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June 24, 2019

Live large and live long with Jennifer L Carroll

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When Jennifer L Carroll's husband was diagnosed with cancer, they resolved to make the most of the time they had left. She's shared the story and the lessons she learned in her book, Beyond Invincible.

Allan: 01:05 Jennifer, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Jennifer: 01:09 Hi there. Hi Allan. Nice to meet you.

Allan: 01:11 Nice to meet you too. And you know, of course I read your book Beyond Invincible: Live Large, Live Long and Leave a Profound Legacy. So I feel like I know you pretty well because the book itself was just so heartfelt, impersonal what you went through, what with your husband, Phil and the family and just all of that as you're reading it and you're thinking, okay, I'm thinking, okay, I'm, you know, I'm the guy, I'm supposed to be the provider, but I can tell you I felt a lump in my chest and even though only 5% of men can show breast cancer, it's still a thing. I went and got checked out. Everything was cool. Doctor's like, no, it's not that. Charge on. And I did, uh, although I am changing my lifestyle considerably by moving to Panama. But I really just appreciate how you shared the story and then it wasn't just a story. It then was a series of lessons that I think all of us can learn from.

Jennifer: 02:08 Well, thank you. Yeah, it was an unfortunate situation to have to learn these lessons through, you know, like I say the lessons we learned living while dying. But they were very eye opening and they were lessons that you came to realize. And my kids especially, you know they learned at a younger age then I think typically learned. Learning things about just how to kind of say yes to saying no, we like to live in a world where you know, it's just with infinite opportunities that was just easy to just kind of try to do everything. And we had that mentality. But faced with this life threatening illness, it just forced us to prioritize our lives and recognize what truly matters. And so it has been an incredibly oh, profound journey. Certainly not a journey I wish on anyone. It's been very tough and everyday I, I miss him tremendously.

But like I say in my book and in my speaking, you know, life happens to us. What happens to us happens for us in that sometimes these things don't, we don't understand what are bigger than us blindside us and are not on Tuesday, our mess, messy parts of life can become our message and our ar tests can become our testimony and our trials could be, you know, just becomes something that we can share and share our stories and share our insights and make a difference in the lives of others. By allowing them to kind of glean insight for what we've experienced, apply it to their lives and hopefully come out better off. Like I hope that you will share your Sloth life..

Allan: 03:52 The sloth. Yeah. Sloth life. Yeah.

Jennifer: 03:55 Sloth Life, I hope you share it because I want to learn that lifestyle a little bit, just tie a little bit to this crazy world we live in over here still as you're enjoying the chickens and the tranquility of this amazing new journey of yours.

Allan: 04:11 And I think that's really, you know, in the book as I went through, I was like, you introduced me to Phil. You know, through stories and through just, you know, his, you know, he was in the book and I was like, this is the kind of guy I would just love to sit down and have a dinner with or have a drink with. And so I just really kind of acclimated to who he, who he was and what he was doing in his business life and his family life and all that. And just saying, you know, this was just a really cool guy. And then unfortunately, um, he got cancer and then there's a challenge and there's some things that you're going through. Can you take just a minute to kind of introduce Phil so we know who were talking about,

Jennifer: 04:50 Okay, so Phil Huh. Was larger than life and very, he was an Alpha personality. He absolutely thought he was invincible. He had this invincible spiritual entrepreneur. Really just always saw the hole in the doughnut. He saw the opportunity. He used to, he used to coach might son our son talking to you when he was a little dude. And he's tell these little guys that were all keen to like go masons score a goal because of course that's life. That's the metaphor. And that's what all they wanted to do. You'd say, Gosh, you have to, you know, when you're wasting towards the net, you got to shoot. You can't shoot at the goalie because the goalie is the obstacle. It's the barrier to what you want. You have to see the hole around the goalies because those are the opportunities.

And that was Phil. He did not see obstacles. He saw opportunities. And when the kids grew up and they'd say, Dad, I have a problem. They'd come with him with weeping eyes and dad, this happened. That happened. He would say, Austin, we don't have problems, have opportunities. And anything that came his way just looks, you know, he had these rose colored glasses and he could just somehow see the positive in everything. So that was Phill in a nutshell, larger than life. And, um, but the downside of that, that was the greatest part, that was the part that we just all tapped into and how he lived every day to leave his legacy and why people remember him. He just had this intense power and ability to see the goodness in all things. But he also, it became his demise because he truly felt so invincible. But he had, he was gonna fix it. Like most Alpha personality, most, I don't know if I could just generalize to men, but let's just say fathers, husbands, you know, our heroes, they have to take care of everything.

They're fixed it guys, they're going to, they're going to take care of their wives. They're going to take care of their, their staff. They're going to take care of their kids. They can take care of everything. Do you know what Phil didn't realize is that he made this assumption that if he was fit and have abs and could run marathons and ate organic, he was healthy. And in fact, that is a disconnect. He wasn't healthy. In fact, she had symptoms of prostate cancer that he ignored. And he never went to the doctor because he knew more than doctors. He understood his body and he was young and he just didn't go to doctors. The first time he ever sat across a desk of a doctor in his life, doctor looked at him and said, Phil, we have stage four prostate cancer and you're fighting for your life so you can feel me getting a bit choked up here.

This was my passion for writing this book is to not only share with the world this incredible man's story about how he lives large with great passion and vision for life and making life happen. But I also want to add significance to death and bring me to death by sharing his story and really trying to just get this message of proactive health out to a personality of that Alpha personality that just thinks they can handle everything. They can take care of everything because in fact Phil couldn't. And so, you know, sadly if you choose, he passed away and he didn't take care of his health the way he could have been a bit more proactive. So that's really, um, the passion behind the book and bottom line message of just being proactive about your health and recognizing the significance of health, which I know is what your whole platform is all about is health and fitness.

Allan: 08:27 Yeah. And again, I think that's one of the kind of the core tenants out of this is this, you know, this could've just been a story and a good story that, cause I, like I said, I really, I really liked the guy. Uh, I've never met him, but I really like him. And so I get that it's just what I liked so much was that then, okay. You know, as we start looking at our health, and it's something that I'm really kind of wrapping my mind around more and more is that, you know, perception is reality in many cases. But when you're looking at your wellness, you know, so beyond just the general health, it's not just, okay, what is the, what is the biopsy? What is the blood test? What does that show? What is, you know, what's your fitness level like you said, can, you know, do you have six pack ads and those types of things. But it's this are you living the quality of life of you having the things that you know you enjoy. And that kind of goes on this concept of having a positive view. And it is something that as I've had conversations with you before we got on and, and then now have, you know, come from the book, is that there's this common thread that runs across your message and your life is okay. I still need to be positive that things are happening, but I still need to be positive. Can you, can you talk a little bit about that?

Jennifer: 09:42 So the first thing that resonates with me as this concept that you just brought up, and I'm sure it's the philosophy behind why you picked up your wife Tammy and you and you moved out one way away to live, put yourself in a, in a life that has a little bit more rest, that has more of a sloth life. Phil lived this intense life where he really said no to nothing. And we all have stress. Stress gets us out of bed. Stress allows us to accomplish great things. Stress, You know, but there is destress. So there's obviously a difference. And I know you know the difference and I think people generally know the difference between stress and destress. Phil learned that too late. We have, we all, we might have a bucket list. People understand the concept of a bucket list. When we had traded something, and I talk about it in the book called the chuck it list. Because all of a sudden in our lives we just didn't have intended opportunities. The world is our oyster. We had, Phil was fighting for life and so he couldn't even really travel. He was hooked to an oxygen tank and so all of a sudden these things would come at us. We had to have a way of figuring out how do choose what to do and not to do.

And what we did is we write our core values every year as part of what we do to set our goals. So we made a list of what are our core values and number one had to be health, love, family, faith. We wrote these core values and as life came at us, we would just look and see if they fell under those, those values. And if they didn't, we actually physically had a bucket on the counter, and little note cards, little index cards. We write it down and throw it in the bucket and just out something to do with like just crinkling up that piece of paper through it away just destressed us because we couldn't do all these things and we were able to justify the importance of doing the things we chose to do, which aligned with our values and chucking the things that didn't align with our values and allowing us to experience rest. And the concept of rest is a very interesting concept I mean there was a story of artists that were given a blank canvas and asked to draw a picture representing rest. And one artist through this very serene setting out in the mountains of of a mountain, this mountains and trees and this dead calm lake. That was his depiction of rest, which makes sense.

The other artists painted this tumultuous waterfalls, raging waterfall and pouring down. You could see the mist from the waterfall in this picture. And then through the waterfall was this branch of a tree. And at the end of the branch of a tree with a little nest. And on top of that little nest was a little bird, little sparrow sitting on her egg. And that was his representation of rest. And I, the point is with this metaphorical story is that in our lives, crazy chaos and noise coming at us, bombarding us from all angles, phone, Internet, emails, people demanding us doing all these different things. We can still find rest even in this crazy world we live, I don't know if he's been to India, but I've been to India on a speaking tour and it was amazing to see populated crazy world with no rhyme or reason and just traffic everywhere and just people. And in amongst this madness, you'd look and you'd see this band sitting on the side of the road in Lotus meditating. What? And I just found it so fascinating. See these people in this world that was just so crazy. And compared to what we live out in the Western society, they were able to find rest through peace and meditation and what you probably call the sloth life. And that was something that Phil never discovered until he got sick. And it is something that is so important to health, to have that time of rest and to have meditation and to have sloth moments where you are breathing and in a place where you can hear the whispers of, you know, the omens and, and of life and just see the significance of what really matters and kind of boil it down to what we really value. I'm just aligning our choices with those things that we value in life.

Allan: 14:19 Yeah. And, and I really, you know, I think that was a cool thing. I did actually go to India and I found it odd. They have a timer to when the light's going to turn green. And it is, it is literally like they're lining up for the Indy 500 with a cow, with a taxi, with a tutut, and they all take off at the same time and they're all honking their horn. So they don't hit each other because they physically see everything that's going on. They're just listening, listening, and it's phenomenal. And you're right. Yeah, there's, there's just the person sitting over in this side of the road. There's another person that I guess to make a living, they've picked up a broom and they're just sweeping and it's like, okay, you know, everybody's making their way. And if we're all in that charge, charge, charge, charge, lifestyle all the time, you're right, We're not giving our bodies something that's extremely important for it to recover, to even enjoy a basic moment. And even you might not think that paradise of that mountain or I'm not in this or that. These things can be found in your own back yard. You know, just going to the city park and just taking just a moment to take in a few breaths of fresh air. Particularly as now, you know, we're, we're into June and it's about to get warm. Take advantage of those good weather days and spend a little bit of time at the park, spend a little bit of time just casually walking through the zoo. Even if you don't know how those grandkids, sometimes just going and doing something that's very just a fine and just relaxing is going to do a lot to add value to your day.

Jennifer: 15:50 For sure. For sure. Yup. Even like starting off your morning and just having, instead of diving on your phone and checking your messages and your emails to just wake up and have a little moment to kind of ease into your day. They say ideally even 60 minutes of just either meditating or reading something inspiring or listening to a Ted talk or, or doing something that just kind of eases you into your day with that proper mindset instead of just diving into all of our to do lists. That crazy world we live in.

Allan: 16:24 Yeah, I have, I have this book, it's called the Daily Stoic and basically stoicism and it's these little like two minute little vignette things that you can read each day. And I've had this book for like three years and this is the first year that have actually made every day. You know I'm like I'm sitting down to take a moment to read and like I'm so I'm so proud but you know all the things I've accomplished in my life. This is actually something that I'm pretty, I'm pretty happy about.

Jennifer: 16:53 That's cool. That's great. I know it's a big practice for me cause I've just trying to stay positive myself and on this journey and, and get through this [unaudible] is wake up in the morning and just, I write in the gratitude journal every morning and just take a minute and kind of reflect on all the, you know the abundance that I have and then how I'm so grateful for so many things and just the things that I'm looking forward to the day and kind of write down kind of what is the, like what would the day be? What would success look like at the end of this day for me, what would three things be that would just make this day a successful positive day? And I think by just setting up retention first thing in the morning before you start diving into that, all of your stuff and all the emails and all that follow up, I think that has been a very, very significant thing for me. And it's what I share other people and not only this book but in, I'm putting on Women's retreat now moving forward that are called Illuminate You. And so I teach a lot about these setting goals and doing vision boards and aligning your values with your goal setting and the importance of having a mastering your morning. My daughter, actually, my daughter Jessica, who certainly has been on this journey of loss as well, she does retreats as well and they're all based on master your morning master your life. And it's just the, which was in that first hour of the morning, even an hour and a half that just consent not only your morning but by eight o'clock your day is pretty much set. And if you can set your mornings up rate, you know, it really does set up your life the right way and it's transformational.

Allan: 18:34 It is, it is. You know, I'm probably not as good at that as I would like, but I'd chosen a lifestyle where I don't have to be as productive, if you will. For me, productivity is, is, you know, making sure one, I spent some time with my wife, you know, two I've done the things I need to do for my clients. And beyond that my workday's done. I can just, you know, relax if I need to or I can do something. So I guess it's sad to say it took me a long, long time to get to this place and I don't think I might've been as hard a charger as Phil, but I was a pretty hard charger in myself. I was actually training for a spartan race and I'm just doing this training and I had a trainer and I was working really hard, was getting really strong and everything was going the way I wanted it to Aand then I tore my rotator cuff and you know, it was like, okay, well what does this mean? And you know, I like physically going to be able to do this thing and I just committed myself, you know, being the guy. I can do this. And that's my, there was a concept in your book that you call, it Just Keeps Swimming. That I really like because I was like, okay, well that's where I was and now I might've been doing it for all the wrong reasons in the world, but I just really liked the concept of when things aren't necessarily what you want them to be, just continuing that move forward to saying, okay, I can't do overhead presses obviously what can I do? And I changed out my workouts working with my trainer. We figured out what I could do and that meant when I went to actually finally went in and got surgery done and then into PT, I was in much better shape than a lot of other people would have been because they would have just quit. They would've said, okay, well I thought I'm done. Can you kind of talk a little bit about the concept of to Just Keep Swimming and how you use it?

Jennifer: 20:28 Okay. Yes, so we had little kids. We loved the movie finding Nemo. I don't know if you are a fan of that movie, but it's just, it is a classic about little nemos who gets lost and his dad and Dory, what's his dad's name? Anyway, but Dory was the little, the blue fish and the two of them went on a journey and they had to end up in Australia. They were on a search for his long lost son who got picked up by some poachers. Fisherman. Anyways, a cute little story, but it's one scene in the story is where Dory and nemos Dad, I forget his name, it are in this whale. They got swollen by a friggin whale on this journey. And the metaphor is like in life, did you ever feel like you'd been swallowed by a whale? Right. Okay. And you know, we're inside this whale thinking, okay, this is it and it smells and there's carcasses inside that no ribs. And you're like, this is it. This is it. We're done. We're swalloed by a whale it's, it's over. Okay. And as nemos dad is just, you know, they'll never see nemo again. This is it. Dory bust into song. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, and we love this movie as a family, the Carroll family and Phil for some reason took this and ran with it and he used to put little signs all over the house, posted up on tack boards and things, a little mantras and one of them would always just keep swimming and just keep moving your feet. He had another philosophy of two steps forward. You have two steps forward, one step back that's life like two steps forward, one step back. You're still going to, as long as you keep moving forward, you're going to progress. Even if it's just baby step and if you're back to finding nemo after dory busted a song and Nemo's dad doesn't give up, the whale throws him through the blowhole and they end up in the harbor of Sydney and they find Nemo. So it has a happy ending.

Yes. The metaphor is to just keep moving and Phil really just did that and it was amazing. I was so hammered with this man my whole life. He was just such a go getter. He was just such a driver. He just, he, like I said, he never saw the obstacle. He only saw the opposite opportunities and he accomplished a lot of things. But the one, I remember this one day, he, we're sitting out in this chair in our backyard and it was, you know, he's used to be this huge big man that filled this big chair and he was now just this waste of a man and he had it hooked to an oxygen tank and I was watching, I was cleaning up his breakfast and I noticed them reaching down into the well of, or into the side of this chair. He'd obviously placed these little two pound weight and one of the time he started lifting these weights over his head, two pounds, little pink weights that I used to walk with. And I just, Ugh, I watched him in awe, I thought he's sitting there all by himself. He doesn't have a trainer. He doesn't know I'm looking and here's this man who is dying, but he's still gonna keep on swimming. He has the belief that my body's made to move and I'm going to keep moving. And I'm going to fight this till the end and sat there and I watched him slowly and painfully lift these two pound weight over his head for 10/15 minutes. And I've never been more in awe a human cause I just, I couldn't believe he was still fighting all on his own and we kept those two pound weight on the kitchen counter for up to a year after he passed. And it was just such a metaphor to not give up because in life we just have to keep moving forward. And many times we have races or Spartan races and we're, you know, we're athletic and we run into injuries and, and we have to keep moving forward because no matter what, even my dying husband still found reasons to keep strong enough for himself and his family should not ever really be dying.

He was living while dying right till his very last year breath, which is just, you know, it was really incredible to watch that. And even on my journey through my loss, I feel like I'm constantly thinking about that metaphor and thinking about this little two pound weights because it is, it is a journey and none of us are insulated from loss of challenge and chaos and how do we stay positive and keep on swimming when we hear the word I'm leaving your, you're fired, you're son or daughter has autism, have an injury and you can't finish the race. I mean we have various levels of these challenges, but I think it's just really important to just recognize that as long as we're moving forward. Just one baby step at a time and we're lifting a two pound weight up over our head, that that's how we can just keep our journey moving forward and not give up. Don't give up.

Allan: 25:11 Yeah. And there's a lot of this going on in the world. You know the rates of cancer just going up and none of us are actually invincible. None of us are immune to cancer. Rather we lived a really healthy life or not. It's still something that could be there and you know, the worst part of this, and I'm, I'm right up in there, I'll put my hand up and say, me too. We don't get ourselves, as guys, we don't treat ourselves as well as we should. Women are a little better at going in and getting their mammograms and getting their their thing done for one reason or another us guys are like, I don't feel sick, therefore I'm not. And that's not, that's not how this stuff works. So the, one of the clear messages out of the book that I, I want everyone to kind of take away from this is you're over 50 and you haven't gotten that appointment done. Go get that appointment. If it's the time that basically they're saying you should, yes you should. If there's enough data out there to say it's likely to happen to you. So don't ignore it. It's, it's, you know we get insurance because we know that something could happen. We get auto insurance because nothing could happen. It's outside of our control. And this is just kind of one of those insurance policies. By catching it early, you stand a much better chance of helping yourself. Can you kind of just, I mean, just, you know, I put the message out there but that to me that was the message that I'd like to get around this as well. Cause I didn't want that to be a monologue, but I kind of took it, didn't I?

Jennifer: 26:37 No, that's so, yes. You know, I look at it, I'm constantly talking to them, entrepreneurs and business people. It's just mostly my audience, partly because Phil was involved in a lot of different organizations, business organizations and they know his stories. So they've wanted me to share it with them. And it is this concept like treats your health, like you treat the businesses and do the due diligence on your health as you do in your businesses. I know these entrepreneurs, they do whatever deal they're doing, they do all the due diligence and they hire a slew of lawyers and they pay them a ton of money and they do all this research. And if there's one little red flag before they jump in, you know that's it. They walk away from a potential investment because of the research and the due diligence they've done on each of these deals.

And I just, I know Phil, I watched Phil do it for years, but I know he did not do that with his health. He just didn't get the information that he needed to make the right decisions. And He, you know, he did run marathons. He did eat organic, he was healthy. He did have a great physique. He, he looks extremely fit. He was fit but inside he just, he really didn't believe in going to the doctor, in fact he bragged about not going to the doctor or the dentist and it really backfired on him. And it's not to say he had a very, he had a very aggressive cancer. It might've taken his life anyway. But the fact was is that if he had been a bit more proactive or a lot more proactive about his health and you know, he was diagnosed at 47. I talked to men about getting a prostate check. Not waiting till they're 50 because it's, you know, it's a testosterone based test there. It's PSA, prostate specific antigen in the blood that they're testing. Not a perfect test, but it's, it gives you a huge fighting chance if you can detect it early enough that you can do something about it and if you can do something about it early enough, really there's a lot of other.

I mean Phil was 47 years old and he was diagnosed with prostate cancer stage four and had to have a prostatectomy and was insufficient at 47 I mean just even, that's a whole other conversation of the challenges of a young man facing that and it was horrific for him and it was just one of the, you know, anyway, it was, that's the whole, like I said, another whole story, but if you can catch it early enough, 97% of men survive this illness, so get the information, get a baseline at a younger age than 50 I know they say typically 50 but it's fed. The cancer is fed by testosterone. And so they just said that it's more aggressive in the younger men. So just get a prostate check early enough that you can start a baseline and then every year, every second year, just keep doing the test. And if it slightly goes up in it, there's signs that maybe you could have a cost state, might've prostate cancer and it can be dealt with that ignoring symptoms and once you have symptoms still has symptoms where he was urinating a lot, couldn't empty his bladder. Um, because he was 47 years, these conversations were happening in the locker room where it automatically triggered him that he might've prostate cancer. He, you know, probably, you know, he was diagnosed a lot earlier than most men. And so I do try to get men to just include it in their annual checkups to have this test done in their forties just to be safe and to just know that information up front so they can deal with it.

Allan: 30:04 And you get so many more options when you catch these things early on. So much is out of your control if it gets too aggressive, gets too far along. So, um, Jennifer, I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be, what are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Jennifer: 30:24 Yes. So I agree. I have like my retreats, I'm running my retreats now and they illuminate you and my three concepts are fun, Fab and Frisky. So I think fun factor is just to, it's never too late to rediscover what turns you on. And so I really believe in a creative, you know, tapping into your creative genius. So one of the things I teach or introduce women potentially in these retreats is art, comedy and dance and just getting, you know, making sure that you're doing things that are fun, that keep you laughing, that keeps you figuring out what turns you on about you. And then I think under the fab part is very much, you know, being fabulous and be healthy is feeling alive, feeling vibrant and healthy is making sure that you eat properly. It is, as you know, very much of being physically active and moving your body.

But I also, if I could say one of the biggest things I've discovered in the last 10 years, because even when Phil was sick, it's been six years since he passed. We didn't really value the concept of rest and meditation and like having staycations and going into your backyard, actually noticing that you have hummingbirds in your backyard that are really amazing to just watch and appreciate their flight and their little magical dances and their little whispers of messages. And we discovered that through this journey of Phil's illness and then my rediscovery of myself in my new life and kind of what is fun, fabulous and frisky about me. And I think that that rest factor is very important.

And the other thing, I think the number one thing to health as well as just trying to stay positive and choosing happiness and that comes, you know, to this, what turns you on to yourself? What is it that you find about yourself that makes you happy and keeps you positive? And looking through the worlds through those rose colored glasses. And so I think that's it. That's kind of just, those are probably my three things is to be positive, to find rest through meditation and just stillness, and then also just never stop kind of rediscover and what turns you on or what keeps you alive and happy and being the best self you can be.

Allan: 32:45 Those are really cool. Now, Jennifer, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book and the retreats that you're doing, uh, where would you like for me to send them?

Jennier: 32:55 Yeah, it's simple. Jennifer L. Carroll my website is https://jenniferlcarroll.com. And on that, you know, on my website you can certainly learn more about my book Beyond Invincible. And there's a tab about the illuminate you retreats that I'm putting on in Scottsdale, Arizona. I've got some intensive one day retreat going on and then I've got three day retreats that are going on as well and we tap into the rediscovering your fun feathered, frisky selves that we certainly have a lot of fun and so that you can learn about if you want to get more information on those things. I also have some video footage of our family and, and Phil, I did a little video show on Phil's last year of life. He himself talks about some of the lessons he learned living this journey of life and he's so positive and even in his last days. And so there's some footage on there. A show called following Phil that we did on, on Youtube and Facebook. So you can tap into a whole bunch of different resources and things on my, on my website.

Allan: 34:01 Okay, well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/385 and I'll be sure to have a link there. So Jennifer, thank you so much for being a part of 40 plus fitness.

Jennifer: 34:12 Well thank you. And I really am hoping to, I'm really looking forward to following your, your journey in Panama on your sloth life.

Allan: 34:22 At the very least, because you know, Tammy was on about 10 episodes ago and so yeah, I'm fairly certain as we get things organized here and get a little bit more into it I'll have more episodes like that, so thank you.

Jennifer: 34:34 Cool. That'll be great. I'm really looking forward to learning more about you. Thank you. This is really, really great to talk to you today.

All right, so how did you like that? I really enjoyed that conversation with Jennifer. She's got a really, really cool outlook on life and things are really looking up for us. I'm really, really happy to have had that conversation. I hope you took something valuable from today's show. You know, I wanted to give you a little bit of an update of what's going on around my world. As you know, I bought Island Fitness down here in Bocas del Toro, Panama. So I'm getting into the day to day of that. And it's Kinda got my juices going to want to do a little bit more training than I've been doing.

I'm not saying I've shrugged on any of that. I mean I am working directly with my clients but I really haven't gone out and said, hey, I want new clients, but I'm opening up five new slots for my one on one personal training and these are very intense, very specialized personalized training sessions that we have directly on the phone via email, you're part of the group. So there's also group accountability. It's a really cool set of features. I'd love to have you talk to me about it to discuss how one-on-one online personal training can help you reach all of your health and fitness goals.

