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December 2, 2019

Yoga heals trauma with Beth Shaw

Patreons

The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Tim Alexander– Judy Murphy
– Randy Goode– Debbie Ralston
– John Somski– Ann Lynch
– Wendy Selman– Jeff Baiocco
– Bill Gioftsidis

Thank you!

Beth Shaw is the President and Founder of Yoga Fit Training systems. The leader in mind, body education, yoga fit has trained more than 200,000 fitness instructors on six continents. Today we're going to talk about how yoga can be used to address trauma, both emotional and physical.

Allan: 01:12 Beth, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Beth: 01:14 Thank you very much, Allan. It's a pleasure to be here.

Allan: 01:17 You know, I was excited to get an opportunity, I haven't had anyone on to talk about yoga in quite some time. And you know, most of the time when we're talking about it, we're getting into the strength aspects or the mobility aspects or the stress reduction aspects of it. But it was pretty cool to see that there's also some opportunity for us to use yoga in a therapeutic way around trauma.

Beth: 01:41 Yeah, it's a wonderful tool for anyone who needs to heal.

Allan: 01:45 And that's what I, that's what I really got out of your book. And I guess, you know, I grew up and I, you know, obviously I kind of went through your ACE tests and I'm like, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I, I'm going to say I scored better than 50% on your test, but I guess I tend to be maybe a little bit more resilient at some level. And, and that was where you kinda got into in the book is that trauma doesn't affect everybody the same way. And so we all are kind of dealing with our own battle with trauma at some level.

Beth: 02:17 Yeah. You know, we're all like snowflakes, whether it's physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically. So we all handle things differently. But, you know, I think that it's common to the human condition for people to struggle.

Allan: 02:33 It is, you know, it's kind of a core tentant of Buddhism is that, you know, that's what life is really kind of about. And it's more about embracing that than running away from it. And yoga kind of gives you a tool to do just that.

Beth: 02:48 Yes, it does. It really, it gives us the opportunity, um, you know, not only to heal but also to be the witness to our own process.

Allan: 02:57 Now in the book you shared something, it was called the ACE test that I spoke about a little earlier. Can you kind of go through this ACE test and what it, what it does and some of the questions that you ask and that would be asked in that test. So, you know, we can kind of figure out where do we lie on this and what are some of the things we may want to address as we go forward with, using yoga as a therapy?

Beth: 03:21 Well the adverse childhood experience test is a simple test, with under 10 questions. Basically asking if anyone was abusive to you, uh, in your household while growing up. If there was violence in your household, if you had a parent who died, you know, if he was a witness to any type of trauma, if you had any head injuries. So it kind of, it's the opportunity for us to index ourselves physically and emotionally and just answer yes or no questions. And, and typically if you have more than five yeses on that test, uh, you are susceptible to a lot of trauma related issues, including addiction, suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety and so on.

Allan: 04:15 Okay, and I guess that's why we really kind of piqued my interest because I took the test and I'm like, okay, this is not a test you want to score high on. But I did and so as I got into.

Beth: 04:26 Allan, I just wished that that one, I wish that I had had that test when I was 18 years old. And two, I wish that they would give this test to everyone who's, let's say a junior in high school. Um, because, you know, had I've understood myself better as a young adult, my life, of course probably would've been a lot easier.

Allan: 04:50 And I agree with you, I think, you know, some of the choices and decisions I made, you know what I mean? We kind of sit there and tell ourselves, uh, when we're at that age, it's like, Oh, I would never do that. I would never act like that. Uh, you know, that's not who I'm going to be. Uh, and then you find yourself 10 years later doing some of those exact things you said you would never do. And so I think that's how, you know, and in a sense, you know, I, I had always told myself when I was younger, it's like, well, I'm always going to be fit. I'm always going to be in shape. Um, I'm always going to take care of myself. Uh, but my kind of my drive to perfection with my job, cause I think maybe that's where I buried a lot of this stuff was just okay, I need to be successful.

Allan: 05:32 That's how I'm going to be a measure of, you know, difference is to be successful. And I applied a lot of that energy to my job and I didn't apply it towards some of the more healthier pursuits like eating right and doing yoga. And so eventually kinda things fell apart for me. Uh, and it wasn't until after I kind of rebounded and said, okay, I've got to fix this, but I started doing some of these things. And I think I was able to turn it around. But from your book, I'm kinda getting an idea that I, you know, I may need to do a little bit deeper exploration. Guys don't tend to want to do that that often, but I think it might be worth it for me to do a little bit deeper dive. And one of the areas that I was…

Beth: 06:18 They said that they say that the unexamined life is not worth living. And yeah, I think it's good for anyone at any age to continue diving because sometimes even workaholism can be just another way of escaping one's pain. It's perhaps healthier than you know, being an alcoholic. But nevertheless, and this is just speaking from someone you know, I'm a workaholic. I excessively exercise their coping mechanisms.

Allan: 06:52 Yes. So when we're trying to do this, obviously trauma, trauma is not just a, it's not just an emotion. It actually physically changes our body and our brain. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Beth: 07:05 Yeah, trauma really does affect both our body and our brain in terms of what it does to the brain. It overstimulates different parts of the brain in particular the amygdala. And this is an almond shaped mass located deep in the brain and is responsible for survival related threat identification as well as tagging memories with emotion. So after a trauma, uh, this part of the brain can become highly alert and activated, which makes us perceive threats everywhere and also can make us hypervigilant. Also it affects our hippocampus and increases, uh, cortisol levels. And this, you know, can cause a whole variety of problems. Inflammation in the body, keeping the body and mind stimulated in a reaction mode constantly. And, also our prefrontal cortex shrinks and this is our decision making part of the brain. So we're not always making the best decisions for ourselves. Uh, so there are lots of changes in the brain and you know, your brain is really responsible for a lot of things. So it becomes problematic because of the very motor that's running us is not functioning properly.

Allan: 08:23 Yeah. Now, so obviously, uh, you know, as, as folks can go through the ACE test, is that something they could find online or is it available.

Beth: 08:31 Yes, they can find it online. They just need to Google adverse childhood experiences test and it will pop up.

Allan: 08:37 Okay. So if someone goes through that test or they suspect, okay. There, there was some or know that there was some trauma in their, in their past, uh, because of various events that were still kinda there. How has yoga going to help them with this journey?

Beth: 08:52 You know, well, first of all, yoga in its very is calming and relaxing. It lowers blood pressure, it lowers the heart rate, it gives us a pause. So it's just going to kind of take you back to a more neutral place. Um, it also gives you the opportunity to witness the body and the mind so you can kind of see what's going on in your body. If you're, you know, with repetitive practice, you'll be able to observe mental patterns that perhaps are not serving you. Perhaps you can then if you're a more contemplated person, witness patterns in your life that aren't serving you, you know, whether it's with relationships, friendships, job, and then also it, uh, helps our bodies produce GABA. And GABA is a calming agent produced by the brain. And when we're really stressed out our GABA levels are really low. So yoga is actually one of the only, it's not the only way other than if we take a GABA, you know, supplement or, or pharmaceutical, which strips you of your emotions. By the way, this is a great way to get GABA active in the body.

Allan: 10:04 Now when, when you start talking about trauma, this is just one of the things that kind of hit me because you have some case studies in the book that are really, really good and men, men and women, uh, and some with PSTD and other things. And I was just thinking, um, because one reason to hit home was I was in that unit, that guy, I can't remember his name, the plane crash. I was in 82nd airborne. I mean not not 82nd a hundred force airborne. Just right after that I joined the military and I was stationed at Fort Campbell. So we were hearing about the plane crash, you know, cause it was a peace time thing. And so you know, you would have these accidents and it was a question what's going on? Because we had some helicopter accidents, we weren't actively involved, but it was some people in our unit.

Allan: 10:51 So you kept, we kept having these, these series of accidents and you're like, okay, we're in peace time and we're, you know, we're at risk. And so every time you're getting on the helicopter, everything doing something, you just, like you said, hyper villaging you're, you're, you're watching out for your buddy, you're watching out for yourself. You're like, okay, we don't want to be the ones that had the accident. So it was, that's when I say it was kind of drew me in because I was like, okay, I can, I can feel with this guy's feeling at some level. It's hard sometimes to kind of lean into those feelings though. So you know, you're thinking about going into yoga. It just seems to be that there has to be a trust factor between you and the Yogi that you're learning from to take that step.

Beth: 11:31 Well, yes and no. If you know, we take that test and we decide, okay, I recognize that I do, you know, I have, I have this issue. Um, and I just want to explore a yoga practice. Cause I also recognize that, you know, I've got high blood pressure, I'm hyper vigilant. Uh, I'm highly reactive, you know, or, or whatever the case may be. Um, you know, you can go to yoga, you can partake in the practice. You don't have to discuss any of your, uh, trauma with the instructor. Um, if, you know, if you were the victim of a violent attack, uh, you're gonna want to make sure that, you know, you're not getting any surprise hands on the chest by your instructor. Uh, we really focus on this a lot at yoga fit. In fact, there was a reason article in the New York times about yoga teachers who are, uh, let's say getting a little too handsy with their students. Um, that just came out in the New York times, uh, over the weekend. But we teach our students at yoga fit too, to make sure that, um, they tell students that they're going to make hands on adjustments if they do and, and give the student an opportunity to refuse because for people who have had physical or sexual trauma in their lives, the wrong touch at the wrong time can trigger them be highly triggering.

Allan: 13:06 Yeah, I could see that. So as we talk about yoga fit, cause you mean your training, you've trained hundreds of thousands of instructors, uh, there's seven steps of yoga fit. Could you kind of go through those to get us a little bit more familiar with the yoga fit?

