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September 30, 2019

Turn off your stress switch with Dr. Amy Serin

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Thank you!

Our guest today is a world-renowned neuropsychologist and stress expert. She's literally written the book on how to turn off your stress.

Allan: 01:50 Dr Serin, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Serin: 01:54 Thank you so much for having me. Allan.

Allan: 01:56 You know there was a quote in the book and sometimes I get stuck on numbers. I'm an accountant by trade before I got into fitness. So I get stuck on numbers. So you're hearing me talk about numbers and lists all the time, but every once in awhile I run into a quote and I'm like, okay, I need that quote in my life. This was, this was exactly what I needed to hear today. And this was one that was in the book.

“When you resolve trauma, reduce stress and heal, what lies beneath the layers of soot of suffering is pure beauty. When a person on covers this love and kindness towards the self and towards others is the only thing left.”

Dr. Serin: 02:37 Yup. That's the truth.

Allan: 02:39 You know, and it's funny because I sit back and I've said it many, many times, I wrote it in my own book is, you know, our journey to health, our journey to wellness, it has to include self-love. It has to start with self-love. And I think I struggled with stress so much I never really got where I to be because of the layers of soot.

Dr. Serin: 03:03 Well. Yeah, you know, and I think I, I think that we need to get to self-love in order to get to other things, but we cannot access self-love when we're stressed out. And this is, I think the big, you hit really the nail on the head. The big thing that we're missing and the big way that our thoughts about stress and our thoughts about our lives and who we are are misguided, is that when you are in a state of stress, I call it the stress, which when you're stressed, which is medium or high, you can not access self-love. You can not access love for other people, you cannot be your best self. And we, we think we are what we do on a daily basis. But if we have a lot of stress [inaudible] in our lives and I'm not talking about we have a crazy mother-in-law and we have a stressful job. If our nervous systems in too many moments or putting our stress, which is on high right? We cannot access the deeper parts of ourselves. We cannot access the goodness. And it doesn't have to do with who we are as much as it has to do with how much we're stress. And this is why, you know, this is the stress is the main thing that we need to look at and we need to reduce in order to have a better life.

Allan: 04:11 Now, I've had other authors on because uh, and you don't know a lot about my story, but I was, I was in corporate in the last three years of my corporate career was just a series of merry Christmas layoffs. And so I just was constantly going through this cycle. And so I actually, at that point I had started doing the podcast and I'm like, well, I have access to all of these authors and I would bring them on, granted, they all had value. They all brought value to me as I listened to what they had to say. Most of them though. What I found was that they, okay, kind of focus more on tactics and less on, you know, what are the things that are inside of us that we just need to know to actually resolve stress rather than cope with it.

Dr. Serin: 04:57 Right. And the tactics are great. You know, everybody wants recipes. Everyone, we're really hungry now for, okay, how do I follow this? The Paleo Diet. You know, how to like do this. The things we are culture of addition and we're a culture of doing. So we always want somebody to tell us, do this different, add this to your day, do all these things. And it's very easy to kind of bite off those pieces and think that you have something tangible that's worth doing. But honestly, we're completely misunderstanding stress. So while there are some tactics in my book, a lot of it is just I have to retrain you and understanding what this stress response really is and what it's doing. Because it's not what you think. You know, people are like, well I know it's you know about cortisol and it's about right hemisphere and left hemisphere and it's about debriefing and all these things.

And it's like, no you don't. There's a new neuroscience of stress that we've discovered. We have amazing brain imaging technology now and amazing the things that have just come on the horizon, the last three, five that people don't know about and we're still thinking about it in the old ways. And the result is, we're taking the tactics that people or telling us, and it's the same old stuff. Take deep breaths, meditate, exercise more, do yoga, but we're missing the point. And we're also giving people so much to add to their day that stress management becomes stressful. Because what that does is leave people feeling like, oh, I should have done all these 50 things today and I only did 20 of them and now I feel bad and now I'm more stressed out and I'm depleted. So we have to look at it a different way and we have to give people things to do in the moment to reduce their stress that are actually going to work. Because deep breathes are great, but they only work when you're mildly stressed. If you're moderately stressed out in the moment or higher than that, you cannot access the part of your brain and you cannot actually access deep breaths to override that system. It literally shuts down. So we're telling people in the moment that they need these techniques to use techniques that break down and then people are disappointed with themselves. It just doesn't make sense.

Allan: 07:00 Yeah. It's like you rush up to a 10 and you're, you're peaking at a 10, you know, red line all day, and then you say, okay, I'm to do this deep breathing and it gets you down to a nine, which is 10% better, which is, you know, in the moment it feels good. Uh, but you're still at a nine and you, you know, ratchet, right back up to 10 within a limited amount of time. Now in the book. And I like this, you kinda like walk us through, I guess for lack of it, the process of what stress is and you know, focus and core of our central nervous system. Could you take just a moment because I don't, I think I've ever really sat down with anyone and just talk through the central nervous system and how stress manifests there.

Dr. Serin: 07:44 Right? So stress is your body's in the moment reaction to a trigger. And so you have a network in the brain called the salience network. And what this network does is it's actually, it actually dictates what you get to pay attention to. So if you all, you know, whoever's listening, if you think about how you're feet feel right now, you were not paying attention to that a minute ago probably. And the reason why is because it's not salient. It's not important for what you're doing. If your salience network is working, you're mostly focused on this conversation with maybe distractions being woven in here or there, but if there's a loud sound, you will actually orient that loud sound as those and that becomes salient. And so the salients network is dictating how you pay attention to things because there's too many things going on in your environment versus how much you can consciously be aware of in the moment.

Okay, so it's funneling all the things that are getting processed and giving you a tiny little snippet to pay attention to. It's also turning up and down your stress, switch so you think about your stress switch like a dimmer is turning it up and down in the moment without your awareness based on what's coming in. So if you are listening to this conversation and you have a distract, a distracting thought gets automatically generated something like, oh no, I forgot to turn the oven off. Oops, I forgot to feed the dog. Your salience network is actually sending you that alert and it's also tacking up your stress switch so you will feel more stressed out than you did a moment ago because you had that automatic thought. Okay. Now this is being done for you in pre-conscience network. So we used to think, okay, I see a snake, I recognize the snake, and I go into fight or flight.

Nope, you see a snake, your salience network puts you into fight or flight, and then you recognize consciously after the fact what happened. It's two consciousnesses too slow of a process. That's why our bodies are biologically wired to go into fight or flight first. But what people don't realize is your body goes into moderate states of stress first without you even knowing why. And so then you have to go back and kind of explain why I think I'm stressed out because of this or that or this. You know, your heart's pounding and your stomach hurts and whatever else. And we're always trying to figure it out on the backend. But the reality is, is that these networks in the brain are automatically, and we call it the, that's why it's called the automatic system. It's automatic. It's doing it for us. And then we're trying to control it with the wrong networks.

And it doesn't work. So if your heart's pounding and you're in fight or flight and eat, you can even access the thought to breathe. You won't be able to breathe. So you can actually use breaths to bring your stress, which is from like a five down to a three but you really can't use that to bring yourself from a 10 down to a nine actually, because you can't access that you're hyperventilating at that point. And you're only all of your brain resources are focused at that moment is survival and sometimes it is a matter of survival. You know, I have snakes coming at me, right? And I have to run, but a lot of times it's my cell phone's ringing and I can't find it in my purse and I'm going into the state of fight or flight. That's not a matter of our survival.

But our nervous system is confused and it's turning on our stress, which too often, too much. And the result is poor quality of life, poor health outcomes, being irritable, lack of sleep, all these things that stress moderates.