I know during the summer we get busy, things here and there and a lot of times our health and fitness goals just sort of fall by the wayside and I don't want that to happen to you. If you have a coach, if you have accountability, you can stay on track and enjoy your summer. So why don't you go ahead and just send me an email, allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com. Again, that's allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com. We could have a short little dialogue about it. I'll send you to the application form if it looks like you're a fit, and then I'm going to accept five new clients during the month of July. So starting July 1st, which is today. You want to get on that list? You want to go ahead and email me so I can get you in there, allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com. Really looking forward to meeting you, really looking forward to helping you reach your health and fitness goals.

Another episode you may enjoy

Short cuts to happiness with Tal Ben-Shahar

Patreons

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

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

Thank you!


Today we're going to interview a very, very cool guy. I know you're going to enjoy this interview quite a bit because we're going to talk about happiness. As you probably know, if you've listened to this podcast for awhile, I've recently moved down to Panama and so I've been kind of going through a kind of a stage to move and we came back to the states a couple of weeks ago and moved out some things out of our house to make it a little easier to facilitate moving in closing, when someone does actually make an offer. But it's also been a pretty stressful few weeks and try and get that done. Get our dog down here to Panama, which was an ordeal in and of itself. And also sign the contract and by Island Fitness here in Bocas del Toro.

So now I am a proud gym owner of Island Fitness in Bocas del Toro. If you find yourself down in Bocas, please do come by and drop in for a workout. I'd love to meet you.

But again, that's been a very, very stressful time. So I'm, I'm really glad to go back and reflect on that with a this renewed look at what we were talking about today. If there's anything I can do to help you though, I do really want to help you reach your health and fitness goals. It goes well beyond what we do here at the podcast. I'm all in for helping you find wellness and I'm offering a free 15 minute consult, a no obligation, just a free phone call. We get on the conference call line and we'll talk about the things that matter most to you and your wellness.

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/15min and book your free 15 minute consult. That link actually just takes you directly to my calendar so you can just set up the link and nothing else to do. Get on the phone with me and I can try to help you reach your health and fitness goals this Summer.

Tal Ben-Shahar knows the power of happiness. In fact, he teaches courses at Harvard on positive psychology and happiness. On this episode, we discuss his book, Short Cuts to Happiness.

Allan: 02:56 Tal, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 03:00 Thank you. Thank you for having me here.

Allan: 03:02 Your book is called Shortcuts to Happiness: Life Changing Lessons From My Barber. And your barber's name is Avi last time I went to a barber and I didn't have one that was nearly as cool as yours.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 03:28 Yeah. Well, you know, I must say that during those two years I had at much shorter haircut than usual and not just me also my boys. So I took them more often than necessary to the barber.

Allan: 03:40 Yeah. I get it. It sounds like a really cool place that it seems sometimes you just pop in just to hang out. It was, it was really kind of that, that cool of a place.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 03:50 Yeah. You know, in many ways, I saw it as an island of sanity in our crazy busy world, where things are up in the air and everything is virtual. And here was something, a real, authentic, simple, and wise.

Allan: 04:07 Yeah. My wife and I moved to Panama not long ago to try to find exactly what you're talking about. We were, we literally are on an island and yesterday we went to this this farm, it's an organic farm. They do cocoa and coconuts and all of that. So he taught us all about, walked us all over his property it was really cool to just kind of, I guess I would say disconnect, but it really was reconnect because we spend more time online I think then I do offline and that's really kind of a sad statement. But, I do appreciate that you had that opportunity to hang out with Avi and learn even probably more than probably a second book coming I guess is the best way for me to explain.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 04:49 This is a sequel. Yes. I am actually hoping, I must say I'm actually hoping that other people will write sequels. Cause I think maybe the, the most important, one of the most important lessons I learned is that wisdom is a ubiquitous, it's everywhere. For 25 years I've been in academia, you know, still am and most of my primary source for me was the academic research, ancient wisdom. You know, from the great thinkers, from Plato, Aristotle, Confucius and Suddenly I, when once I opened my eyes or ears, I realize that deep wisdom that is there was just a literally in my neighborhood.

Allan: 05:29 And that's what I thought was so cool is you know, one of the things you did in the book, and I'll have to look it up here real quick because I actually, as soon as I read that chapter, I pulled down the book. It's a fiction book is called the Schopenhauer Cure.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 05:44 Yes, by Irvin D. Yalom.

Allan: 05:46 I've downloaded that book that's now on my reading list for the next one because I just thought it was really cool that you were looking and tying these things together from the conversations that having with your barber to a book you may have read somewhere else, even if it was a novel. And just kind of like, I you said it's just this birth of wisdom that you're getting in your, in your local environment.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 06:08 Yes,and what I realized is that the minute I decided to write that book. It happened. When I was having my haircut and I was not having a good day, but I, you know, went for the haircut. 20 minutes later I come out, you know, just looking better, but also feeling better. And that's the moment I said I have to write a book about this guy because I wasn't the only one having these experiences under his scissors and tutelage. And the minute I decided to write this book, suddenly this almost, this whole world opened up. And, uh, every time I went to have a haircut or took my kids to have a haircut, there were more and more pearls of wisdom. It's just about having, you know, opening our eyes, opening our ears to the opportunities.

Allan: 06:55 And that was what again, like I said, really cool because the book opened my eyes to a few things that I guess I, you know, I knew, I think, like you said, a lot of this stuff is there. It's just sometimes it gets buried in us. And one of the first topics that I kind of want to get into because as soon as soon as I read it, I was like, ah, that's it was your chapter on posture and the impact it has on us psychologically if we're not in a good posture.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 07:22 Yeah. You know, the connection between mind and body. And then in the west primarily we don't recognize this connection. And I thought about it when my kid was having a haircut and I saw how Avi essentially straightened his back and suddenly his posture changed. And I could see that psychologically he changed as well. And as soon as he did that, you know, I thought to all the research out there on the importance of posture, showing that, you know, for example, people who walk briskly with their shoulders back and hands swinging are happier. Also if they just fake it. In other words, if you fake walking, cause even if you don't feel, feel that way, you still start walking this way, you actually start to feel better. Or if you put on a on a smile, happy face, even if you initially fake it, you become it over time. So it's the connection between our postures in our psychological state, our external state in our internal state.

Allan: 08:29 Yeah. Since we traveled to Panama, I haven't had a chance to move my studio stuff down and I have this adjustable desks and I've been in this apartment that we rented. It's near town. It's perfectly located for us to learn where things are. But I'm literally sitting at a kitchen counter on a, on a chair and I just realized as I was reading the book, because it's on my computer as well as I was all hunched down and I, you know, closed and leaning forward and I was like, let's try this. I got up, I get up and actually walked to the store and when I got back, it's like I had drank a pot of coffee. I felt so much better. I had so much more energy. And so I think just, just kind of taking that moment when we realize, hey, you know, I'm not open I'm closed and I need to open myself up. I think there's a lot of joy, a lot of happiness and positive vibes that are going to come out of just kind of realizing the body is connected to the mind and vice versa. And they both can be used as tools to help the other.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 09:30 Exactly. So the fact that it's a loop between them in a loop, you know, circular relationship, uh, cycle means that we can start anywhere. We can start by changing our mind. We can start by changing our, uh, our posture. Now the interesting thing is that there is another loop, not an internal loop, but an external loop. In other words, if a, you know, you walk to the store and you know, slouch, looking down, you're unlikely to have interactions with others. Whether when you open yourself, up physically then others are much more likely to respond to you in the same way, which of course will lead to a, to an upward spiral.

Allan: 10:12 Yeah, I know my career is as an intern when I was an internal auditor, I tended to have more of a, like you said, a closed posture at work. And that affected my relationship with everybody at work. You know, they saw me as this scary guy and even though we were on the same team, the, you know, working for the same company it did, it did put off that vibe that I was unapproachable and it's sometimes difficult for me offline now, you know, just dealing day to day with just normal people to have the right vibe. And so I do need to keep myself cognizant of how I'm projecting.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 10:46 Yeah. And you know, as, as you were talking, I'm thinking of something else regarding our life in the office. You know, we spend a lot of time in the uh, in our isoffice sitting down and it's very unhealthy to spend all these, uh, all these hours. Even if you are sitting up on a positive, open posture, just being static, being sedentary is unhealthy. There are doctors who actually are talking today about sitting is the new smoking now. I think there are exaggerating but not much. Meaning there's a lot of research showing just how bad sitting for you know, eight hours, 10 hours a day is for us. And the suggestion is that the rule of thumb is, you know, every half hour get up for, even if it's 10 20 seconds, you know, get up and move around and then go back to sit. This will have an impact both in your psychological wellbeing as well as your physical wellbeing.

Allan: 11:45 Yeah, there was a, there's a lot of people that follow this thing called Pomodoro. Are you familiar with that? No. Okay. It's basically where you have a work and you know you're gonna be sitting in there doing this work task. You set your clock for 25 minutes and you just focus on that one task for your 25 minutes and when the 25 minutes is up, you now have a five minute break to get up, move around to not think about that project, to stare at blue sky, to do anything that would give you some moment of, of rest, some moment of refreshment, and then you can go back for another 25 minutes. And uh, they've found scientifically that people are a lot more, um, effective, a lot more productive following that method.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 12:27 Yes, I can certainly see why that happens. And again, the impact is both psychological and physiological.

Allan: 12:36 There's another important loop that you talk about in the book that I think a lot of us forget and it reminded me of, you know, when you read books like the blue zones and things like that, about how people are living longer and healthier, happier and healthier lives. It's about being connected is like being part of the whole.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 12:52 Yeah. You know, number one predictor of happiness is relationships. There's a wonderful study at Harvard. It was, it started almost a century ago. It followed the Harvard students as well as people from the community around Cambridge, Massachusetts followed them for over 75 years. And, um, what was fun at the end of the 75 years after collecting quite literally millions of data points. What was fun was that there was one major predictor of both health, physical health and happiness, psychological health, and um, and that was relationships. Now the interesting thing about relationships was that it didn't matter what kind of relationships, meaning some people had romantic relationships that they enjoy for, for decades. Others had very close family ties, others had very close intimate friends. Um, professional relationships, it didn't matter, but people who had close, intimate, real, genuine relationships, were both happier as well as healthier. The best predictor. Now, today, you know, you alluded to this earlier today, we're losing this connection because real relationships are being substituted by virtual relationships. And unfortunately, 1000 friends on social media are no substitute for that one, you know, best friend that one or two intimate relationships.

Allan: 14:21 Yeah, it's a 400 square foot apartment right now. So my wife and I have been spending a lot of intimate time together and you know, at first I thought when we first got here, I'm like, you know, we're going to be, we're going to be fighting all the time and I'll say there's been some, you know, some moments, little flare ups here and there, but really I feel much more connected to her, to the world, just having this opportunity to have this time with her.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 14:44 Yes. Um, I can, I can absolutely see that. The other thing though is also, you know, in the best relationships, whether it's the romantic relationships, whether it's friendships, there are disputes, there are disagreements. And there are no sterile or perfect relationships. In fact, a very important part of a healthy long-term relationship is, um, dealing with the conflict to disputes.

Allan: 15:08 Well, when you're in a one little bedroom place together, there's a few, there's a few here and there, but no, really, it's, it's been pretty, it's been pretty awesome. There's another chapter you had in here. One of the things you said about the book that I think's important is these, these lessons are not something you just read through one time and say, oh, okay, I got it and I'm going to follow this. You'd go back to these, I think these are some great lessons for you just have this book nearby. Uh, and when you feel okay, I'm angry, or I'm not connected or I'm not happy, flip through the just the table of contents. I went through kind of an episode earlier this week and I got angry. I just, you know, and so I found myself just very angry at this event. And I went back actually because I'd read this chapter before I went back and read it again. And so that's on anger management and I have to say it did help me kind of put this all back into perspective. And I'm not going to say I perfectly managed that situation, but it's, it's, it is past me now. And so can you talk a little bit about how we can approach anger?

Tal Ben-Shahar: 16:08 Sure. So, you know, if I can tell the background behind that chapter, which was a real fun chapter to write. So, you know, I was having my haircut and this woman just storms into the barber shop, all angry and upset. And Avi asked her, you know, what's up? And she says, well, you know this. And then she used an expletive, this guy, you know, cuts me off, uh, how dare he, and so on and so on. And Avi says to her, you know, I have a, I have a method of dealing with this kind of behavior on other people's parts. And she says, what. And you know, we both both actually thought, you know, he said, I beat him up because, you know, is a strong guy. But no, he takes another other routes. And what he says is that if he's, let's say waiting for a parking spot and you know, the, the parking spot frees up and is this, you know, he's been waiting and as soon as he tries to go in with a car, an SUV cuts him off.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 17:01 And then he said to us, he said, what I imagined then is that a cow cut me off and you know, both of us, you know, just laugh and say, a cow? and he says, exactly because when you're thinking of a cow, you laugh and a, and then you're not angry. And you know, he was, he was actually basically talking about some very interesting research that has been conducted over the last 50 years on emotions. And the basic idea here is that you cannot experience to emotions. Simulatanously for example, especially if they are opposites. Emotions such as amusement, a cow is cutting me off, an anger and SUV cut me off or empathy and anger and therefore introducing some humor into the mix. Actually shift our mindset as well as the set away from away from anger. And, uh, I must say I've been using this very often, not just when, you know, when people cut me off when on the road, but in other occasions, you know, imagining something funny when I tend to be angry or upset. It's very simple. It's, you know, it's even silly, but it's the silliness of it that makes it so effective.

Allan: 18:10 And that's what I kind of liked about it, was it's something internal that you can control. You know, if you recognize that you're having an emotion and that emotion is not the frame of mind that you want to be, and it's not your ideal state, you have this tool click and you internalize the humor, have a little chuckle and then move on about your day.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 18:31 Yes, exactly. And I think the thing that you're pointing to is the idea of, uh, of choice. I have a choice. I have a choice whether to focus on in a big evil SUV or a, or a funny, cute cow.

Allan: 18:47 Yeah. In my case, it's, a person that revokes a contract that I thought was going to be good for us, and then boom, it's gone. And I'm like, okay. And I'm powerless. So there was a bit of anger and then I'm kinda like, well, you know, um, how would I feel if that was a penguin, you know, that I had to prove on the Godrej no, it does. It is what it is. You know, I'm a monkey pees on you here on the, you know, in the jungle and you just, you just keep going. You know, he's just, you know, you don't get angry at the monkey, you know, the, the choice part of it is also, I think, kind of a critical aspect to this whole management of happiness or trying to find happiness. And I wouldn't say so much. You call it shortcuts. None of these are really shortcuts, but they are, they are the most direct path. And sometimes getting somewhere that you want to get is not about going fast. It's actually about slowing down.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 19:45 Yeah. I think that this is, um, this is such an important tip or shortcut you call it in, especially in our modern life when things are so fast, when that, when there is in constant flux of information and uh, and noise and happenings and you know, you, you moved to Panama, I'm, I'm assuming at least to slow, too slow down this frantic pace significantly. Yeah. And the question is how can we deal with the frantic pace and it's in one way is to just, uh, you know, move away, retire getaway from, from it all. The other approach is to find, again what I said at the beginning to find islands of sanity in this crazy busy world and island of sanity can be a going out with a dear friend to dinner and switching your phone off and not being available and really being there with that person or going for a walk once again without technology or meditating, but it's these small breaks that can make a very big difference.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 20:51 You know, one of the things that I talk about a lot is dealing with stress. And you know, stress is a not of an epidemic in the U S it's a pandemic, right? It's a worldwide phenomenon that even Australians are suffering from excessive stress. And the question is, what do you do with the stress? So what, you know, one way to think about it, you said, okay, I want to eliminate it. I don't want stress in my life. The other way to think about it, which is actually better, healthier way to think about it is the stress in and of itself is not bad. Uh, you know, I go to the gym and I lift weights. What am I doing to my muscles? I stress my muscles, not a bad thing. I actually get stronger as a result unless I don't take recovery. You know, if I just lift weights and more weights and more weights than this stress mounts and I get injured, its the same way in life, it's okay to experience stress as long as they are also periods of recovery. And so we need to punctuate our crazy busy lives with recovery, whether it's recovery, as I said, in terms of that meal with a friend or a good night's sleep or a day off at least once a week.

Allan: 21:56 Yeah, that is so important. And I think we, it is hard in today's society to actually like turn off, to leave your phone off, to take a day off because you kind of feel like something's leaving you. You're losing something. There's this fear you're going to miss out on something. And so it is this, to me, this one might be the, the hardest thing to really kind of wrap your mind around is that if you don't recover, then the stress is not good for you. And it's like you said.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 22:25 That's when burn out happens. That's when an injury happens. It is bad for you. And the thing is that, as you said, it's not easy to disconnect. And the reason why it's so hard is because most people in the in developed countries are addicted, literally addicted to technology. And last week I was giving a lecture somewhere in, in Latin America and um, the audience were, um, partners in that particular firms, very senior people and their spouses. So there were 400, uh, couples there. And I said to them, look, I have a question for you. I don't want you to answer it aloud just in your mind. Just think about the answer. And my question was in the morning when you, when you wake up, first thing you open, your eyes do turn, who do you turn to? And then you know, there are chuckles in the room. And I said, do you attend, do turn to your lovely husband, wife, partner? Or did you turn the other way? And it was a rhetorical question. I mean obviously most people turn to the phone first thing when they opened their eyes in the morning, now I said to them earlier. I said, look, this is an addiction like any other addiction. Now imagine if you're an alcoholic, would you have a bottle of Tequila right next to you in bed as you open your eyes? Of course not. Why do we have our phone right next to us when we go to sleep,

Allan: 23:55 Well, I know one answer I always get when I talk to folks about this because I typically won't have my phone right by the bed. I've been fortunate enough to, to know that that's not what I want. But they use their phone for their alarm. They use their phone for a of other things. And so it again, that's what makes it so hard is that you see this, this is a valuable tool, but it's also a problem.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 24:17 Yes. Yeah. You know, I, I hear you. And about a year ago I actually bought myself an old fashioned watch with an alarm clock specifically for that. But I don't need to put the, uh, the phone next to me.

Allan: 24:30 Perfect. Alright, so Tal. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay? Well,

Tal Ben-Shahar: 24:43 so, you know, the, the first, uh, the first thing is that we need to allow in unhappiness so that we can fulfill our potential for happiness. You know, there's a common misconception that a happy life is a life, which is devoid of a painful emotions. But in fact, there are only two kinds of people who don't experience painful emotions such as sadness or anger or a frustration or anxiety or invy. Two kinds of people who don't experience these painful emotions and they are the psychopaths and dead people. And so experiencing these painful emotions, it's actually a good sign. That means we're not a psychopath and we're alive. The problem in today's world is that, especially given social media where we see others who seem to be happy all the time, uh, we think there was something wrong with us when we experienced painful emotions and we reject them.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 25:36 And when we reject painful emotions, they only intensify. Moreover, when we reject painful emotions were also inadvertently rejecting the pleasurable emotions. So the first step is accepting painful emotions. And by the way, this applies to our mental health as well as to our physical health as suppressing repressing, rejecting emotions is essentially a prescription for not only unhappiness, it's a prescription for illness. So that's one thing. The second thing, physical exercise. So much research on a physical exercise and its importance once again, not just for physical wellbeing, for a psychological wellbeing. More and more psychologists are talking about physical exercises, the wonder drug and so as as little as 30 minutes, three times a week, and punctuate your day to day with the ongoing movement. You know, that's enough. Or I should say that's the minimum we need to sustain mental health and then of course I mentioned relationships is the number one predictor of happiness. Putting time aside. It's also the number one predictor of physical health and finally gratitude. You know, Oprah was right, an attitude of gratitude does contributes to to health and happiness.

Allan: 26:55 I completely agree. Those are, those are really cool. Thank you for sharing. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book, Shortcuts To Happiness, where would you like for me to send them?

Tal Ben-Shahar: 27:07 Well, on my website, which is TalBenShahar.com there is access to my books also to my own online programs that are offered to the happiness studies academy. So I'd love people to visit and join.

Allan: 27:23 Okay, well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/386 and I'll be sure to have the link there. So Tal, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Tal Ben-Shahar: 27:34 Thank you Allan. Thank you very much.

Allan: 27:40 I hope you enjoyed today's episode and if you did, would you please consider becoming a supporter of the podcast? It's pretty easy. You go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/patreon and that will take you to a website where you can actually contribute to the show. There's different access levels that you have so you can get some additional goodies on top of just being mentioned in the show notes or something like that, but even a dollar an episode is, you know, it's not asking a lot I don't think, but I really would appreciate your support if you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/patreon and become a patron of the 40+ Fitness Podcast. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

June 10, 2019

Reach your peak with Dr Marc Bubbs

Patreons

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

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

Thank you!

Allan Misner: 01:20 Dr. Bubbs welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Bubbs: 01:23 Allan, thanks so much for having me on.

Allan Misner: 01:25 You know, occasionally I will run into a book, your book is called peak, the new science of athletic performance that is revolutionizing sports. And like I said, I run into a book and I start reading it and then the author's cites this study. And so now I'm on Google trying to read the study. So then I read this study abstract and I'm like, oh, that's really interesting. So then I pull up the actual study and I read the actual study then to get back into the book and I read a little bit further and I find another one.

Dr. Bubbs: 01:56 There are lots of opportunities.

Allan Misner: 01:56 Yes there is. This is, this was a very well researched book and the research that you went to, I was actually pleasantly surprised that that was really good research. It was not this, uh, you know, put together by some, you know, by Gatorade and they're trying to advertise their sports drink. These were good solid studies that really do back the science of this book. And so I was really impressed with the citations and I have to admit, because I usually read all of every book before I do an episode, but I've still got a ways to go on yours because I'm learning new things pretty much every page I turn.

Dr. Bubbs: 02:38 Well listen, I appreciate that. And yeah, definitely the book is all about connecting people with the experts in their respective field in terms of not only athletic performance but human performance in terms of just upgrading how you look, feel and perform and also providing people with just some general rules to follow as well as what you just mentioned, which is that deep dive that if you do want to go down the rabbit hole, then there's lots of places that you can definitely do that as well.

Allan Misner: 03:02 Yeah. and you know, I guess the other side of this is a lot of times people will sit there and we use the word performance and yes, you're dealing with a lot of athletes and coaches and that type of thing. But in reality, the way I look at it is human performance is just sure ability to do the thing you want to do the best you possibly can. And a lot of the lessons that are here that even though we're, in many cases sometimes we're talking about those elite athletes, there are parallels to how we want to manage our health. You know, in terms of longevity, in terms of, capacity and then just overall wellbeing

Dr. Bubbs: 03:40 100%. I mean, as you get to working with really elite athletes and Professional Olympic level athletes, I mean, the level of training and the volume of training, the intensity of training is a tremendous load on the body. And it compromises health at that elite level. And for folks who are just trying to improve their health or lose weight or if they're struggling with whether it's weight gain, you know, pre diabetes, high blood pressure, those are big stressors on the body and they're there 24/7. So even though it's coming from different areas, you know, when you talk about human performance, the stress load can be just as high, if not higher. And folks that are struggling with their health as they are in and athletes were really pushing themselves.

Allan Misner: 04:17 Yeah, the statistics are baffling to me. You know, half, half the people in the United States, have prediabetes or worse. The obesity rate is just astronomical. So a lot of people right now are really struggling with their health. And I think it's just a common misconception of, I go in and get a blood test and the doctor tells me I'm fine. Uh, cause I had a consult I was doing just a week or so ago. And he told me, he went to the doctor and his blood glucose levels resting, fasting blood glucose levels were hovering right around a hundred. And I said, Ooh, I think you should try and get that down closer to 80 and maybe even below 80 if you can. And he thought I was, you know, a little weird. He's like, what are you talking about? My doctor says I'm fine. And I'm like, well, you know, your doctor is looking at a reference range, that includes a lot of sick people and so he's getting you to what he's calling average and I think you want to get closer to optimal. So you introduce in the book the concept called the blood glucose dysfunction spectrum. And, and I really liked that because it doesn't, it's not this, you're sick or you're healthy. It really kind of goes to that range of you're really, really sick. You're kind of, average. You're doing okay. And then your peak. Can you kind of talk about that spectrum and how it relates to us as humans being healthy and overall performance?

Dr. Bubbs: 05:47 Absolutely. I mean, I think the first thing is, you know, it's nothing inherently new in a sense, just looking at things in terms of a continuum. In science and in medicine, we have to define things. And so when we look at things like blood glucose dysfunction, we say, well, if you're less than a hundred milligrams per deciliter, then you're considered normal. If your levels are between a 100 and let's say 125 milligrams per deciliter and a course, these are, you know, us, measurements, then you be considered prediabetic. Now that's a pretty wide range. And so this idea of continuum is, well, if you're 99, you're normal, but if you're one on one, you're now prediabetic? That's, that's a pretty small shift there. So we have to then consider that as you move up that chain, if you get above 125 and now you're considered diabetic. And so classically in medicine we've said if you are type two diabetic, it is irreversible.