Beth: 13:21 Uh, well, the essence of yoga fit is breathing, feeling, listening to the body, letting go of judgment, expectation and competition and being present in the moment. And we encourage anybody who takes a yoga fit workshop, retreat or training to really embody these principles in themselves because yoga is a practice and it's a process and it's not a a one, one time event, nor is it a one size fits all proposition. So, um, you know, allowing that to be our foundation. Uh, and when we practice to, you know, we don't want to be competing with the person next to us or competing with the body that we had 10 years ago. Um, we just want to show up for ourselves in that day. And just, you know, when I practice, I'm just, some days I have an injury, some days I'm tight, you just kind of, it's an opportunity to just be with what is and do a little inquiry into the body and see what's going on.

Allan: 14:25 You know, I as a hyper competitive person, I could, I, I would, I would still struggle a little bit. I think it would take me a long time of practicing to get comfortable with just not competing against myself. I'm not going to compete against anyone else, but I, I still do have this strong inclination in myself to just want to see if I can be a little bit better tomorrow. So I, I like the seven steps. So I think, you know, the, the, particularly when you're talking about breathing and just kind of being aware of yourself, I don't, I don't think we give ourselves enough of that on a day to day basis, but I do see that this is a kind of a process that you'd have to practice for a while to really get comfortable. I would have to practice for a while to get comfortable with.

Beth: 15:05 Yeah. And you know everything's a practice in my usually. So, um, I just think that engaging in the process is very beneficial. Whether it's your first time doing it or your 1000th time doing it, it's just you're always going to get some benefits. And that's the beauty of it.

Allan: 15:24 Yeah. Awesome. Now I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Beth: 15:35 Well, I believe, uh, listening to the body is very important. I believe in setting an intention and action plan and then you have to follow your plan. And then lastly, be a little bit flexible.

Allan: 15:52 I really, I really liked those, especially the action part. So many people plan, plan, plan and don't act. Thank you for that. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book Healing Trauma with Yoga or about Yoga Fit, where would you like for me to send them?

Beth: 16:09 Healing Trauma with Yoga, which is now out and available and shipping from warehouses everywhere and available in bookstores also can be ordered off of Amazon or off of yogafit.com if you're interested in the yoga fit workshop, conference or training, we have over 50 different educational programs as we run over a thousand trainings worldwide every year and 15 conferences across North America. They can go to yogafit.com. If you're interested in more health and wellness articles, anti-aging hacks, uh, information on dealing with depression via supplementation, red light therapy, weighted blankets, and all the other alternative and not so alternative things that I'm up to. You can visit me at bethshaw.com.

Allan: 17:03 Great. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/410 and I'll be sure to have all those links there. So Beth, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Beth: 17:14 Thank you. It was my pleasure and I wish everyone a fit and peaceful day.

Are you enjoying the podcast? Good. Now if you just do me one favor, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/support. That's going to take you to our Patreon page. Now, patrons are really cool service that lets you support the podcast with very small donations and for every new patron we get during the month of December, I'm going to do a special bonus episode during the first quarter of 2020 and in that, I'll make the special dedication just to you. So please go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/support and help keep 40+ Fitness charging on into 2020 thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

Setpoints

Patreons

The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Tim Alexander– Judy Murphy
– Randy Goode– Debbie Ralston
– John Somski– Ann Lynch
– Wendy Selman– Jeff Baiocco

Thank you!

Setpoints. What are they in? How can we overcome them? I'm pretty sure almost every one of us has faced this at some point or another. We start a new way of eating or we start an exercise program. And in the very beginning, things are just wonderful. We're losing the weight we want to lose, we're gaining strength and we're getting where we want to be. Things are just wonderful and then they're not. What we're doing just stops working and we just kind of stabilize at a, at a weight or at a range of strength and we're just stuck there, this plateau and these plateaus can last weeks, months and even years. If we don't understand them and do something to change to adapt because our bodies are really, really good at stabilizing they're really, really good at saying, okay, this is where we are.

And there's basically three aspects to set points that I think people forget. They try to focus on just one or two of these. And they don't really get to the meat of what's going to help you break a plateau. This is your body, your environment and your mind. So I'm going to go through all three of these today and talk about why these affect your set point and what you can do about it. Okay. The first one's body, and it's kind of obvious, you know, the human body is meant to keep itself healthy. And to do that, it does a thing called homeostasis, which is basically balance. Now balance is really, really important in the body when we're talking about things like body temperature that has to stay within a very tight range or blood pH. It's like a very, very tight range. Or blood sugar.

Parts of our body basically adapt and they try to stabilize so that we can stay in a healthy state. And if it gets out of this state, then bad things happen. So how does that affect body weight? Well, body weight is also one of those systems. Our bodies were designed to store fat for famine. So we went through a period of feasting. Our body would allow us to put on this body fat for a future fuel for the times when food wasn't so plentiful cause our, our Hunter-gatherer ancestors didn't always have access to plentiful food. So they often would put on weight in the and, and in summer and fall when a plant matter and vegetables and fruits were much more abundant. And then when they weren't we would start to shed that body weight over the course of the next several months.

But if we started losing weight too fast, our bodies set wake would come in and say, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. You can't burn through all the fat that fast. We need to slow you down. And so your system start to change. And systems are basically all the things that are going on in your body to include the hormones, the, the catalyst for transactions for w there are happening in your body, their chemical reactions vitamins and minerals. Because your body is just basically this series of chemical reactions. And so if you're starting to lose weight too fast and your body senses that your hormones are going to adjust a and your body is going to start functioning differently if you have a professional athlete, women will see this a lot with professional athletes at the elite level. They start training really, really hard and they get their body fat percentage down to a very low number.

They do this because carrying weight, particularly in an endurance sport is costly. It slows you down. So losing a few pounds as an elite athlete could be the difference between winning and losing. So the women will get down to an extremely low body fat percentage and as a result they'll stop their period because their systems are basically telling them this is not a good time to rear children. If we're in a famine period, we're not going to have children. And the same kind of thing happens within the systems of men to It's just easier to explain this one because it's so apparent what's happening. But our body is a function of systems and those systems are always seeking to find that balance. And so if you've been eating a certain way and you start losing weight you body might stabilize and that's okay.

We just to have to put some strategies in place to try to break through that before I go too far down that rabbit hole of the body and talk about those solutions. Let's talk about the other two aspects of setpoint. So the second aspect of setpoint is environment. Now, every day we're in, we're in an environment of, of different things and some of them are very easy for us to notice, like the temperature of the room or if we're in an elevation, we might notice that the oxygen level is a little low. So if we walk out in the cold as many of you are experiencing right now and you're not wearing enough clothing, you're very likely to start shivering. That's, that's your body's reaction to your, your environment and it's, and it's very noticeable. If you're trying to do an endurance event and you move from from one elevation up to a much higher elevation, you may find that your performance drops.

And again, you can usually attribute that performance drop to your environment. So there are things in the environment that are definitely noticeable immediately. And then there's things that we don't notice, the chemicals, the, the pesticides, all those things that are out there in our food, in our household products. And then just general pollution. So I want to talk a little bit about that. There's a few that you know, I think are really, really important. One is the plastics, you know bisphenol a is in so many plastics and if you're heating and using those or allowing those to get warm, it's very likely you're taking in that chemical, which is a kind of an estrogen in our bodies. So it creates problems for us particularly for trying to get stronger or lose weight. So understanding if you're being exposed to things like that.

What's in your household cleaners? What's in your skincare products, what's in your hair care products? All those chemicals that we're applying to our body or using in our home they have the potential to disrupt our systems and as a result, send us into a kind of a cascade against the balance in the, in the wrong direction. So if we're trying to lose weight or get stronger and I'm going to keep going back and forth on those cause I think they're both very, very important. And I think you can do both at the same time. You're going to want to start paying attention to your environment. Another part of the environment that we don't pay a whole lot of attention to is light and UV rays. If we're not getting adequate sunshine during the day, which again, during the winter that's, that's a little bit tougher, then our bodies are not going to react the way that they should.

Our circadian rhythm is just not gonna flow the way that it should, which is going to disrupt our hormones. It's going to disrupt, potentially disrupt our sleep. So we might find that if we're not getting the sun, we're not getting the vitamin D, we're not getting all the different things that our body needs. So getting good natural light during the day turning off the computers earlier at night, all of those are environmental things that could potentially be disrupting your, your systems and, and if you're not taking care of those, very likely it is jeopardizing your performance and your ability to lose weight and get stronger. The final aspect of setpoint that I'd like to talk about is the mind. And you know, the mind is probably the most powerful aspect of the, of them all. Because if you don't believe you can do something, you absolutely can't.

It's just, you're not gonna be able to do it. So if, if you're stuck and you feel stuck and you say, well, I can't lose weight, I always lose weight and then I gain it back, you know, that mindset is going to hold you back. So if we're going to police our mindset, we've got to look at two things. The first is the things that we're listening to, things we hear, the things we see, the things we read. If you're on Facebook, reading all these articles about obesity and the crisis and how you know, this is making you fat and nights making you fat, and it's all that stuff's driving you crazy and it's, it's actually stressing you out. Stop. Just stop. The best way for you to know what's going to affect you is to just try it. Whole foods, natural foods, people will tell you, you can try this supplement or try that thing or take this pill.

None of going to be a longterm solution for you. So what's your listening to? What's your, what's your reading? What's your seeing? Let some of that go, you know, focus on the things that will definitely move the needle for you. You're in a plateau right now, and if that's the case, you need some action. You need to find that big rock as we say, and, and go ahead and start working on that. But if you're on all these little goose hunts about, should I be taking vitamin D, should I wait? Should I be vegan or wait? Should I, you know, drink eight glasses of water a day? If you're running around looking at all those tactics, it's very easy to get yourself lost in them and not really see which ones might be actually beneficial to you. You can't throw 13 things that at, at this at once and understand what's going on in your body.

It's just the too much and you don't, you can't parse through that data. There's too many confounders. So slow down. It's cool when you like to read and understand health and fitness. Believe you me, I'm reading about a book a week in health and fitness and I'm much more as far as I go on the internet and read blog posts and things that are going on there so I can keep kind of stay abreast of what's going on. But as it comes to applying it in my own life, I like to keep it simple. So I'm not necessarily acting on all of these activities and all these things that folks are talking about in their articles or to me personally, I try something. If it works, they use it. If it doesn't, I, I throw it out. And then finally within the mind, there's the inner dialogue.