Allan: 11:13 Now, in the book you talk about this, this concept called the pleasure principle. Could you take just a minute to go over. that?

Dr. Serin: 11:22 So when we're talking about pleasure, we're really talking about an in the moment. We are going to move towards things that have been pleasurable in the past or that are we think are going to be pleasurable,unconsciously. we're going to move away from, we're going to avoid things that are unpleasant. And again, these are choices that are being made for us. You think that your consciousness is doing all of the work, but it's not. So there's a lot of things people avoid and they don't even know why.Oor there's a lot of people, things that people do via the pleasure principle that they don't want to do. And this is where we get into addictive behavior. Um, you know, gambling, shopping, eating chocolate, you know, drinking, all these things. Anything that has brought us pleasure in the past and has regulated some of our neurochemistry, we are more likely to do in the future. So one of my biggest things when people say, well, if you know, let's say something terrible happens, like, um, your parent dies. Okay. What is your recommendation about behavior? And my recommendation is don't start any new bad habits because in those moments of despair, of grief, of stress, of whatever, if you start a new bad habit, then that is going to get locked into the, what we call the pleasure principle. And what it's gonna do is your brain is going to unconsciously signal you to keep doing that.

And so, and if you have an old addiction that's been dormant, let's say someone's been sober for 20 years and something really bad happens, they are way more likely at that point in their lives to go back into the addictive behavior. And this is why we get people relapsing after so many years, right? Because the need for regulation is so high. The need for relief, the need for feeling better because of the stress that people will look forward to in ways that are dictated by the pleasure of prince. So we want to understand that our behavior is not under as much conscious control as we think, but it's being controlled by the pleasure principle sometimes. And also distress, which and what it signals you to do. And when we understand that we can kind of do a better job of, staying away from some of those behaviors or regulating ourselves and also not beating ourselves up when we do do the things that don't make sense to us that have consequences.

Like, oh my gosh, I just, you know, went out and I'm on a diet and I just ate, you know, consumed a thousand calories of dinner and like, why did I do that? We have the answer. Well, you know, why you did that, you needed some regulation and your consciousness in that moment wasn't that powerful. But what we can do is we can hack into the stress system and lower the stress and then the cravings will go away. The likelihood of going into those behaviors go away. And even if you do the behaviors when you're not stressed out, you don't get that reward. Okay? So teachers know this, right? If teachers have a rough day with their class and they drink wine at the end of the day, it's really, really great. But if they have a fine day and they go home and drink wine, it's just like I could take it or leave it. So it's the in the moment reward that you're giving the brain. It dictates how good it feels, how likely you are to repeat that behavior.

Allan: 14:33 Okay. Now there's one final piece that I want to put together because what I'm kinda building a layer here, and you kind of did this in a book as well, which I really liked, was the 10 cognitive distortions. Can you kind of quickly go through those? Cause I think when you, when I put these three concepts together, you know, the central nervous system, particularly the salient network, a pleasure principles, and then these cognitive distortions. I think we kinda build a, the platform to understand why tactics alone really isn't enough when you're in that state.

Dr. Serin: 15:08 The cognitive distortions are basically ways of just thinking this is where we, we get consciousness in the mix. Now they said these other things we're talking about, well, very little to do with consciousness, but now we bring consciousness in and go, what is the quality of our thinking? Right? And if we can identify the cognitive distortions, we can lower stress through that and we can kind of put these all together. So an example of a cognitive distortion would be emotional reasoning. Well, and that's when you have a feeling and then you think it must be based on some kind of reality. And the reality is that we have feelings based on how much sleep we got that night or certain triggers.

I mean, we can show pictures of you, and or we can show pictures to people in psychological research. Let's say that they don't even encode visually. So you don't even know what you saw. But let's say if I flash really quickly a picture of an angry barking dog and a gun and something, you know, really like a, a terrible scene, you don't even know you've seen it. And then we start talking, you know, you'll have a more negative view of me. You'll have a different feeling about me than you would had I not done that or have you not seen those you know, preconscious pictures beforehand. So the brain isn't just this passive thing taking in information. We can prime the brain to go into all kinds of states. So if we think, oh, I have this feeling, therefore something horrible must have happened or this person might be bad or whatever.

We're using emotional reasoning and that can get us into trouble and increase our stress. The other thing we can do is, um, fortune-telling. We have no clue. Allan. No clue what is going to happen in five minutes tomorrow or the next day or in 10 years. We have no idea. And yet we all are making these predictions and depending on whether the prediction is negative or positive, we feel stressed in this moment. So we want to be mindful of, oh, that's me fortune telling again. And people with OCD and generalized anxiety, they have a really hard time with their brains automatically. Fortune-telling and also doing something called catastrophizing thinking that things are going to be horrible. Right.

So my mom has anxiety and my brother got laid off from a job a few months ago, he was a very high paid salesperson and she calls me going, oh, this is so he just, you know, his whole life is ruined. His wife's going to be so mad. He's not going to find a job… I said, stop, stop, stop. And I go, mom, go back to the book or put your touchpoints on because you have no clue how this is going pan out. And my brother's very intelligent, very resourceful, top in his field. Sure enough, within a week he had another job. He's doing great. Loves it. It's fine. Now, not everything works out fine. But the point is, is that in a moment you're making a prediction. You're fortunate telling you're catastrophizing. You're actually creating a tick up on the stress switch. So you may start off a three and then start to work yourself up and your thinking all the way up to a nine or a 10 or full-blown panic if you're not stopping yourself and realizing, oh, this is where my consciousness actually can help me when I'm a three, I can use my consciousness and this understanding to make it not go up to a seven or an eight at a level three you can take a deep breath and go, okay, I'm catastrophizing. I don't know how this is going to go. He's always had a job. He's resourceful. Things are okay, you know, and then your stress can stay at a low level. So sometimes our stress, which is our being turned up without our awareness and sometimes are conscious process is actually with our awareness, pushing our stress switch up. And that process is the one that we have the most control over. But all of the stress, which issues now can actually be hacked into with some new technology and some things that are not just thinking and paying attention and being mindful.

Allan: 19:17 Now, I had always, I, and I guess it's, you know what I've read what I've thought, how I've always viewed, stress is that it's, you know, it's just something you have to, you have to cope with it. Just something. But I guess recent research and particularly research that you've done, it's showing that, you know, we, we can actually flip that switch as you will, uh, the stress switch and cure stress from, from the perspective of putting ourselves in the position where we're in mildly stressful states that we can then through tactics deal with. Can you talk a little bit about that concept of curing stress?

Dr. Serin: 19:58 Right. So we need some stress. So, you know, when we're going to go perform, when we're giving a talk or if we're an athlete, we're going to, um, go into some states of stress. So we, this isn't to say that we're going to give people zero stress because zero stress means that you're dead, right? But we're talking about coping excess stress. I'm talking about that when your cell phone is in your purse and you cannot find it, you're not going into fight or flight because that's a waste of, that's a waste of stress, so to speak. Right? We shouldn't, you know, we should only be in the stress when we are in a life or death situation or when we're under, you know, extreme time pressure or things like that. And then we should go back to baseline. But that's not what's happening.