Dr. Bubbs: 06:39 It needs to be managed with medications and therefore people tend to get put on medications for prolonged periods of time. Sometimes those medications, if they do need to take things like insulin can make them gain more weight, which tends to make the process worse. But really if we even zoom out just for a second to kind of look at the general population. This past summer I was in the UK and they had a picture of a beach from the 1970s cause there was a heatwave this past summer in the UK. So they had a picture about 40-50 years ago of a beach in the UK. And you literally hundreds and hundreds of people in this photo. It was difficult to pick out anybody who was really overweight or obese to almost impossible. It didn't look like anybody was, you fast forward, you know, 40 50 years later and we're, you know, two thirds of the population now are overweight or obese and starts saying, okay, well what the heck's going on here and there, of course it's very complex and there are lots of different reasons, but part of the book is we're trying to hammer on some of these bigger points.

And one of the ones that really hits at home as the, the amount of household spending on what they call ultra processed food, things that come in boxes and bags and junk food, so to speak. And if we look at the US and the UK, it's over 50% of what we buy comes in a box or a bag. We think about the European countries. This is where it really stands out because if you go to places like Spain, it drops all the way down to 20% places like France, 14%, Italy, you know, classic Mediterranean diets and those regions, 13%. And when you get into places like Portugal has only 10%. So this is really interesting because now we have this idea of effectively when you're eating processed foods, you're getting stuff that's packaged, even things like cereals or packaged breads, pizzas, all that stuff, um, comes from these types of foods.

And that's an easy way for people to, if you start to limit some of those foods, you're going to reduce your total caloric intake. You're going to reduce typically your sugar intake, but also your intake of added fats and these foods as well. Cause there's a nice, you know, processed food companies are pretty smart. They make sure that combination of salt, sugar and fat is just the right amount to really stimulate the brain, stimulate all the, you know, the, the hunger and the thirst and to make you want to eat more of it. Right. That becomes interesting because obviously in the news now we see is it sugar, is it carbs? Then we have folks focusing on fat and a lot of the newer research now coming out, I mean a lady named Emma Stimpson and her um, group there at the National Institute for Diabetes in their research, they found that effectively it's the combination.

So when you put high fat together with high sugar, which is again what you typically find in ultra processed foods, that was an independent predictor of weight gain and obesity and overeating. So those are some really big points to say, okay, this is one of the, our food environment plays a big role in this whole story. And if we come all the way back to that sort of idea of blood glucose dysfunction, this is where you'll find a lot of folks hovering up towards the top end of that range. So hovering up around 101, 110, 125 so that should definitely be a little bit of a yellow flag to say, or a red flag, if you will, to say, okay, we've got to go back and look at what you're doing from an attrition standpoint. But also things like exercise, things like sleep, things like stress. Those can also increase blood glucose levels as well. So just knowing where you are in that spectrum and then comparing yourself to yourself year after year, after year rather than, as you mentioned, the general population because unfortunately, yeah, you're comparing yourself to a group that aren't in the best of health.

Allan Misner: 10:15 Yeah, I know they'll do these studies sometimes and they'll say, okay, well what did you eat last week? And, you know, someone will go through and kind of list out and I think if they actually truly logged what they ate, that they would find that they're in a box or a bag, a lot more than they think. I mean, I'm here in Panama on an island and I was thinking, okay, you know, we have fresh produce, it's year round because the weather's great, It's moist, wet and rains. And I said, I'm not going to have access to all kinds of fresh, healthy food, but there's all these supermarkets here that are catering to, you know, the, the backpackers and the expats and there they're carrying the same bagged and boxed crap that I think could get in the United States, uh, and charging people a premium to have it for sure. But people are buying it.

And you know I think that's kind of one of the core lessons as you come into this is, you know, if you're finding yourself in that spectrum and you're moving up rather than at least maintaining or moving down, you're not doing what's best for yourself. And I liked that in the book you were talking about. When we started talking about longevity, you know, from an athlete's perspective, it's their ability to continue to perform at that high level but it also involves our ability to live longer and they're kind of following the same track if we can keep ourselves where we're supposed to be. So can you talk about how this concept of Blood Glucose in our blood glucose levels, how that's affecting our longevity?

Dr. Bubbs: 11:51 Definitely. I mean, that's one where, you know, having some metrics and some markers to assess year end year out of how you're doing is a really important thing. And Blood Glucose is fasting. Blood Glucose can be a really nice one of, when we look at mortality rates, what do people die of? What's the number one killer of, when we look at that heart disease by far, you know, almost 50% it's about 41% of fatalities are from heart disease. So we say, okay, well what happens then if you're a person whose blood glucose as you mentioned, like your friend there, maybe you're in the 100 milligrams, 110, 125 or maybe you're even prediabetic. Well what does it tell us about some of your risks? Well, you know, there was a large study done in the late nineties a 22 years study on fasting glucose. A risk factor for your heart disease risk. And this is done in folks that were non diabetic.

And so in this one, if you were actually greater than 85 milligrams per deciliter, so you're in that upper core tile, that top fourth you're actually at much greater risk about a 40% higher risk than the, than the other folks, the lowest folks in the, in the study. So that's an issue around heart disease risks. A follow up there that's called the Whitehall study that was also done in this connection between fasting blood glucose and cardiovascular disease. And what they found takes it a step further because what they found is that as your blood fasting blood glucose increases, so does your risk of cardiovascular disease. So again, another really important point to kind of hammer home how this can be a decent metric for us to track. And interestingly, I found the strongest association was in 40 to 49 year olds, which typically obviously as you get older, your risk increases, you know, but one of the things that we tend to forget about is things like lack of sleep.

You know, if you don't sleep enough at night that following morning, your blood glucose levels will tend to be higher. And if you do that persistently, that can really lead to, you know, causing you to have persistently higher blood sugar levels. You see this even if you do a lot of traveling, if you take a lot of planes, for work, travel, jetlag, all that type of thing, you'll notice even if you do a blood test on the back end of that, your blood sugars will actually be higher than they normally would be. And that all comes down to this idea of, you know, lack of sleep is a stressor as well. And so that's kind of the trickier one to put your finger on with folks is you know, that stress load in their life can be a key point as well in terms of how good their blood glucose control is.

And you know, for the athlete that typically come from intense training and we see that as well, athletes who are really fit great blood glucose control. If we really pushed them hard, their fasting glucose in the morning, will also be elevated. Now in the acute term, that's not a problem. It's okay to have that happen. But if you're at a period where you're resting or you're deloading if you're an athlete training, then it should come back down into this ideal range of, you know, definitely less than a hundred and ideally less than sort of 80, 85. Um, that would be what we'd be looking for in those periods of rest. And I think for a lot of folks, sometimes when you get a few metrics done and get a bit of testing done, that's when you can actually really, you can put a number to things for people and that really hammers home the idea of, okay, let's, we've got to go back to how you're eating, how you're moving all these lifestyle factors and figure out what are the biggest levers that you need to adjust to help, uh, improve your overall health. And as you mentioned, just improve your, your longevity or what we call health span, which is the amount of years that you live in, in very good health, your total control of independence. Um, you know, unfortunately the last 8 to 10 years, the last decade of most people's lives is spent in pretty poor health and you know, needing, requiring care, full-time care even. And so that's really what we want to strive for folks, is to be able to, to age healthfully.

Allan Misner: 15:36 Yeah. And I think that was one of the kind of big wake up calls here because you know, you hear a lot about particularly some elite athletes that really push themselves over the years and how it adversely affects their health in particularly longevity, you would think, okay, they're eating the best quality foods and you know, they're aware of the nutrition and you know, they've got the right people behind them making sure, of course, you know, the glycemic index of their food is there, so they're not necessarily eating, you know, all the crap because of the way they're pushing their bodies because they're not getting the sleep because they're flying, you know, from east coast to west coast to play a game or being in a match or do an event. They're taking a toll on their health and it's showing in their numbers. If we were looking at it, just trying to reverse engineer and say, how did I get here? There's a lot more to it than just what you put in your mouth.

Dr. Bubbs: 16:31 100% and I think you know, one of the big differences as well as this, as you mentioned, if somebody is physically fit than what we're seeing is just an acute picture. And because they have such greater resiliency, when they do take the stress load down, everything falls back into these sort of normal ranges are ideal ranges. Where for, unfortunately for a lot of folks that that stress or that season doesn't end, so to speak, right? You're always going to have the long hours at the office. You're always not sleeping enough because of the kids or projects or family commitments. And so all of a sudden that becomes your chronic picture. And that's definitely when it's time to, to figure out how we can tweak your exercise program or make sure you're getting sufficient sleep and all these things that are real fundamental pillars, but they're often times not quite as sexy as some of the new, you know, whether it's a supplement or medication or or or, or trendy exercise that comes out that people tend to get their attention directed towards. But when you look at what the best in the world are doing, it really is just being excellent in the fundamentals.

Allan Misner: 17:26 Yeah. I liked the story you shared about Federer and how kind of maybe one of his secret weapons of how he came back and really started dominating again was just focusing on something as simple as getting enough sleep.

Dr. Bubbs: 17:39 Yes, it's incredible. I mean this was obviously this, the research on sleep in the last decades really exploded in an interview I did with Dr. Cheri Mah who is a medical doctor and sleep expert that works with professional sport and I had her on my podcast and and she was mentioning how he was definitely an early adopter and for quite a while there was trying not to let the cat out of the bag so to speak because it was having some significant impact on his performance and obviously now more people know about the benefits of sleep for performance in terms of things like reaction time, sprint speed, accuracy, all these, these types of metrics, but also for general population in terms of memory, cognitive function. Absolutely crucial. The tricky part is even despite everyone kind of knowing now that sleep's good for us, when you look at the numbers, we're still not, you know, not getting enough. Even the athletes aren't getting enough. The average person gets 6 1/2 hours of sleep a night, 30% of the population get less than six. And that's when things really started to nose dive. I mean, if you're getting less than six, that's one big flashing lights on the dashboard of your car start to go off. And you know, it's definitely time to check the engine or a reboot a little bit.

Allan Misner: 18:43 Yeah. In the book you introduced, I mean, it's a concept I've known about for awhile because I'm obviously talking to folks about this all the time. It's carbohydrate tolerance. And the gist of it when I'm having a conversation with a client would be, you know, how many carbs should I have? And you know, I'd be like, okay, well it depends, you know, for me, I'm like, depends and they don't like that answer. But can you talk a little bit about carbohydrate tolerance and why what works for one individual may not work for another?

Dr. Bubbs: 19:13 Yeah, this is definitely, I mean, nuance is definitely an area that's, that's tricky for folks because people want to have, especially when you're starting out, you want to have a nice clear roadmap or plan of what I should do. Um, and so if we look at the example of the popularity of the low carb diets, you know, something I use a lot in my clinical practice, again, if we zoom out to 30,000 feet, what are the top six foods that people eat? Well, unfortunately it's things like grain based desserts, breads, soda, pop, alcohol, pizza or five out of the top six. And so that's where the bulk of your calories are coming from that are going to impact ultimately how much weight you're gaining or how much weight you're losing. And so if we put somebody on a low carb diet, all of a sudden we cross off five out of the top six most calorie dense foods.

Dr. Bubbs: 19:59 And so that's a great way to help to support weight loss. You're basically directing people to eating more protein, to eating more vegetables, fruits, etc. And so that can be a great strategy for people to lose weight as this idea of how many carbohydrates that, I mean at the end of the day it comes down to your total caloric intake. Now, the tricky part is, as I mentioned, the carbohydrates make up just so much of what's in our own food environment. So they're much easier to come by. And so this is where for some people in general rule we would say is the more activity you're doing, you know, if you're an endurance athlete, you might get up to eight to 10 grams per kilogram of carbohydrate, which is, you know, you just imagine a guy riding in the tour to France with a whole table full of pastas and breads and all these types of things, right?

Just a ridiculous amount of food. But that could come all the way down to folks are falling more of a low carb Keto approach or maybe more sedentary or have to work at a job or you know, they're not moving very much. You're sitting at a desk and you might only be eating 50 grams instead of 850 and so that's the one that swings the most in terms of the amount that we can take in. What I try to do and whether it's with athletes or with clients, is to first start with protein intake. Protein has a lot of benefits in terms of overall health, in terms of bringing on not only the essential amino acids you need, but also bring on a lot of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, really supportive in terms of weight loss because you get a bigger thermic effect. So it costs more energy for your body to break it down, which has beneficial and it also tends to keep people full.

And so if you can, if you can solidify somebody's approaching intake and say, okay, we're going to consume, you know, typically you don't always have to tell the clients how many grams per kilo, but you might say we're going to have 20 grams three or four times a day. Or if they eat three meals a day, you know, have a bit of their palm size worth as opposed to 30 25 to 30 grams. And then that way you've got the protein dialed in, they get used to that, they don't need to think about that and all of a sudden it becomes easier to sort of turn these dials if you will. The dials being fat intake and carbohydrate intake. And it really is different depending on the person and depending on what the person likes to eat is important because when we look at, you know, the problem isn't taking weight off people, the real problem we look at the research is keeping it off right because nine out of 10 people will regain it at the end of the year.

So ultimately, you can do strategies in the short term that helped you to lose weight, but ultimately you have to find a strategy that you enjoy enough to keep doing. Right? Because compliance is is the best predictor of how well you're going to do on a diet. So I try to tell clients you know that first four, eight or 12 weeks, there might be some strategies that you've got to just grin and bear it and get used to it. And then as, as we move down for down the road, we're trying to match up what you like to eat with your lifestyle so we can kind of see some can support that longer term weight loss.

Allan Misner: 22:48 I've found with a lot of my clients that if I, you know, we go ahead and we introduced maybe some new foods that they haven't tried before. We take away quite a bit of foods that they typically enjoy and they go for a little while. Their pallet kind of resets the way they taste, sweetness resets. And in many cases what they used to not like, they now find themselves enjoying. And when they go back and try some of those things that they used to like they taste the chemicals, they taste the ultra process and they don't like it nearly as much.

Dr. Bubbs: 23:22 Absolutely. And I think that's one where, you know, in North America or in the West, you know, breakfast is that meal that tends to be the one. If people are on the run, you're grabbing a coffee and all of a sudden, you know, all the options in the menu tend to be higher calorie, higher carb and higher fat. Right. So not the greatest combination. So if you can get people to have, you know, basically protein and veggies and some healthy fats and then the amount of carbohydrates or it depends on, you know, the amount of weight you want to lose or how much activity you're doing. That can vary a bit in terms of if it's a, you know, a very small to small, so it's a more moderate portion.

And we typically try to time the carbohydrates around exercise too. If you're going to have, you're trying to get leaner, you still want to have a decent carbohydrate consumption or you do want to enjoy some, you know, sweet potato or whatever it may be. Then having that before you do higher intensity sessions or directly after, it can be a nice strategy to help direct that into either being able to use it for fuel while you're training or on the back end as you've broken down your muscles in that training and used up the glycogen, which is the carb stores on the muscles than the carbohydrates you're eating are going back into the muscles to top that up, which is, you know, a nice way to be able to recover from exercise.

Allan Misner: 24:32 I definitely want to circle back around on this concept a minute. One of the things I did want to get in before we leave this whole blood glucose dysfunction spectrum was the linkage between your blood glucose levels and depression. That kind of actually got me. I spent a lot of time looking at your research in that area because it was something I had not really thought about. You know, obviously you eat something and there's a kind of a mood affect to it cause there's things such as dopamine and everything's going on, but I had not really understood that connection before for the long-term actual diagnosis of depression. Could you kind of get into that?

Dr. Bubbs: 25:12 Yeah, it's one that I started to see more and more of in my practice. I deal a lot in men's health and it was surprising to me the number of clients that were coming in that were taking medications that you know, felt that they were struggling with low mood, and depression is defined as having low mood for greater than 12 months. And more and more patients were coming in. And it's, when we look at markers like blood sugar levels, I mean this is again, this idea of trying to find the minimal amount of markers to follow that influence the most number of sorts of systems or the most areas of the body. And when we start to look at the connection between blood sugars and mood, you know it gets to be pretty compelling. There's a lot of research coming out of Scandinavia around you know HA1C Levels, which is your HBA1C which is your three month average of blood glucose.

And so when that is higher, you're in a much greater risk of depression as well as when you're fasting insulin. So insulin does a lot of things in the body, but it's typically classified as the blood sugar hormone, right? It's helping to get the food you eat into your cells. Now that's persistently high. It's also associated with increased risk for depression. We see studies in military cadets as well. If you're, when you get yourself tested the morning, if your fasting glucose and insulin its higher first thing in the morning, as well as post-meal, those are also predictive of depressive symptoms, more depressive symptoms. And for folks who are struggling with, with diabetes, we know that when if you're insulin resistant, you're actually three times more likely to struggle with depression. So the really interesting thing is when we look at actually all those studies is medications don't alter any of those responses.

When we look at the general population, it's definitely one that we want to make sure we're considering. And to your original point around just knowing where you are in that sort of continuum or knowing what your number is for for your blood glucose level. And we'll probably talk metrics here as we go with HBA1C would be a good one to always have and typically run by your doctor. But that way you know, and this isn't to say that just your blood glucose is the only factor that leads to low mood and depression. But it's definitely one that contributes. There's obviously all the, you know, psycho social emotional factors as well. But for me as a clinician or a nutritionist, it's always, I'm trying to raise the playing field. So if I can get rid of or improve blood sugar dysfunction than it might be, you know, we're raised the playing field so that, you know, the cognitive behavioral therapy or whatever other talk therapy that the person might require, it's going to help them and improve their condition. And again, even if they're taking medications, we're still seeing improvements if we just help to correct the blood sugar, the assumption.

Allan Misner: 27:54 That was so fascinating to me because I'd never really made the connection to food a little bit, but not to that level, which was, like I said, just really, really fascinating. So someone decides, okay, I want to go ahead and get this tested. And we've talked about fasting the blood glucose levels. We've talked about, you said HBA1C I just typically we just say A1C. Those are the common. What are some other tests that you think would be appropriate for someone that just kind of wants to get a good baseline to know that they're managing their carbohydrates appropriately?

Dr. Bubbs: 28:27 Yeah, so those first two tests are typically run by by most doctors there is, you could add fasting insulin to that. You typically have to ask your doctor, you probably have to pay out of pocket but that's used in combination with fasting glucose to give you an assessment of your insulin resistance, a measure called homa-IR which is a calculated measure that gives you a bit of a deeper picture. You know, none of these metrics are sort of infallible or you can't hang your hat on just one. But it does give you another big piece of the puzzle to look at. A few more that I tend to look at with clients, GGT is a liver enzyme and of course everything that we eat primarily gets directed to the liver. And then particular obviously carbohydrates, sugars. And this is where, you know, I'm sure your listeners have probably seen the movie Super Size Me from years ago when the guy decides to eat nothing but Mcdonald's for 30 days, I believe it was every meal of the day.

And this is where there's a moment in the movie where the doctor's eyes are kind of bulging as he's looking at the labs for this individual who's only eating Mcdonald's and the liver enzymes were through the roof. So as GGT levels are enormous and this is due to the high processed foods, high simple sugars, etc. Um, and so it's a very early predictor of things going wrong. And so that's kind of a nice one to throw in there. Again, it's very, and then the last one would be around inflammation. Systemic inflammation again goes part and parcel with weight gain, with prediabetes, with poor cardiovascular health. And so CRP would be a measure of that. And that's, you know, a pretty easy set of metrics to, to be able to track, uh, you know, year on year. And then if you are, if you're struggling with your health, then you want to track more frequently, maybe a couple times a year.

And if you really need to shift things, you know, if you're looking like you're in moving into diabetes or you're really, you know, there's hypertension or what not, then you might want to even go quarterly. And always, the first line of the first port of call is obviously for the doctors is to compare you to the norms because they're trying to cross off serious conditions and diseases. But once you're past that threshold and that's when you want to start comparing you to you every time and making sure that, you know, are you trending towards disease? Are you trending away from disease? Cause obviously we want you to be trending a side that's pulling you away from all those chronic conditions.

Allan Misner: 30:40 Yeah I go in for wellness visits three, four times a year. And I happen to have a really good doctor that kind of understands that just being average is not really what I'm after and that's not why I pay for additional lab tests. But I'm actually looking for, you know, what's that good thing that I can do for myself to kind of get myself more optimal and the actions and the things that I do with my health and wellness that are always kind of directed towards that you got me really intrigued about the continuous, blood glucose monitor and I was looking it up and unfortunately I'll have to ask my doctor if he's willing to give me a prescription for one, cause you can't just buy it over the counter. But, um, I was really interested in trying, try and one of those out just to see what it tells me about some of the foods that I'm eating and how they affect me. So thank you for reminding me that those are available. But like I was doing some research after I read that your book. I was like, Oh, I've got to get a prescription for this. Uh, which is kinda sad.

Dr. Bubbs: 31:38 Well, I mean, nowadays you can actually even order them, you should just be able to order them online. And you get the continuous glucose monitors are a really fascinating way to look into how you personally respond to food. Because you know, for anyone who's not familiar, they effectively, you know, in the back of your arm you, it's a little bit of a pin prick that goes in and this sensor stays on you continuously for a week or two. And it's basically measuring your response to all the food that you're eating. So how high your blood sugars get when you eat a meal. Importantly afterwards, how low they get and for how long they stay low. But also things like, you know, if you get a bad email and you're stressed out, well your blood, your blood glucose will respond to that or, or maybe you don't sleep enough and you'll see some big shifts there.

So it's definitely a really nice way to see individually how you respond. Because in some of the earlier research, you know, someone who ate a banana or let's say, or a piece of fruit that should have a moderate glycaemic index response, they were seeing responses as if they didn't know, eaten a cookie. And on the flip side, people who ate a cookie had a really smooth response to glucose. And so this is where, you know, depending on our individuality, we actually, you know, you could end up on one side of the coin or the other and we dive into this a bit in the chapter around digestion because it looks like the microbiome, all the bacteria in your gut are having a big impact on how you as an individual are responding to the food you're eating. It can sort of amplify your blood glucose response, you know, in sort of the, you know, the bad scenario if you will or, or buffer it. And people who are, you know, maybe genetically or whatnot. Lucky.

Allan Misner: 33:08 Yeah. There was an Israeli study that I had read about one time and they use these continuous monitors, and logged everything they ate. So they logged what they ate, the time of day they ate it. And the differential between how different people experience the food from a blood glucose level and then even a recovery perspective afterwards, uh, was really kind of fascinating because, you know, everybody just thought, okay, this is the GI of this food. So if you eat and your blood sugar's gonna soar, but that's true for some and not necessarily for others. So I do think testing is really a kind of a cool way for you to really know, uh, how things are affecting you and then it'll just allows you to make better decisions. Now, a lot of my clients, and a lot of folks that I interact with a, they're in the Keto environment. Uh, I practice seasonal ketosis and I, you know, I know, okay, as soon as I go into Ketosis for a period of a month or so, ny endurance performance is going to be, uh, well rubbish for lack of a better word. Uh, and then, you know, over time I pick up that performance my body gets more metabolically adapted. Um, and I'm able to go. Now if, if someone wants to use ketosis, what are some things that they can do to optimize their general performance, in one case I guess it would be a weightlifting or, or you know somewhat for body composition and then also for endurance athletes.

Dr. Bubbs: 34:35 This is a really interesting area and in the research, especially as it relates to not only general health but also in terms of athletic performance, cause when we look at even the highest level, so in an endurance sport you know cyclists, tour de France, they're now using in the last half decade or more targeted plan strategic workouts where they will have very low carbohydrate intake and this can be anywhere from 30 to 50% of the workouts were there on purpose trying to have these workouts where the person's intake of carbohydrate is low and or the glycogen, you know, the storage form of carbs and our muscles is low and that can be low due to you know, doing two day sessions. So you maybe do an intense session in the morning, you deplete the Glycogen, you don't consume a lot of carbohydrate and then you have an afternoon or aerobic session.

Or it could be after a fast. If you sleep at night, you're going to use up the liver glycogen overnight and then the morning that liver glycogen is going to be low because your liver also stores a carbohydrate in the form of glycogen. And that again elicits a different response. So what does all this mean to the person listening in at home? It means you don't always have to carve up for your workouts. If you're trying to be fit and stay lean or be fit and lose weight, then you definitely want to start to take advantage of these opportunities to have workouts where you don't have a lot of carbohydrate. And so I think for a lot of people, the easiest one is that morning workout, right? You go to bed, you wake up in the morning, you might have a coffee and then off you go.

So again, because your liver glycogen levels are lower, you're going to have a different response at the cellular level. And that can help in terms of training adaptations as well as some beneficial health effects. And so with that, you don't have to always, you don't have to go into a full ketogenic diet to elicit a lot of these benefits. You know, we see in some of these trainings studies that even a few days of of lower consumption can elicit a lot of these positive effects. If you're somebody who, you know, let's say if you're somebody who's struggling with weight gain or you're prediabetic or you have a lot of weight to lose, then the more quickly you drop your, your carbohydrate intake. If you're really trying to get into Ketosis, you just need to be careful a little bit cause it's gonna feel definitely a quite intense for you.

And so making sure you might pair that up with more lower intensity exercise for that person who just kind of dipping their toe into it. Where as someone who's more seasoned, let's say, um, I recently talked to a guy named Dr. Wes Kephart who did a study on the ketogenic diet and crossfit trainees. And then these were, you know, moderate to advanced trainees and they got very good results in terms of leanness. They maintain muscle mass and they were obviously doing intense exercise with very low carbohydrate intake. And so you can push it up to that scale. If you're more seasoned to it, if you're used to doing it. Yeah. So you definitely got some options on that front. And at the end of the day, as I mentioned before, you know, in looking at all this research, like if we look at bodybuilders, you know, their carbohydrate intake can be up as high as in the elite ones up as high as five grams per kilo, which is, which is a lot of carbs.