How do you talk to yourself? What's going on in your head when things aren't going your way? You're in a plateau or you know, for weight loss. And so you haven't lost a pound and maybe even you went up a pound last week. And what's your inner dialogue telling you right now? Is it being nice to you? Is it, is it forgiving you? Because the step forward for any stumble at all is three. It's three things. The first is you have to forgive yourself. And then you have to come up with a plan of action to go forward. And then you have to act. And if you don't do all three of those, you're, you're destined to repeat exactly what you just did. So don't beat yourself up so much. Try to have a kinder, nicer inner dialogue. And if you find yourself, you know, not hitting a PR when you go to the gym every time, that's OK.

You're going to have good days and bad days. The fact is you were there and that's better than most. So look for the good of what you're doing and try to have a nicer, kinder inner dialogue. It's going to go a long way towards helping you be successful. So we have the body, we have the environment, and we have the mind where, where should we spend our time if we want the most bang for our buck. And I'd say, if your mindset's off, I would start there. I really would because if you don't have a good mindset, a lot of this stuff is just not going to happen for you. You don't, when my book, I go through wellness GPS and in there I'm very specific that you've got to have self-love to do this. You've got to make a commitment to yourself. You've got to want this really, really bad.

And when you do, then you have to just wake up and you gotta say, okay, self-awareness. You know what, what is going to hold me back? What has held me back in the past? Have I lost 20 pounds and then plateaued and then just gave up. And you know, pizza party for everybody is if that's how you've approached it in the past, you need to put in some strategies to kind of think about, well how do I reverse that trend? How do I not cause then I'm going to hit a plateau. It's going to happen. There's no way around it that, you know, any kind of changed. Your body is just not going to be linear. It's just going to balance out. It's going to plateau. That's what our bodies are designed to do. So if we want to break it, we gotta change it.

And so at some point we, we know we have to adapt, our body adapted. Now we have to adjust, adapt, adjust, adapt, adjust. And that's the path forward. So starting with the mind, get that right first. Now, once you're comfortable that you have a good mindset for what's necessary to break this plateau. Now we want to focus on the body. What are the tactics and things that we're already doing and are there any other tactics that we should consider doing? For example maybe a, I've lost down to a certain weight and I, and I want to lose a little bit more, but I'm not. And I say, okay, well, you know, I, I noticed that I pay attention when I drink milk. I feel a little bloated. And now that I've been having more milk I feel bloated more often. And so maybe the, I've got a problem with milk.

And so I said, okay, well I'm gonna eliminate dairy products for three to four weeks just to see if, if that makes me feel better. And low and behold, what you might find is three weeks slit, well eight are you weigh less and then you go ahead and you have a glass of milk or some cheese and boom, a pound hits the scale. You're like, Oh got it. I have an issue with dairy. And if that's the case, you probably in weight loss is your goal. You probably want to start eliminating dairy and keeping it out of your diet or at least keeping it to a very, very low amount such that you're not hampering your results. So, and maybe what I'm finding is I'm just not getting stronger and so it's time for me to mix my program up cause it's got kind of plateaued on my, my squad, I've kind of to it on my bench press.

So it's like, okay, well I'm going to go ahead and do now is I'm going to do more a weighted dips. I'm going to get on that leg press, I'm going to start pressing some really heavy weight. And I'm gonna start doing some front squats so I can really get my core strong. And by doing those things for a period of time, I'll cycle back around and find out my squat has now improved. And so periodization is what we call that in the weightlifting world. And so if you're, if you're stagnant, things are not happening. It might be to change up just your lifting programs. Something as simple as that, but your body is going to adjust and I mean adapt and then you adjust. And so when you do that adjustment, now you're putting your body into a different series of events and your body will likely change.

So that's the body. Now, the last one, the environment, those things that you know are around you. Let's eliminate those. You know, make sure you're getting good sleep. Make sure you're turning off the computer early enough. Make sure you're getting enough natural light as much as you possibly can to keep your body in good function and in a good circadian rhythm. If there's chemicals around your house, consider changing those out, get some, get some cleaner cleaners. You know a lot of people around here on this Island particularly like to make their own cleaning solutions and their own care, hair care and skin products. So that's not uncommon for people to do that with essential oils and coconut oil and things like that. Lemon juice and you know, vinegar, they make a lot of their own stuff and so that can come out to be a lot healthier for you in the long run.

The more of these chemicals that you can eliminate for your life because that might be one of those kind of like final things. It's probably not going to be your big rock initially, but at some point it might just be the reason that you're plateauing. So take the time to go through all three of these. That self-awareness practice that we do in the, in the wellness GPS is exactly geared for you to take the time to do this. So if you find yourself stagnant, it's time to pull that GPS back out and go through it one more time. Get yourself really set, get that self-love going and then start getting into the self-awareness of what do you think is actually the problem that's keeping you on this plateau. And then now you're ready to set some proper strategies to go forward.

Another episode you may enjoy

November 18, 2019

Strategies for the holidays

Patreons

The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Tim Alexander– Judy Murphy
– Randy Goode– Debbie Ralston
– John Somski– Ann Lynch
– Wendy Selman– Jeff Baiocco

Thank you!

Hello and thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness Podcast. I am kind of excited. You know, we're getting into the holiday season and this can be a really good time for us or this can be a really bad time for us depending on how we approach the holidays. So I wanted to do an episode on holiday strategies. It's something that's been top of mind for me because I'm going to be doing quite a bit of traveling.

My wife and I will be coming back to the States and we'll be visiting family. So we're going to be in a few different places and we'll list those off because if you're in any of these places, I'd love to meet up for a coffee, maybe a glass of wine, something like that. So we're looking at:

  • New Orleans,
  • Asheville, North Carolina,
  • Asheboro, North Carolina,
  • Merrillville, Indiana and
  • Pensacola, Florida.

So if you're in any of those areas, hit me with an email, Allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com. Love to spend just a little bit of time with you, get to know you a little bit better and we can talk shop health and fitness of course, but as we get into the holidays and things are going, typically what happens is our whole schedule kind of gets turned on its ear. Our whole routine, the things that we do on a day-to-day basis become very, very different as we're spending time with family, as we're preparing meals, as we're doing office parties, the whole bit. And so I'm going to go through each of the four kind of pillar areas of fitness and health. That's gonna include food, exercise, or training, sleep and stress because all of these can be adversely affected by the things that are going on during the holidays.

And as I have this conversation, you're going to hear me kind of go back to two basic tenants. The first one is that we need to plan. If you don't plan, you know, the quote, failing to plan is planning to fail. Okay. So we're gonna talk about planning for each of these and then we're also gonna talk about strategizing because your approach to things could be very, very different than my approach to them based on our needs and based on our past. So let's go through each of these and kind of talk about what's going on with each.

Okay, I'm going to start with food cause that seems to be the big one that I think a lot of people struggle with is that, you know, now there's all these kinds of different foods. There's the, the cookies and the pies. And the potlucks and the parties and the, you know, the family get-togethers and all the traditional meal things that we would, we're eating that we wouldn't eat normally. Okay. Plus just the volume, you know, it's very easy to overeat. It seems to be a basic theme that happens every Thanksgiving for most people.

And so as I said with food, you need to have a plan. Okay. And that plan needs to include what you are going to eat and what you're not going to eat. Because to say that you're not going to eat aunt Mabels dessert is probably a falsehood. You are going to eat it, but you need a plan to make sure that you don't overindulge. So how do we do that? Well, that's where we fall back on the strategies. Okay. Now what I know is if I go in to Thanksgiving dinner or a potluck or a party, I have to be very clear about managing my plate.

Okay. And how do I do that? Well, one is I make sure that at least 25% of my plate is a protein source. So I'll look for a Turkey or ham. I'll try to make sure I get something that doesn't have all the glazing and all the other stuff on it. And so it's just basically trying to get a meat. Okay, that's 25% of my plate right there. 50% is going to be vegetables and not vegetables with goops and stuff on them. You know, there are none of these, uh, the onion crumbles and that kind of thing or not mixed up in some kind of a soupy mix. Basically vegetables. And if I can't find the vegetables then that's going to lead me to my next one though we're to talk about. But I'm going to try to fill my plate about half of it with vegetables and that leaves me with about a quarter of my plate where I can kind of sample some of the other things.

So if there's a, you know, a little bit of yam, it's got a little bit of a marshmallow on it. Okay, fine. I'll have a little bit of that. If there's a dessert Aunt Mabel made, I'm going to have a little bit of that. But at this point I'm showing her I don't have much room on my plate. So they're little dab of that. That way people see the you're at least paying attention. You're enjoying yourself and it doesn't look like your not eating or not participating. So manage your plate. I know it's very difficult all that food's in front of you, but if you have this strategy in front of you where you say, okay, this is the lineup for my plate and I'm allowing myself this little quarter to have those little indulgences, that's your detour. That's the detour that you chose to take and it's a much better one.

Now, I talked earlier about what if these foods aren't available? Well, I typically like to either try to host or bring a dish so when I go to my mother's for Thanksgiving, one of the things I'll do is I'll request that I make turkey. Okay. And this way I know how it made the turkey. I know you know that I've made it in, in the way that it's a better quality turkey, typically organic. So I know what I'm getting with the turkey. And then so I'll have the turkey, my mother will also cook a ham, so there'll be ham there and they'll be Turkey. And I typically just stick to the turkey. I will probably have a little bit of that ham, but as I said, that's my quarter where I can kind of go do a little bit of that. And then I will often also bring a vegetable dish.