People's stress, which is are on, you know, maybe they're at a four or five pretty much day long, fluctuating up and down from that and their bodies are inflamed and they are, you know, their quality of their thoughts is automatically negative and those sorts of things. So what I'm talking about sharing, yeah, excess stress. I'm talking about a default level, a default stress, which motive of being pretty low. Okay. And then your stress will go up. If there's a really loud sound right now, Allan, or let's say a fire alarm went off and you and I both heard it, we would go into fight or flight. But we would go into fight or flight and our stress switches would be a 10 and then our bodies quickly lower it down to a default level, somewhere between zero and two that's what's ideal. This is what happens in nature.

You know, I'm a predator, starts chasing a zebra and the zebra runs away, goes into fight or flight and as soon as the Predator's gone, the zebra goes back to, well we call homeostasis low stress and then it starts grazing and hanging out and doing all that. The Zebra is not sitting there thinking, well what a lion that was, oh my God, I nearly escaped and I'm sure going to die tomorrow. These things. And so this is sort of the price we pay for consciousness. So we owe it to ourselves to create a low default stress switch, and depending on who you are and what you've been through, the prescription for that is different. But the technology that I talk about that I developed to prevent PTSD is one of the first steps. So you can actually have this technology on your body. It's noninvasive. It's just haptic micro vibrations that vibrate back and forth. And believe it or not, that adds an input into the salient network that's deciding what to do with your stress switch. And it lowers your stress switch. So the research is that it will lower your stress about 62% in 30 seconds. And that's with the sample of over a thousand people. And so if you have access to this, it can bring your stress, which down very, very quickly. And then people spot use it throughout the day to keep their stress low.

So we use that and then we also have people, the other, you know, cure part of this is a base of healthy behaviors and that's where you come in, right? A base of healthy exercise and diet and sleep regulation. And I don't mean when I say diet, I think people freak out. They're like, oh my gosh, I have to start counting macros and I need to, you know, go on the LCHFdiet, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about a reasonably well balanced diet where you're not drinking two sodas a day, right? You're never ingesting things that have a huge spike, create a huge spike in insulin. You're not binge eating. You're not only eating white and brown foods. I'm talking about very basic, healthy diet principles. Okay? So you don't have to add two hours of obsessiveness to your day trying to maintain a healthy diet. Right? But just the basics, okay. You have the basics of the exercise, the Diet and sleep regulation, and then you add the technology and then you add some of the knowledge in the book. And I think that is all the recipe that you need for success unless you've been extremely traumatized or have PTSD, had a terrible upbringing. If that's the case and there's a lot of trauma in your childhood, then we add to the prescription things like EMDR therapy and maybe neurofeedback in our clinics. And so, um, but whatever the reasons or the case or however bad it is, we can cure the excess stress.

Allan: 24:23 Yeah. And I think, you know, as, as you know, as I talk to a lot of people come to clients, you know, on online, uh, just the conversation. I'm actually, I mean, I used to have this mindset that, you know, there can't be that many people with, you know, PSTD but I guess I'm coming to understand that as the world and the technology and everything has, has moved forward at this pace, all that kind of piled on to potentially childhood trauma to you know, just major things that are going on in our lives right now. Um, we're just over, we're over done. And it's really pushed a lot of people over that line to a point where yes, you need proper nutrition. Just make sure you're getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs, the protein it needs to rebuild and do the things you're getting, the proper sleep, so that your body can heal and recover and you're moving, you know, you have a movement practice where you're building a fitness level to be the kind of person you want to be.

And do the things you want to do. If you, if you're doing all of those behavioral things right, you still might find yourself just not able to flip that switch. Um, so I do want to talk a little bit about the technologies. So let's start with the EMDR. What is that? What's that kind of therapy like? And um, you know, if someone really does, they've got, they know they've got trauma, they've tried all the tactics, they aren't, they're eating well, they're exercising, their sleep isdisrupted because of the stress more than likely and maybe haven't figured out the sleep part, but they just know they're not getting where they need to and it's time for them to consider some therapy. What is this like, what would that be like for them?

Dr. Serin: 26:08 Yeah, I get patients like this all the time and you know, some of them have been to therapy. Some of them have been to talk therapy and while it was moderately helpful and they liked their therapist, they're still having these responses and it's not getting resolved. We have to resolve it at the level of the nervous system. If we don't do that, every time you get a trigger that's associated with something, your stress, which is going to go up to what it's default is for that trigger. So I think about, you know, someone goes, well I think about my ex-husband and it goes up to an eight and then I, and, and we're not, again, consciously trying to think about it. It's just sometimes the thoughts happen automatically or sometimes we get an email from them and then boom, eight, eight, eight, right? We want to change that.

So the EMDR therapy incorporates a lot of the ingredient of some other therapies. So it's sort of like cognitive behavioral therapy plus the therapists will use eye movements and also similar technology or the technology in the touchpoints which you can now use at home. Um, and those are just the vibrations that bring down stress. And so you process the trauma or whatever happened and sometimes you didn't even know what it is. All you know is that when something happens in your life now it creates such a stress response or panic that we start there and then you will start processing everything in your memory networks associated with that, whether or not you think it makes sense and then that gets resolved in the nervous system and then it doesn't take your stress switch up anymore. So it's that simple.

But we are so obsessed with consciousness and convoluting things and thinking that, you know, defining ourselves as our anxiety or this or that, that that I just need to whittle it down for people and say if we were thinking of something, and while you're thinking of that, you can get your body calm instead of the stress that becomes your new normal for that thing and then that will generalize to other things. And that's how we heal trauma. And that's how we create a different default in the stress switch. And the EMDR therapy does a beautiful job of that. In fact, research shows that if someone's got post traumatic stress disorder from a single incident, like let's say a near death experience or one combat experience, then they actually only need about six sessions of EMDR to cure it.

Allan: 28:31 Okay. And then the blast technique, which is the bilateral alternating stimulation tat tie, which you kind of talked about the touch points, it's, it's Kinda tapping into the salient network. Can you talk a little bit about that and how that works? Cause that's something that someone can use at home as, as needed, right,

Dr. Serin: 28:50 right. So if you think about, you know, if you in a loud, if you're at a conference and or a restaurant even and it's really loud and there's all these jarring sounds, you're going to feel more stressed out because your salience network is ratcheting up your stress switch based on all of that sensory information. But if you are in a dimly lit room with music and with calming things, your stress switch is actually going to be turned down for you because of that sensory information. All the blast does. Bilateral alternating stimulation in tactile form. I know that's a mouthful. Nobody, nobody's going to be tested on that. So we just call it blast. All that is is it's a better sensory input that will lower stress faster than let's say listening to a calm song or in a bathtub or something like that.

We're using a sensory network to downgrade the stress response in real time and we can do it very quickly with these alternating vibrations. It's amazing. So people can use those in situations where they're normally stressed out. So we have people using them during tests for test anxiety. Or, um, parents often struggle with kids who are sitting down to do homework and they hate homework and you pop it on the kids for kids and Tantrum or for cravings. Remember, if you're stressed out, you're more likely to want to reach for a donut versus a salad. But if we lower your stress, those cravings, will go down because there's no stress to regulate in that moment with a donut or alcohol or something else. Um, so there's all kinds of applications at home that you can use this technology for. And what I like about it is you don't have to stop what you're doing.

People go, well, what do I have to do? Like leave my desk at work and you know, meditate for five minutes and then go back. And I'm like, no, you, you don't need to do that. Um, in fact, good luck leaving your desk and trying to meditate for five minutes. You're probably not going to be able to willfully get your stress down enough to get into a meditative state. If you can that's wonderful, but most of us can't. So at your work desk is something stressful. You just put them in your pockets because they just have to be on one side or the other side of the body. So you can put them in pockets, socks. You can hold on to them with your hands. They come with a wristband so you can wear them on your wrists, but a lot of times people want to hide them so they don't want them on their wrists. Anyway you want.