So, you know, try not to fall into the trap of thinking that if I just lower my carbs, I'm going to get leaner. You know, it still comes down to these principles, which is what the book's all about as well, which is your total caloric intake. So you know ketogenetic diets can be a great way to reduce calories. That can be a great way to elicit a lot of these positive adaptations to exercise. But then you need to do a little detective work, you know, just see how you respond, see how you feel with various workouts and ultimately always know what your goal is as well. You know, is it to lose weight? Is it to improve your health? Are you really chasing some performance metric that you're, that you're after? Cause that'll dictate the way that you should do it.

Allan Misner: 38:16 Yeah, you got me thinking in the book as I was going through the book and I was like, okay, you know, I like when I'm in ketosis, it's kind of almost a natural thing for me to kind of drift into intermittent fasting. I wake up in the morning, I'm just not really hungry. Like you said, I'll probably have a coffee but I don't do the bulletproof or any of that cause it's just black coffee. And then I'll go, I'll go work out. Uh, and I typically do the workout fasted, which you've got me thinking in terms cause you even put that quote in there, you know, breakfast like a king lunch, like a pauper, mean like a, like a prince and then a dinner like a pauper, which is effectively the kind of the flip scale of the way I would do intermittent fasting. Do we have less, uh, general glycogen when we're in Ketosis or does it not recover at some level where we just maintain it? Or exactly how is all that working? If I want to, you know, actually as if I'm lifting or doing endurance athlete, endurance work is, I mean obviously I could, you're saying I should just try it and see how it works?

Dr. Bubbs: 39:19 There's a few options here. So let's start with even the intermittent fasting. So there's, you know, an easy way to start people off is to do the idea of not eating breakfast. Right? Cause again, as we mentioned before, breakfast is typically the meal a day where people, there's a lot of bad options on the menu if you're, especially if you're eating out. And so I find a lot of my clients, men in and women, you know, you just canceled breakfast out all together. All of a sudden there's more time in the morning to get some emails done to call clients or customers or get the kids out of the house or whatever, or meditate you know, you've got more time on your hands all of a sudden and now you're eating, you know, typically a 16 and eight, um, you know, technically call this time restricted feeding, which means you're just shrinking the window that you're eating.

Dr. Bubbs: 40:02 So you might delay your breakfast till 10 or 11:00 AM and then you're going to eat for about eight hours. So until six or 7:00 PM and then again, you're not going to eat for 16 hours, which sounds like a long time. But you know, you're sleeping hopefully for seven or eight, so it's not so bad. And so that's one way of reducing.

Allan Misner: 40:19 We know from the book they should know from the book eight to 10.

Dr. Bubbs: 40:22 Yeah, yeah, for sure, but the interesting thing as well, so that's the one strategy that you can use and it's an effective strategy. You know, it's no better than than caloric. Um, and effectively counting your total caloric intake in a day. There are some different benefits to it, but it isn't a strategy to get people to lose weight. So you can, you can use that for awhile. The flip side of that is when you look at a lot of the research on fasting, if you just stop eating at 6:00 PM, even if you have breakfast, if you just stop in the evenings to allow that longer period of time, then you'll also get a lot of benefits.

So, you know, the big take home message here is that in today's environment we eat for 14, 16, 18 hours a day. You know, if the average person is only sleeping six hours, we're effectively eating for 18 hours a day, which is just way too much. Um, so finding a strategy that works for the person to be able to say we've got to shrink that window, because you know, grabbing a snack on your couch at night if you're watching game of Thrones or whatever it might be at 9, 10, 11 PM, you know, those are the opportunities where now when we feed in the evening, that really starts to disrupt circadian rhythms.

And you know, as you mentioned Dr. Satchin Panda's work at the Salk institute and you know, he found his original research in animals was where all of a sudden if you fed, you know, animals the same amount of calories, but you allowed one to do it in an eight hour window and you let the other one just eat all day long. The mice who had access to food 24 seven and they effectively got fatter and sicker and follow up studies in humans. This is just in prediabetic men. If you compare it to even a 12 hour window to a six hour window, you'd actually see that oxidative stress, blood pressure cravings are all increased in the folks that are eating in the bigger window. So again, another interesting strategy of using that time, restricted feeding, intermittent fasting to be able to say, hey, if we shrink the amount of hours in the day that you can eat, you're going to tend to eat a lot less calories.

And the other big fundamental is this. Yeah. If you can try to limit how much you eat late at night, you know, if it's Friday or Saturday night, don't worry about it. We want people to live a little, but it's that, you know, five other days of the week where we should just be a bit more vigilant and just get into a good routine and good practice of not eating. Because once we get used to the, um, the habit, I mean it's a bit like Pavlov's dog where as soon as you sit on the couch, uh, 9:00 PM to watch a show or whatever it might be, all of a sudden you just want to eat something even though it's sort of mindless eating and reacting. Right?

Allan Misner: 42:53 Yeah. And, and I've seen that, you know, anecdotally with a lot of people I've talked to and worked with and if, you know, if they will go ahead and do that, that restriction and just start walking their breakfast back and they get into a shorter window. One, they find that they're associated better. They're not snacking as often. They're having bigger, better meals and uh, they, they lose weight. You know, it happens time and time again and they just feel better. I think that's the other side of it is when your body's not constantly working to deal with the food, you're sleeping better, you're feeling better and you get used to that new way of eating that I think is probably a lot more ancestral than we would than we would think because you wake up in the morning, if you don't have refrigeration, um, and you didn't have boxed foods, uh, there's no milk and there's no cereal. When you wake up first thing in the morning, you've got to go catch or you know, forage for what you're going to eat. And by that time it's probably a little bit later in the day.

Dr. Bubbs: 43:54 It's definitely something that, you know, we've only really eaten three meals a day for the sort of the last century or so since the industrial revolution. So that's one that, uh, um, you know, it's definitely an interesting note and one of the things that I found in my practice is guys and gals do great with the intermittent fasting or a time restricted feeding, delaying breakfast for the first while if they do hit a roadblock at some point down the line, you know, their weight loss has plateaued or they haven't achieved the goal, they want it. They just flip it and, and, and kind of do the reverse way of what we just discussed, which is having breakfast, lunch, but making the dinner earlier, you know, cutting things off at 6:00 PM is a great way to again, you know, see some more progress.

The trickiest part is that our society today doesn't tend to lend itself to, to try not to eat after 6:00 PM cause you know, it's normally like meetings, family dinners, social events, everything happens at night. So that's, that's a trickier one to actually get people to do, but they can get some great success with it as well.

Allan Misner: 44:52 Absolutely. Dr Bubbs, I define wellness as being the healthiest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Dr. Bubbs: 45:02 That's a great question. I mean, this is where, you know, in writing the book, it's a combination of my work with in an elite sport or at work, in clinical practicing, you know, all types of patients. And it does come back to this idea of we want to really focus on the fundamentals. So even complex problems that I see with the general population are athletes who are struggling. When we go back and look at these big pillars, there's still a ways to go, or sometimes it's just the fact that the person is taking their focus off of them and they sort of dipped off a little bit.

So if we're looking at three things, the first one's going to be nutrition. You know, what, what are we doing and what are we consuming? And so again, based on today's talk, avoiding ultra processed food, so eat real food, whether you know animal protein or vegetable, protein, veggies, healthy oils and fats, those are crucial to have it. If you eat most of the mostly that and try to keep that eating window to, you know, a maximum of 12 hours, that's a great first place to start. You're going to improve your health, you're going to lose weight, and the more you need to do that, then then you can refine that as you go.

Number two is going to be sleep. Sleep dovetails in with stress. And when we look at whether it's athletic performance, cognitive function, overall health, you know, sleep correlates to all these things. And so most people now sort of give you the, I know, I know I should get more sleep, but you need to, if it's listening at home or, or a coach or a clinician listening in, you know, we need to find out how much they're actually sleeping and then hold them accountable to say, hey, every week we're going to add 30 minutes. So if you're only getting six, we got to get you to six and a half. And then the next week we got to get you to seven. And as long as you're in that range of seven to nine, which is the national sleep foundation recommendation, typically like see people about eight, but, and giving them some strategies because again, people will tend to work on their laptop before bed. People will tend to watch programs that are really stimulatory at night. People will tend to do things that don't set them up for sleep. Um, so, so layering in whether it's some relaxing work, some stretching, it's a hot bath or shower, meditation and any kind of those practices is really big as well.

So once you've got that nutrition, sleep, the third one for me is going to be movement. And this is one where when we talk about weight loss, we always think about the hour that we're in the gym in the day. We don't tend to think about the other well not quite 23 hours cause hopefully you're sleeping for those eight but the rest of the day, which in that research would call non exercise activity thermogenesis. And that's just the amount of moving you do in the day. You know, the walking around up and down the stairs around the office, that accounts for a massive portion of your ability to lose weight. And when we look at no hunter gatherer populations or before the industrial revolution, we were far, far, far more physical and doing things. When we look at the blue zones today, all of those areas in the world where people live the longest, that's a huge common area amongst all of them as the fact that they all had to move and be physical and go up and down, you know, whether it's mountains or etc. So make sure there's movement in your day, whether that's 10,000 steps, whether that's carrying the groceries home, whatever it might be to start spending less time being sedentary and more time being active. Uh, is definitely a huge part. And if you can tie that in with some aspect of being, you know, community or friends, you know, it's a walk with your friend or meeting somebody for coffee or you know, whatever it might be.

I had one client actually we got him to every morning rather than have his coffee at home. He was a retired guy, uh, you know, he's pretty fit but still had to improve his health and we just got him to go walk 15 minutes to get his coffee and walk back home. Uh, and that was enough to start shifting things a little bit and then improving his health. So anything that you could layer in that just becomes part of your routine that you know in a few month's time you don't even think about anymore because it's just so second nature. That's when you're really going to get some of these big wins to help achieve your goals.

Allan Misner: 49:01 Those are really, really cool. Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing those. So Dr. Bubbs if someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about your book Peak, and the things that you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Bubbs: 49:13 Absolutely. Well listen, it's a pleasure to be on Allan and they can definitely check out the books available, Peak at all the major bookstores, Barnes and Noble, Chapters Indigo, Amazon, local book retailers. They can also check out my work at drbubbs.com, my podcast, as well as on their Dr. Bubbs Performance podcast. And if they're on social media at Dr. Bubbs, on Twitter, Instagram, all those good things.

Allan Misner: 49:38 Cool. So Dr. Bubbs, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Bubbs: 49:42 Fantastic, Allan, I really appreciate it.

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Another episode you may enjoy

June 3, 2019

Fix your back pain with Dr. Sabastian Gonzales

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At some point in our lives, we're almost certain to suffer from back pain. In his book, I Will Beat Back Pain, Dr. Sabastian Gonzales gives us some great strategies to fix back pain.

Allan: (01:22) Sebastian, welcome to 40 plus fitness.

Dr. Gonzales: (01:25) Hey, how's it going? Thanks for having me.

Allan: (01:27) You know, there's a stat you put it in the book that I'm very familiar with. It's that 80% of us are going to face back pain at one point in our life. I find it hard to believe that it's only 80%. I know I have a couple of times, had some issues with my back for various reasons. We'll get into some of those in a moment, but when your back is hurting, it is like the end of the world as you know it because you're just not capable of pretty much doing just about anything movement wise that you would want to do. And even sometimes just laying, you know, the depression and all the things that happen when you're going through that kind of pain, it just really is debilitating.

Dr. Gonzales: (02:13) Yeah, it's a tough thing. If you consider like shoulder issues and ankle ones and like, they're terrible, they're not fun, but when you have a back condition, you literally cannot get up off the ground sometimes. And I know that people don't always like to talk about this, but you can't, sometimes you can't have sex with your wife or your husband, you know, it's like there's all of the other things that are very depressing and it affects a lot of people around you. So yeah, back pain is, it's pretty terrible. And the 80%, I would actually venture to say it's maybe a little bit more because a lot of people don't report their tightness as being a back issue. So just a thought on that.

Allan: (02:49) Yeah, and I would agree with that and you know, you sit there and you just do something and it's just, we'll call it a tweak, you know, it just hurts a little bit, you're a little uncomfortable, it kind of puts you out of sorts for a few days, and so you're obviously at that point, you're just going to pop some Ibuprofen and go about your day, but you're not living an optimal life because you're just not capable.

Dr. Gonzales: (03:12) Yeah, I think it's when it hits a certain point for people when they can't do some normal stuff throughout the day, then they start reaching out for help. But luckily a lot of them do tend to self resolve and I think the body is pretty innate about figuring this thing out. I guess an example would be if someone dislocate your shoulder, you never see them walk around with their shoulder over their head. There's, I think there's these little reset points which would help us kind of get through these, but sometimes you just need a little help along the way, you know? And that's why people are in chronic pain sometimes, you know?

Allan: (03:42) When you got into the book, and this is a little deeper into the book then the beginning, and I kind of wanted to jump ahead to this because I think maybe one of the reasons that we struggle as much as we do is a lot of people actually don't understand how the back works. There's a lot of myths about back pain and one, I'll share with you. I have this great doctor. He's, he's my wellness doctor. I go to him for wellness visits and every time we talk, you know, he is like, so what exercises are you doing? How are you doing? And so when I tell him I'm doing deadlifts and I'm feeling pretty good, he was like, oh no, don't ever do deadlifts they are bad for your back. And I'm like, well, actually no, they're strengthening my back. You know, if I do them right they're not that bad. There's this thing out there of don't do deadlifts. They're bad for you. There's some other myths that you share in the book. So I hope people realize that's a myth. And that's why I'm saying that if you know how to do deadlifts with good form, they're not bad for you. They're actually a good way to strengthen your posture.

Dr. Gonzales: (04:52) It was actually funny, recently I saw a whole thread going around on Instagram where I was, it was the news I think in Michigan or something like that. Some institute put out, never do, squats and never deadlift and stuff like that. So it was kind of interesting, all these things that kind of fly around, but there is a lot of myths surrounding back pain I think. And I guess I should kind of preface this and frame it cause I know there's people out there who are going to maybe take this the wrong way. But this is all based on my own clinical experience as well as the current research that I'm reading. So, I don't want to say I'm Poo pooing on all of these things always, but for the most part, like say rest, like people tend to rest a bunch and I think there's a time and place for resting. But I think there was actually a study where I have to find it. But, when you have too much bed rest, it actually makes things worse sometimes, you know? And kind of with training too and weightlifting, like there's these bell curves, right? It's like you kind of want to be in the middle and the soft spot on a lot of these, I guess myths and fallacies that we have too much training is too much. Not enough training is not enough and you're deconditioned, right? You wanna be in the middle.

But some other things that people tend to think about, you know, their back is that the tightness should always be stretched out. And a lot of times this tightness is protective. Like the body's pretty smart with this stuff. It says if you hurt yourself bending forward, the muscles tighten up in the backside to stop you from doing that from a period of time, you know, and the dead lifting one is obviously something. And a really common one I think is everyone who's getting into their 40s and 50s and so on that it's not always age related and there's not actually, I think the peak actually as I look back, but the peak of people having back pain is usually within their 30s. And a lot of people who are in their 40s and 50s just saying like, oh, I'm just getting older and this is how it is, I'm getting arthritis. And I see people every day and sometimes I'll discuss this with them, sometimes I won't, but they'll say, well, I get the shoulder issue, maybe it's arthritis. And I'm like, well, you know, arthritis doesn't really hurt that often. It's just a sign of something going on. It's like water on the ground it your house and it's just a sign that there was a leak there maybe but there's not anymore. And it doesn't always have to hurt and I think a lot of people, that probably one of the biggest myths ,that I guess would be that people tend to lean a lot of their back pain on that. The fact that they're getting older and that degeneration is occurring and arthritis is there an osteophytes are there that you'll find with an MRI and that's not always the case. I know that you've had experience with some back issues. Did they talk about that with you too or no?

Allan: (07:32) Well, I actually didn't go to a medical professional my back pain. I was fortunate to know what I had done and why it had happened. I was doing crossfit and I let my ego get in the way. The instructor there, the coach, like to program a heavy lifts and then he liked to program dynamic movements and so this was a heavy deadlift for max rep of three. He started us at about 65% of max for 3. And so I calculated my max and then I started just bouncing up. Well, they started running out of weights so my increments up, were a little more than most, most were throwing, you know, two, two and a half on the other side or five pounds on either side. I was going in increments of 10. And so I got up to, what was basically my one rep max and I pulled 2 really easy and the 3rd one I didn't pull as easily. I was fatigued, you know, and a smart man would have quit.

But I had a metcom to follow up with, so I go and I get warmed up for the metcon and then it's a quarter mile run and then it's as it's hang clean and if you don't know what a hang clean is basically where you've got the bar resting against your thigh just slightly above your knee and you lower it down to closer to your knee and then you clean it up to your chest. And to me that movement didn't have perfect form. I didn't do the exercise as well. Plus it was all for time so again, just another confounder of good form is trying to do things faster than you should because you're being timed. And so yeah, that was just a few rounds of that, I think we were supposed to do three rounds and I was on the second round and I finished the round and I walked up to the bar and I looked at it for a minute and I just said, okay, I'm done being stupid. But I sat down on a box and I just sat there for a minute and I'm like, okay, you know, I've got a problem here, I'm hurting and I'm just going to let his sit for a while. That was the end of my workout. I didn't finish that work out cause I at least was smart enough to know when I was injured and you know, not smart enough to keep myself from being injured. But, and then the worst part of it was that I had walked there and it was about a mile from my house so I had a one mile walk.

So that seared into my brain that, you know, the back is one of the most important elements in the kinetic chain. It is a part of the connect chain, whether you're talking about the posterior or the anterior. So front or back, it affects your movement, or side to side, it affects your movement and just about all the different planes that we studied for movement kinetics. And if you're not taking care of it, then you're going to end up with some pain or some tightness from time to time if you're active and doing things. And even if you're not active, there's still the likelihood that you're going to have some back issues at some point.

Dr. Gonzales: (10:45) Yeah. And I really like what you said there with yours and I recognize this with mine too, is that when I had mine, it was also from deadlifting. It wasn't too much. It was just enough to create an issue. And I look back and I thought after one of the reps I'm like, hmm, it feels weird. Okay, I'm going to keep going. You know. And so I liked it with yours, you're taking a good responsibility with it cause you, although they programmed it for you, you really did it to yourself. And mine was ego too. And I think there's a lot of times, the people listening are thinking about all these considerations of the reasons why their back hurts, you know, and maybe they say they sit too much or that their mother or father had back pain or you know, they say it runs in their family and all this kind of stuff.

I always like this to say that the environment is not static. Like we can change it however we want to and we don't have to do anything that we don't want to do. And when it comes to exercise programming, maybe in that one, if someone had an issue with their back and couldn't been forward, who had a past disc injury, maybe a dead life, a clean and then toes to bar all possible rounding, forward torquing movements on the spine. Maybe we'd split that up. Like maybe I wouldn't do deadlifts that day. I would do split squats or instead of toes to bar we might do bird dogs or something. And I had a friend that, he had an interesting story. It was a little bit more relationship to I guess a sciatica type of presentation. But he was working at a clinic at a school and he had all these track athletes that were coming in and they all had hamstring strains, they would call them. But really they presented as like a nerve based tightness because sometimes nerve will create tightness in an area as a response to protect the nerve or the back.

And so he asked them about their programming and they were doing crunches and Russian twist and things like that, a lot of them. And so he basically removed some of the rounding moments in the exercise that they were doing everyday and he replaced them with an extending one and almost all of them got better without even having to treat them at all. And so in that type of condition or that situation and say what yours is, if that's the programming every day, that's the driver of the condition and the back tightness isn't normal. It's just a result of what you're exposing your body to throughout your entire day. Entire Week.

Allan: (13:10) Yeah. And that was my big takeaway from that was that while this guy is fairly decent at his programming you know there are times when he is not on his game and I need to pay attention to that, you know? And so that's less than, and that's really in my mind, that's the value of pain. A lot of people think pain is a bad thing to be avoided. You know, use Ibuprofen, use a pain killer. Pain is actually a very good thing if it's telling you that your movement patterns wrong, it gives you that opportunity to fix it before you do some real damage.

Dr. Gonzales: (13:49) Right? There's one guy I interviewed that had a good saying, he would say if patients are really not getting the point about pain. He says, “so it sounds like, correct me if I'm wrong, but pain is here to punish you throughout your life.” And they're like, well, no, I don't think that's it. It's like, well, pain is your alarm. Pain protects you, right. So when we think of it that way and use pain as your guide it very rarely steers you wrong and you figure out the mechanics of how you can actually improve what your conditioning is. Whether it be a back or hip or an ankle or whatever.

Allan: (14:24) In the book you talked about some questions I assume. It sounded like a question that you'd probably ask your patient and it was, What do you believe to be true about your back or leg pain? Cause I thought, you know if I went to a doctor, if I felt like I needed to go to a doctor and I was there and he asked me that question, I would have a hundred different answers, you know, but, but that's only because I've studied corrective exercise and I've done those things back before I did those things. I remember going to a chiropractor with my then wife, now, ex wife, and she was going to the chiropractor and loved him. And then I went over there and he was basically I can't think of what the actual name is, but he was this Swedish guy, you know that perfect, Swedish looking guy. And I'm like, that's why she's here. And she says, well, let him check you out.

At this point I was 29 years old. I was about as fit as I could possibly be. I was at about 11% body fat and lifting, moving, doing everything I wanted to do. And he starts, you know checking my hips and checking this and that and he says, oh, you could really use an adjustment. I'm thinking I'm not in any pain. I have no outward symptoms whatsoever. You can physically look at me and know that there really weren't any muscle imbalances at that point. I was actually still really good about training balance and not just training upper body and ignoring lower body. I was very well balanced and you know, and if he had asked me that question I would've just said, it's that you get pain and then you do something about it. But what are the most common answers that you get when you ask them?

Dr. Gonzales: (16:26) There's a bunch. So a lot of times they'll tell you that it's muscle tightness. And I just got off the phone with this lady that had gluteal pain. And so right around the cheek on the side hurts when she gets up in the morning, it gets better a little bit throughout the day hurts to sit, actually squatting was okay she said, but deadlifting is not good. And so I can investigate all I want to and then deduct that I want to do a certain thing with her, but unless she's willing to accept the suggestion, she's gonna think I'm full of crap. And so I like to really figure out who, I don't want to say my opponent, but who the other person I'm playing chess with because this person's in here too for my guidance.

And I had an intern in yesterday and he said, I really like how you communicate with your patients. And I'm like, well the way I see it is that this person, this lady in yesterday, she was in for an elbow condition, which she believed it was Golfer's elbow because she was a golfer and she had pain on the inside part of the elbow. And I've found that actually I can change her elbow symptoms based upon a position. So seated she had elbow pain, laying down she didn't. And I'm like, if you had a thing in your elbow right there that was like torn up and just beyond belief, just imagine it just like a fraid piece of meat. It doesn't matter what position you're in, it's going to hurt. Right. And so I told the answer in that I think my responsibility, no matter what the person who answers is to validate that I heard their concern and to disprove them if it needs to be disproved.

Because no matter what I say, what I think is not going to matter because their value system is stronger than what I'm saying today. I had a girl in recently that I'm just going to do the ones that come to mind, a back one doesn't come to mind right now, but this one was fun. She had a knee condition and I said, and she was in for a couple of things, but I said, I was concerned mainly with her knee and so I'd seen her a few times and she said, hey, I'm like, how's this knee doing? Cause it's been flaring up over the last few months or so. And she said, well good. I'm like, explain that to me because you don't seem confident in that answer. Right. And she's like, it its okay.

And like does it hurt? And she's like, yeah, it hurts. I'm like, so do you want to do something about that today? And she says, no. And I'm like, well, how come? She's like, that's just how it's going to be. And she's 35 she's not, she's not old. So she says, this is this why? Because when I was 15 I tore my ACL and I said, did that hurt last month? She says, no, and I said, it hasn't hurt for 20 years and now it hurts today. She says, yes. And I said, so you believe it's from your ACL injury. She says yes. And I said, what do you think's going to get rid of that? And she says, losing weight. And I said, so, which one? Is it losing weight or is it the ACL? And last month you were in pain. So through that, they're not always wanting to have this discussion but to implement what is gonna be useful, whatever that might be.

We need to refute what they've been told and some people have been told, with their back that again, that they did they have a muscle strain. A lot of times they'll get hung up on these imaging findings and a lot of times they'll end up with me, with I have, I was told when I was 15, I had scoliosis, I went to another doctor and he took x-rays and I have arthritis there. I had a disc injury when I was 18 and working out with my friends in the gym and we were squatting and it hurt her since or I have a weak back. So sometimes the remedies are, well, I think I should clean up my nutrition and maybe that's merited. Maybe it's not some people than with the weak back conversation. They'll say, well, I need to strengthen my core.