And so this will be something like where I'll go out and I'll, I'll steam some broccoli and maybe I'll go ahead and make a cheese sauce that they can pour over it if that's how they want to eat it. But I'll do mine without that. Maybe I'll put a Pat of butter on there just to give it a little bit of flavor, sprinkle it with some garlic powder, something like that. So basically at that point I have my vegetable. I also, and I sent this recipe to my mail list and you should have gotten it a couple of days ago. About about two weeks ago was on a cauliflower rice. And so sometimes I'll do things like that, make a cauliflower rice or something like that that'll go with my meal pretty well. And so if I'm doing those things, then that's three quarters of my plate and now I can go around and I can have some of the other things that my family traditionally makes for Thanksgiving and it doesn't look like I'm not participating, I'm there with them and I'm enjoying the meal.

So have a plan, have a strategy, know what's made you fail in the past and try to work things out that are going to help make sure that you're staying on track. We get invited to a lot of things. Just because you get invited to something doesn't mean you absolutely have to go. If you have to show face like Christmas party with the company, you kind of need to be there. Great. But try to manage what you're doing while you're there. Go in with that plan. Go in there with that strategy so you know that the foods that you're eating is not gonna derail you too much. Okay. It's a, it's a departure you've chosen, but don't just go wild.

Then the next thing I wanted to talk about was activity. Obviously if you're traveling out of town or you're off work, you kind of set your routine different, maybe the gym that you work out at as closer to your office and not so close to your home. Maybe the gym's closed certain days that you would normally like to work out. So again, it's the plan and strategize and the planning means I, if I know the gym's closed on a particular day, maybe I need to do a body weight workout. Maybe that's a good day for me to consider doing something cardio or balance or mobility related that I don't do on a regular basis. But that need to do, I know I need to do more. Then I'll do those things. If you're traveling, pack those a resistance bands and plan yourself a resistance band body weight workout in your hotel room before you go over to the family or in your bedroom before you come out and spend time with family. Go on one of the Thanksgiving Turkey trot runs. Uh, that happen almost everywhere. Do some things like that that you wouldn't normally do, but do them with a plan.

And then the strategies would be if there's things that would typically keep you from working out, again, have that accountability, have those strategies, whatever that might look like for you. You know, you might tell a friend, okay, we're having the week off and we're both going in these two directions and we were going to promise each other that we're going to work out three times this week, even though this is a holiday week, we're going to do three workouts, and then you email each other or text each other and say, Hey, did you get your workout in? Yeah, I've got mine. You got yours. Okay, great. I'll call you on Wednesday. Those kinds of things. So you've got an accountability, you've got a strategy that's going to keep you moving forward rather than falling back into that quicksand that the holidays can often become. So just make sure that you have a movement plan as you go into the holidays so that it's not just sitting around and talking to family.

I used to set up a football game with the kids after the meal and sometimes my brothers and sisters would come out and play and that was so much fun. But as the kids have gotten older, as we've gotten older, fewer and fewer people would go out there. And so standing up there by yourself with a football in your hand isn't a whole lot of fun. So I'll probably be going on, probably doing some cardio work and probably do some mobility work during that time, uh, because that, that tradition went away. But have a plan, have a strategy and know what's gonna work for you as you go into the holidays to make sure that you're continuing to move. You need that movement. Okay.

Sleep. Often during the holidays, there's a lot of activities going on, but we have days off and so I'd encourage you to use this as an opportunity to focus on the quality of your sleep. This is a really good time of year to do that. The sun setting, you know, the days are shorter. This is a good time for you to figure out a good time to go to bed, to wake up when you want to wake up. And so I'd encourage you to take advantage of the time off. Don't make it all about chores, all about family going around and doing all this stuff. Try to figure out your sleep. Sleep is highly under utilized as a tool for health. We are mostly sleep deprived. If you're not getting seven to nine hours of good quality sleep each night, you are sleep deprived. Even if you say, I don't need as much. I'm telling you, you probably do, you just don't get as much. You can still function but you're not functioning optimally. So when we start talking about plan and strategy, okay, the planning would be trying to figure out the bedtime.

The plan would be trying to know that you, you want to avoid certain things that are going to disrupt your sleep. Like staying up watching TV too late, having the lights on instead of using more of uh, natural light. And then of course alcohol. If you're having more alcohol during this time of year than you normally would, that's probably adversely affecting your sleep and it's just something to consider. So as you get into the strategies, it's like, okay, how do I not sit down and binge Netflix or the lifetime channel with all of the Christmas movies, which I'm pretty sure my wife's gonna start playing pretty soon here she can find a Netflix series where she can start watching all this Christmas stuff. I'm pretty sure that's what's going to be happening around my house. So let's not binge on the TV and the Netflix.

Let's use this as an opportunity to really get to sleep earlier, get the sleep we need, try to figure out a strategy or an approach that's going to not only work for us during these holidays, but something that we can actually carry forward into the new year and say, okay, when I go to sleep, it's at 8:30 I typically wake up between four and six and I feel great. I get a good night's sleep, I get the good sleep cycles in and I feel really good. So 8:30 is my bedtime. Now, do I always go to bed at 8:30 no. Sometimes things come up. My wife wants to do something. We want to go out and have dinner and dinner kind of stretches a little long. So I don't make my 8:30 all the time, but generally I now have that routine and that's, that's more normal for me than not. And the holidays are really good time for you to try to figure that out. What works best for you?

Okay. The final one is stress and the holidays in and of themselves can be very, very stressful. I for one, can put my hand up and say, yeah, first time I made broccoli or bought broccoli to cook for Thanksgiving dinner. And my mother was a little frustrated with me. She's like, well, we all have all this food now. We're going to have all this wasted food because you're making an extra vegetable. And I was thinking, well, I still want these vegetables. So I did. I cooked the broccoli low, frustrated, but there was a little stress there. And so just recognizing that getting together with people, going to office parties doing this and that is kind of stressful on the body. So take some time. You know, a lot of us do holiday time, we get vacation, we're away from work.

We're away from a lot of the stressors in our lives. But in the background that stress still runs in our head. I know if I'm going to be away from work for two weeks, I'm gonna have to, I'm gonna have to pay the Piper for that one because there's gotta be a lot of work to catch up on when I get back to the office. I was one who liked to work right up to Christmas day and most people had taken those days off that week. I like to work those days because the office was slow. I was able to get in and get a really well organized going into the new year. And that actually allowed me to enjoy my Christmas a lot better. So my plan had always been go ahead and work up to new years, I mean Christmas Eve and do these things that are going to make the next year easier. So that was scheduling, cleaning out my inbox, answering any like lingering little things that I had put off and it was a very, very productive time for me.

So that strategy paid off, you know, go on into the office, work your regular days right up until that point. And then when I took the week off, I felt so much better. Now when it came to family stress, I just had to realize what I can control and what I can't control. And then I also came up, you know, I use this mantra and I've talked about it a few times I'm sure, is if something is not going to be affecting you in five years, then it's not worth worrying about for five minutes. It just isn't. There's nothing that's going on now. If it's not going to be affecting you and your not going to remember it in five years, it's not a big deal. It's a, it's a little deal. And you're making a big deal out of a little deal. So take some time to think through what are the, what are the real things that matter in your life?

That's, that's one of the cool things about the holidays is the time with family and a time or doing these things. It really is a great opportunity for us to get our straight to get ourselves organized, to find ways to maybe have less stress next year. And so if you can do any of those things, then that's a win in your health and fitness. So try to stay in control, try to be relaxed during the holidays, enjoy the holidays, don't let stress rule you. And then when you get to a point where you can get ahead of stress, boom, now you've got something going on. So that's kind of it. You know, as we go into these holidays and I call it the holiday quicksand, you get into there and sink, sink, sink, sink, sink. And unfortunately most of us as we get into the holidays, we're going to gain some weight.

We're not going to move as much because our routines busted. We're not going to sleep as well. We're not gonna, we're gonna be even more stressed because there's still the office stuff and then the work stuff and then there's everything else that we've got to get done and everywhere else we gotta be, you know, you'd think 3000 miles of driving, I'd be all stressed out about it. Not a bit. I'm going to be downloading all kinds of audio books and podcasts and I'm going to enjoy that time. And yeah, that's a lot of time to be sitting in a car. But I'm going to make sure I have movement built around that. I want to make sure that the food that I'm taking in nourishes my body. I'm going to still be getting all the sleep that I would normally be getting the same way I would get it.

You know, just I'll get up early and we'll hit the road. My wife can sleep in the car, I can get the driving done and we can get to our next destination in time for me to get to bed in time. And then the stress again is, you know, just have, I have plans and strategies, things I'll be doing. For me, sometimes driving is actually more meditative, particularly when you're on the interstate and you're just driving down the interstate. It's just for me it's just a good time to get into my head and just relax and think about all the good things that have happened this year. Like you like having you on this podcast. A podcast has grown this year and I'm just really excited about that. We're going to coming up on our four years of of doing this podcast and this is, this is episode I think 408 so pretty excited good things are happening and I want you to have a wonderful holiday season.

Another episode you may enjoy

November 11, 2019

Denise Austin and I discuss the changes in fitness

Patreons

The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Tim Alexander– Judy Murphy
– Randy Goode– Debbie Ralston
– John Somski– Ann Lynch
– Wendy Selman– Jeff Baiocco

Thank you!

Allan: 01:12 Denise Austin. Denise, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Denise: 01:19 Yea, I'm so happy to be here! WOO!

Allan: 01:19 I am too, you know, um, when back in the…

Denise: 01:23 I'm happy to be over 40 too. I love it!

Allan: 01:23 You know it is a new day, you know, and I think you, people used to think, okay, you're just going to be on a standard aging curve. And I know, you know, when I was listening, watching your show back in the late eighties, early nineties, when I had days that I was at home and didn't have class, I would be doing homework or something. Uh, but I would always put it on TV and you know, there were the three or four workout shows, but you yours was always set in the Caribbean or in Arizona. It was just really some really nice scenery. And then you're just so just, you're just so up, up, up all the time. It's just something that I love tabbing in my room when I was, when I was studying or when I was, when I had the time.

