal, we could call the bottom layer. And then the how to make the changes you want stick is the middle layer, if you never went to the top layer, if you stood, if you stuck to those two layers, you would make all the changes you need, you can get healthy, you can lose weight, you can keep the weight off, literally by just addressing these two lifestyle layers, maybe that's a good name, lifestyle layers, that's what we could call them. 

But since the top of the pyramid exists, I want to talk about it, the top of the pyramid then would be the smallest little triangle at the top. And that is what I call targeted interventions. So that would be targeted interventions specifically in our world, right about diet and exercise. Anything that would be an advanced targeted nutrition or exercise intervention with a specific goal lives at the top of the pyramid. So that's things like macro or calorie counting, or even a whole 30 Or a Keto and you sort of prescribed diet like that, which technically any diet, I personally would consider a prescribed diet, eat this, don't eat that plans count this count that measure this measure that track track that plans anything that looks like that is at this more prescribed targeted intervention, top of the pyramid. And then any exercise plan that you are on with a specific goal in mind, like you are trying to run a 5k or you're trying to build muscle or whatever it is that you're trying to do. And you have a specific specific prescribed exercise plan in order to accomplish that, that also belongs at the top of the pyramid here. Anything with a prescribed set of parameters, rules. Diets are generally more restrictive in some way up at this level. And I know my macro people are going to be like, Oh, macro counting is not restrictive. It is because you're counting. So yes, you can say as long as it fits your macros, you can eat it, but it is restrictive, in the sense that it is prescriptive, you are working on a specific plan for a specific targeted intervention for specific outcomes. That makes sense. 

Now, I want to be really clear here, I am not against any of those ideas. I am not against any of these more prescriptive targeted interventions, they all can and do work, they can be right for some people at the right times for the right reasons, absolutely 100%. The point I want you to get that I really want to drive home here is that if you want that targeted intervention to last long term, if this is something like let's say, let's use whole 30, for example, whole 30 is very restrictive in terms of what you can eat. So if you think that you know what I feel like that is, could be a really good fit for me, I think that I would feel really good. If I ate that way. I think that it could be something that I would like to do for the rest of my life. Cool, do it. But please understand that if you want it to stick long term, you very much need to make sure that you address the two fundamental layers below it, you need to understand your body and how it works. You need to understand your mind and how it works. You need to understand how to overcome overwhelm and stress and manage those things. Because what happens is, as soon as we decide, well, okay, I'm making all these big changes. And then life happens. And you get stressed out by life for a million different reasons. And the first thing to go is the new diet, right every time because it's the easiest thing to let go. So if you want to again, I'll just use whole 30 As an example, if you want whole 30 to be your eating style, more power to you. But please understand that if you want it to actually stick, it won't unless you address the two layers underneath it, the fundamentals and the how to create change layer, okay. 

It's important to think of your health journey in these terms, because we always try to jump to the top of the pyramid, right? We always try to go from zero to cutting out all these foods or I'm not working out at all. And now I'm going to do 75 hard and have two workouts a day like we try to skip the fundamentals. And don't we do that like for almost everything right? We want to get straight to the end. We want to go from starting a business at zero to making a million dollars in a year. That's not really how this works. There's a process that we have to go through and the process often is hard. And the process involves setbacks. And the process is always longer than we think it's going to be and we don't want to put in that work and what I'm telling you what I hope I'm driving home is that you have to put in the work if you want the top of the pyramid and intervention strategies to work and stick and stick with you. Because again, what happens is, whenever something is thrown off on the lower two levels of the pyramid, that thing on the top is the first to go. It's the first thing we give up on. So if you have the skills, the fundamental skills, the mind managing skills, the mindset skills, the understanding of your body, and what it needs, and how it works, and what it's telling you, if you have those skills in your toolbox, and then you also have the skills of understanding how to make lasting change how change works, how habits work, if you have that knowledge, then when life happens, you won't be derailed, you won't be derailed from that targeted eating strategy or intervention that you're trying to do. If you're trying to get really successful at counting macros. And you get super stressed out, the first thing that's going to go is counting the macros. But if you have a solid foundation here with the first two layers, the fundamentals and the change layer, then you will not give up on counting macros, you'll continue to do it. And that is the difference between why it works for some people and why it doesn't work for most people. 

Think about someone that you know, some or not even personally, it could just be someone that you follow on social media, someone who was super consistent in whatever exercise or eating strategy they're doing. And I want to add a caveat that they are also healthy about that they don't have a disordered relationship with food and exercise, you have to be very careful on social media, because a lot of the people that you are probably following, especially a lot of the celebrities have what I would consider disordered relationships with their bodies with food and with exercise. So make sure this little caveat here, make sure that you are following the right people who are telling you the right things who are giving you the good information, okay. So think about someone then who you know or follow who is super consistent in whatever exercise or eating strategy that they do. They're not doing this because they have more discipline or willpower or ability than you do. They don't possess some magical ability that you do not also possess, there's a few things that I can guarantee about these people, life is absolutely happening to them to not just you. They don't have some magical life where they don't experience stress or hard times or difficulties. They experience stress and overwhelm just like you do. The difference is, for whatever reason, in whatever way they have developed their bottom of the pyramid skills, they understand how to listen to their body, they know what their body is saying and what it needs. They know it signals, they understand stress management, they know how to deal with stress effectively, they don't let stress derail them from the thing that they're doing. 