And so they have all these beliefs of, again, they could be right, they could be wrong based upon what we see. And then they have the corrections they think they need. And I feel like my responsibility with that is again to prove or disprove that. And if there is an intervention that they're doing, which is harmful, and let's just say what the back they're saying, well they are with the core one and they say, well my core is weak because my back is weak and I need to do sit ups. So if bending forward is a triggering movement for them, which it is for a lot of those with disc issues, big or small. Then they're triggering their symptom. So in that case I would tell them, well, here's the reasons why I don't agree with that and I'll prove it and disprove him anyways.

And then I make a suggestion of something else we can try. However, if that same person says, my core is weak, I'm going to do Superman's. So extensions, a lot of times these people extension is fine. So at that point we kind of choose like, is it worth fighting this battle with this person or not? And it probably isn't at that point. So we need to figure out what the triggers are with their symptoms, figure out what their beliefs are, what's going to help and then pick and choose of where we want to dabble with their life. You know?

Allan: (21:29) Yeah. Cause I think that's a lot like with what I do as a personal trainer is I have a limited amount of time with a client, and if they're not buying into the program, then they're not doing the things that we need them to do when they're not with me. You know? So that's where my challenge is say, okay, look, I can work your butt off in the gym or I can work you out online. I can give you a program to do. But if you're not doing the work or you're not eating the way you need to eat, or you're not getting the sleep that you need, or you're dealing with chronic stress, we're still not going to get you exactly where you want to be.

So they do have to kind of do that buy in. And then I want to talk about that buy-in because I think that's a huge, huge, huge thing that it's kind of the 10 amount to what your book is about. If you don't have that, you don't get there. And then I appreciate that question kind of takes us there. And I think the reason that you can do that is because you've become an expert through self requirement. You got injured when you were younger playing baseball and then you got older and you had another injury and you still wanted to play baseball. So I can completely appreciate that. I played football in fairly competitive leagues, flag football and otherwise until I was 41. So I can get the wanting to be out there. And then when your body's just starts telling you, hey, take a break and your brain's saying, no, I still got it.

Can you talk through your second injury? Cause I think that's the one that I really felt like, okay, at that point you were not new to back pain, and you were not new to injuries but you approached it in a very, I think really, I mean you were mature but you approach it, it's hard to be mature when you're in pain. It's hard to be mature when you're dealing with your own issues and it's hard to be mature when there is doctor Google. But you approached in a very good way. So I appreciate if you tell that story.

Dr. Gonzales: (23:29) Yeah. Thanks. So yeah, the second one, I was 35 at the time actually. So the difference of the first one is 16 and I think the big difference between the two was that number one that I now, I hadn't had nine years, eight years of clinical under my belt. So I kinda knew the body a little better, but also because I was older, it was funny how quickly I ran into this what it's supposed to be. Like getting older type of thing, you know? And because everyone tells you after a certain age, it's like your body's going to start to wear away. And so even though I kind of knew better, it still creeped in. And I find even now with some of the things that I'm like, I had a patient just the other day that that had a little bit of mid back pain up and it's not a lot, it's just a little aching and burning and so on.

So this person comes in and they explain it and I'm able to troubleshoot it with them. However, it's hard to troubleshoot on yourself. It's really hard. And although I knew how to work with people with back conditions, it was hard to see through like the fog of having it. And so through the second time I went and saw a friend who was right around the corner and he's a good physician and I offered him money. I wanted to pay, I didn't want anything for free and I know my insurance wasn't going to cover, but I know the value of it and I know what this can turn into. So it's very, very scary and it's depressing and, I want to make sure that I was gonna get better cause I know you can get better.

I just, for some reason I couldn't find my own way doing it myself and I was fearful of movement. I didn't want to bend forward. I didn't want to pick up a weight anymore. You know. I stopped running, I stopped doing everything. And, so I didn't want to de-load and I didn't want to get worse over time, so I talked to him, I said, look, Cody, I had this thing, I want you to help me with it and I want you to be my quarterback basically, and I'm willing to pay you. I will do everything ask, and that's it, you know? So I kind of submitted myself to his judgment of what he thought we should do versus my own. And it was actually, once I kind of did that, it was very relieving knowing that someone else kind of has an eye out for you.

And so he tested everything and like I was even freaking out thinking like he'd get these little flickers in your legs sometimes and it's just, I call him creepy crawlies and it's like, hmm, just Parkinson's, is this MS is this, I mean, so your mind just runs wild. And so he ruled all that stuff out beyond reasonable doubt and gave me a game plan and probably within the first week, and I documented all this to make sure that in case I ever misspeak, that I wrote like a ledger. I wrote like a diary and did an audio throughout the thing because I knew it would be a unique situation that I hope I'm never in again, but I'll probably be in a couple more times. And I think I was about 50% better in a week and I just followed his game plan.

And then, so as I went through that, I eventually got to the point where I was better. I'd say I was like 80/90% better, like didn't have any pain but still have thought. And so as baseball season started to come around again, I, I went back and I said, hey, Cody checked me out. Like I want you to stress test everything. Just figure out where, if there's any risk reward variables. Like, am I going to risk anything by going in his swung a bat, because back when I was 16 I did like four months of Rehab, swung a bat, I was down again really quickly like the first swing. So it freaked me out cause I had this past experience thinking of swinging a battle is going to take me down. So he stressed test everything and he's like, you're good to go.

He's like, the biggest problem with you right now is that you don't have a general physical preparedness. You're not lifting anything, not doing anything. And so I reached out to a strength coach and he took me through deadlifting and squatting and single arm pulls and pushes and so on. And he came into my office and I paid him over a hundred bucks at a time, you know, and he did it twice a week. And so I'm, I'm really the living version of what I wish people would do with back pain. And I know how to cue a deadlift. I wrote a whole darn article on it on bodybuilding.com and but having a keen eye to it and having someone cue you and coach you is extremely valuable and just knowing that it's going to be okay. Like just saying, is this safe now? Like, yeah it's safe now do it. You know?

So that was very helpful. So that was what got me through that. And then now I'm out on my own and I play baseball at season. I have no problems. But it really gave me a good insight to see what patients see on the other side because it's doubt. It's doubt is what they basically get. Are we doing the right thing? Are we progressing in the right direction? Am I going to hurt myself again? You know? And it is scary. So we can help people with that. And I got a unique dosage of it.

Allan: (28:18) And that's what I really liked about that story is it really kind of brought to bear the fact that when we're going through pretty much any kind of physical or a health issue, our brain is the most powerful thing in the room. I mean, if we don't believe we can get better, we're not going to get better. If we don't trust in the process that we're going through, it's not going to work for us because we're probably going to skip parts. And if you're afraid of the pain and all you want as an escape from the pain with the meds, then you're, you're not really getting to the fundamental problem and as a result, you're not getting the help that you need. I do really appreciate that you took the time to say, I want to go ahead and bring in the professionals that are going to get me where I need to be so I can get there quickly, can get and know that I'm going to get there the right way and not re-injure myself, not set myself back even further. Can you talk a little bit about, you know, particularly with your clinical experience, some of your patients are going to come in with the mental disconnects the depression. Some are going to come in with the physical limitations. How, how does someone who's coming into this, how do they beat both of those?

Dr. Gonzales: (29:38) So the first thing is, I think I'll start with this. Just so this is just my overall general overview to people. And I want to make sure that when people come in, they understand that there's phases of the things and things drop off. And cause I know people think that, well, I was given this one thing this one time and it worked and I'm going to stick with it for the rest of my life. So I used to recommend four categories roughly.

There's scab picking, based upon Stuart McGill's work. There's first aid, there's Support and then there's Loading. And some people come in needing a lot of first aid, they just tend to trigger their symptoms a lot and they need to do a little bit more of just wound care and it's simple stuff, then you don't do it forever.

And scab picking is people who with say, fluxion and tolerant back pain like disc injuries, they just like deadlifts and they just don't stop. The good thing with those people is that, and deadlifting is not bad, It's bad at that time. Let me make sure to clarify that or re-clean it up. So that's why I start with a disclaimer. But so the people that are actually willing to keep going, they're actually the easiest ones to help because the people who are scared of movement or scared of weight, they get freaked out really quickly and they, I don't say they overanalyze it, but they're very keen to what their body's feeling.

And I did have a lady before, she came in and I couldn't even examine her at all and she wouldn't get out of a very straight spine position. And I said, let me see. I just want to see what your tendencies are. Let's go ahead and touch your toes. And she's like, nope, don't want to do it. And I always say, why not? She's like, I think it'll hurt. I was like, will it hurt? And she's like, I don't know, but I don't want to attempt it. So imagine getting that person then into encountering load and by load, which is kind of the fourth step, which I had a gentleman last night that he was very straight with picking up weight for, I just have them do a simple care, like a farmer's carry 25 pounds per side, nothing big like grocery bags. And so he's very straight by picking it up. And so I said, I'm okay with that at this point, but what I want to clear with you on is that you look like you're afraid to bend your spine and that's no way to live. You know, and these implements here, like barbells and trap bars and kettlebells and bands, these are all implements to teach how to encounter loads through life. And so he's like, cause he's wondering how far we're going to get with like, what else should we do? I'm like, well, uh, how would you pick up your child? And he would demonstrate it. I'm like, great. That's basically a squatter deadlift. And I'm like, how would you start a lawnmower? You know, and it's a single arm pull and there's a little bit of resistance behind it.

So everybody, I tend to start with, just ask, there's a long process. I start with about an hour of just question, and answer time. And I want to see where they're at with things because some people you can kind of see their hesitancies. Sometimes they're being strong and they're not showing their weaknesses and they just don't talk about it. But when you dig enough you start to figure out where their tipping point is. So I think the original question was how do you differentiate between the two? Is that right?

Allan: (32:54) Well, it's more of, you know, yes, I guess you kind of halfway answered it. When I come into the clinic, you have to be part doctor, part shrink to say, okay, is this a person who's going to drive through and want to do this or is this someone who's going to hesitate and you've got to bridge both of them. You got to keep the, the Gung Ho Ego guy from continuing to hurt himself or hurt herself. And you've got to keep the scared mouse aware that they are going to have to do some things that will scare them in order to get past this.

Dr. Gonzales: (33:27) Right. And so those ones who are a little bit more gung Ho, again, they're easier because they're not afraid of really hurting themselves. They're willing to try things. They're adventurous. So we can be a little bit more cavalier with these people and just as long as I do trigger their symptoms, you give them a safety net. And a lot of times that's their first aid that we've gone over that first day. And it might be something simple. The mouse, like people, I always think it's interesting in being on the other side. When I paid the strength coach to come in and work with me. So he'd come a couple days a week and eventually came one and then he came once every two, you know, and so he's texted me and he's like, did you do some strength work this week?

And I said, well, I skipped a day, or he'd find out that I wouldn't do all of, I wouldn't put as much weight on when he was there or when he wasn't there. And so I think it's useful to be very realistic with these people and say, I think just directly, are you going to realistically do the things that I'm asking on your own? Because I think a lot of people have the best intentions with it, but they don't do it or they don't do it well, or they have hesitation. I did have a guy that came in the other night that I gave them about three things I wanted him to try. And that part of the dealing is me testing to see whether this is gonna work or not and if not, I need to pick a different tool. And so he came back and he said, it hurt to do it and stopped and I didn't do anything. And I'm like, so one of them hurts you, but you didn't do the other two? And so I think it's useful to be very realistic with these people and have the conversation that are you really going to do on your own. And if not, you need to have someone who keeps you accountable. If not me, somebody else, it's fine, but you need to talk to someone about it.

Allan: (35:16) And that's one of the things, you know, when I sit down with a client, I'm like, okay, we're not going to get to the end game if you don't have a very deep emotional desire, I call it a “why” to get where you want to go. So the vision, so if it were back pain, I would, the vision is to no longer have back pain and be able to do the things you want to do physically. But you have to have a why. You have to really have something that's going to drive you and keep you, you know, seated and moving forward. And that's the commitment. So effectively, I think what you're, what you're doing there is telling the patient or the client, you have to be committed to this process or we can't get you where you want to go. And it's not always going to be easy. And sometimes it might be scary and sometimes it might hurt a little bit, but here's the parameters and here's the steps. And when they do that, I imagine it works pretty well for them.

Dr. Gonzales: (36:12) Yeah. And actually I listened to your podcast on goal setting. I think it's very good being very honest with what your goal is and not for losing 10 pounds to fitness skinny jeans. It's to, you know, live longer for your children. And sometimes people are willing to reveal that to us on day one. Sometimes not. I'm sure it happens in fitness coaching as well, but it's because I consider it like, when they come in I'm opening a novel, and their novels big, It's like the size of a Bible, you know? And we're flipping through and we don't know each other and I don't know what's going on with you and you don't know me. It's like, it's almost like a first date too. It's like, how much do you reveal on date one?

So I think as I start to learn more about them, I start to realize where I can ask these questions at. And some people it takes longer than I want it to. And I realize every time they're paying to come in and see me they're paying for, and I beat myself up a little bit about this sometimes because I want to get there quicker for them because I want to be very courteous of their costs, but it's really about the experience and the next part of the experience is them trusting me enough to do what I'm asking them to do. And if we haven't hit that point yet, t's like a stray cat. Like you just, you can't rush that process. It just happens, you know? So I think you're right on the goal setting. For me, sometimes it's scary for people to reveal that.

Allan: (37:39) Yeah. And I can, I can, I can definitely get that. You know, pain is kind of one of those things that cuts through most of the other things that are there. And if we want to avoid it then well, it is. 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?

Dr. Gonzales: (38:03) Well, I would say keep, keep moving and I think everyone has a different definition of fitness and moving. Um, I like your wellness definition by the way.

Allan: (38:13) Good, thank you.

Dr. Gonzales: (38:13) But I think we've come a long way in fitness to where you see everyone's highlights on Instagram's of their PRs and whatnot, and I tend to think you should just start doing a little bit of something every day and start to expose your body to different things. It doesn't have to be heavy. It doesn't have to be extremely challenging, but just do different things. They might be walking. So just go ahead and move. I would say use the shark analogy move, you know. Probably another is, if we're talking about physical fitness or at least related to back stuff is I like people to again, goal set and figure out, you know, why they are trying to get in the shape that they are there in. Um, because I think there's very happy people who are overweight, you know, and like I've seen very mentally unhealthy people that are skinny. And I don't think we realize that until we come out on the other side.

But some of the reasons why they end up in my office is because you're doing things that they believe will get them to that fitness or mental goal that aren't necessarily even needed. So really setting your goal, I think could be useful in figuring out why the heck you're doing it in the first place. Um, the third is just chill. You know, don't take your life so darn seriously. Just relaxing every once in a while your workouts and you're all day doesn't have to be a 110%. Just relax, have a cup of coffee, take some deep breaths, take a walk, you know, just chill. And I don't think we do that enough. And you could do that more in Panama by the way.

Allan: (39:49) Yeah, I did this morning.

Dr. Gonzales: (39:52) So yeah, just chill, you know, like, I tend to not sweat the small things, I'm very calm now and not all things bother me. Uh, In the past they used to, you know, I would get really fixated on certain things, but they're really not that big. And then when, you know, when it comes to the grand scheme of things there's no point in getting yourself worked up about it, you know?

Allan: (40:15) Yeah. I like those. I have a client, I keep telling him, you know, I really like this statement, I stole it from someone else. But is this really going to matter in five years? Will you remember that it happened in five years? So why are you giving even, you know, 10 seconds of thought to something that five years from now is not even gonna bother you. So don't invest that time today to worry about it. But I liked those, so thank you for that. So if someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about your book, I Will Beat Back Pain. Where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Gonzales: (40:49) Probably go to my website, it is going to be easiest. Um, p2sportscare.com. It's for a while I will have just a picture on the front. You can click on it and it just takes you to Amazon. Some people are gonna forget the name of the book, I Will Beat Back Pain. But uh, if you go on Amazon, it's on kindle, it's on paper, it's on audio at audible.

Allan: (41:14) One of the cool things about the audio book is you actually put a little bonus content in the audio book, right? And your audio journals and stuff.

Dr. Gonzales: (41:22) Yeah. So all those ones that, um, I remember the one that I was snippet in. You can hear the cars passing cause I was on PCH over here and I was just getting off a paddleboard and I was like, should I edit them? Like, no, it's kind of cool. It makes it real, you know. But I sounded damned depressed in that thing. So you can't write that stuff, you know?

Allan: (41:42) So this is going to be episode 384 and you could go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/384 and I'll be sure to have a link to your site there Sebastian. So thank you so much for being a part of 40 plus fitness.

Dr. Gonzales: (41:58) Yeah, thanks for having me on. This is fun. You're a good interviewer by the way. Everyone should, uh, leave a review for Allan.

Allan: (42:03) It's always nice to have another podcaster on.

Dr. Gonzales: (42:07) Yeah, I appreciate everything you're doing. It's a good job on the podcast and I audio is great. Everything's good.

Allan: (42:13) Awesome. Thank you.

So how did you like that interview? Did you take something away from it that was really good for you? I hope you did. And if you did, would you please consider being a supporter of the show? You can do this by going to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/support, and that will take you to our Patreon page. I'll patron is a really cool service that allows you to make monthly contributions to a show like this and help us keep the podcast going. So go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/support and become a patron of the 40 plus fitness podcast. I really do appreciate it. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

May 27, 2019

Super wellness with Dr Edith Ubuntu Chan

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Thank you!

With a mix of Chinese and western medicine, Dr. Edith Ubuntu Chan helps you find better health with her book Super Wellness.

Before we get into today's episode, I did want to take just a moment to make an announcement. My calendar is still open for free consults. You can book your own 15 minute free, 15 minute consult with me to discuss your health and fitness goals, things that you can do, things that you may want to tweak, or maybe not. I had a client I talked to today who basically this programming is perfect for him. He's really enjoying it. He was just concerned that he might actually be overtraining. So we talked about that. What is overtraining and how does it affect him and what, what would be the symptoms and things that he should be looking for if he wasn't getting the rest and recovery he needed. So, you know, in some cases I'm able to just help someone feel more clarified that what they're doing is right. And maybe that's you too. So please do go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/consult to book your free 15 minute consult with me, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/consult. Thank you.

Now on to the interview…

Allan Misner: 00:03:38 Dr Edith, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:03:42 Thanks so much for having me Allan.

Allan Misner: 00:03:44 You know, I wrote a book on wellness not long ago, and so it's really cool when I start seeing this term wellness showing up in books and you know, I define wellness as being the fittest, healthiest, happiest person you can be. So I see it more as a kind of a whole word versus the bits and pieces. And as I went through and I got thinking about this this term again, because I'm seeing it in your book and I'm seeing it a little bit more and more in some discussions I thought, you know, when I was in my twenties the word in my head was always fitness.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:04:15 Yes.

Allan Misner: 00:04:16 And then as I got into my thirties and early forties, the health thing started becoming more to the forefront of this whole thing of okay, I gotta have, you can't just have fitness, I got to have health. And it's really just been kind of in like the last five years that the wholeness of I need to have joy and happiness in my life, or I haven't really completed the Trifecta, if you will, of what wellness means, at least from my perspective. And I think as we get older, we actually kind of start figuring this stuff out is okay, it's not one dimensional. Wellness is not one dimensional. And I kind of liked that your book actually, not only does it acknowledged that, but it also kind of comes across and says, you know, there's these things that the standard western medicine wouldn't necessarily embrace that is more and more starting to prove that eastern medicine actually had it right. And I just thought, I'm so happy to hear that there's practitioners like you, that are kind of coming into this market and saying, hey, let's marry these two things and let's get get people well.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:05:37 You know I was just talking with a MD patient of mine. I have a clinical practice in San Francisco I work with people from all walks of life. Essentially two major groups of people, athletes who are striving for their highest level of human performance and also patients struggling with complex chronic illnesses. Sometimes mystery conditions sometimes conditions people say that is incurable. But we all know there's no such thing as incurable. There is just a big misunderstanding out there.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:06:01 Well, this patient of mine is a burned out, very good hearted but totally sausage fried burned out MD who's taking a sabbatical and reevaluating her life and her career. And we were talking about how Western medicine hijack the term health care. Because what she does is excellent emergency lifesaving medical procedures, but it is not health care. Yeah, it's sick care it's illness care and is very important. But it's a teeny tiny fraction of the whole picture of what health is. So I think people don't get confused if we use the term wellness. Right. Cause health, the word health has been confused for way too long in our society.

Allan Misner: 00:06:54 And I don't disagree with you at all on that one. I do actually have a relationship with a doctor, and I went to him specifically because he focuses on wellness care. We're going to have appointments on a regular basis. We're going to get blood work done. We're going to talk about what's going on in your life and we're going to solve your health problems before they become health problems. And that's rare. That's rare to find folks that are doing it, but it's just more and more common each and every day I think.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:07:25 Yeah, I think it's no secret to any of the listeners out there, our medical paradigm is so horribly broken. Our doctors are aware of this. You know our doctors have such good hearts and such good intentions. They went to medical school to get all this training because they want to make the world a better place. They want to help people, they want to serve but then their education trains them into this narrow sliver of reality. And in some ways, sometimes they forget about the other 99% of reality out there in the mind, body, spirit one is the joy in your life. Time and nature, breathing, sunshine, hugs, laughter, all these things are part of health and wellness and guaranteed they don't have classes about this kind of stuff in medical school.

Allan Misner: 00:08:15 And if they get more than, I guess a semesters worth of classes on nutrition, that's kind of a special because that's not what medical schools are really all about. But unfortunately a lot of what's happening with us is about what we're putting in our mouths, what we're putting on our bodies, the movement. And I think each and every one of us is just, fundamentally no. If I find I'm not eating well and I'm not doing some form of movement, practice resistance training or stretching or cardiovascular, not doing something. We know we're not doing ourselves any favors. But in the book you come up with the concept, even that, if you're doing those things good, that might not be enough for us to actually be well.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:09:02 Okay, so chapter one in my book, “SuperWellness” is as you know, “Why Eat Right and Exercise is not the Key. And a little disclaimer, obviously I picked that title to catch your attention and I hope I did.

Allan Misner: 00:09:16 You did, and even I as a fitness trainer, but even I will sit there and tell my clients, I'm like, you're in the gym with me, if we're going to work out we're spending three hours, if I work out with them directly, do most of my work online now. But if I were to work out with you as a trainer, I would get three hours a week with you, maybe five. If you're really gung Ho and want to keep coming back. But you've got another 173 hours or 176 hours that you're not in the gym. Other things are going on that are affecting your health and fitness. And so I do tell them I'm a fraction of the value that you're really going to get out of this whole equation. But even then, you know, it's like, okay, so you're eating well and you're exercising, but there's still more to this wellness thing.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:10:05 In all of my training, I've been told, and I've taken all of these different certifications and two different graduate degrees in holistic medicine. Everybody says you got to eat right and exercise right. Here in the San Francisco Bay area, my clients are usually very health savvy people. You know, people who are already eating super clean, already working out doing yoga and pilates, I have athlete patients and yet they're still suffering from chronic illness. And so they come to me confused and frustrated because they feel like they're doing everything right. It's like they are aware that is not a drug or surgery that they need,that its something with their lifestyle, but they eat the squeaky clean diet. They work out every day and still they suffer from chronic illness. So it frustrated me as a practitioner for a very long time until sometimes, you know, you ask those super obvious questions and you hit your forehead like, duh, why didn't I see this before? I just asked the question, what if it's not about their diet or exercise is like the flood gates started opening and you realize, wow, this person doesn't sleep right. They don't breathe right. They don't see sunshine, fresh air. They're chronically stressed out. They're in a toxic relationship. They're in a job that they hate. You know, they have so much toxic levels of stress in their life that no amount of healthy diet and exercise could undo that kind of toxicity. And so in researching for my book, it was so fascinating. I found this 2016 study, that was the first time I've ever seen a study, I love that they're starting to do studies that look at these kind of synergistic, multifactorial things in our health. They wanted to see how stress and diet interact with each other. So they took these women and split them up into two groups. One group ate a super controlled inflammatory diet that they knew what increase blood markers of inflammation, like c reactive protein and so on. Then they took the other group and gave them an anti inflammatory diet. Guess what they found?

Allan Misner: 00:12:15 Well, I know what they found because I read the book, So why don't you tell us.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:12:18 All right. Well, it turns out that for the women that reported high levels of stress, it didn't matter what they ate, whether they eat this squeaky clean, got diet or a crappy diet, they were still inflamed because the stress had them so inflamed already. But for the low stress group, people who report, report at low levels of stress eating the crappy diet made them blood markers worse eating the cleaned diet decreased their inflammation, made their blood markers better. So that's just one study. But is it possible that that diet is secondary to stress after you've got your stress well manage, well controlled, then look at your diet. I'm not saying everybody should be out there, you know, like binge eating, ice cream, potato chips. But it's good to consider how these things synergize together to ultimately create the wellbeing that we're looking for.