Denise: 02:07 Yeah. Well thank you so much. I really appreciate it because you know, my TV show was on for 24 years. Can you believe that? Every weekday morning. So it's um, and now I got all my TV shows back, which I love.

Allan: 02:22 Oh you got the rights back to him. Okay, cool. That's totally cool.

Denise: 02:25 They're all on my website now, which is so cool. I picked my favorite 200 shows that I did and, and most of them of course are in the Caribbean cause the water's so turquoise so beautiful in the background.

Allan: 02:40 Oh yeah. And that must been hard picking your top 200 cause I know I just recently went through an exercise trying to pick 10 out to talk about on episode 400 of the show. And it was like, you know, choosing my favorite baby, its hard.

Denise: 02:56 I know, and it makes you look at your career too. It's like wow, I did this many shows.

Allan: 03:02 And helped and helped thousands and thousands and thousands of people. Maybe millions. I mean as like I said, your shows were at, your shows were totally awesome. And like I said, it was just one of those things where I knew that people of all ages would just feel really, really comfortable doing what you are asking them to do because of the approach you had. Uh, and then even now, today you still focus on helping everybody but a little bit more bent towards folks our age, the 50s and sixties range. Uh, but still it's over 40 is great. Um, and, and so, you know, in all this time, I mean, it's over 30 years. Uh, you've been in the fitness industry. Uh, things have changed from, you know, we're no longer were that girls are no longer wearing leg warmers and, uh, your, your videos are no longer on VHS. Um, but what else can health and fitness has been like what you'd say is the big changes over the course of the last 30 years.

Denise: 03:54 Well, the biggest change now is all about wellness and recovery and taking care of your body and really tuning into, um, being, you know, gentle like yoga, pilates and foam rolling and really, uh, you know, yoga, a little more meditation. That, to me has been the biggest change. But of course I'd been through all the different trends from high energy aerobics to step aerobics to, you know, all of the trends in the last 30 years. But the key thing is, you know, we have one body, we have to take good care of it. We have 640 muscles of the body to keep strong and tone and firm and um, to find something that you enjoy in exercise or it becomes part of your lifestyle. And to me, walking is one of the best and most easiest ways to really get in great shape. And you truly could get in wonderful shape if you walk fast for 30 minutes. So I'm really into walking and I come back into my house and I do some targeted exercises for my arms, my tummy, my legs, and then stretches too. So all three components are important. And throughout the years they've just changed up mainly through, you know, boxing was hot for awhile. So there's been so many forms of fitness, which are all great because they kind of keep you motivated.

Allan: 05:24 Yeah. You know, I actually miss a step aerobics. I, when I was in the army I would, I would take a step aerobics class. It's just a way to continue to improve my fitness beyond what we were doing as our normal training. Um, and I really miss, I kind of miss it cause I still see the steps sitting around as some of the gems but they're not being used for the same thing anymore.

Denise: 05:43 Yeah. Now it's more used for interval training, jump box. You know, you jump up on it and do lunges off it. It's not as choreographed, which is fine too cause you're still working your hips, thighs and butt step. So my daughter now is falling and my fitness footsteps and she uses my old step that I used to use in step aerobics. Now she uses it as a prop for, you know, some pushups, more targeted exercises but more like interval training.

Allan: 06:15 And I think you touched on something that was really, really important and that is finding something that you enjoy. You know, the variety that's been offered over the course the last 30 years from, you know, now there's the hit training or like you said, some of the box and the jumps in the pile of metrics to some of the old stuff like now that they can log onto your website and see some of those, those videos, uh, you know, they've got their 30 years worth of, uh, some really cool variety to keep themselves engaged. Plus, like you said, um, you're really big on the walking, and just the normal movement to keep yourself in shape.

Denise: 06:48 Yes. And also, um, I really think it's important that everyone knows that how important stretching is to keep our muscles and our tendons and the bones and the joints healthy and stretching and target toning, lightweights are so important. It really makes a difference, especially as we age to stay strong and keep our joints healthy and the muscles surrounding the joints are so important. So that's why I do, you know, all new workouts also for her, for women and guys after 50. And those are more straight training and more stretching. And then you could get your cardio from so many variety ways. And then long as you're getting two to three times a week, some type of targeting strength training for your muscles.

Allan: 07:39 And I think that's one thing I read as I was going through some of your stuff is that, uh, you're not, you're not one that says, okay, we need to spend two, three hours a day, uh, doing this to get fit.

Denise: 07:52 I only work out for 30 minutes a day, but I do it most every day and I'm very consistent. And consistency pays off, I promise. 30 minutes, that's all it takes in a, usually you're awake about 16 hours of a day. So what's 30 minutes for your health, your well-being, your mental, your emotional. It truly is a, one of the best ways to get rid of stress, to help fight heart disease, exercise every single day if you can, it is fabulous. I truly do try to get 10,000 steps in a day. And when I do, I feel so proud to go, you know, 12,000 steps. I'm like, yes. So it's also a great way to, you know, track yourself to see how well you're doing and keep, you know, challenging yourself.

Allan: 08:40 Yeah. Now you've, you've always generally taken care of yourself, that was your career. Uh, so you don't want to know first I guess you were an athlete, you're an athlete in college, and then it was your career. And what has changed the way that you train today versus when you were in your 20s and 30s?

Denise: 09:01 Well, you know, I pay attention to my body every day, more in a different way than I'm 62 now. And I feel fantastic. I can do everything. I still do cartwheels and hand stands and, but I, I truly do believe I, uh, I've changed just as simple things such as recovery, things like I do use a foam roller. I love to stretch. I use stretch bands. I do love a massage every month, I tried to get a massage. So self care is important and especially as you age and if you're exercising, you want to feel good. And these are some of the easier ways I take an Epsom salt bath. Never did before in my life. So there's these little things I do, but the main focus is the same that I continue working out most every day. And I honestly feel like I change a little that I do more yoga, I do more pilates for strengthening of the abs and the course as it is, you know, menopausal time for women is so important to keep our abdominals nice and strong, keep our tummy flat and it keeps your back healthy.

Allan: 10:16 Absolutely. Now let's talk about nutrition. What's, what's changed in your nutrition since you 20s and 30s had any major changes there?

Denise: 10:24 Yes, of course I eat differently in the way of, I made sure every day I have a little bit of either chia seeds or flax seeds cause it's Omega three that they're so good for us helping inflammation. I also make sure I have anything Omega threes in my diet. I'm really into salmon twice a week and I eat mostly in the certain, you know, top 10 organic fruits and vegetables. I make sure that I'm eating the good clean ones and I eat 80% very well and very healthy and then I still have 20% treats and that would be a glass of red wine. It would be a little bit of ice cream. So I do enjoy treats and I do, um, treat myself every day and little something and I don't overdo it though. Portion control as I age is very important and um, as we all know, you know, our metabolism slows down as our muscle tone slows down. So we need to up the muscle tone and you know, lessen the amount of calories you eat. So portions are very important to me now and I do watch them more than I ever did.

Allan: 11:41 Okay. Do you, do you track macros or anything like that?

Denise: 11:45 Yes, I eat healthy most of the time anyhow, so I'm very aware of um, the proteins I'm eating, how many grams of protein I eat. I try to eat 70 a day, um, and I'm trying to get more plant protein, but I do have once in a while. Um, you know, grass fed red meat once in awhile and I only buy organic chicken and grass fed chicken and grass fed eggs. And, um, I love avacado I love healthy fats and as you age, I believe in, you know, nuts. I do eat a lot of nuts and more plant based. I will, I have a uh, lettuce grow, which is like a farm stand at my house outside and I pick everyday basil and I'll just eat it right. Leaves the, uh, also parsley. So I make sure I you get a lot of greens and of course of a day more than I ever used to. So, you know, we know now through research how important eating and food is medicine and as we age it's even more so. So I've been very conscientious about that. And um, all my new eating plans on my website have included some new ideas. I have a whole eating plan. If you're a vegetarian, if you're gluten free, if you want to eat heart healthy. So I have seven different ways of an eating plan for 10 weeks to give it a try.

Denise: 13:18 Or you can eat just like me. Very portion control and eating many of the food groups, but everything in moderation.

Allan: 13:26 Yeah. I tell people, I'm basically food agnostic. As long as you're getting good quality whole foods, you can be vegan, you can be, you know, carnivore if you really want to. But just making sure you're getting good variety, making sure you're getting good quality. Um, and then, which recognizes food cause so much of what's available to us in the grocery stores. Um, it isn't, um, that's another big change in the last 30 years is you walk into a grocery store and I don't know that my great grandmother would recognize 90% of the grocery stores as actually food.

Denise: 14:01 Well, I know, and especially, I love it now because I tried different foods, you know, Swiss chard and I do, Oh, of course, kale. And I look at my older books that never had any of those types of vegetables as part of my meal menu plans. So, um, I have updated everything because it's so hard to find good foods, you know, years ago I never ate lentils. I love lentils and humbleness. So many, um, new foods that I enjoy more than I ever used to or more than I knew about. So that's the beautiful part about now.

Allan: 14:41 Yeah. So if you were going to outline like the perfect fitness nutrition week for someone over 40, what would that look like?

Denise: 14:50 Oh, Oh, okay. So exercise wise, Monday, Wednesday and Friday I would do something for 30 minutes cardio like either outside fast walking, it could be one of my workout videos that are on my website, which is 30 minute fat burning and I have over a hundred to choose from new and my TV shows. Oh. And then I would target Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays for concentrating on muscle conditioning, strength training and yoga. And then Sundays I would do a self care day, which would include a epson salt bath. I would do some foam rolling, even get some lacrosse balls or any kind of balls and you know, work out your muscles. If you can't get a massage and then eating. Eating in a course of a week, I would make sure you're getting, of course seven fruits and vegetables every day. I always strive for seven and then, um, protein, you know, in each meal and also try not to eat late at night because eating late at night is, um, I found through my own experiment and my own life, uh, that that's where I start to gain the weight is if I eat late at night. I tried to eat all my good healthy carbs in the course of a day and then in the evening slow those carbs down and make sure I'm just not eating late at night and I think it really helped.