Allan: 31:19 Yeah, someone's going to ask, why do you have two watches on,

Dr. Serin: 31:22 right? What is going on? Right? And actually we're using these incorporate wellness. So in a, in some companies now it's just sort of like, you know, everybody just knows what they are. It just becomes part of the culture. Like, Oh, I'm using my touch points, you know? And, or if HR has to deliver some bad news to people, they put the touch points on to lower their stress. So there's becoming a part of some companies, cultures, and it's becoming kind of this normal thing that you would do. Um, but for most culture companies it would be like, what are these weird vibrating things that you have and you know, what's going on? But the cool thing is, is that I'd had some, you know, mavericks in their companies just go, hey, think of something stressful. And people are like, okay. And they go hold these. And then people are like, wow, you know, and then they get it. So it's so instantaneous. It's relief that people get from it, that it's very, very easily, um, demonstrated. It's harder to explain than it is to just get these in people's hands and they feel an immediate relief and then it's very easy to understand, you know, why the person next to you ask these on. So,

Allan: 32:26 Yeah, I think if I, when I was in corporate and you know, as I was reading through, I was thinking I would just need wear them 24, seven one I was when I was in corporate, but, uh, hopefully they would, they would act a little bit faster than that, but I would have no qualms telling them, okay, look, you guys stress me the heck out. So, uh, I'm gonna, I'm gonna wear these on, on both of my wrists and a pair, all my ankles if I had to. But it's very interesting in the technology. It's very interesting, you know, kind of where we're going with this and just to say, okay, if the tactics aren't working for you it's probably because your stress switch is just way too high and some of these therapies are just something that you're gonna need to consider as a means of getting their stress point down to a point where you can actually use the techniques and get some benefit from them.

Dr. Serin: 33:13 Right. And not procrastinate and not avoid them too, you know? I mean, how many workouts have we not done because we wake ups, we're stressed out and we're like, oh, I just can't handle it today. Those are all cognitive thoughts that aren't true. You know? Of course we can handle it because if somebody forced us to do it, we could absolutely do it. Right.

Allan: 33:34 If a bear showed up you'd start running.

Dr. Serin: 33:36 They would run right? Oh, I can't run today, right? No, you can run today. But this is what you're telling yourself and what you're telling yourself is exactly correlated with where your stressed switches and that moment. So again, a lot of people think, oh well I think something and then I get stressed. It's not true. Your body is stressed. And so then you think something. So a lot of times with just the technology, you know, in touchpoints and certainly with things like EMDR therapy, positive, spontaneous spots are increased. just from that, so we know that it's not a one-way street where we're, it's not a top-down process of, Oh, I'm either going to choose to think positively or negatively. If you're stressed out, you can not, a lot of times you can choose to think positively. You don't have access to that level of thinking, but as you lower the stress switch, the positive thoughts suddenly emerge.

Things like, well, I guess I could handle that. I can do that. You know, I'm, wow, that's interesting. I had that thought that I couldn't run today, but I absolutely can and I know I'm going to feel better if I do it. So I'm going to do it. You know those things spontaneously re-emerge it's just way too hard to try to white knuckle this from a top-down perspective all the time. And just try to use consciousness, consciousness, consciousness to produce what we want. Um, we have to kind of fight ourselves to create these new habits. And it's really hard. We know it's really hard to tell people to change their behavior without some other kind of intervention.

Allan: 35:06 Dr Serin, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Dr. Serin: 35:15 So the, the overarching principle is do things with high impact, right? So the first strategy I would say is to look at, um, the top three things, sleep, diet and exercise. And what would create the biggest boom, you know, what create the biggest impact you, if you were to shift. So a lot of people are only getting five or six hours of sleep a night. And if that's the case, the no brainer in that is seven to nine hours of sleep every night. And you know, make that a goal. So that's the first strategy I would use is to kind of tackle the big things, the big things that have the highest impact. Um, switch those up. Okay. And if your sleep is off, that's the absolute number one thing as you get your sleep back on track, if you can't get yourself sleep by on track, just by putting down your cell phone or know turning off the TV at a decent time.

There's other things you can do like ad orange glasses that will block out the artificial light and things like that. But you know, we don't need to get too detailed with it. So slay the major dragons is kind of the first thing. The second thing I would say is too, you asked me for three, right? Okay. So the second thing I would say is too pay attention. And this is in my book. Pay attention to how your choices perpetuate your own stress switch. So a lot of times, like I said, your stress, which is being turned up and down for you, that's not necessarily a choice. What is a choice is if someone does something that I don't like, it's a choice for whether or not I have three phone conversations that night to kind of complain about that to other people. That's me actually consciously ratcheting up my own stress switch.

Yeah. I want people to agree with me. Can you believe she said this and did that? Yeah, I know. That's terrible. Oh, you know, that's, those are the things that you can consciously cut out of your life. I'm not going to spend time complaining right, to other people. I'm not going to try to get other people upset about the things I'm upset about. I'm not gonna watch people fighting on the news. Right. That's a conscious choice. When you watch people fighting on the news back and forth, that's actually a conscious choice that you're making to be embroiled in upset. Okay. And anger and all these emotions while you're stress switch gets turned on. Okay. Why do you want to be in that state?

Right. You, I'm telling you right now you don't, it's terrible for your health. It's terrible for things that you have no control over. Like the political climate, unless you're in politics and all these things, why do you want to spend an hour or two a day surrounding yourself with people that are stressed out that don't need to be in your lives cause they're on TV. Right? And so paying attention to when am I choosing to engage and get other people riled up and what am I choosing to become riled up by things I can't control. And then you wipe that out and then you have energy to do things that are more positive. Right. Okay. So that's two. And you asked me for one more. I'm trying to think of one more. I think that my advice be if your default stress switch is high, if you're somebody that wakes up and it's high in the and you do have sleep disruptions and you can't seem to just choose all the healthy behaviors that you want to choose and maybe you had a traumatic childhood or you know, have had really traumatic things go on in your corporate life or whatever your family life, then I would consider therapies like EMDR, um, and really getting some professional help not because you're damaged but because you want to be well.

Allan: 39:07 Absolutely. So thank you so much for being a part of the 40+ Fitness Podcast. If someone wanted to learn more about you, your book and uh, touchpoints, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Serin: 39:19 So I have a website at amyserin.com that's amyserin.com and there's links to the book and or just touchpoints. Also, the book is available on Amazon. In fact, it hit number one for preventative medicine in kindle on Amazon a few months ago. Thank you. Yeah. And then I have clinics too. I'm at serincenter.com so if anybody's interested in working, you know with more of that cutting edge neuroscience and some of the treatments we talked about, then I do have clinics and um, would just love to help anybody that is seeking a more fulfilling, happier life.

Allan: 40:01 We'll have the full show notes 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/401 you can find all those links there. So Dr Serin, and again, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Serin: 40:13 Thank you so much Allan.

Another episode you may enjoy

September 24, 2019

400 Episodes

Patreons

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

  • Tim Alexander
  • Judy Murphy
  • Randy Goode
  • Debbie Ralston
  • John Somsky

Thank you!

Live like you're dying tomorrow, treat your body like you'll live forever.