Allan Misner: 00:13:16 Yeah, once I got hold of myself from what I would call a health and fitness perspective, and then started understanding wellness a little bit better. You know, I'm sitting there and I met probably the lowest body fat percentage I had been and I don't know, 20 years or so. And you know, I'm as fit as I really almost have ever been and I'm doing tough mudders with my daughter and I'm kind of doing well from prespective. And it felt good because of the difference from where I had come from. I would go into the doctor and I get the blood test and my c reactive protein was off. My homocysteine was off. When I sat down, my blood pressure was kind of right on that edge of hypertension and occasionally I'd come in, my thyroid function wasn't optimal and it would just be having these conversations. And I'm like, I really don't want pills. I don't think pills are the answer to this problem. The more and more I kind of got into it, I'm like, okay. I looked at my blood test relative to when we were doing layoffs at work and when I was going through relatively stressful periods of time, I could see the stress levels moving my blood markers. And that's, that's kind of when that light came on. It's like, okay, I'm in a job that is effectively killing me. I'm not necessarily working for a living anymore. I'm working for a dying and if I don't do something, then that's, you know, that's my choice. I could choose to do something about it or I could choose not to. And you know, now that I've been in Panama for a while, I'm waiting for my blood results to come back in and I'm willing to bet that my numbers are going to be a lot better.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:14:58 You know I have a similar story, back in the first dot com boom, I had first, this is 17, 18, 19 years ago, I used to work in software. So my story is that back when I was four years old, I grew up in Hong Kong and I watch this amazing Chi-kwan healer, in one session, emit Energy and heal my dad's back pain that was unresponsive to all Western medical treatment and heal my sisters ankle sprain that was all swollen and nothing was helping. In one session, I'm age four watch this, Woowoo Sharman basically emit energy from his hands and heal my father's back pain and heal my sisters ankle in one single session. And I remember at age four I said, that's what I'm going to be when I grow up.

Speaker 3: 00:15:51 But all that said, you know, that's not practical, you can't do that, you should go to school, get good grades and buy a house, have 2.5 kids. And so I did what the world said you should do. I went to school actually after they said you can't be a healer. I said, well maybe I'll be an astronaut. And so they all said, good, be really great at math, science and engineering and maybe you can be an astronaut. So fast forward, years later, I'm at Harvard getting a math degree and I graduate and I ended up going into software and I'm rocking it at this job. And you know, getting promotions and everybody says, great job. My hardworking immigrant parents are super thrilled, so proud, and I'm getting employee of the year awards and I'm miserable. I'm 10-15 pounds fatter than I was, 10-15 pounds fatter than I am now. I had acne, I had stomach pain, I had monthly debilitating menstrual cramps. The list goes on and on. Chronic headaches and migraines. Well, one day I walk into this board meeting with the super high ups, I was so excited. I finally got invited to this really awesome high level board meeting because my job was as a translator between business, business development and technology. That's always kind of been my gift is translating technical concept into lay person friendly concepts and back and forth.

New Speaker: 00:17:19 I'm at this meeting, serving this role to kind of bridge the gap between the business requirements and the technical requirements and I walk in, I see these Uber successful high level senior executives that I see the whole room. It was like the record player just came to a screeching halt. They're all looking stressed out, frazzled. They were just like me. You know a few of the other ones also had migraine headaches like me. You know, none of them, I can't know for sure what's going on in their lives, but none of them look particularly bright, shiny, joyful, fulfilled or healthy. It was like life was showing me, if you keep going down this track, this is a life you're choosing. And this voice just said, is this what you always wanted to be when you grew up? You know, and in that instant it flashed me back to age four when I saw the healer healing with his energy hands, I thought, what? What happened? I'm living somebody else's life. This isn't the life that I said I want it to live. And it was right after that meeting that I went back to my desk and figured out how to, how to change my career. And so it was, as you know, is a tumultuous journey to kind of come to terms, listen to your heart versus what the world says. I have so much respect for you Allan. It takes huge courage to walk away from all of that success.

Allan Misner: 00:18:51 For you too, because I did it after I already kind of had a career. So it was not, to me, I don't feel like it was that hard of a challenge or that hard of a decision, it just hit me, you know, okay, you're not doing this thing. You can go send out resumes and go back into that fight into that thing. But it was really kind of just a natural, no, you know. This wellness is my goal. You know, wellness is what I'm after. And that kind of last piece of what I call kind of the, for lack of better word, before, nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress. And I'm like, you know, the only one I'm really not hitting on right now is the stress one. And if I could nail that one, you know, I'm 90% there. So I don't think it was a hard decision. I think it was the only decision. I only had one choice. So it's not even like flipping a coin. It was just, this is just what it is.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:19:45 Well, for some people, the longer you've been in a career, that harder is to leave, isn't it?

Allan Misner: 00:19:53 I remember working for Silicon Valley too. I had my years there as well. And it gets in your blood and you're like, okay, I want to move up, I want to do this. And you know, this is cause it's all high energy and you just kind of feed on it.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:20:10 What you consider normal sometimes gets skewed and distorted by the community you're surrounded by, you know, now I hang out with all these biohackers and holistic health nuts and people who do Chigong and meditate and we spend time in nature. You know, I live outside the city now. I spend tons of time hugging trees. I live a full on hippie lifestyle. And so it's easy to keep going like that. But back then I was surrounded with people who would just work 8,000 hour weeks and then blow off steam and drink tons of alcohol on the weekends and this very inflamed and not very healthy cycle that I was part of seemed normal. It's just like take some Ibuprofen, you got a headache. You know, take some painkillers and keep pushing That was the culture and so I believe that on some level in our bodies, in ourselves, our souls will speak to us through our health and through our bodies.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:21:12 And so our bodies is like a trusty friend there to tell us, hey, something is really out of alignment. You know? So that's why in my book we have these five myths and one of the greatness is going to bring tears to my eyes because I've had the honor of accompanying patients through some really serious life threatening situations with their health. And it is so moving to see how people can use that as an opportunity to really take stock of everything in their life. At first when you get a serious diagnosis is so heartbreaking and so scary, but the ones who like you have the courage to listen deeply and realign their lives. It is so beautiful to watch a human being go through that journey. I just feel so honored to have a job where I get to accompany people in that process. So getting sick sometimes. Some people tell me that's the biggest blessing because it caused them to listen deeply to themselves.

Allan Misner: 00:22:26 And its easy enough for them to kind of emotionally get their why, its right in front of them. In your book, you talk about the 5 greatest myths around wellness, can you talk through them with us?

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:22:30 Well, I shared the biggest one which is getting sick is always a bad thing. That's actually myth number five. That sometimes you know, as an athlete, as somebody who trains their fitness, I'm sure all of your listeners can relate to this. This is a simple less dramatic example of how sometimes if you get, you know, as an athlete, if you get injured, the really high performance athletes use that as an opportunity. They might be bummed out for a little bit, but then they quickly pick themselves up and figure out, hey, what was wrong with my technique or what was tweaky about my equipment or my training program. Let me reevaluate and reassess with my coach. And then as a side effect of that, their performance dramatically skyrocket because they are like a student, they listened deeply and they figure out how to fine tune and optimize and improve. And often that's how they have their big breakthrough.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:23:27 And then with my patients who suffer from serious illnesses, the ones who go deeply within themselves to do that kind of soul searching are often ones that have the best healing results. By surrendering completely did the illness and using it as a teacher to listen deeply to see what it has to, what it is trying to say, hey through their body. Right? So, so getting sick and injured is not always easy, but often there's a great gift on the other side of it. And so for those of us who've ever been sick, injured, and said, darn it body, I don't have time for this. You know, we speak unkindly to the body. I think it's a big misunderstanding and it caused a lot of unnecessary frustration and suffering. Even things like getting a cold, getting a flu after you recover from a virus is not just that you recover, you get a huge gift, your body's amazing.

Speaker 3: 00:24:29 It'll create the perfect, the perfect fever, the perfect respond, an elegant cascade of immune reaction so that you not only recover, but you get lifelong immunity from that virus. So I think we owe our bodies a huge debt of gratitude that is such a miracle that we can put it through these stressful situations and it can bounce back and heal from all the stressors of life. In fact, in my opinion, that is what health and wellness is about. This ability to support and listen to the body and, and know that it can adapt and bounce back from all of the ups and downs of life. So that's a myth number five.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:25:14 But I'll start with myth number one. Myth number one is I think maybe the single most important one to talk about because we've come to think in our society that, you know, we want to like outsource everything. You know, we want quick fixes in this society. I think probably not your listeners, but most people out there in America or have been trained to have quick fixes. But I always ask people, how long is your doctor's appointment? You know, Allan, you have an amazing doctor.

Allan Misner: 00:25:51 My doctor is a little different, but I would say anytime I actually do go to any other doctor for what I would then call illness care or sickness care, it's maybe seven minutes. I'm going to spend two hours there, waiting and then being moved to another room and wait and put in another room and you're sitting there and you're on your phone. It's like, okay, I'm playing suduko and I'm waiting. And then the doctor comes in and looks at your chart real quick and says, here's some amoxicillin, you should be fine. And then walks out the door and it's your seven minutes in and it's like, okay.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:26:32 Yeah, like 5-10 minutes once or twice a year? Now contrast that to your appointment, how long is your medical appointment with yourself? Okay, it's 24/7, 365 for decades and decades and decades, isn't it? So it's just like silly when you think about it like that, that why would we give our power away to some guy in a white coat when we have the ability to listen to ourselves, to know that we are the boss and CEO of our own lives. And honestly your doctor, I'm sorry to just be blunt, your doctor is your minion working for you. You know? I always say that to my patients too because my patients say, Dr Edith, what should I, blah blah blah. I'm like, okay, well according to my clinical experience, these are the things that I think will give you the best bang for the buck results. But remember you're the boss, I'm your minion working for you. And I always remind my patients of that because that's what got us into so much trouble. It's not that we shouldn't listen to all the experts that have these advanced trainings, we should definitely, but never above and beyond our own inner guidance. Always use your own discernment. And if you don't resonate with this doctor's philosophy, fire the doctor and hire a different one. You have that choice. Don't ever forget that your doctor works for you, not the other way around.

Allan Misner: 00:28:03 If you went out and hired a plumber and said, okay, I need you to fix my sink. And they get the water running, but you don't have hot water, you only have cold water. And they say, well, at least it's running. At your age that's about all you can hope for. You'd be like, what? I hired you to work on my sink. But if your doctor sits there and says, you know, you're going to have to take this pill for the rest of your life. That's just the way it is, its just your age, it's just how you are. Then you know you're like, okay, I have to accept that because like I said, he's in the white coat. He knows what he's talking about, which is why I really like, I actually think your second myth is my favorite.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:28:46 This idea that we're always, this causes so much stress and pain and frustration amongst my patients and just people in general because people have been told things like, your condition is incurable. There's nothing you can do about it. Or, oh, it's just in your genes and there's nothing you can do about it. Well, our minds are so powerful that if we're told and we actually believe and act upon that belief that there is nothing you can do about it, then you don't do anything about it and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy that it just keeps going down the same trajectory that you're on. But this is such horribly outdated, unscientific thinking that it just gets my blood boiling because there are all these myths out there. In fact, I read this article that's based on a book. What is the book is something about facts. How scientific facts have a half life that most so called scientific, especially medical facts out there. I think they are proven false within four or five decades, but some doctors were trained decades ago and it just takes about five decades for new scientific information to kind of propagate into how we run our lives, our society, and our medical care system. But in the last decade, it's been proven so strongly that our genes aren't fixed. There's this whole science of epigenetics that things like exercise and meditation and mindfulness and breath work, these things have been proven to not only slow the aging of yourself, but in some cases reverse age, youth yourself. And incurable conditions, every single documented type of medical condition that has been deemed incurable has. There's a database out there called, I think it's called; The Spontaneous Remission Database or Project. There's documented cases of miraculous healings from every medical condition out there.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:30:48 It's like you can't call it incurable is we can really just be honest and say, hey, sometimes things heal and science and medicine today doesn't fully yet understand the full mechanism of action of how to create that healing. One thing is for sure, I always invite patients to think that our western doctor at least today, and I'm glad to see it starting to change, at least for now. The vast majority of conventional doctors are super smart and super well trained in drugs and surgery, right? Like you don't go to your car mechanic and ask him about your plumbing. So it's not appropriate to go to a doctor who's been trained in drugs and surgery to understand things that are outside of drugs and surgery such as nutrition and lifestyle and mind, body connection and so on. Unless they have specialized training in that, right? But we have a big misunderstanding. So when a doctor says, Hey, there's no cure for this condition, instant translation, and by everybody to carry an invisible language translator with them when they see a conventional doctor, if they ever says, this instant translation means as far as science is aware or your condition, there's currently no known cure within drugs and surgery. That's what that means. That's all that that means, which is super good news because it means wow. Now you can focus more of your energy on looking at things that are outside of drugs and surgery because the doctor just ruled out that that category of tools and modalities isn't the strongest one for you to look at. So you should be grateful instead of in dispair because he's just cleared the path for you.

Allan Misner: 00:32:40 Yeah, they can address the symptoms, but we don't have pills that can cure your problem. So, you know.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:32:50 There are so many alternative options out there so whenever a doctor says, Hey, there's nothing you can do about it, I just say thank you very much. That means I should start looking places outside of drug and surgery because his expertise in this category and it means that it's not his wheelhouse. So I'll go look elsewhere. Great. Thank you very much.

Allan Misner: 00:33:07 And, and I think that goes into your third myth, which is that we're treating the body and the mind, we're treating them separately and not recognizing the connection.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:33:18 Yeah, I think that might be the fourth myth, but we can jump around. The fourth myth is this idea that I think we, as a society, we're outgrowing. This is such an outdated idea, but we used to think that, you know, some diseases are just in your body, some conditions are just in your mind, and I hope no doctors ever said this to you, but if you have a medical condition or you don't feel well and they don't know what's going on, how often do you hear this? All the time people just get prescribed some kind of an antidepressant because it's like, well, we don't know why you have chronic fatigue. We don't know. I have chronic fibromyalgia. So, um, yeah, so just take this antidepressant and go away, right? It's all in your mind because we can't detect anything from the blood tests or imaging what's wrong with you? You know?

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:34:12 And so truth is, we've all had those experiences where when we eat some food that you know, agrees with our system, our minds feel brighter. If we eat foods thats inflammatory, we feel cranky and, and moody and our minds, our emotions, we become irritable and we think that the food that we ate is just physical. No, it affects our mind, body, emotions and spirit. Many people tell me, and that's a big part of the super wellness book, has this journey that it takes you through, that after they clean up their lifestyle, then they go to a meditation retreat and they have big breakthrough spiritual awakening experiences because after they've cleaned up their bodies, then that clarity, that spiritual awakening becomes so much more easily assessable to you, and this may sound woo-woo, but it's over and over again my experience accompanying patients in cleaning up their bodies, optimizing their lifestyle, they tell me that they not only heal their body, but their minds, their emotions and spirit feels so much lighter and brighter and clearer when they do that.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:35:22 Likewise, if you, you know, the previous, the previous example of living in a toxic, stressful lifestyle, doing work that you hate and then your c reactive protein levels go way up, your homocysteine goes up. That's an obvious of how mental and emotional stress create very clear physical manifestations. And sometimes if you linger long enough, that kind of blockage and inflammation creates real physical illnesses like tissue level changes if it lingers long enough. And so it's just a big, huge misunderstanding to ever separate the mind, body, spirit in reality, all of these are intertwined together. We have to address all of the levels of our well-being.

Allan Misner: 00:36:10 And kind of one of the cool things, for some of this is particularly we're talking about meditation, getting out in nature, treatment protocols, if you will. They're not expensive and so it's not that you have to go out and spend a whole lot of money on medicines sometime or a whole lot of money on a surgery. Sometimes health is much more accessible financially.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:36:36 Yeah, the other myth out of the five is probably the number one reason why I had to write the book. I run my clinical practice, I do online seminars, homeschooling my four year old boy and busy person, but I just couldn't bear for this myth to perpetrate the longer it was just making my blood boiled that I'm sorry to use this work, essentially indoctrinated into a belief system that the more complicated, sexy, expensive, fancy procedures are the ones that we should focus our energies on. I always invite everybody to consider that if you see billboards or advertisements on TV, just remember that that requires funding, which means that if you see all these advertisements, it means is making somebody a lot of profits out there. And that's not to say these things don't work, but we've skipped over the free things. The free things that in my experience shop often surprise me, often work even better than some of the expensive things, and so things like breath work, sunshine, time in nature, a really good night's sleep. These things are scientifically documented now to create such profound influence on your health, your healing, and your well-being. But the problem is that nobody can make money off of just inviting you to take three breaths in between every meeting, to make sure you go get fresh air and sunshine to take off your shoes and ground your body in physical contact with nature. All of these things are so free that you're never, there's never any profits to drive advertisements on TV or billboards on the highway. And so we have to take back that attitude to recognize that actually some of the most potent and powerful self healing tools are already available to us in abundant proportions is free or almost totally free, super simple, easy, abundantly available. We just have to make that choice.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:38:53 And sometimes I think it's kind of, the analogy I like to make is like this. Do you use a MAC computer? Okay. So let's say you have a MAC and you bring it to the genius bar at your local apple store and you wait in line, you're like so frustrating. I can't wait to get some professional help on this. And they look at your computer and they say, you know what, your battery's low. You just need to plug it in. Just plug it in and it'll start working, you know, and maybe, after you plug it in and charge up the battery, you could do some optimization with the apps. But it's like that with our health so much, isn't it? I don't want to belittle it, but it's like we are running around with low battery because we don't breathe the right. We don't hydrate well, we don't get proper sunshine. We're like zoo animals living in these boxes in such an artificial environment. Our Circadian Rhythms is all out of whack these things are the fundamental, I call them essential neutrients or life for your health well-being. And when these things are missing, no pill or procedure out there could ever be as powerful as recreating that really necessary foundation for your health and your well-being is just like plugging your laptop back into the socket to charge up the energy. You know your body energy, like how is your battery operating? First, get it plugged back into the system, get your energy flowing, get your circadian rhythm, get your breath, get your hydration, get these basics back in order. And a lot of times those complicated conditions either just manage or they're so dramatically better that then you can work one on one with your professional practitioners and your results might be 2x, 3x, 10x 100x better than you could ever imagine.

Allan Misner: 00:40:47 Yeah, it's kind of like the IT joke when you call the help desk, I don't know if you saw the show the IT guys from the UK, but it's a hilarious show, but they're work at a help desk and it's like every time he answers the phone it just becomes this, did you end, did you turn it off and turn it back on? You know, and it's weird to say this, but in a lot of cases our health is kind of the same way. It's just, you know, just to unplug for a minute, just, you know, go back to the basics and kind of let your body and mind, your spirit just reboot. And you're going to come at this with a lot more energy and a lot more capacity to work well and to think well and all that. Now you had this acronym in the book. It's health and, and I'm, I'm kind of a sucker for numbers and acronyms, but so I have to ask it. Can you go through the acronym for Health?

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:41:46 This is based on, this book is based on a class that I started teaching back in 2012 when I started blowing my mind and my patients' minds when we started discovering that the simple things that are essentially free, easy, so abundantly available, were often giving us even better results than the expensive fancy procedures out there. So my patients and I are blowing our minds and I started just teaching a class, just sharing these findings and sharing these tools and tactics for your self-care and your wel-being. And it shocked me that when you get a group of people together with that common intention, sometimes I was getting even better results, often getting even better results with the community groups of 8 to 10 people teaching, doing these classes, that community support, that common intention, that's social learning. People were having massive transformations that I could hardly believe. And so gradually over time I discovered that the order, the sequencing, actually made a huge difference. About 8 or 10 iterations into teaching this class, I discovered that there's a step by step journey that was delivering by far better results if we explore these lifestyle practices in that specific order. And then one participant said, hey, Dr. Edith, you know, your classes are 6 weeks and h e a l t h has six letters. And then I looked at it and it fit perfectly. It was like the universe just delivered this acronym, this whole framework just on my lap. It instantly fit exactly the curriculum that we have figured out. And so blessed in writing a book and sharing this information. People love acronyms. I love acronyms is unforgettable.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:43:34 You know, so we'll start with the first H, the first module of the 6 weeks super wellness course that I started teaching back in 2012, the first H stands for coming Home to ourselves. And I think that's really the first step in any transformational journey is just to realize that you are the boss and CEO of your own life. And that a lot of times we don't need to be way over complicating things in life that we already have the answers within us. We just need to give ourselves permission to act on that inner knowingness, right? So we like to give our power away and make things so over complicated. But really in the first step of super wellness is to recognize you're the boss. What is your definition of health. We spend a lot of time looking at this because the world is always going to tell you you want to be healthy and successful. But people don't take time to be like, what does that mean to you? What does success mean to you? And what is your definition of health and modern conventional medicine says health is the absence of disease, illness or even symptoms. And that's why they have such great techniques for suppressing symptoms isn't a true? Because they're doing a good job aligning their tools, tactics and strategies to their definition of health. But we all know that most of us would not define health as that because in reality when, when we suppress symptoms is kind of like your car dashboard has the check engine light blinking and you just take a hammer and bang at it and turn off the light instead of looking at the root cause of why there's a check engine light going. You know, so coming home to ourselves, going deeply within, checking in with ourselves, what is our own definition of health? Like my definition of health is the ability to adapt and respond to all the ups and downs of life to learn and grow from every experience of life. And so instead of running away from symptoms, I run towards the symptoms and really tried to learn something. Every time my body speaks up and says, you know, this feels out of balance, to know that there's wisdom and some really important information that I need to listen to. So coming home to ourselves and recognizing that sometimes simple things like self care practices that are totally free, easy, abundantly available, it's already available to us. So take advantage of those things coming home.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:46:18 The second letter is E, and E stands for Environment. I was listening to this TED talk, this a woman named Min. Cool. did a great TED talk about how essentially zoo animals back in the day were given the right water, the right food, and you know, everything that's zookeepers knew they needed for survival and they were dying at alarming rates. And then now as well known by anybody who keeps a zoo that you have to mimic the animal's natural habitat or else they will die very quickly. You can not just put an animal in a cage and give them food and water and expect that they would thrive. Likewise in this society, most modern humans are like zoo animals these days. You know, we're living in these boxes getting toxic artificial lighting like LEDs and fluorescence. We don't get natural full spectrum lighting anymore. We have epidemic proportions of vitamin D deficiency and we don't have good circadian rhythms. So during the day we don't have good energy and vitality. At night we don't sleep in darkness so we don't get the bath of Melatonin that our cells really need to heal and regenerate every single night like Melatonin has been found to have powerful anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, immune boosting tissue healing properties.

The list goes on and on just from sleeping in complete darkness, simple things like that. Optimizing your environment to get natural sunlight during the day. Sleep in darkness at night, go outside, spend time in nature. Physical contact, barefoot on their earth has been found to have incredible medicinal properties of optimizing your nervous system, anti-inflammatory function, antioxidant function, shifting your nervous system out of stressful fight or flight mode into parasympathetic relaxation and healing mode and all this stuff is totally free. Optimize your environment. Give yourself the gift of these free easy things. Get out of the zoo cage and go back into your natural habitat, you'll be so shocked and surprised how simple things like that could be complete game changer in your health.

So H stands for coming Home, E stands for Environment, and then A is a huge one. A stands for first Air, then Agua, and finally my husband came up with this Amph as in the food that you eat. All Right, Allan, I'm going to ask you this. How long can a person survive without eating physical food?

Allan Misner: 00:49:14 I've heard you can go as long as 40 days without food.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:49:19 Yeah, I think it's probably a range of possibilities. I've heard of even like Yogis and Chico masters in the Himalayans that have becomes so called breathaterians and they're so highly attained that they hard, they can go for years without eating. Most of us. Full disclaimer, by the way, I have a medical license. I don't want anybody putting themselves at risk doing prolonged fasting or anything like that without medical supervision. But just for the purpose of this exercise, let's say a human being could go for 20, 30, 40+ days without eating physical food as long as they have water. Right? So how long can you go without drinking water?

Allan Misner: 00:49:59 What I've heard roughly is probably about three days then you start having some health consequences.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:50:03 Something like that, Right. And again, I don't want anybody pushing the boundaries of this unless you have medical supervision cause controlled short doses of dry fasting has been proven, ,if you have the right support and medical supervision has been proven to be really cleansing and healing to the body. But for people that have a lot of toxicity, it could be dangerous. You can have major detox reactions. So please don't this at home without medical supervision. Okay, everybody. So, but the point of this is let's say you could survive 30-40 days without eating food and unless say you can survive, say 3 days without drinking water? Is it possible that your hydration is 10x as important as your nutrition?

Allan Misner: 00:50:49 I would say, yeah. I actually believe that it probably is. Given that most of the processes in the body are electrical, you need the fluids, you need the electrolytes, you need that stuff in balance and working. And if you're not properly hydrated, I could see that being a big problem.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:51:06 Yeah. And so that's, that's a huge part of our super wellness journey is learning about hydration and water is an amazing substance though we hardly know anything about it. Turns out water is like a liquid crystal computer that can hold information and that changes the structure of the water so that it either hydrates or function physiologically more appropriately. You know, hydrate your tissues better, travel through your body more effectively, or if it's not structured in the right way, it doesn't hydrate as well for example. And water has been found to even act like a rechargeable battery system. Sometimes water isn't even H2O It can shift into this fourth phase called H3O2 which has been researched by a doctor named Gerald Pollack at University of Washington that are cellular. Water is something that is not really even H2O is mostly H3O2 and it charges up like a rechargeable battery system. It needs light, full spectrum light or infrared light is really good at charging up the water in ourselves so that it can fuel our cellular biology through the electrical mechanism. I mean it's just fascinating, mind-blowing stuff that they never taught us in our school, in our health class, in biology class, and certainly not our doctors don't learn this stuff in medical school, but this is the latest science that is changing our understanding of human biology and in super wellness. I say, why not take advantage of the latest understanding and play with our water, learn more deeply about how the hydrate, what if learning about hydration could be 10 next as important as learning about nutrition right now, take this to a whole other level. How long can you survive without breathing air?