Allan: 16:23 Good. Good. I like that. Uh, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Denise: 16:36 Well, the first I would say is change your mindset, get positive thinking, get rid of any negative self talk. Think about the first part is your, your mindset. How to kind of turn some of the negativity in your life into simple ways to be positive and be more optimistic. Then second of all, it comes with the food we eat because I believe in lots of water. I do drink eight, eight ounce glasses every single day. I really try to, you know, eat healthy foods, you know, lessen all the packaged process. And third is think good posture throughout the day. Posture is so important, especially as we age to really sit up and stand up tall, pull in those abs, retrain and educate the abdominal muscles to pull in like a tight corset. And the more you practice that it will be there naturally nice and flat. So I really believe good posture and everything you do when you're exercising, when you're sitting, you are your own architect by the way, you're moving and sitting in idle time. So make sure it's in a good position. Good body alignment is very important as we age. It's muscle conditioning without even picking up a weight.

Allan: 17:57 Yes. Now, anyone that's seen any of your videos knows that they can't watch one of your videos without leaving with a good, happy mindset for the day. Uh, if someone wanted to learn more about you and your programs, where would you like for me to send them?

Denise: 18:13 Oh, I love everyone to come to my website, Deniseaustin.com and there I do challenges all the time. I'm coming up with a new one next month. So go onto my website, follow me on Facebook at Denise Austin, Instagram, Denise Austin, and follow along. I do three challenges that get people started and it's a really great way, especially for men and women over 40. I really truly focus on our age group because this is the time we need to focus on. I always, I believe in good health, but now the most important time that we need, we have some time to dedicate to our bodies. And this is your time.

Allan: 18:59 Perfect. This is going to be episode 407 so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/407 and I'll be sure to have links there. So Denise, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Denise: 19:12 Oh, I love it. Thank you guys. Remember, sit up tall on the dummy and have a happy smile. Love it. Thank you. Thank you. Stay fit.

Another episode you may enjoy

November 4, 2019

Raising the bottom with Lisa Boucher

Patreons

The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Tim Alexander– Judy Murphy
– Randy Goode– Debbie Ralston
– John Somski– Ann Lynch
– Wendy Selman– Jeff Baiocco

Thank you!

When Lisa Boucher saw that she was following her mother's path into alcoholism and loss, she turned things around. Now she helps women break free from alcohol and live better lives for it. In this episode, we discuss her book, Raising the Bottom.

Allan: 01:03 Lisa, welcome to 40+ fitness.

Lisa: 01:06 Thank you Allan. Happy to be here.

Allan: 01:08 You know we're getting into that time of the year when there's you know, holidays and you know, we're going to have Thanksgiving coming up. And of course then after that there's all the Christmas parties. And then of course, New Year's. And you know, we associate all of these holidays, all of these events with alcohol.

Lisa: 01:27 Yeah. And you forgot Halloween because that's becoming a huge alcohol. Um, I know when I was raising my sons, my husband, we're still together and he's a drinker. And when they were taking the kids around when they were little, we had, um, I had a problem with the happy hour at every single house. So the parents would have their kids dressed up in their little costumes and each house would offer a cocktail. And I said, ah. So I ended up making my husband stay home and give out the candy. And I took the kids because by the time you get around, we had a, like a big circle. Half the parents could barely stand. So it starts, I mean there's, there's just no holiday. There's no event that doesn't say, hey, it's all about the parents. And we got to drink too. So what are we modeling?

Allan: 02:22 And, and I, you know, I, I moved, I moved to Bocas Del Toro and you know, there's an expat community here and uh, you know, we get together and we have dinners and go out and watch our friends, you know, perform and you know, but it's, it's kind of a cycle of things of it. All of this is always going to involve alcohol, you know, bring your own beer, bring your own wine kind of mindset to all of it.

Lisa: 02:44 We live in a boozy culture and you know, for your listeners, I'm not opposed to drinking moderately, but I think Allan, we have normalized alcoholism in a lot of ways. And what I mean by that is people, I quit drinking before I was a daily drinker and I'm around a lot of people that drink daily and I'm not talking just one drink a day. They're drinking four or five drinks a day. And they walk around saying, well, I'm a social drinker. Well, actually, yeah, that's more like getting into alcohol dependence, alcohol abuse. They may not be full blown alcoholics, but it can have a detrimental impact on a life when if you're going to work, they say 80% of alcoholics have families and have jobs. So if your life looks like something like you go to work and every night after work, especially when you live in, in the tropical place like you do, if every day your social life, your after work life is at a bar drinking for the rest of the evening, at some point, by making that choice, you're choosing not to do a whole lot of other things.

And so I just encourage people to say, is this really what I want to do or am I just going along with the flow? I know when I quit drinking, there's so many things that I have found to do. I just went to a bird lecture this morning. I mean it's kind of a nerdy thing to do, but I'm really interested in nature and the birds and things that when I was drinking, I didn't even see the blue sky or the birds, I didn't notice. I wasn't really present on a daily basis or a moment to moment in my life. So there's a lot of things that you miss too with, with the drinking. And it's just a matter of really rethinking all the drinks and saying, is this who I want to be? Is this how I want to spend my time? And I know with like the people that do get sober, there's a lot of deep heartfelt regret of the things that they missed or the things they didn't do with their family, with their children, with their spouse or significant other, because drinking can take up a lot of time.

And I sobered up in my late twenties and I literally just squandered that whole decade of my twenties when you're trying to set up your life. And I had a lot of regrets about that, but much less so than someone who waits till they're 45, 50, even 60 to get sober.

Allan: 05:40 Yeah, you had a statistic in the book kind of hit me in the face. Um, it was up 10% of the population is an addict or an Alcoholic.

Lisa: 05:51 Yeah. I mean that is true. So think about it. Here in the United States, we have about 320 million people, roughly. So there are truly about 32 million addicts and alcoholics. And that's probably, that's probably under-reported because there's a lot of people like me, I did not go to rehab. I did not go to the doctor. I knew about this disease by being raised by an alcoholic mother. So I've been entrenched in this whole thing from the time from birth my whole life.

And, and I've had siblings who are addicts and alcoholics. And now that I've been sober 30 years, I work with a lot of people in recovery. My first husband was a raging alcoholic, so I've just been around this and they say, and I'm also a registered nurse. So here's another scary stat, is 14% of doctors so I've noticed working in healthcare, there are so many doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, that end up in recovery. So that's a pretty high stat. 14% of doctors and 10% like I said, in the book of the general population. So these are people and the people that I focused on in my book are people that you would never suspect they had a drinking problem because I think that's, that's why more people aren't finding recovery. There's this stigma, there's this picture in our heads of an addict is, is the person, the homeless guy on the street, the people that are passing out in cars that we see on the six o'clock news and that is one face of addiction, but that is at the end-stage.

So I wanted to focus on the people again that were, that were more like myself or the 80% functional alcoholics. For instance, Caro, she's one of the, I have 10 stories in the back of the book of various women and, and out and a guide. Um, she was a surgeon. She was coming home every day making dinner, had two children that were well dressed, well fed in good schools, lives in a great neighborhood. All of these trappings that we look at from the outside facade and say, Oh, that's a great life. However, inside she's falling apart. Her kids are miserable. They can't stand her drinking. They are losing respect for her. And she finally one day just came home from work, started to open that bottle of wine and said, you know what, she went back, didn't drink that day, went back to the hospital, told her partners, Hey, I think I have a problem.

These are two other surgeons. And their response was, surely you jest, this can't be. So this is the attitudes of what we've got going out there and still working in healthcare a couple of days a week. I like to keep my foot in so I can tell you what's going on currently. And the attitudes are shameful. People come to the hospital, they are not getting the help they need. They get a lot of the times, all this anxiety, depression on happiness. The underlying issue is substance abuse, drinking too much, um, taking perhaps too many prescription medications like Xanax, volume, Adavan these benzos do not help a person's life go well. A lot of times they're meant to for anxiety. People get rebound anxiety, which is even worse than their original anxiety. So all of these medications are not helping. And what I'm still saying is the doctors are throwing medicine at these people.

They leave the hospital, their lives continue to spiral out of control. They're unhappy, they're gaining weight, they're losing their marriages, they're losing their children. It is a mess. And the doctors though still rarely address the underlying issue of substance abuse. And I'm saying, Allan, we need to get people clean and sober before we start labeling them with anxiety and depression diagnosis because that is what happened to my mother back in the 60s who was also an RN. She went and got on volume them, which was the pharmaceutical industry's first billion dollar drug that led into a 25-year addiction that escalated into alcohol to where she was nonfunctional. My mom was the woman laying on the floor like you would see in wine and roses, you know, she was a hot mess. So this is where it led for her. And so 10 years into my nursing career, I really started to wake up and I'm looking around and I said, my God, nothing has changed.

Nothing has changed. And let's not forget, there's children on the backside of all of these men and women who are caught up in addiction. So we are in essence cultivating a whole new generation of addicts and alcoholics because growing up in these environments with drug and alcohol fueled parents. I know as a child I was traumatized by it. My father was rather abusive. He's trying to control my mother's alcoholism, which is absolutely uncontrollable. She was incapable of parenting. So we basically raised ourselves. I have two older sisters and a younger brother and we've all been touched by addiction in our own lives. So this, you know, we're just perpetuating the mess. And so celebrating all these boozy outings and events, it's like what happens behind the scenes? Is anybody aware of that? Does anybody care?