Links mentioned in the show:

#GuestBook TitleGet Book
385Dr. Marc BubbsPeakPeak
242Dr. Sara GottfriedYoungerYounger
248Jeff GallowayThe Run Walk Run MethodRun Walk Run Method
317Dr. Adam NallyKeto CureKeto Cure
369Kathleen TrotterYour Fittest Future SelfYour Fittest Future Self
256Maria EmmerichKeto Comfort FoodsKeto Comfort Foods
338Dr. Jonny BowdenSmart FatSmart Fat
275Gretchen RubinThe Four TendenciesThe Four Tendencies
382Michael MatthewsBigger, Leaner, StrongerBigger Leaner Stronger
331Dr. David FriedmanFood SanityFood Sanity

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September 16, 2019

Are you committed?

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  • Tim Alexander
  • Judy Murphy
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  • John Somsky

Thank you!

Before we get into today's episode, I would like to ask you if you would take just a moment to vote for The Wellness Roadmap in the Author Academy Awards. We've made it as a top 10 finalist in the health category. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist, and that'll take you to their website. You'll find a little arrow down the page a little bit. You can scroll to page 7 of 16 that's the health category. Just click on the book title, you don't have to give them any information about yourself. Just click on the book title and that will secure your vote for The Wellness Roadmap. Again, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist. Thank you. This award means a lot to me and your vote means the world to me. Thank you.

So today's episode is the third part of a mindset series. On episode 397, we talked about prioritization and time management by utilizing a tool that I created called the identity grid. You probably do better to go back and listen to the last two episodes, but you don't have to. I'm gonna try to make each episode stand-alone, but if you want to get the whole picture, I will probably be flashing back to that grid.

Also on episode 398, I kinda got into the getting the wellness, the things that you'll need to do to make that happen that include pushing outside your comfort zone, uh, applying your energies the right way and not overstressing yourself. Um, and then just looking at it more like a program rather than a project. So I'd encourage you to go back and listen to 397 and 398 if you haven't already, but I will try to make this episode stand-alone.

Today we're going to talk about commitment. Are you committed? I talked to my clients, uh, fairly regularly about this topic. I've talked on the podcast about it a few times, uh, but I can't under stress or overstress that the importance of commitment. If you really want to accomplish major wellness changes in your life, it's really just not going to happen if you're not committed to change. Because change is probably the hardest thing for a human being to do. Our bodies are naturally designed to find balance, are naturally designed to get to a comfortable place under what stress and daily living requirements we have today. So if you can get away with being 200 pounds overweight, your body's gonna let you be 200 pounds overweight, uh, because you can, and you can get away with it. And we can work around all these different things that used to set us back, but we figure it out.

You know, um, if you're unable to get up from a toilet because you're older and your legs aren't strong enough, put rails in the bathroom now that's going to help you for a period of time and then eventually you'll probably lose that arm strength. I don't want that to be my future. So I've made a commitment to ensure that I keep myself healthy and strong. So that isn't my future. That isn't who I am. That isn't how I identify. So I've set up an identity for myself that includes doing regular fitness training. And so as you look at that though, showing up is hard. Our bodies naturally want to be in that balance. So what do we do to break that balance? To break what our body calls, what they call in our body homeostasis. While it takes stimulus, stimulus takes work. So if we want to improve our overall health, we improve the foods that we're eating.

If we want to improve our overall fitness, we have to push ourselves across the different modalities that we use to define fitness. If you've read the book of The Wellness Roadmap, uh, that's up for an Author Academy Award. I talk about that in the book. Fitness is basically fit for task. It means that you're capable of doing the things that you want to do in your life. So for me, at 105, I want to be able to wipe my own butt. I want to be able to get up off the toilet. So I'm going to need to be fit enough to make that happen. For some of us right now, fitness can be, I want to basically be able to go on hikes and spend time with my family and not be overly fatigued or down and out the next day. Um, I want to be able to lift things that need lifting around the house.

I want to be able to open jars for myself and my wife. I want to be able to do those basic things that as we get older, sarcopenia and Osteopenia kinda take away from us if we're not doing something about it. So how do we make this commitment and how do we make it a commitment that we're going to stick to? Because face it, all of us do resolutions. All of us do our diets, all of us have done fitness regimes before and failed. And the reason most of us fail is this lack of commitment, a resolution, a goal, a diet there. They're all words. We used to fail that because so many people do. There's no, there's no jeopardy to it. There is no disgrace to it. It just, yeah, I tried a new diet and I fell off the wagon. I'll get back on it on Monday.

Well, today's Tuesday a well, okay, well, yeah, Monday. Um, there's all these different reasons we don't do it. But a commitment is very, very different. When you make a commitment, you're starting from a point of self-love. You're starting from a point that's very, very deep and emotional. And if you've ever made that type of commitment before, you'll really begin to resonate and understand what I'm talking about when you say you're going to do something for someone you love, you do it. Um, if you say you're going to pick up your spouse at the airport at five o'clock, you're at the airport at five o'clock. So if you make the same kind of commitment to yourself with the same basis of self-love, that you're going to be at the gym at five o'clock, then you'll be at the gym at five o'clock and not at the drive-through at McDonald's.

So that's where this comes from. The commitment comes from this really, really deep, deep emotional well, it's gotta be something that really touches you. It has to be a part of, as I've said over the course of this last few weeks, it has to be a part of how you identify. If you don't identify yourself as someone who's getting fit, it's not going to happen. When you get married, you make the commitment. You go from being engaged to married. You go from saying fiance to spouse. Now, you might verbally trip that up a few times, but in your head you know that commitment's there, you feel that commitment, you've made that commitment and you made it in a rather public way. So I encourage you, if you're really looking to to make a commitment, start with something deep and emotional and then make it public.

Now I provide online personal training and you can come to me, go to the website, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com and you can find links there to look up our group training and you can make that commitment to us. We're on a Facebook group, we're on our regular weekly calls. You can email me, we can have regular conversations about this commitment you have and keeping you on track. So make it deep, make it public and then beyond all kind of know what this is going to look like. You know a lot of people get married young and they don't know that type of people they're going to be when they get older, they really haven't set that vision. That's why a lot of people will say, wait a little while before you get married, so you really know what you're getting into. So you really know the vision of the direction that your life is going to go and where you want it to go.

I got married when I was 21 now. Was that a mistake? I guess so because I'm not married to her anymore, but at the same time it was just a part of my life lessons and I learned from it. So I'm not going to call it a mistake, but I do know that if I had known my path a little bit better at that point in time and had a better vision and we shared that vision and it was the same deep and emotional thing, that commitment would have stood time. It just would have. But we didn't do that. So make a commitment. And again, I can't stress this enough, deep and emotional, make it public and know what it means. Have that vision. So you have the why and you have the vision and you put those together and you make it public. That's your commitment and it needs to be based on self-love.

It doesn't need to be based on fear. Fear will only get you so far before you forget the fear and you revert back to old activities, but love sticks with you. Fear is something you feel in a movie theater and then you walk out of the theater and you're not afraid anymore. Love is something that you just keep on feeling. It's deep. It's emotional, it's chemical. It's a part of who you identify as. So take the time to build a solid commitment so we can make this fitness and health thing happen for you. Like I said, if you need a coach, reach out to me. I'd be glad to get on a 15-minute call with you just to kind of fare at some of this stuff out so you can get a little, get to know me a little bit better so I can get to know you a little bit better.

Online personal training isn't for everybody, but if you want to just get on the phone, have a consult, absolutely free. Come check it out. 40plusfitnesspodcast.com and you're going to find a link right there on the sidebar. If it's, if you're on the phone, you may have to scroll down a little bit before you see it, but just get in there, get to know me and figure it out. We can help you set this commitment. We can get to your why, we can get to your vision. We can put that together into a very solid commitment that could change your life, so do check it out.

before you get too far away, please do take a moment to go over to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist scroll to page 7 of 16 find The Wellness Roadmap. It's actually the first book on the list for health category at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist and then you just click on the cover and it'll take just a couple minutes for you to get over there and find the page and and vote for the book. I really do appreciate it. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist and vote for The Wellness Roadmap today.