Allan Misner: 00:53:04 I've heard around 8 minutes unless you've done some training as a free diver or maybe Wim Hof. Most of us probably about 8 minutes and then we're toast.

Dr. Edith Chan: 00:53:15 Well most of us could probably go eight minutes if we train. It's probably more like 2 or 3 minutes, honestly without training. So but the point is the order of magnitude, right? What of your breathing is a thousand or 2000 times as important as your hydration for your survival. And your hydration is 10x as important as your nutrition. So that puts everything back into its proper context. In researching for my book, I found that most adult humans only breathe 30% of their lung capacity. So most of us are walking around tire frazzled, stressed out, mal-oxygenated. And the lower lobes of our lungs that we don't expand fully, cause we don't do deeper. Diaphragmatic breathing, is holding on to old toxins. It turns out when you breathe properly, that 70% of your body's detoxification happens through the breathing mechanism, only 30% through peeing and pooping and sweating.

So it's like we all know how horrible it feels if you don't poop properly and you're constipated. But most of us are walking around, literally constipated in our breathing. Our breathing is so shallow and so blocks that we feel awful. We feel tired and toxic. And what if breathing is a simple free tool that you can tap into? Nothing fancy. Just learn to take deeper breaths. Just learn to start and end each day with a set of 10 or 20 deep big breaths. And in between meetings, shift your energy state by taking three deep breaths. Like what if you just did that kind of thing consistently. It could completely change your day. And if you do that every day, it could completely change your life. So A is for, I came up with this kind of saying after publishing the book, I call it, get your A's in order Air first, Agua second, Amph, the food is third. And in the book we talk about the food. Of course food is important, but just to put everything in proper context, I'll just leave it at that. That in the book, I have a diet that makes all future diets obsolete. So if you want to learn more about it, you have to go read the book. Okay, so now that's A.

Now we've cleaned up and done all these low hanging fruit things in our health and lifestyle, L stands for Lightening up. So when we have better energy because we're getting sunshine, fresh air, sleeping deeply, we're properly hydrated and so on. We kind of feel like we're back in control of our life again. L stands for Lightening up in terms of eating more slowly and mindfully, not dieting, not counting calories, but really savoring your food, chewing your food mindfully, listening deeply to what your body wants, what it doesn't want. So many times I find my patients who have digestive GI troubles, I discovered that a lot of times it's not what they eat, but how they eat. They eat too much, they eat too quickly, they eat on the go, they eat under stress, and when we just cultivate the simple practice of mindful eating, a lot of times the GI troubles just go away. The acid reflux is gone. Just slowing down, chewing your food and not eating under stress, eating on the go. I know it sounds so crazy obvious, but we've been indoctrinated by, you know, the antiacid commercials on the TV saying, Oh, I don't have time. You know, you see this guy on the go snarling down a sandwich or a pizza like in two seconds and it's like, oh, I need some maalox right not because I don't have time for that reflux, right? That's the culture that we've grown up with. It's so crazy and so silly. It's like just slow down and chew your food like your Mama said.

And naturally you'll eat less and you don't have to focus so much energy on counting calories because it takes about 20 minutes for that sensation of satiation to reboot your brain. A lot of people know this, but we don't act on it. We don't live based on this understanding of our physiology, so we're breaking the laws of our body and our physiology and then your body will tell you, hey, that doesn't work for me. You know, and lightening up also means when you eat lighter. We've all had experience where you can, to be honest, myself too. Sometimes life gets so stressful. We use food to numb out, don't we? We use foods we stress eat. So many of us do that and so when you eat more, lightly, more mindfully, you're going to feel everything more. So when we do that, I encourage everybody to also be mindful of the information that they expose themselves to. What kind of movies? What kind of youth, what kind of media you want to expose yourself to. Lighten up on all levels. That doesn't mean that you're allergic to talking to your friend who's going through troubles and divorce. It means that you don't waste your energy gossiping about Hollywood news or stressing about things going on in our politics that we don't have any immediate control over. So kind of dial down the noise of all that heaviness that is in the media, the books, the movies, the news and the radio shows and so on and lighten it up so that you have the mental, emotional and physical energy to be fully present with your friends that need your help, to be fully present with your family, with your kids.

You know, I think we all want that kind of deeper, richer connection, but our energy is split so much, we're so frazzled, so chronically exhausted because there's so much heaviness and noise and things that are pulling our energy in too many directions. So lightening up is actually an invitation to take back your energy. To stop wasting your energy and all those directions so that you can command your energy consciously and intentionally into the areas of life that you want to choose. So lighten up on all levels, eating slowly and naturally lightening up your foods, but also lighten up all the media that you expose yourself to. And in that module, in our class, we also do a 72 hour juicing cleanse as part of lightening up.

Now that you've been through h e a l which spells heal. Now here's the juice. Now we work on our mindset, our thoughts and all that stuff that everybody knows is so important. We all know is all about mind mastery, but what I've discovered going to all these personal growth workshops is that many friends that I go to these workshops with, they are chronically sleep deprived. They don't spend time in nature. They're not breathing right. They have aches and pains, have so much inflammation and toxicity in their bodies that they can hardly sit still and, go deeply within. When a personal growth workshop says, okay, what do you really want in life? It's like, well, I can't find it because my energy is so frazzled. I can't be still enough. I can't sit still and meditate. I can't sit still and go deeply within to listen to my inner GPS and my inner truth because I have aches and pains or even things like, what does your gut say? Well, I just ate that horrible, I have lactose intolerance and I just ate that horrible enchalada and I have indigestion so I can't listen to my gut. I don't know what my gut is saying. You know like these things are really intimately related.

So I invite all the listeners out there to be thinking about their life like that. Is that to be healthy, this isn't just for the sake of health, to get your health in order so that you can be a clean and clear vessel to finally know what you want out of life. To be able to listen deeply to that inner truth and to work on your inner thoughts and to shift those old belief patterns and limiting thoughts, belief systems, old stressful thoughts that are weighing you down. We all know that we need to work on our thoughts and we all know that we need to go within and listen to our own inner guidance and inner truth. But it's so hard to do that if you haven't done the h e a l work first. So T stands for Thoughts and T stands for Truth. And in that part of the book and in my course we go deep into my favorite practices or working with old stressful thoughts and going deeply within to find that inner truth that we're all really hungry for. And once we've done the ground work leading up to this time, then it becomes really joyful, really rewarding and fulfilling to do that work. Otherwise it could be just a whole bunch of frustrations, you know? So that's what I've experienced, that that order really makes a big difference.

And finally, after you've done all of that beautiful work, you're really essentially a master of your own life again. And I think that's what everybody really wants ultimately. And you naturally radiate such a beautiful, healthy, loving energy. Now the scientists have found that your heart emanates a healing electromagnetic field when you're in the state, they call coherence. This kind of joyful, appreciative, loving state of gratitude and goodness is measurable. There's a coherence to it and that in the presence of that heart coherence, your body gets into that optimal flow state and you naturally heal everybody around you. You influence everybody around you to also drop into their optimal coherence state where everybody is in flow, there's better collaboration, better creativity, better sense of well-being. And there's some new fascinating and mine glowing science that when a group of people come together in that state of coherence, we not only help and heal each other, but we can decrease crime rates in cities and we can actually create profound healing. The earth's electromagnetic fields can also be influenced by all of us coming together in a state of meditation and in a state of heart and brain coherence. So the last H comes, it stands for living from the Heart. So h e a l t h is a full package. It's like a 360 degree survey of how we choose to live our life. And I think that's why I call Super Wellness is really wellness training for a new kind of humanity is an invitation to become a different kind of human that we haven't seen much on the planet before.

Allan Misner: 01:04:22 Yeah, you're right. Your acronym just fell right in place. I used to streets in mine and I had to do them all out of order just to get it done. And yours is really, really cool. Now Dr. Edith 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. Edith Chan: 01:04:45 Three strategies and tactics to get and stay well. You know, I always invite everybody to remember you are the boss of your own life. So in my book, Super Wellness, I've shared with you what I found work for the vast majority of people with the majority of the time. And so if I were to pick three, I would say number one breathwork practice. Make that a higher priority than even healthy dieting. Number two, make sure you get outside and get fresh air and sunshine on a consistent basis and spend time in nature. And number three, I would say whatever tools works for you to work on your stressful thoughts. Because we are like computer programs, and I'm sorry to say our education system for the vast majority of us except for very lucky few, have essentially programmed us to be small minded thinkers, to give our power away and to be gentle with ourselves, to know that we're all in the same boat.

Dr. Edith Chan: 01:05:50 You know, it's not, it's not pooing on anybody and many of us have wonderful inspiring teachers, but the vast majority of our thoughts that have been programmed by our society and our upbringing are very disempowering. So whatever tools, tactics, strategies, work for you to heal and let go of those old limiting thoughts and belief patterns and shift into a more empowered way of thinking about life, that is the ultimate game changer.

Allan Misner: 01:06:19 Those are really cool. Thank you for sharing. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book Super Wellness, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Edith Chan: 01:06:30 Well, the book can be found on Amazon. I mean you just look up Super Wellness. I hope you guys enjoyed. I put so much love into it and I think when you read it, you can, you can feel that that is not just the tactics, tools and information, but a sincere love in my heart that I want our world to be a better place for you, for your family, for all the future generations to come. You know, because we've been suffering so unnecessarily for way too many generations. So go to Amazon and just look up SuperWellness, all one word. You'll be able to find the book there. And on the superwellness.com website, there's a lot of great free content for you to explore. We have something called a 30-day super wellness challenge where everyday I just guide you through a very simple 5 to 10 minutes self-care practice where you get to super charge your energy and melt away the stress and just blow your mind how simple simple things, 5 to 10 minutes a day could be a complete game changer. And you can look me up on social media. On Instagram, I'm Dr. Edith Ubuntu, and on Facebook, I'm Dr. Edith Ubuntu If you just type my name, Dr. Edith Ubuntu Chan you'll be able to find I have a bunch of other kind of informational websites that you'll be able to find.

Allan Misner: 01:07:52 You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/383 and I'll be sure to have as many links as I can give.

Dr. Edith Chan: 01:07:52 Thank you so much, Allan. Thank you so much for the beautiful work that you do. And also your example, the courage to be the CEO and boss of your own life, to show the world how it can be done at any age and to have the courage to be that example for all of us.

All right. I hope you took something wonderful from today's show. I do really stress that with my guests. I stress it with myself. I don't want you to have an episode where you don't feel like you got something valuable that you can apply in your life. And so I do hope that you did that. And if you did, I just want to ask you for a favor. Would you please help support the 40 plus fitness podcast by becoming a patron? You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/patreon and that will take you to a page where you can basically sign up and there's different levels, but you can give as little as a dollar. I ask if you could just give a dollar an episode, that would be wonderful. It helps the show stay open. It helps me keep the lights on and that's what this is all really about. I don't bring on sponsors. This is all just my personal training business and you, and I do appreciate all the help that I get. So go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/patreon and become a supporter of the show today. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

May 20, 2019

Get bigger, leaner, and stronger with Michael Matthews

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

  • Judy Murphy
  • Randy Goode
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  • John Somsky

Thank you!

Michael Matthews knows a thing or two about gaining muscle and getting lean. On episode 382 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, he and I dive deep as we discuss his book, Bigger, Leaner, Stronger.

Show notes are pending…

Another episode you may enjoy

May 13, 2019

The hormone fix with Dr. Anna Cabeca

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

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

Thank you!

If you're not managing your hormones, your body probably won't get the signals that your lifestyle changes were intended to send. Today, Dr. Cabeca and I discuss her new book, The Hormone Fix.

Allan: 01:18 Dr Cabeca, welcome to 40 plus fitness.

Dr. Cabeca: 01:20 Hi, it's great to be here with you, Allan. Thanks for having me.

Allan: 01:23 I'm a fitness guy, personal trainer and whatnot. But one of the things that I've come to recognize is that we can only do so much in the gym or on the beach or in our homes doing exercise and things like that. If we're not managing the other aspects of our lives, particular hormones, we're not really going to get to the point of health that we want to go. So I was really excited to be able to feature and talk about your book, The Hormone Fix.

Dr. Cabeca: 01:49 Oh, I'm glad. I love talking about it. And you're absolutely right. And even in my practice, right? It takes more than hormones to fix our hormones. So these are all important components that work together.

Allan: 01:59 And that's where when I got into your book, I was thinking, okay, we're going to talk about testosterone. We're going to talk about estrogen. We're going to talk about thyroid. And that's where most of the time when you start this hormone conversation, particularly for people over 40, that's the direction that conversation goes. And there's just kind of an expectation that those were going to solve everything. But you have a very different view, in my mind, of how we can fix and manage and balance our hormones.

Dr. Cabeca: 02:27 Yes, absolutely. You know, it's so true, especially as a gynecologist, I'd love to say it's all about progesterone, estrogen, even testosterone and data. But the truth is it's not. And through my own personal journey and just working with so many patients through menopausal transition, we have to get to the underlying reason, the underlying major players and those major players are insulin, cortisol and oxytocin.

Allan: 02:53 And I want to dive into each of those because I think on the show I've talked about insulin a good bit when I talk about Keto a lot and they understand that Keto is a way to manage insulin, to manage insulin resistance, so we've talked about that a good bit. I've talked about cortisol lot because that was kind of my last thing that I've been working on trying to get myself as healthy and well as I can as the stress relief of moving to Panama, having a slower pace of life, not having as many moving things that are going on you know, getting rid of a house that could get hit by a hurricane.

And then the oxytocin is kinda the one that, I know what it is, I guess, but we don't talk about it a lot. And I'll say this, I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest, happiest you can be. And this really kind of fits in that notch of that third one. But could you just kind of walk through each of those and talk about what they mean to us and our health and how getting those balanced actually kind of juxtapositions us to get the rest of them in order?

Dr. Cabeca: 03:55 Yeah, absolutely. And for so many people we don't really understand oxytocin. It's a hormone. It is the most powerful hormone in our body. At least that's my point of view. I call it the crowning hormone, the real light of hormones, and it is the hormone many women first come into contact with externally with oxytocin during labor. It's the hormone we give or we inject in women during labor and delivery to increase the amount of contraction strengths to help the baby come out and be born.

And that is that hormone, whether we've had injectable oxytocin or not that really that contracts the uterus, but that forms that bond that really defies all words, right? We can talk about this bonding with the infant, our babies, but when we feel it, when we look into that baby's eyes and we feel this imprinting, this connection, it's undeniable.

That's oxytocin. That's the power of oxytocin, the feeling of love, happiness, and I love your, I love your pillars that health, healthy, fit and happy, right? So happy is oxytocin, that happiness hormone and we can't have high, crazy stressed cortisol levels and burning ourselves out then depleting cortisol or suppressing it and healthy, happy oxytocin at the same time. It doesn't work. Not Without a lot of discipline, practice meditation and I think maybe the Dalai Lama's got it down, but for most of us, certainly for me, we feel that we find that we have that suppression oxytocin is low and cortisol's low at the same time, especially if we've been under stress for a long time and now we have this burnout phenomenon which is when we feel disconnected.

When like that person that we've loved and wanted to spend our whole life with, we no longer feel love for them and I heard my patients say that so many times and I felt and I experienced this myself, post trauma. This disconnect, this feeling of not loving the things you always loved and not wanting to do the things you've always loved doing. So that's the power of oxytocin. We also associated with joy. It's a natural pain reliever. It's a natural appetite suppressant and even studies in age, elderly, we have shown an increase in muscle growth. So this oxytocin hormone is one that we can for free, increasing our body through some great principles and practices and managing cortisol as well.

Allan: 06:28 One of the things that really, when I was reading through that, I was thinking, this makes so much sense because if you've read the blue zones or Dr Day's, The Longevity Plan, they talk about how the longest lived people on Earth have these social bonds and they're spending time socially with their family and their meals. They're sitting down together and they're having this time together where they're having that joy. They're having that laughter and that fun, and that's what's creating this hormone in circulating this hormone and it's keeping them alive longer.

Dr. Cabeca: 07:03 Yes, absolutely. That sense of community, that connection, that energetic bond. And one of the things I always tell my clients to give them a real perspectives, you know, we always talk about resveratrol right? Beautiful Antioxidant, powerful superfood resveratrol found from grapes, right? Red Wine. So we talk about have your glass of red wine, you'll get your resveratrol and that's heart healthy. But is it really? I believe that it's the community that we have that glass of wine with, the laughter, the joy, the celebration that makes that a medicinal food, right? Versus if we're drinking glass of wine by ourself tonight. That's not medicinal

Allan: 07:41 Or in your or in your pantry eating dark chocolate.

Dr. Cabeca: 07:46 Right. But I always say I love dark chocolate. I love red wine. I love coffee. And I as a researcher, I have researched thoroughly the benefits of my three vices.

Allan: 07:58 I do too. So now, you got into a concept in the book, which I've read a little bit about but not a lot. So I'm going to profess ignorance on this one and I'm going to ask you to take me down the line because we talk about having a diet that's alkaline versus acidic. And what I've known before I read the book and you kind of confirmed in the book was that our body has a pretty good mechanism for making sure there are blood acidity or ph is at a particular range and it's a very, very tight range. And if it gets outside of that range, we've got some major health problems.

Our body is very protective of making sure that we stay in the range. So I just, I guess I was confused to say, okay, if I eat the wrong foods, and obviously the foods you named as acidic, I was like, okay, well you shouldn't need a whole lot of those or any of those in some cases, the things that are alkaline, like yeah, you should be eating a lot of those where you can and it all kind of made sense. But I was wondering if I eat something that's acidic, does it affect my body that much? And in the book you kind of explain how it does.

Dr. Cabeca: 08:59 Yeah, it really does. And over time it's the wear and tear phenomenon that we experience, especially as we're getting older. So one of the things that, you're absolutely right, our blood Ph is maintained as a doctor, as a physician. If someone came in my emergency room crashing, I pull a blood arterial blood gas and I'm looking at the Ph of that blood gas. And that's from the artery in the wrist pumping, right? Blood fresh from the heart. So that's what we're talking about. That ph is so well maintained slightly offline at approximately 7.4 and it doesn't shift very rarely at all, but now the question is how do we maintain that very exact ph when the conditions are not optimal?

When we're under stress for a long time, maybe dehydrated for a long time, maybe in starvation mode for a long time eating inflammatory foods for a long time. How do we maintain that blood ph and we have to maintain it from our electrolytes, right? Our minerals and nutrients our muscle or bone and they were seeing the results of that because that's kind of like a standard American diet. So we see Osteopenia, osteoporosis in 30 year old women. I thought that was a disease of 65 year olds, you know? That's what I learned, right?

Allan: 10:20 Osteopenia typically for a healthy person, wouldn't start until they're 30 35 years old. When you go get a dexascan, the actual increments they use to base you as a 35 year old woman.

Dr. Cabeca: 10:36 As the optimum, right?

Allan: 10:37 You shouldn't be losing a lot of bone or muscle mass before the age of 35.

Dr. Cabeca: 10:42 Now ideally, but we're seeing it. And so that has a lot to do with it. So what we find is that, you know, measuring urine Ph. Urine Ph is a fabulous, easy, inexpensive way to monitor. Just like if we were checking our temperature, if or how our thermostat works on the wall to kind of maintain the good room temperature. But if we check our urinary Ph, just like the weight on the scale, it's kind of fluctuate if we've had an inflammatory food or were swollen, or for me, if I eat any dairy, I'm three pounds heavier the next day, right? So I can tell that that didn't work with my body, but I can also tell in my urine if I'm stressed, our urinary Ph drops.

So one simple thing I've had my clients do in my menopause program now, this is true for men and women because over the past several years now, I've been working with clients and working through this Keto Green concept that I talk about in my book, The Hormone Fix. And that is check, you know, test, don't guess, but check your urine because urine Ph is a marker is a guide, is an indicator of okay, bodies doing great. No, maybe is under a little bit stress. Maybe it's pulling some nutrients and urinary Ph will tell us that.

Healthy urinary Ph is seven or seven to eight and it will naturally go down after your intense workout, right? We expect to see lactic acid secreted in the blood during a workout and also cortisol during the workout and Cortisol sensitizes these receptors and the kidney, and we get a decrease in urinary Ph. So that's expected. But should it be expected after we eat, you know, depending on what we're eating. Say for example of I eat some dairy, my urinary Ph drops because it's a food sensitivity to me and it creates an inflammatory markers.

So it's interesting. It's part of just those clues, just being able to discern. Okay, this works good for me, this doesn't work good for me. And our body or cellular Ph is different at different places in our body our skin's a little acidic, the vagina's acidic, the stomach's acidic, the urine typically should be alkaline. And so different areas of our body will have different pages or saliva should be outlined. Our tears are alkaline. And so that's why when we jumped into a pool, it's slightly alkaline so it doesn't irritate our mucus membranes.

So it's interesting how we can look and see what, how our body is reacting to our nourishment and our environment. And this is true in both men and women. And so when I came across this easy and expensive marker, right? Cause I've done the guy's position, I've ordered thousands of dollars of testing and functional lab tests for my private clients and this tells us so much more. This helps the patient. This helps each individual figure out, okay, this is working for me, I need more alkalinizers in my diet, so more of the low carbohydrate. Dark, leafy green, mineral rich organic veggies as much as possible to help from that aspect. I also need to stress manage, and sleep well, and meditate. And get outside more.

Those are other things that help our body become more our urinary ph increase in alkalinity. The research has shown that when we see a healthier urine Ph that a higher urinary Ph is associated with less metabolic disease, less hypertension, less diabetes and less inflammatory conditions. So that's why I love it.

Allan: 14:13 Yeah and you got to that section and it was so interesting cause like measure for success and then you know that's kind of a standard business monitoring and I get 30 years in the corporate and it was, what you measure gets managed, the whole the tenant there. And I was thinking, okay so here's going to be a list of labs that we can run out and we can get tested and figure it out. But you took a little twist to that as well in that a lot of the stuff, a lot of the things that we can measure that they're free.

I mean how you're sleeping, how you're doing, and you have a series of almost like quizzes and tools in there to go through a series of tests as you will, that don't involve you getting pricked with a needle or going through anything kind of crazy like spitting into a tube all day long. Can you talk a little bit about some of these measurements that we can do? You talked about Ph of the urine and then you dropped the bomb on them too, as we're talking about Keto here. So can you kinda talk a little bit about some of those measures that we can do that are cost effective and will give us a lot of information about how our hormones are balanced?

Dr. Cabeca: 15:14 Yeah, This is something that I practice. When I went to medical school, I really didn't know how it was going to pay for it, but I was blessed and I received a National Health Service Corps Scholar scholarship. So after residency, my ob Gyn residency, I came to southeast Georgia, small area. So I had quite a diverse range of clients, but I was the only bilingual obstetrician. So I had very much wide range of clients and also from the islands, the Sapelo island, the shrimping area, so very low economic areas. And I had to get really creative.

So really found that the art of medicine is in listening to the patient. Right? And it sounds so simple, but it's absolutely true. So these inventories that I created, or checklists, I hope people love checklists as much as I do, but I know if I have something on a checklist, I've got to check it off. And so I created a checklist but also inventories questions like how am I doing today? How am I doing in a week, a month from now? And that's where these inventories really help at a fraction of the cost. And I can see despite what the labs are saying, cause we always say treat the patient, not the labs, right? We look at the labs for guidance, but want to treat the patient, not the labs. And that's really important because normal is not optimal and we want to be optimized.

Allan: 16:34 So let's look at a normal is not optimal. I love that because I mean, bless them. Seven minutes in and out, everything looks fine. See you next time. You know, I don't feel fine. You know, my energy level's down I'm fatigue, I've got pain, my joints hurt, you have these issues and you're normal and we are kind of taught a little bit to kind of accept that that's normal.

And if that's not going to answer for us, well here's a pill. This will deal with the pain or the inflammation. So I like that you have these kind of measures where we can look at this because most of the folks I'll deal with, I'll be honest with you, they come to me because they want to lose weight and I'll say, okay, wait is one measure, but it can't be the only measure because you're going to love yourself one day and then you're going to hate yourself the next if that's the only measure you have. So I like that you've given us these inventories so that we can go through and say, okay, how did I sleep? How do I feel? What's my energy level? What's my Ph? I like the fact that you've given us a lot of these little tools that we can measure so we can know that there's progress.

Dr. Cabeca: 17:35 Yeah, you're exactly right. Like we want to look well, right? But optimally we want to feel well in our bodies and so many of us have Yoyo Diet and over the years I was a fat kid. I struggled with my weight my entire life, been over 240 pounds and was diagnosed menopausal. Reverse that as part of my journey that I talk about in my book, but I've been there. I've struggled with my weight. The most important thing is that we feel well because feeling well gives us willpower. Feeling well helps us make right choices. Feeling well is sustainable long term. We have the clarity of thought, we have the financial success, which comes with clarity of thought and those are, those are part of living an optimal life, right?

Allan: 18:20 Yes. So your book, basically the plan or where we're going to go with this is that you said, okay, there's a place for Ketosis to help balance hormones and there's a place for an alkaline diet to help and there's evidence to support both of those. But you marry them together to come up with what you call Keto Green. Can you kind of explain the Keto Green way of eating and how it's going to help us feel better, be better and optimize our health?