They have good fundamentals like solid sleep, solid mindset work that they are continuously engaging in, they understand habit creation, they understand how to create their environment in such a way that it makes it easy for them to choose to do the thing that they want to do the thing that pushes them closer to their goal, there's so many underlying pieces to their success, all you see is that they stick to their exercise, and they stick to this eating plan, whatever it is that and you think that's it, what you do not see is that all of these two layers of fundamental ability and skill that they have that they put in place, they might not even know that they do that or that they possess that they might not even know that that's why they're able to stick to the thing that they can stick to. It's not because they have some magical ability that stress doesn't affect them or that life doesn't happen to them. Or somehow it's so much easier for them than it is for you. It's not they just have a different toolbox than you do. They have developed that over time. And they continuously develop that it's not like you just learn a skill and then you never have to learn it again. In order to be good at something, you have to learn it and then apply it and apply it and apply it and apply it and get better and get better and get better. The people who have engaged in that sort of behavior are successful in the things that you see them being successful in their diet and exercise. Does that make sense? They are consistent not just in that, but they are consistent in the fundamentals of life and also the fundamentals of change. Does that make sense? The good news is you can learn all of that too. It's not like it's some magical skill that only certain people get and certain people don't get. We all have the ability to learn these exact same skills. Those are the things that I am here to teach you understand 

This is so important for your long term success. Because what do we do all the time? We see them being successful at this. And again, we're specifically talking about diet and exercise all the time. Because that's kind of what we're about here. We tend to blame ourselves, we, we are lazy, this is never going to work. Why am I so terrible at this, we blame our bodies, I'm just genetically never going to look like that. I'm just always going to be like this, there's no hope for me, I look just like my mom and grandma, whoever, whatever we decide that we will never get there. Wherever there is for us, we decide that something that we can't have, and we blame ourselves for it. But if you can understand that the reason you don't have the thing that you want is not because there's something wrong with you. It's just that you weren't taught the right skills, you weren't given the toolbox, if you had the toolbox to, you could have the success that you want to. And that is what we're here for. I hope hearing that in this sort of framework, maybe takes a little bit of the pressure off of you. So that you can stop blaming yourself that you can stop feeling like this certain person has this success that you will never have. And listen, you could extend this to almost every area of life, relationships, business, whatever you want. There is a hierarchy for all of it. And no matter what you're trying to do, you have to start with the foundational fundamentals, I cannot just decide tomorrow that Well, I would like to go be a fireman, and just put on a fireman suit and be like, now I'm a fireman, look at me go. No, you have to start at the bottom, you have to start taking the classes, you have to start learning about how to be a first responder you have to get in shape, I'm assuming I think there's tests for that. Right there is a process and then you have to be like an apprentice or a volunteer fireman. And then you have to go through all the testing and the interviewing and whatever that you actually get to be a fireman, right, there's a process, there's a process for everything to get from the bottom to the top, you don't get to skip the middle and think it's gonna stick. Same with your health. Same with your fitness. Same with your food, same with your mind. Same with everything in your life, we have to create the foundation first, so that we can build and build so that we can get to the top the successful place that we want to be. I hope that really makes sense. I hope I'm really driving home this point, I feel like

if this sounds like oh, yeah, okay, maybe I don't have the fundamentals. 

I want you to go . And I want you to look at what is in the Healthy Mind Healthy Body program. So what I've listed there is the modules, and sort of an overview of what's within those modules. And when you look at that you will see everything I'm talking about their lives in those bottom two layers of the pyramid, it is the fundamentals of your life and how to deal with it. And as in, it's how to make change that lasts. That's what the entire program is about. So those are two things that you feel like you don't have a handle on. Or if you've tried to jump to the top of the pyramid several times, and it hasn't worked and you just fall right back off of it to the bottom. If that's you, then check out the Healthy Mind Healthy Body program, I think it might be the missing piece. For so many of us. I know personally, it's the missing piece for me, I'm no different than you. I tried to go from the bottom to the top and skip the middle. And almost everything in life. It is our human nature. Right. 

But I hope that what you've heard today is that going through the middle is what is the important part. Going through the process is the important part. If you go through the process, the top is easy, right if you understand how your mind works, how your body works, how to manage stress, how to handle relationships, and then if you understand how change works, and how to create change that lasts, doing the top stuff, trying to do keto or macro counting or get on stage in a friggin bikini contest, like whatever it is doing the thing at the top then becomes so much easier that you'll do it and you'll stick with it and you'll accomplish it. So, again, go to, check it out. pre sale registration opens on May 16. We're going to start officially coaching on June 1. So you've got a couple of weeks to like get your life together. Decide it's right for you. Ask me all the questions and get on a phone call with me and we'll talk about it. Okay, and if this was helpful to you, please share it with a friend post on Instagram tag me in the stories. Share it with your friends and send the link in it in a text. Like if you have friends that have been struggling with This like I have, like you have, like most of us have, share this with them, it could really make a difference. And so we're talking about my friends be well Hey friends, thanks so much for being here. If you found value in today's episode, will you do me a favor and head over to iTunes? Find the no nonsense wellness podcast and subscribe and leave me a review. It would mean the world to me and help other people find the show. And I'd love to connect with you more. So find me on Instagram. I'm @tarafaulmann. Take a screenshot of this episode and share it in your stories and tag me. I'll see you over there.

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