Another episode you may enjoy

September 9, 2019

Getting to wellness

Patreons

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

  • Tim Alexander
  • Judy Murphy
  • Randy Goode
  • Debbie Ralston
  • John Somsky

Thank you!

Hello and thank you for being a part of the 40 + Fitness Podcast. Today we're going to talk about getting to wellness. This is going to be part two of what's basically now going to be a mindset series. I didn't originally plan it out to be a series but it looks like it's working out that way. If you didn't listen to last week, episode 397 where I introduced the identity grid, probably worth you taking an opportunity to go back and listen to it, either before you listen to this episode or after.

I'm going to try to make it make sense to you regardless of where you're coming into this series. But just know that episodes 397 through 399 are all a part of a three-part series where we're going to get into the mindset of getting well because most of the folks that will come into a gym or start a wellness program of some sort or another are really just feel kind of lost.

They're busy, they've got so much going on and they may not even know exactly what to do when they're getting started or they decide to try too many things and they fail from over fatigue. So getting yourself into the identity grid and looking at how that works. You could get a 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grid and having that in front of you might help you a little bit with this, but like I said, I'm going to do my best to make sure that this episode makes sense in and of itself. So when you get started on a wellness journey, there's often so much opportunity, so many things that you can change. So many different things that you can do that it becomes very, very difficult to know exactly what is the right thing. And when someone asks me that, I always have to go back to what's your vision?

What are your longterm goals? I asked that question a lot. As you might imagine, and many times people don't really have a clear vision. They, they know that wellness is something that they're not. They know that it's probably going to involve some weight loss. They know that it's probably going to involve building some strength, probably involves building some stamina, but exactly how to get there is often where the struggle comes in. So as you start this journey, I'll just reinforce that you need to really break down your long-term goal, get something in your head that you can feel that you can, you know, almost see, one of the things I did early on in my fitness endeavors was I pulled out a picture of myself when I was 29 years old. Now at the time I was well into my early forties so there was, there's not much chance that I was going to look like I did when I was 29, obviously had a lot more hair.

Uh, even though I didn't have as much as I wanted at the time. So looking like that really wasn't something that I was interested in. But it kinda gave me an idea of if this person aged much slower than I had, what would I look like today? And I was always able to kind of go back to that benchmark and think of it in those terms. But I couldn't go from where I was, like I said, in my late forties to looking like that unless I did something special. And I knew that my body was not going to be capable of putting in the level of effort to look like I did when I was 29 when I was 29. I put a lot more time into the gym, typically 10 hours or so a week. And I just didn't really have that luxury of time, uh, as I was getting in there.

So it was very important for me to prioritize, which is again, where that identity grid comes in because it's going to help you balance out the four key aspects of your life. And if you know where you need to apply your energy based on who you are, how you identify in your entire life, not just as a wellness effort. Because if you just think of it in terms of wellness will, life's going to get in the way. So you have to make sure you take all of those things into account before you set your path. And then you have to know exactly where you're starting from if you're going to get to that vision. So I knew I couldn't put that amount of time in the gym. So I needed to be very efficient and very effective with the work that I was going to do.

And so I needed to go out and do the work and I needed to do it in a methodical and patient way. Now where a lot of people lose their way on this is that they either push so far out of their comfort zone by trying way too many things or they don't push their comfort zone at all. So I want to kind of talk about comfort zone for a little while because it's a very important line for you to understand. A lot of people will start a diet, they'll start an exercise program and a whole lot of other things all at the same time. And so if you decide you're going to go from the standard American diet and your regular drinks and your regular things with your friends and your regular life to suddenly, you know, and getting up off the couch and going to the gym five days a week, well you're going to experience some pretty staggering, uh, jarring things.

DOMS is a real thing. And a lot of my clients, you know, when they first get into an exercise regime, uh, they're dealing with DOMS and that's something that's very tough and difficult for us to deal with. But it is something that we just, we need to kind of manage, we need to go through.

So I would encourage you to find one or two big rocks as I say in the book. What are those big things that are going to move the needle a little bit for you? Get you moving in the right direction.

For a lot of people it's just cutting out your sugar, cutting out the processed foods, making that your first step on your nutrition is going to be a lot easier than saying I'm going to go full Vegan or I'm going to just eat, you know, grass fed meats and pastured eggs and you know, organic produce.

You know, making that drastic of a change might just be too far outside your comfort zone and sets you up for failure because the first day you find yourself pulling into McDonald's, you're dying. You know you're probably going to quit. Most of us do when we get to that point where we make that mistake, we get off of the plan, we're too far beat, you know, we, so I would encourage you to find that little thing that, that one big rock thing says a little bit big rock that you can put out there and you know that it's going to be working towards your health. Let that get set as a habit. Let that get set as a part of who you are, a part of your identity. And then the next step becomes easier. The same thing with fitness. Um, you know, initially you may, you don't need to go out and try to run five miles a day if you've never been running.

If you've been kinda couch ridden and, and not doing things sedentary, getting out and trying to run five miles on your first day is risk gonna probably break you. So get out for a half an hour and do a walk if you find that comfortable, push a little harder. So the other side of the comfort zone is that knowing how to push, we, we can't get where we want to go by doing the things that we're currently doing. So if you're very comfortable in your life right now, to get well is going to put you in an uncomfortable position many, many times. As I mentioned earlier, you're probably gonna deal with some muscle soreness, some Dom's, uh, you're probably gonna deal with achiness you know, that sometimes might even disturb your sleep. And if you're trying to change your food, you're not going to be able to eat the foods, drink the drinks, do the things that you were doing if you want wellness.

So as you look at moving towards that vision, you need to find your comfort zone and you need to push it. And the way I like to term it is that gentle nudges we want to get just outside the comfort zone until we expand that comfort zone. Once the comfort zone has been expanded, it's time to push a little bit more. Just that gentle nudge to get that comfort zone to expand. That's gonna allow us to progress on our journey. And that's gonna allow us to get the results that we need. Now, so many times as people approach this wellness journey, they approach it like a project. They're like, oh, well I'll go on this diet. I'll change the way I'm going to eat. And then when I get to my goal weight or my goal size, uh, then I'll go back to what I was doing.

So the, it's a project, they manage it like a project. Okay, I'm on the Diet and then I'm off the Diet. The project is there, the project is either successful or not, and then I'm off. That's not gonna work in the long-term. Aging is a slow declining curve. It's gonna take us down over time. So this needs to be more of a program, something that you're going to put in place. Something that is like I said, going to become a part of your identity. I see it a lot, you know, particularly with things like runners. I see it in crossfit. I see it in some other places where people will begin to identify with the activity that they're doing. You ask someone that runs who they are, they're going to say, I'm a runner. Uh, someone that does crossfit, they're a crossfit athlete. Um, they don't make any qualms about it.

That's built into the fabric of who they are, becomes a part of their identity. You look at a gym rat, they're in the gym every day. They identify with being a gym rat. They identify with being there. And it's not that you have to identify with being a gym rat or identify with being a crossfit athlete or a runner. It just means that you need to put this in your head that this is just a part of who you are. And as I mentioned in the last episode, when I was in college, I was a college student. I was a husband, I was a full time manager and I was a gym rat. Um, so I had a set period of time, two hours each afternoon between classes and my time as a manager at a retail pharmacy where I was in the gym every single day.