Allan: 12:02 Yeah. And you know, from my perspective, you know the times that you know, where, where I would think, you know, I kind of get, for lack of a better word, dependent on the alcohol is I'm very much an introvert. And so if I'm going to go to a party or an event, which obviously here on the Island, just because all the time, you know, a couple of drinks makes me human. Um, from their perspective, um, when I'm not drinking and you know, there's always, my wife will get some questions. It's like, what's wrong with Allan? Just like, Oh this is, this is just half. He hasn't had a couple of drinks. I'll give them a couple of drinks and he'll be nice. There'll be a normal person in small groups, one or two, one on ones. I'm fine. But when I get into larger groups or you know, in places with people, it just, I shut down. And so the alcohol kind of just helps me loosen up a little bit.

Lisa: 12:51 Well, I get it. I think you're not alone. I think the majority, I know that I was very similar when I was drinking. It's like you have to have a few drinks before you get to the party. But when I got sober, I started to number one, be true to myself. So I'm not a big large gathering kind of person. I stopped going to a lot of them. My husband's more of an extrovert and I talked about this in the book. So how do you juggle a relationship, a marriage, whatever when one person drinks and one person's social and the other one is kind of how like you Allan. So I just told my husband there was, you know, pick a few parties that we are regularly invited to that you really want me to go to and I'll go. And the ones that are just, I don't feel the need to go anymore.

I prefer more meaningful activities, smaller intimate dinners or gatherings. Like I said, I've just had other things that I do with my time now then suffer through some huge event or gathering that I really don't want to be at to begin with. So it's, it's picking and choosing and being true to myself. And you know, I started to, when you work on your inner-self and some of the drinking was fueled by low self esteem. Some of my drinking was fueled by thinking, people are focused on me. This self-centeredness, that alcoholism breeds where we think people are going to notice us or look at us. And so we're self conscience. But the reality is is most people are in their own heads, focused on their own stuff and they're really not paying attention to us. I used to say that all the time, I have two grown sons now, but when they were in high school, my one son was always so worried what everybody else would think. And I used to say to him, they're not focused on you. Get out of yourself the, I mean, you're just another kid walking. They're not even paying attention to you. And I hope that that helped them get some of that spotlight off of thinking that people are focused on them when they're really not, when they're really not. So we can find other ways to love ourselves and just to say no, it's okay to say no and just not do certain things that I don't want to do anymore.

Allan: 15:15 Yes. Now in the book, um, you're coming from a woman's perspective, but that is in this book was somewhat written more for women and their perspective. Why, why is alcohol more of an issue for women, uh, than it might be for men?

Lisa: 15:29 Well, I don't know that, that it is actually in Raising the Bottom. I focus more on women only because I am a woman and I can intimately relate it to. But I will tell you before I scare off the guys, there's men love the book. Men love Raising the Bottom. In fact, there was a guy who founded in Seattle, he's a merchant Marine. He took it out to sea with him. He found me on Twitter months later and said it was life changing for him. And he's still sober by the way. So I think men really like it because they can read it and almost say like, wow, I can relate to all of this without feeling threatened at all. So I don't want to scare men off by reading the book, but I can relate to more of the women's issues and how we're responsible a lot of times for family and we get a lot of things dumped on our shoulders.

And I know men have stressors as much too, but I will say this, it seems like men do better at saying, Hey buddy, I quit drinking and their friends kind of respect that boundary I think better than women because I have a lot of women that tell me they really struggle with their so called friend groups who don't really want to be friends with them once they quit drinking and all this. And I find that so disheartening for many reasons. Number one, if your friend group is of that mentality, they're probably super heavy drinkers and they probably, I know when I was drinking, I hung out with people who drank like me. I was not hanging out with normal drinkers. And so I didn't realize there were people who didn't drink like I did that there were people who might have drinks a couple of times a month and then that was it.

And they were the true social drinkers who had a big life and were involved in many other things and their life did not revolve around alcohol. So the people that I socialize with were very much different and we drank every night and had parties and gatherings and we called ourselves social drinkers. So when you have that, like I said, want to boot people out or say they can't be friends or whatnot, and women seem to care about that and I tell them, well you don't need those people then find new friends. And I don't know why that's so threatening to some. And I think in order to change your life, to get sober, to maybe drink less, whatever it is that you decide you want to do, you have to be willing to face a little bit of pushback, which leads me to, as adults, why are we pushing back?

Why do we have to have this peer pressure, this adult peer pressure? When I used to go to gatherings early in my recovery and you're, I'm so uncomfortable anyway cause you feel this shame cause you're like quitting drinking and I don't, now I look back and go, Oh my goodness, what was I thinking? Um, but it's like we feel shame for doing something good for ourselves. If you go to a party and they have all these sweets and you refuse a sweet, nobody questions you. But if you go and you refuse to joy a drink, you get the 20 questions. If you're a young woman, Oh, are you pregnant? Oh, why aren't you drinking? Oh, are you on medication? I mean, it's ridiculous. And so I tell people, men and women, no, is a complete sentence, no thank you. We don't need to explain ourselves. And if somebody has a problem with me not drinking, it's usually because they have a drinking problem and they're very uncomfortable with that mirror of someone not drinking to kind of almost co-sign on their BS. So we can navigate these drinking. I go wherever I want, I do what I want. I have a very big life, but I just don't drink. And for the most part, nobody really cares. Like I said, the only people who I've ever really cared that I'm not drinking are people that ended up having their own problems with alcohol.

Allan: 19:51 Yeah. Now, this last month, uh, we ran a challenge, um, and I included an alcohol piece to it and I didn't say completely abstain from alcohol, but we're going to cut it back and continue to kind of regrets it and cut it back. I've had no alcohol challenges in the past and the turn around was relatively small. Um, so it'll be interesting as people get into, you know, the results of going through the challenge. People are improving their health there, they're losing weight. Uh, you know, that's part of the, the gist of the whole thing. Uh, so alcohol, you know, I think we all know alcohol can lead to weight gain, uh, and stopping drinking can actually help you in your weight loss journey. But there are other health things that we should consider with regards to alcohol. Could you kind of get into some of that?

Well, I mean, Oh my gosh, alcohol impacts really every organ in our body. So let's quit diluting ourselves and say, Oh, it's not that bad. It caused the seven types of cancer that's been proven definitively. Alcohol is a class one carcinogenic. So it is in the same class as asbestos. Now nobody is going to tell you that. And the research on that is when you, if you Google it, you're gonna have to dig a little bit. Cause that's not something that pops up immediately. But Oh, believe me, it's there. So in addition to like for men, there's a lot of throat cancers, esophageal cancers, stomach cancers, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and women with breast cancer. I know when I got into recovery here again, I started paying attention and I'm like, Oh my God, so much breast cancer in these women. And then years later I'm researching, doing all this research for Raising the Bottom.

And the light bulb went out and I went, well my God, no wonder all these alcoholic women have breast cancer. It's the booze. I mean we can't say for sure that it's the sole cause, I'm sure there's environmental factors. Stress is a huge one, but a lot of people drink because they can't handle their stress because they don't have good coping skills. So it all ties in together. Um, you've got people, when I was working in the ER, people who are diabetic drinking heavily, their blood sugars are all over the place. They're coming into the hospital because now they're having kidney failure from their unchecked diabetes because they were drinking too much. They're getting coronary artery disease from their unchecked diabetes because they couldn't stop drinking so much. So there are so many ways that alcohol and the alcohol turns to sugar in our body.

So you're just getting this bombardment of sugar, which causes inflammation. Let's move on to the brain. The extended care facilities. Nursing homes are filled with people who have a long history of drinking. Lot of alcoholics end up in the nursing homes. Lot of people with longterm benzo abuse or I don't even want to say abuse, people tend to get on those benzos and they stay on them for the next 30 years because the withdrawal to get off is so awful. They just stay on them. And I think that's how they were designed by the pharmaceutical companies. So they give you this benzo when you're 25 to help you not feel anxious and when you're 60, you're still taking it and pretty soon the mind just goes to mush. So these are things that people don't really understand about how and what it can do.

In the last five years I've seen a big uptick in women that are yellow because women do not have, we lack the chemical that helps to break down alcohol. Men have more of the, Oh, I was, that's a tongue twister for me to say. It's ADH is the, the short, but we women lack ADH. Men have more of it. So that's why men can kind of skate along and drink maybe a little longer and a little harder without it totally impacting them physically. Like at, well a woman, um, women go downhill much faster. And that's, I talk a lot about that Raising the Bottom because that was instrumental for me. Why I got sober when I did, because I saw how quickly once my mother crossed that line from drinking martinis at lunch to becoming a full blown alcoholic. Her demise was Swift.

Her, she ended up looking like she was nine months pregnant, her skin was yellow, she was dying, she was, she was dying. And that happened in a span of five years. So I'm seeing a lot more of that that I didn't see 10 or 15 years ago. I've been in health care for 25 years now. So that is new and it's all attributed, I believe, to the pharmaceutical, or I'm sorry, the alcohol, big alcohol is doing a very, very good job of spending their billions of dollars in ad budgets to target women. And so the new alcoholic often is well educated. She makes a good living. She wears designer pumps and she carries a diaper bag. And this is the new alcoholic of what we're facing. So now let me ask you this, Allan, what happens to those children on the backside in this boozy mom? Well, they end up like me probably will land in their own addiction later on because when you have a mother who's all about the party time, you're not present. You're missing a lot of the nuances that I know with my twins I was able to pick up on, I was two weeks sober when I found out I was pregnant with twins and I'm so grateful that I was a sober mom who was fully present. Both my sons went on to become division one athletes. Both of my sons went to college, they graduated college playing football. And I can just assure you it would've been a very, very different picture had I not been sober. Our family would've been very different.

Allan: 26:32 Now there are a lot of people that will say, okay, you know, and I don't drink that much. You know, I just have a couple drinks here and there and like you said, social drinkers. Um, I was actually reading a study the other day or there's actually several studies out there that show that we're, we're really not good at self-reporting what we eat, what we drink. Uh, so you know, if they ask you what you had for dinner last week and in general, um, you are going to under-report your calories, um, you're gonna report more healthy food than you actually ate. Um, and if you drank alcohol, you're probably gonna report less drinks than you probably drank. But you know, this is an alcoholism is actually something that unless you self-diagnose, nothing's going to change for you.