And that was just a part of my identity. It was part of my natural path, getting off the school, getting into my car, driving over to the gym, spending the time there, driving home, showering, and going to work. That was my normal schedule every single day, every single weekday. Anyway. So what you'll want to do is really kind of build this in over time. Slowly pushing your comfort zone and then just making it a part of who you are, so you kind of have this program that's in place. You've reprogrammed your brain, you've reprogrammed your identity, and that's going to be what's going to get you the most juice that's going to make you successful in the long haul. So this is not a project that you do and then you're done. This is something that becomes a part of you and then you're in this new position where it's a part of your identity and you can make some basic decisions. And those decisions are going to be around improvement and preventing regression.

So a perfect example is me. I tore my rotator cuff and there was a bit of a regression because I wasn't able to do the things that I was doing. I was lifting, getting much stronger and I really enjoyed doing that. I identified with that. But once I tore my rotator cuff, that kind of went out the window for awhile. I wasn't able to lift until I was healed and it's taken me, even today, I still have some strength loss in that particular shoulder. Um, so it's now I'm on a continual improvement program for myself where I'm gonna work on getting better and better and stronger and stronger. And I'm also being very careful to make sure that the issue I had with my right shoulder is not something that I repeat with my left shoulder. So I'm also on a program to try to avoid regression, try to avoid injuries.

So I'm being much smarter, much more fastidious about how I do my lifts, the types of lifts I do and, and I'm working my way through, but I'm still working on getting stronger. I'm still lifting relatively heavy weights and that's how you'd go about this. So it's kind of a recap and this was a shorter lesson, but it's a part of the three part lesson and I'd really encourage you to go back to episode 397 and and listen to that episode. Download the identity grid at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grid and kind of just go through that exercise and then come to this exercise where you know now that you kind of have a general idea of where you need to focus your energy and the amount of time and effort you're going to have. Start pushing that comfort zone in the areas that are going to give you the improvements you want.

You want to get stronger, you want to get a little more stamina. You maybe want to lose some weight or at least lose some body fat so that your body composition is better. All of those are good things for you to focus on and you probably know if you've listened to any of these episodes, you probably know a lot of the things that you can be doing to make that happen. Pick your big ones and implement them. Make it a part of a program. Make it something that you're now trying to put into you to make you comfortable at a bigger and higher and stronger and faster rate. Slowly pushing that comfort zone, the gentle nudges, making a part of your identity with program management. And then once you kind of start seeing things happen, adding more of those things that you know are going to improve you or at least keep you from regressing. So I hope you've enjoyed this episode. I'll talk to you next week.

If you haven't had a chance, I would really appreciate if you would take just a moment to go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist. You get to that page, you're going to see that the author Academy Awards, we've been put as a finalist for the health category. So if you go to that page, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist, you'll find a page, go down a little bit. You'll see an arrow where you can scroll to the health category. It's on page 6 of 17. A little hard to find, but go to that page.

Find page 6 of 17 and you'll see the Wellness Roadmap is right there on the top. Just click on the book cover. They're not asking for your email, they're not asking for anything else. Just click that and that's your vote. Really appreciate the votes. I really do want to win this award. It means a lot that I was nominated as a finalist and a really would appreciate if you take just a moment, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist page seven of 16 and vote for the Wellness Roadmap.

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September 2, 2019

Productivity and time management

Patreons

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

  • Tim Alexander
  • Judy Murphy
  • Randy Goode
  • Debbie Ralston
  • John Somsky

Thank you!

They tell you when you start any kind of speech and any kind of talk, never start with an apology, but I am actually going to start this with an apology. I'm going to break that rule for a couple of different reasons. One is I'm actually going to do the audio producing for this when I've waited longer to do this episode because I'm actually quite been very, very busy. The other reason that I feel need to apologize is I'm recording this episode in a very empty house and there is probably going to be some echos, not the sound quality that you're used to having for both reasons. One, I'm doing the audio producing and two there's an echo in the house as I talk. And so the probably not the best listening quality that you've had with podcasts that I've done for you over the years.

And I apologize for that. But I do think the concept of what I'm talking about today is very, very important. And I do want you to pay attention to that please. So today we're gonna talk about a topic that I think is really missing in the health and fitness field because, you know, whenever I talk to someone about why they're not successful, why they're not showing up to work out, why they're not doing the things that they know they need to do, I typically get one very clear answer. I'm just too busy. So that has me kind of hitting my head and saying, okay, well why? Why are we so busy that we can't actually focus on our health and fitness when they are clearly important to us? So I'm going to walk you through something right now that I want you to really take some time to think about.

And if you're doing something else while you're listening to this podcast, maybe not the best podcast to listen to that way. Go back and listen to us again because I think this is really, really valuable. Particularly if you find yourself substituting time for health, substituting time for fitness and saying you just don't have the time because this episode is going to give you that tool. It's going to help you understand how you can prioritize this in a way that makes sense. Because so many people do the prioritization wrong. And so many people tell you, you should do prioritization this way. And I'm going to tell you that I know that's not workable and you're going to hear more as we kind of got through this, this session. So I want to take you back. So I want you to think back to a time when you were your most productive, best self when you were actually kind of had the energy and the capacity and just seemed to be on board just as boom, boom, boom, everything seemed to be working and I know you have one of those. I know you have a time where you felt like, okay, I'm, I'm touching all the bases, I'm doing all the things, I'm spinning all the plates, everything is working the way I want it to work and I'll tell you about myself and that time I was a college student, going to southern miss, majoring in accounting. Not An easy major but not a hard major for me. It was a good major. I got it, I understood it. I worked hard and I was taking the full load.

Anna was married and I had a full time job, but every single afternoon I was in the gym Monday through Friday, pretty much from two o'clock to four o'clock every single day I was in my mid-twenties I was looking good, I was feeling good. I had all the energy in the world. I was working that full time job. I was going to school full time and I was paying for it while I was going through it with the help of people that helped me get scholarships and do some other things. But all that said, I was making this thing happen and everything was firing on all cylinders. So who was I then that if I'm giving myself excuses to not work out now that's different.

And it was really about my priorities. People don't go to the gym, not because they know they shouldn't or they don't want to. They just end up prioritizing something else over going to the gym. They don't take the time to cook good food because it's easier to stop off at the restaurant and pick it up or go into the restaurant and eat it or worse, go to a fast food drive up window and get what they think they need for food. So it really kind of comes down to a, do you have control of your own schedule? And I think most of us would say, well, no, I have to be at work at nine o'clock and then I have to be there till six or I have to be there at eight until five or maybe it's, I have to be there at, you know, eight until 10 whatever it is.

If you're telling yourself that health and fitness is a priority, then you're going to do some things to make that happen. So if I'm going to school full time and I'm going to work full time, where are those hours? And what I found was they were right in the middle there, right smack dab in the middle of my face. I went to school in the morning, I scheduled my classes from eight to 2:00 AM I work scheduled on most weeknights, started at five I had two solid hours that I could be in the gym. And that's exactly where I was. So this was not so much about me trying to do more to be more productive. This was just literally me saying, this is my fixed time. This is my time when I was working for a corporation. And I wanted to get fit and stay fit.

I put it on my calendar from two to three was my gym time. It was my lunch. I wrote lunch on my schedule so that anyone wanted to schedule a meeting during that two to three time saw that that was my lunch hour. I wasn't available. I was busy and I was typically in the gym. Now obviously sometimes my boss would call me and say, hey, come on up. And it messed up with my gym time. But in a general sense, anyone who wants to schedule time with me knew that was booked out, banked out time. It's not their, it's not their time. It's my time. So how do we get to this point where we're comfortable telling the world that we're not going to work on their time, we're going to work on our time. Cause that's a very hard conversation to have.

It comes down to a couple of different things and one I'll, I'll point back to a book I read a fairly on in my career early on in my career. I want to say right now, the book's probably about 10 years old. Maybe not that all, but it's been a while since this book came out. And the book is called Essentialism. That's a very good book that allows you to understand that if you say yes to everything, then you're saying no to some pretty important things because you're just not going to be able to do them. They're not going to come around. So you've got to really break things down and understand what's really important.

Now, there's a lot of people that will tell you you need to have one core focus, one thing you're working on. And there's a book, it's called The One Thing, and it's on my reading list. I think I downloaded it on audible. So I'll probably be listening to it while I fly home next week. But it's, it's, it goes than that. You know, our lives are so complex that there can't just be one thing. You know, if you're, if your kid's sick, you, that's your one thing. If work calls, that should one thing. But what if you work calls while your kid's sick? Okay. And so what I've come to realize is that we have these identities. We have this thing of who we want to be and where we really want to be, but we have so many competing things, so many things that are coming about and saying, go here, go there, get this, do that.

So there, there never really is just one thing. There's often multiple things. Are they all equally important? No. At any given time, they're not. Some of them are more important than others, but they're, your priorities is going to shift. Things are going to shift. But if health and fitness are two of your priorities and they're on your radar, they're on your sites, then it's easier for you to make some decisions and say, okay, I get it. This is important, but I'm not gonna let it derail me because as soon as I get this done, I shift over to this, this health and fitness priority or this health priority or this fitness priority. So what I've done is I've created this concept called the Identity Grid and shout out to Rob. He is one of my clients. We were having a conversation about this concept and he's the one who kind of brought identity to that, to math as I talk about it.

So again, thank you Rob. I really appreciate you. But here's what the I Identity Grid is. It's basically four things that make you who you are. And I will say as I look at the email addresses of people that take my challenges, there's so many moms out there that I can tell you your identity is very much surfaced around being mom or now grandma a, there are many of us, like myself, my identity was about my business, about my work and who I was as, you know, an accountant, an auditor, as a c suite executive. That was my, you know, that was my identity. Now, does that mean that there's not opportunities there for me to have relationships? No. There's great opportunities for me to have relationships if I'm willing to work on them. There's great opportunities for me to work on my health and there's great opportunities for me to work on my fitness.

But if I focus on just one thing, then I just go to work every day and I, and I kill that. But I die in the process because I don't have the relationships, I don't have the health and I don't have the fitness. So in the identity grid, what you want to do is you want to pick four channels. My four channels have been career, relationships, health and fitness. Have I nailed all four of those? Well, no, of course not. Never. But if I keep those top of mind, those four channels than each morning, I have the opportunity to set my intention. So the real question would be when I wake up tomorrow on Tuesday, cause this episode comes out on a Monday, when I wake up tomorrow on Tuesday, what's my action in each of those four quadrants?

Okay.

What do I want to do for my health? What do I want to do for my fitness? What do I wanna do for relationships? What do I want to do for my career or in my case now my clients, I want to make them as healthy and fit as they can be. What can I do for my clients tomorrow? What's my one thing? What is the one thing that I can do for my relationships with my family, with my friends? What's the one thing that I can do tomorrow for my health and what's the one thing I can do for my fitness? So if I wake up each morning with a clear action, then I know I'm moving in the right direction now from the action,

okay,

we started establishing goals. So I want to work out three times per week. That's my fitness goal. That gives me an action that each day as I go forward, I have a specific workout that I'm going to be doing three times a week, five times a week, six times a week, whatever it is. That's my goal. So the goal is to complete the action on a consistent basis. I want to be reaching out and talking to my family members. I want to be out and doing things for my health, eating better, doing those types of things, with my career, my relationships with my clients. I want to make sure that I'm delivering results each and every day. So I have these goals. And then the goals, well, unfortunately goals are an approach where an obstacle can step in and actually kind of break you down.

An obstacle can come in and say, Hey, you wanted to do this fitness thing and go to the gym, you know, five days a week? Well guess what? You just tore a shoulder and there's your obstacle. Or a friend shows up in town and says, Hey, let's go out. Let's do this. And you're not at the, so there's going to be obstacles in against your goal, things that are going to keep you from being able to hit that goal. So what you then have to do is you have to build strategies. So as I kind of put these things together as you kind of, if you can to try to visualize this and I know it's very difficult, if you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grid, you're going to find a grid that actually puts all four of these together with each of the pieces that I'm discussing right now.

So I'd encourage you to go out there and check that out. Cause this is a great little tool that I just developed to help you work this through. So to work it backwards, think about this. You're going to have strategies in place to basically break down the obstacles. So if my obstacle is okay, my friends want to play poker on Friday, on Monday at two o'clock and I want to go play poker with them, I enjoy playing poker with them, but that's the best time for me to be at the gym because that's none of my clients schedule calls at two o'clock. I can go do what I want to do during that hour or two hours. And I wanna work on my fitness also. It's the best time for me to go to the gym because that's the slowest time at the gym, which means I'll be able to get to all the machines I want to.

I'll have very efficient and effective workout. So if my strategy is avoid the poker game until three o'clock go get your workout in. Yeah, I'm a be a little sweaty when I go play poker. But Hey, they, they, they can put up with it. If they're getting my money, I have an obstacle and I have a solution and if I wanna do something enough, I'll set a goal. I'll set a goal to be there and do it over and over and over. And the goal is to complete that action and that action is aligned with one of my channels. So I'm not just setting a goal for the sake of setting a goal. I have an intent. I have a purpose, I have something I want to accomplish. So if it's getting into the gym every single day, five days a week, I have an action of going and getting in the gym, doing my workout.

The goal of doing it five times per week. The obstacles are there. I just have to have the strategies in place to make it happen. Now the reason I really liked this model is it, it aligns with something that resonates with me, which is called the be do have. And this is a mindset where if you want to have something you can't just acquire with money, you have to make it happen. And the way you make it happen is you set your mind to that person who is the person that has that thing. So who is the fit person? Who is the person that people compliment because they'd taken care of themselves and they're in good shape. They're the person that that emanates that and they then do the work. So the B means believe in yourself. Believe in who you are, have the self love to go through this whole process.

Have the self-love to download this grid and to sit down and spend some time thinking about where are your failure points? Where are the points where you're not getting what you want? Where are the points where if you applied your energy in the right place, a k a time management, you would get exactly what you want. This grid will help you do that. So have the self-love to do that, to downgrade that, download this grid to spend some time thinking this through because I will tell you this, straight up, health and fitness is 90% mindset. It's, it's, it's nothing hard, but it's the hardest thing in the world if you don't have the right mindset. So I strongly encourage you to spend some time thinking about your mindset, thinking about your goals, thinking about whether your goals and everything you're doing, your, your identity, is it aligned with the person that you want to be? And if it's not, that's where we have to start. We've got to align ourselves with the mindset to be the person that we want to be. Because if we're not that person, we won't get what we want.

If today's episode resonated with you, I really do encourage you to go out and check out the Identity Grid. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grid and get that worksheet today. I really do believe it's a great tool to help you get to the fitness and the lifestyle and the things that you need and want in your life. So please go check it out. 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grid.

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