Lisa: 27:15 And you're absolutely right. So what changed my life was getting honest with myself because the standard alcoholic answer is I had two, Oh, I only had two beers. I only had two drinks. They always only have two. Yeah. So you're right, people lie. And so that's why doctors that are tuned in, most doctors are clueless about alcoholism. Some of the stuff that comes out of the psychiatrist's mouth that I hear like, Oh, it just drives me crazy. They'll say things like, Oh, they used to be an alcoholic, but now they just, they're using meth or something crazy like that. So like they just switched addictions is what they did. But back to your point. Yeah. So we lie, alcoholics lie, we all know that. Um, if you want to change your life, be honest. Nobody can, you know, I knew two years before I quit drinking that I was drinking too much, that I was crossing a line.

I had a home bar that I loved and I knew everybody kinda like on cheers. Everyone knew my name. And when I go, we used to go in there and start asking the person sitting on my right and left, who, or by the way, drinking right along with me and say, do you think I drink too much? And of course they're like, ah, I have no, you're fine. You know, what are they going to say? Yeah, you're drinking. So, but, but that was already, that was those early warning signs. Something was not resonating within my soul. And I knew, I knew that it was not, um, I don't even want to say abnormal, but it was abnormal for me because it's like people get so caught up on quantity. Like I said, I was not a daily drinker. I did not drink a fifth a day.

However, when I drank, I get a few drinks in me. There were times I absolutely could stop and I would be your designated driver. And there were other times I could not stop. So there was that unpredictability factor, which is indicative of potential alcoholism. There was the fact of how it affected my personality. I'm a pretty even keeled person. I'm not a drama queen by any stretch. Give me a few drinks. I know we're going to have drama. It's either going to be, I'm going to create something, I'm going to start a fight. I'm going to shoot my mouth off inappropriately pick, pick anything I would just do and things that I'd never would do and say sober. So that was another clue to me. I was losing my moral compass. That was another tip off where you start to rationalize and justify lying.

You know, I don't know, it was never really a thief, but I'm sure that could have come where, you know, you take 20 bucks out of your husband's wallet, don't bother to tell him, Hey, I took 20 bucks and you start, you know, I didn't do that then, but I could see where I could have maybe segwayed into that kind of behavior. And we tend to rationalize things like, Oh, that's fine, that's fine. Well now actually in sobriety it's about getting rigorously honest, living right, doing the right thing. And so I was really losing my way that way. And I don't know that I would have saw it as early as I did had. Again. My mother was instrumental in my recovery because she sobered up when I was in my early twenties, and I saw her change dramatically. So by the time I got sober, my mother had seven years sobriety under her belt, and she had morphed into this amazing mom that I think I wished I always had.

But it can impact us in so many ways. And I just really want people to understand you've got to throw out all these old ideas that an alcoholic has to look a certain way because no, there are no demographics, there are no boundaries. And I'll tell you the worst nightmare for an alcoholic is money. There's a lot of alcoholism. My father goes to Benito Springs in the winter and I go down there. So you've got a lot of affluent people in the Naples, Sarasota area. And as a nurse I see the loose blouses and the big livers and the guys in their golf shirts with their big livers sticking out. And it's just, Oh my God, I almost can't stand it because there's just so much. Their lives are golfing and drinking and eating and there's going to be a lot of, you know, earlier deaths because this is what they do and they, this is their social life, which is fine, but it's, um, it's scary and a lot of ways to me when I see how sick some of these people look and they don't even see it.

Allan: 32:01 Yeah. Now in your recovery and in your mother's recovery, you utilize the 12 step.

Lisa: 32:07 I did. Yes.

Allan: 32:09 So even that wasn't on your plan. Can you kind of just quickly kind of go through, cause I think you kind of hit on some of those points of getting honest with yourself. Um, and, and I think the 12 steps is actually kind of that approach to actually making that happen and making it real in your life. Not just an exercise you do over the course of a weekend, uh, at a seminar. But this is something that you have to live and do over course of quite a long time,

It becomes a way of life. Allan, I know people go to rehab and I just need to throw this out there. So many people go to rehab in their families think, Oh, they're cured. No, Nope. That is just the tip of the iceberg because a lot of people go to rehab just to get people off their back and they have no intention of really doing the hard work. It takes working on the core insight issues. However you choose to do that. I like the 12 step because it gives you a roadmap to do that. And really the first step is we have to admit we have a problem. So I don't care what recovery method you're going to use, smart recovery, whatever. Um, you have to admit you have a problem because you can't, I mean, it's almost like if someone who's overweight, you have to admit, okay, I decide I need to lose weight.

Until you're ready to accept that about yourself, you're not going to change it. And then the 12 steps really help a person look at their issues. I can. So what were some of mine? I was a very fear based person, which I didn't realize that. Um, so I had to look at how as a child my predominant emotion was fear. And I covered up with that fear with a lot of false bravado. A big mouth, that kind of thing. So I had to look at that. I had to forgive my parents. They did the best they could. I didn't think they did a great job raising me. Um, since I did kind of raise myself along with my siblings. Now I have a sister who stayed in addiction 40 years because she couldn't, she liked to blame my parents as opposed to taking responsibility as an adult.

Okay. Our childhood wasn't great, but it, it could have been worse. And I'm an adult now and I'm going to make the choice to make my life better and be a different parent to my children. And, and my sister couldn't do that. So yeah, you have to. And then it's about, it really focuses too on getting out of yourself. I mean, alcoholism is, We have to get humble. It's that I'm going to do it my way disease. It's a disease that is riddled with pride. People can be almost homeless and they still think they know what they're doing. They're unwilling to listen. They've lost four jobs, they're on their third marriage and they still swear they don't have a problem that you see over and over again. Anybody who's been married more than well, even three times, it's usually alcohol is in the picture there somewhere.

One of the persons involved was drinking and my older sister, she's on her third marriage. Yep. Alcohol has been involved in each one of those marriages, so we have to get honest about, we can't blame everybody else. It comes back to what are we covering up inside of us and dealing with that and working on the issues. Having that humility to say, I can't do this. Making amends to the people that we have harmed people. Moms especially, they say, Oh, I'm not harming anyone. Well, yes you are, because your kids may be well fed and you might get them to their soccer practices. But when you're standing on the sidelines with a cocktail in your hand, you're not really focused on the present moment. You're focused on, Oh, when this cocktail is empty, I got a hall over to my friend's cooler and get a refill.

And it's just a very selfish, myopic way of life, the drinking life. And most people don't really see it until they do get sober. And then the last factor is it's about helping others and doing it freely and willingly and giving of, you know, I do, I work with a lot of women. Recovery coaching is like really big now. I don't charge because it was freely given to me. And so it's an honor and a privilege to help a woman who is struggling, who says they want to change their life and then to give them some simple directions that they follow and their lives begin to change in amazing ways. So that is a gift. So it's, it's really a way of life and it's part of my life that I've just incorporated into my life and it's just who I am and what I do.

I go to meetings three a week, I work with others and I write books and I'm still in there sometimes.

Allan: 37:17 Lisa, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get that stay well.

Lisa: 37:22 The obvious Allen exercise, eat right, but here are, here are the three that I think are really helpful. Number one, stop people pleasing because that a lot of times people, people please. Then they have resentments which fuels eating and drinking and anger. So people are very angry, so stop people pleasing. If you really don't want to do something, I mean other than things that like we have to do, like go to work or whatever, but stop people pleasing so that you're not resentful. Number two, get engaged in something outside of yourself. As I said, help others. People are depressed, they're anxious.

Well, when you're only focused on your own depression and anxiety, it almost fuels it. Whereas if you're focused on helping somebody else, getting out of yourself, the anxiety and depression is cut in half. So I would suggest find something, find a hobby, find a way to help others. And you will watch happiness. Um, quotion expand exponentially. And number three, which is no problem for you down there in Panama, get out in nature people, 89% of adults spend 15 minutes or less a day in nature. Oh my gosh, no wonder we're drinking, right? Because you're around, you're in these sterile environments, be it an office or whatever. And then you go from that to your car, to your house. And I don't think, I mean, well, let's go back to hunters and gatherers. We're meant to be outdoors. You know, the trees, the greenery. There is a chemical in this greenery called Fido signs, and it is proven in Japan.

They call it shouldn't ring Yoku. They don't give out a lot of antidepressants in Japan, they prescribed nature walks and force bathing. So this fight assigns in the trees, helps to increase your immunity, decrease depression, decrease anxiety. So why are we not doing more of these sorts of things and forth? The drinkers know this does not mean you go sit under a Palm tree and have five drains that doesn't count, but maybe go walk amongst the butterflies or I think you mentioned early, maybe before we started taking that you'd have a rain forest nearby. I mean, what a gift. I can't imagine how amazing that would be to walk through this rain for some of this nature. Chirping and chattering above your head. These are things that really can make you feel so much better. And I wonder if people just, if they decided to do something like that every day as opposed to drink five drinks, maybe have one drink after you go on a nature walk and maybe that had be enough and you just had a drink. Your life could be really different in just something as small as those sorts of little changes can have huge impacts when you realize like, wow, I took that walk and I was fully present and engaged in my surroundings. I mean, I can't tell you how many people get sober and say, Oh my God, for the first time I like, I smelled winter or I saw spring. This is what taking alcohol out of a life can do. It's like ripping off the veil or the scales. It's like you see things just totally different.

Allan: 41:06 Lisa, thank you so much. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book (Raising the Bottom), learn more about what you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?

Lisa: 41:15 They can go to my website raisingthebottom.com. I'm on Facebook under Lisa Boucher award-winning author. I'm also on Twitter and Instagram at raising the bottom.

Allan: 41:26 Okay, well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/406 and I'll be sure to have them there. So Lisa, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Lisa: 41:15 Thank you, Allan. This was a pleasure. I enjoyed talking with you.

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