Dr. Cabeca: 18:48 Yeah, absolutely. So when I hit in reality, I hit menopause a second time in my late forties, 48. And after having kept 80 pounds off for nearly a decade, watching the weight creep on, but struggling with focus, struggling with memory, struggling with relationships, all of that. But yet I knew I needed to get this weight off. And so that's when I pushed for getting my body into ketosis or doing a ketogenic diet. And however, you know, I've known about ketogenic diets, low carbohydrate diet types for decades and for my neurologic patients, Parkinson's, seizures, etc.

But whenever I would put, especially a peri-menopausal client on it, she would come back and say, I feel irritable. I don't like how I feel on it. And that's what I experienced to Allan. I call it go and keto crazy. And I talk about this in the book, but let me tell you, if you're a mom, you've got teenagers, small kids, you cannot afford to meet irritable on edge and Keto crazy, that's for sure. So I wanted to figure out what was going on. And so that's when I just said, okay, well what's happening to my body? And I just started testing my urine again cause there's a functional medicine doc I always have my clients check their urine, get alkaline. And that's something that really helped me and restoring my health in my late thirties so I started checking my urine. It was persistently five. That's the lowest Ph on my strip. It was five. Who knows what it was, but it was five or less. I'm like, no wonder I feel crappy. Right?

There's probably inflammation going on and don't have the nutrients to nourish myself. Cell function membrane, not to mention neurotransmitter support. And so it was like, okay, well let me add in Greens. It's adding the alkalinizes the Greens, and let's just bump this up, get alkaline and focus on that and then go back into ketosis. And that was a huge combination. That was a huge awakening for me. An aha moments like, wow man, this feels amazing.

And I looked in literature like half the world, over half the world fast, regularly Orthodox Christians fast, 250 days a year. Catholics on general, if they're following it fast or some type of fast every Sunday to have breakfast after communion, there's fast and lint, 40 days of fasting. There's fast built into traditions over the millennia and tied to spirituality. Because what I experienced was this, I call it energized, enlightenment, this real clarity. This spiritual connection, and from going to a place where I used to have excellent memory, a hundred percent visual memory, to having brain fog, losing my memory, losing my focus to regaining that at a higher level was incredibly enlightening as well.

And that led me to look into the research and say, surely I'm not the only one who's put these two together, but there was one paper published in 1924 out of Cambridge that looked at combining alkalinity or alkalosis with ketosis and it was an Aha moment for me. It's like, yes, this is the key. This is how we really can create a healthy cellular and hormonal balance and it helps to modulate cortisol. If we're looking at our urinary Ph, a healthy or urinary Ph is associated with a healthy circadian rhythm or healthy cortisol levels versus high cortisol is associated with low ph and we know, again, high cortisol over time burns us out, does not give us that happy feeling and kind of fights with oxytocin on the battlefield, so to speak.

Allan: 22:16 Yeah, and the fact that you're in Ketosis means you're managing your insulin at a relatively low level, you're making and potentially fixing insulin resistance, so it's a kind of a win win.

Dr. Cabeca: 22:27 Yes, exactly. That insulin sensitivity with the Ketosis, the green component, helping with cortisol management, and then bring in oxytocin, the principles and practices to create a quality, happy, joyful life. Then we have your healthy fit, happy mantra.

Allan: 22:44 Yes, I'm sitting back and I'm on social media and I'm following a lot of people and seeing what people out there doing to kind of get an idea of what the trends are. And one of the kind of the trends that I'm really, really struggling with right now is this carnivore diet and its keto, but it's just meat and eggs and it's kind of a scary because I don't know what that train wreck is gonna look like when they're done. You need nutrients from vegetables and fruits at some level. Now, not a lot of fruits necessarily, but you do need things from those. If you're not getting those, I just don't know what the long term ramifications are going to be.

Dr. Cabeca: 23:19 I agree with you and believe me, I speak at KetoCon and will be speaking there in the summer at the end of June again. And I love those guys. And Brian, the Creator of KetoCon he is a keto Carnivore and I was like, Brian, I don't know about your, you know, maybe we should be checking your neurotransmitter, we should we watched in your hormones. But bottom line is men and women are different, but all diets throughout millennia that have been successful have a strong plant based component.

I mean we need the micro nutrients from plants, but what could someone who is not able to get those plants, what do they do in order to nourish their body? And that's what I've researched. I'm like, well, you know, they talk that Ketogenic people talk about the Inuits, Alaskan natives that eat basically fatty fish, right? And that's their diet, but they don't only. They also have the huge bone broth going nonstop that they will sip on. That's minerals, that's fish bone broth that's rich in minerals to renourish their body. So intuitively or through necessity over time, they added in that alkaline or that green component through the mineral broth or bone broth. Isn't that cool?

Allan: 24:29 Yeah, it is. Because one of the things that I was kinda going through structurally, my mind, and I talked about this in my book, is I believe that we're opportunistic eaters and that's one of the problems with having a Mcdonald's and a Starbucks on every corner is that our ancestors would eat what was available in the season it was available. And so I could see being from northern Europe or the northern Americans, there would be whole periods of time when there wouldn't be much plant matter at all. So you are at that point relying on animal products to sustain you.

But then yes, the springs can roll around and there's going to be some foliage is gonna be some plant matter that you can eat. And I think that would just be a time when we would effectively go nuts because it was available. And so I just kind of looked at it and say, okay, maybe being carnivore for a period of a few weeks or a month, a couple months maybe. That might've been something that would've happened in our ancestors past. But it's when the plants came around again and were available because they don't fight back and they're easy to catch because they don't run or swim away. So I just think that when you look at what our ancestors did and try to look at it reasonably even talked about this a little bit about the different ways that people ate and the study that I guess looked at several of them and 87% of them were alkaline.

Dr. Cabeca: 25:46 Yeah, exactly. I mean how cool is that at some point. And then you think about traditions again thinking as the fasting time periods, when are the majority of fasting time periods based in regions and the winter months? So lent is typically at the end of the winter season, so most likely fresh greens, lots of foods aren't available. The resources, stocks, stocks piles or the pantries are very, very low so to speak. And so there's a practical component.

So as you were talking, it just brings to mind that we had the keto carnivore, again, some people can do it. But I think, you know, if they can do it. Men and women are different women who are my primary clients that I work with and and suffer with and feast with we have to recognize that we are different and we can't do things that guys will do. Guys will do my program with their wife and or partner and they will do two, three times better, faster. They will lose two to three times as much weight faster they will feel better, faster.

That's just it. We are different. Men and women are different. All hormones are different, but I created the Keto Green way, the diet and lifestyle component to really optimize how we are as women as well. To really get into these little nuances, the insulin, the cortisol. And then of course the oxytocin, what really matters to us most and bring that into this place. But when you were talking I was thinking we need responsible eating, right? Responsible moderation or responsible feasting as we are as a community and as a society to be able to enjoy and indulge, but really nourish our bodies in ways that make sense. And this is when I teach physicians, I always say practice medicine that makes sense. We need to take that internally to our life. Okay, well what really makes sense? What's sustainable and how do I know what's working for me specifically?

Allan: 27:41 I couldn't agree more. And I liked what you said there, that food Keto Green way of eating is kind of the base for this program. But there is an entire lifestyle component I kind of wish we had some time to get into, but we're running low.

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. Cabeca: 28:06 Wow. I definitely, initially I would always say we want to start we want to go Keto Green, right? That's really important. I've been in this moment of reflection, just looking at my life over the past years and decades, you know, going from that struggle, dealing with to menopause as early menopause at 38 going through another transition time at 48 and struggling at that point with so many aspects of my life till I turned it around, this Keto green way.

And the first thing it came down to like this mantra for myself, this strategy is number one, pause. We have to pause, take pause, be present. Really, I'd be able to just be in the moment. So I would say pause and then pray and the third is prioritized. So pause, let's get in the moment. Let's really understand where am I right now. Be able to accept that. Pause, like let everything else that's going around to stop the busy stuff stopped the racing. And for myself, I always say I went around the world to find out that everywhere you go there you are right? So pause is a real big one for me. I had to settle, I had to stop and really evaluate.

And then the second again, pray. Just being able to meditate, pray, listen to that still small voice within you. The one that knows. Oh yeah, I thought so. Oh, you know, I've been thinking about that or, I've been wanting to do that for years. So give yourself that time to get into that space and then prioritize what means most for you in your life. What are the things and people that mean most for you and your life? Allan, I admire you for leaving everything that you had and moving to a new place, a new land so that you prioritize your relationship and the rest of your lives. And that's key. That's goes a big way. Big, long way.

Allan: 29:46 Yeah, those are great. And it was, you know, I'm here on an island and in the morning time it's really, really quiet. There's a lot of activity during the day, and you probably can hear some of that on this, on this interview, but I got up this morning about sunrise and went out and did a walk on the beach and just kind of just enjoyed nature, enjoy being there and feel really good about it. So I like all three of those.

So thank you for sharing that. So Dr. Cabeca, if someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book, The Hormone Fix, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Cabeca: 30:17 Well, I would love for them to take a look at my book. I really feel there are gems in there for everyone and it's at dranna.com/book and there'll be information and a free sneak peek into my book, The Hormone Effects.

Allan: 30:33 Okay, well this is episode 381 so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/381 and I'll be sure to have the link there. So Dr. Cabeca, thank you so much for being a part of 40 plus fitness.

Dr. Cabeca: 30:46 Thank you for having me.

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Another episode you may enjoy

May 6, 2019

9 Ways to improve your sleep

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Thank you!

On this episode, I'm going to share with you nine ways to improve your sleep, but before I get to that, I did want to ask you for one favor. Would you mind becoming a patron of the podcast? All I'm asking is $1 an episode. If you're getting any value at all from this show, I really would appreciate your support. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/support and become a patron of the show. Patreon makes it very easy. There are different levels, but really just the base level of $1 an episode would really go a long way towards defraying some of the costs associated with having a podcast like this. I want to continue to bring you great content.

I want to continue to bring you great guests and I want to be able to do that in a way where I can be respectful and not bring on other sponsors and stuff like that. I get approached practically every week asking me to tout somebodies product and I've gotten to the point where I just, I just say no, you know, I want to deal with my clients. I want to deal with you. And so if you would just go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/support, $1 an episode really goes a long way. So thank you for that 40plusfitnesspodcast/support. Thank you.

Now I'm going to admit I outsourced the audio production of this show. So in a sense, and I use a mic that's pretty much just the type of mic where you can really only hear my voice if I'm right in front of the mic, but I can tell you actually in my little apartment as I'm recording this, it's quite loud. Uh, there are roosters and for one reason or another, I guess roosters don't just crow in the morning. They crow all day long and so there's constantly noise. There's constantly things going on. A dog's barking next door all night long, roosters crowing early, early in the morning.

So I have really worked hard in the last couple months of prioritizing my sleep in ways that I can improve my bedtime. And so to get that sleep, obviously I have to make some adjustments and I believe you should too. You should prioritize sleep. One of the cool things, we talked to Dr. Bubbs not long ago [Episode 385, which will be released June 10th], if you'll recall in his book Peak, and one of the things they found was when Federer came back to start playing at a masters level like really getting back up into number one spot, everybody wondered what he was doing. Okay. Is he on some performance enhancing drug? How does a guy that age come back and be that good? The answer once they found out later because he didn't share it readily, was that he was just getting better sleep, better sleep will improve your performance on everything and performance as we relate as just normal human beings.

Because I don't play tennis at that level would just be everything else you do in your life. Performing at work, being a better grandparent, being a better parent, being a better friend, performance in the gym performance in things that you just like to do, even if it's not at a competitive level. Performance just means just as I say, fitness means being the best you you can be. Being fit to do the things you want to do and then performance on top of that is doing it really, really well. And so I want you to be able to do that. And one of the core ways that you're going to do that is by improving your sleep. So on this episode I'm going to share nine ways that you can improve your sleep.

Go to bed at the same time each night.

Tip #1, go to bed at the same time each night. I know that sounds pretty simple, but it's really hard for folks to do, you know, prime time TV, other things that are going on often have us on an irregular schedule and we're like, well we finally got to bed whatever time it is. But I can tell you if you set your sights on going to bed at a given time, it really does make the process so much easier.

I really prioritize sleep. So my bedtime is 8:30 and my wife almost every night, she knows 8:30 is when I go to bed. And so 8:30 rolls around, she can pretty much expect me whatever we're doing to stop doing it. And then I'm going to start getting myself ready for bed. Have a fixed time that you go to bed and it doesn't have to be 8:30 it can be whatever, but you want to try to prioritize the quality and the quantity of your sleep and by going to bed at the same time you're starting to set your brain. It's much like when we have kids, you know, we put our kids on a schedule, they tell you, put your kids on a schedule, put your kids on a schedule. You need to be on a schedule too. So try to go to bed at the same time and you'll probably find falling asleep and staying asleep a lot easier.

Avoid blue light

Tip #2 is to avoid blue light. Now you can do this through apps and things like that and you can do that through these things called blue blocker glasses. Actually in the show notes, if you'll go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/380 I'll include a link to these blue blocker glasses. A lot of the bio hacker guys, they swear by it because they don't want to go to bed. They need to keep working. They don't trust the equipment that they're using to not have some blue light going on. So they wear these blue blocker glasses and that does help them in a sense to block, some of that blue light out.

To me, the easier way to do it. It's just a turn off the electronics, turn off the things that generate that blue light in the first place. read by candlelight, do other things other than watching TV, being on your screens in that thing. But if you can't, which I understand sometimes we need to answer emails or we need to watch that show because you know American idol is what it is. If we're going to be watching that show, blue blocker glasses might be something that you would be able to use. But avoid blue light.

The reason is your body has these signaling things that's come through a whole eons of evolution, the sunrises in the morning and it's pretty much becomes a reddish and blue day. You know? So you have your blue day and then at night it starts the reddish tints. If you look at sunsets and things like that, you start to see that reddish and amber colors, that type of thing. And then you get into the night when it's dark, and I'm going to talk about dark in a few minutes, but just realizing that if you're seeing blue light, that's a signal to your body that it's daytime. So time to stay awake and even though you've accumulated that go to sleep stuff, which you know, basically the chemicals in your body that say, hey, it's time to go to sleep, you're starting to get fatigued with the blue light. You're going to stay up later, you're going to stay up longer than you normally would have. So turn off those blue lights if you can, if not, use the apps to kind of tone that down a little bit and maybe get yourself some blue blocker glasses.

Avoid caffeine and/or alcohol

Tip #3, and this should come as no surprise, is to avoid caffeine and alcohol. Now a lot of people know caffeine, they know that they process caffeine a certain way and generally most people would tell you when they can stop drinking caffeine and not have a problem.

I'm pretty much good to drink caffeine until about two o'clock in the afternoon. And if I drink caffeine past that, I really struggled to sleep at night even though I can typically go to bed at 8:30 even if I've had caffeine after, I wake up in the middle of the night and still processing that caffeine. Now the way we process caffeine is unique, so you might be a lot less sensitive to caffeine than I am, or you might be a lot more sensitive to it. So play it by ear of when you need to cut off your caffeine. Move to decaffeinated beverages. Water is always the best option, but there are other options out there, so try to avoid the caffeine.

Now a lot of folks will say what, but alcohol actually helps me sleep better and I don't disagree that alcohol makes it easier to fall asleep because you're uninhibited, you're not stressed, you're letting all that stuff out. So yeah, you feel better and easier and you're able to drift into sleep better. But the problem is that sleep is not the right quality. You're not going through all the right cycles of sleep.

There's four or five cycles depending on how you want to define them, of sleep. And if you're not getting all four or five cycles as you are not going through those cycles in a normal cycle rhythm, then you're not getting the restful recovery, the type of stuff that you need from sleep. So medicines and things like that, they're not going to get you there. Alcohol's not going to get you there. So the tip #3 is to avoid caffeine and alcohol. They're going to either prevent you from sleeping or they're going to prevent you from having good quality sleep. And remember, the quality is just as important as the quantity. Okay?

Have a sleep ritual

#3 is to have a sleep ritual. So with number one, I said go to bed at the same time. Number three is where we now make that something where we're teaching our body the thing it does. And so just as with kids, we set them on a normal routine and we say, okay, now we go up there, take a shower, wash your ears, brush your teeth, you know, and get your pj's on. That's a ritual. And so you should, you should put yourself through a same general ritual. You wake up, you get up, you go in there and the bathroom.

Maybe you take the makeup off your face, you brush your teeth, you wash your face, you get yourself ready and relaxed. Maybe you take a bath or a shower to kind of calm yourself down a little bit more, get some candlelight going, maybe read some fiction, but set yourself into basically a rhythm that you go through each night.

One of the things I'll do, particularly if I've noticed, like I was really stressed and having some difficulty sleeping at night, was that I needed to sit down with something, you know, besides, alcohol and just have something to sip on. You can do herbal teas. One of my favorite is to take a product called magnesium. I don't take a lot because magnesium is also a laxative, so you don't want to take a whole lot, but I use a product and this was something that was recommended to me by Dr. Friedman in the interview we had with him on Food Sanity, it's called Natural Vitality Calm, and you can get this on the Internet, they'll ship it to you. It's a powder basically with magnesium supplement in it. It's a little fizzy. You put a couple teaspoons and water and basically it fizzes and so a lot of times I'll sit there and and like to just before I go to bed, maybe about half an hour before I'm ready to go to bed, fix myself a glass of this and sip on it until I'm ready to go to bed or stop my sleep ritual. But this is really kind of a part of my sleep ritual of having that little fizzy drink. Sometimes I'll just take the ZMA supplement. If you're interested in these products, you can go to the show notes, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/380 I'll have links to them there, but basically these are little products that I take or use as a part of a sleep ritual. And I rotate in and out of them because I know I don't need supplements all the time, but if I'm particularly stressed or I haven't slept well in a couple of nights, I'll often reintroduce these to my program. And that's just a part of it.

Tip #4, I guess I didn't do my numbering right. You're actually going to get a bonus tip. Tip #4 is to have a sleep ritual.

Meditate or journal

Tip #5 is to do something with that ritual that really calms you down. Meditation is a really good means of calming the brain, calming yourself down, getting all the kind of negative thoughts to just let them go. Just let them go. They're not a part of you that they're not who you are. They're there. Let them go. There's nothing you can do at this point.

Another good tip is part of this whole deal is to do a journal. When I am doing some journaling from time to time when things are just not going well, that's when I always fall back on things that I know have worked for me on the past.

Sometimes I get away from them, but I always find myself going back to those things that work. And one of the things that really works for me is to have a journal where I record my gratitudes. And so if I feel like I'm kind of losing it or my stress levels up or I'm not sleeping well, one of the things I'll fall back on is having a journal and I'll sit down in the evening and I'll write down something that I'm extremely grateful for that happened that day.

It doesn't have to be a huge thing. It could just be that my wife met me for lunch or that, you know, a friend called or I got a chance to talk to my mother, or just anything like that where I can sit down and I can write down that I was just grateful that I had that opportunity and then if I feel like I need to offload something, I might also use that journal to say, okay, tomorrow this is my priority tomorrow. I didn't get it done today and I was frustrated, I ran out of time, but I'm going to do it tomorrow and that's just in my journal. I get rid of it and I said, okay, I am not going to forget it. It's going to get done. It's in my journal. So that's tip number five.

Environment – Dark room

Tip #6 kind of relates to your environment when it's time to go to sleep and the next few do as well. So the first one is be in a dark room. So this is, this is tip number six, be in a dark room. I know I'm sensitive to light if there's a light going on and I'm going to be effected by it. One of the things I've had to get adjusted to here is in the apartment I'm in is they have outdoor lights, they have the streetlights. It's very well lit up for security reasons, but it's still very light in the room. I can't get it dark, I don't have the dark out shades. I'm not going to go buy dark shades for a place that's a temporary residents.

So what I've done is I've moved to an eye mask and my favorite eye mask is this mask called a Mantra Mask and I first came across this when they were doing their first Kickstarter. So if you don't know what a Kickstarter is, it's basically a program where they set up and they say, okay, we want to fund a product and if we get enough backers will do the product. If we don't get the backers, we don't do the product. I love that stuff. I love seeing new technology, new things come about. So I love participating in those. When the product actually makes sense to me.

And the Mantra Mask did and does. I still use it almost all the time. It is an eye mask, much like you would imagine, you just covers your eyes, but it's got these like soft cushions that circle the eye, so it's not straight across just cloth. It literally has his little cups and they fit around your eye in the very, very comfortable, very, very soft. It's got this really nice velcro back, the very high quality and it completely blacks things out. I mean when I had this thing on, I see nothing. I mean it's literally just complete blackout, which is wonderful. So with that, my wife can be on the phone, what she does and she's very respectful of it, but shouldn't be on the phone and be in the computer in the same room, which right here we only have one room, so this is a very good thing for me.

I'll have a link to the Mantra Mask in the show notes so you can find it there. But it's, it's really cool. Eye mask or having a really dark room using blackout shades. That's tip#6.

Environment – Cool room

Tip #7 is to also make sure that the room is cool. Now we're getting into the summer months, so it's going to start getting warm. And I know a lot of folks don't like to spend the money on the air conditioning, but I'm going to tell you, if you can do something to keep your room cool or keep your bed cool, that's gonna go a long way towards helping you sleep better.

Studies have shown if you can get your room temperature down or get your bed temperature down, get your body temperature down, you're going to sleep a lot better. Our body temperature naturally goes down, when we go to sleep and it warms back up when we're awake. So if you can get that, cool. And I'll include some links to the cooling system. One of the cooling systems that I've done some research on, don't own them because I just go ahead and I pay for the air conditioning when I need to, or I don't pay for the heat when I don't need to. So it kind of balances out if you're living in a cool place.

I live in Panama, so guess what? There are no cool days, or cool nights, they're all the same. It might be raining and a little cooler, but generally not a cool night. So I'm gonna make sure that I have the cooling in my room to make sure that it had a nice cool room. So tip #7 make sure you're in a cool room. So the two environmental things we've already talked about, have a dark room, have a cool room, dark, cool room that's going to help a lot.

Environment – Sounds

And then the final aspect of your environment, which is tip #8, is to make sure that the sounds are neutral. And I say neutral sounds because some folks want complete silence. Some folks live in a city and they're used to the sounds and the sirens and all of that. If you are, that's great.

I love using a box fan or something that creates white noise. So I'll go out and buy one of those cheapy little Walmart, you know, $14 fans, probably $19 by now, but just a little fan, it's not blowing on our bed, it's not blowing on us, it's just blowing. It's making that kind of buzzing sound for me that blocks out most of the outdoor noises.

It doesn't here. So here I actually use earplugs. I have a set of earplugs that I put in religiously every night so that the dog barking next door late, late into the night. And then the chickens, the roosters crowing early, early in the morning, they're not disrupting my sleep. Now one of the advantages of going to bed at 8:30 is I'm typically up by four 35 o'clock anyway, so the roosters aren't a huge problem, but if I were sleeping later, having the earplugs would definitely help.

So a box fan, earplugs, things like that going to go a long way towards getting your sound down. Now, so those are three environmental things. I want to go back over those again because I think the environment is really the big core thing. If you're not in the right sleeping environment, you're not going to get good quality sleep. So you want a cool dark room that is sound neutral that works for you. You get those three things right, you're in the right sleep environment and the other things really then make a huge, huge difference to the quality of your sleep.

Wake up more naturally

Tip #9 is wake up more naturally. Okay? Now, when our ancestors went to bed, they woke up when the sun came up. They went to bed after shortly after dark, and this was just a normal cycle of how they lived their day to day life. We don't do that anymore. We have an alarm that goes off every single morning to wake us up, and that's a horrible, horrible way to wake up because, remember I told you about those sleep cycles in which you want to do is, you want to wake up when you're kind of in a light sleep. You know you don't want to wake up when you're in a really deep sleep. That's that startling, oh my God, wake me up kind of thing. And we don't like that. We don't like that because that's our body having a huge, huge cortisol stress release that's just not healthy for us.

So if you can wake up more naturally by not setting an alarm, waking up, when you naturally wake up, you're going to be in a lot better shape. So let me show you how this works for me. By going to sleep at 8:30, I am already hitting my eight hours of sleep by 4:30 in the morning. So when I get on a sleep cycle, it's about an hour and a half. I'm looking at about five sleep cycles. Occasionally I'll throw in, occasionally six will happen, but I come out of a sleep usually around four or five o'clock and I'm rested and I know I'm rested, I feel good. And since I'm kind of out of it, I'm kind of, you know, basically coming into a light sleep and I wake up, I'm like, okay, I'm up. This is good. And I get on with my day. Sometimes I'll lay down and I'll go get another sleep cycle, like I said. But in, in a general sense, I'm going to sleep a full cycle.

I have not actually set an alarm unless I had an early flight that I didn't want to miss. I haven't sent an alarm in over four years. I just don't. I don't need it. If I go to bed early enough, I get up early enough. That's the way I've always approached this and so I don't set alarms. I just make sure I get to bed early enough and I only set alarms if there's just some set of circumstances where I've got like a five o'clock flight and I just don't want to miss it. Now one of the things you can do to kind of set yourself up, if you really do want to kind of have an alarm but you don't want it to be that cortisol spiking thing, you can buy one of those alarm clocks that basically slowly increases the light intensity in the room and by increasing the light intensity there'll be some automatic signals to your body that it's morning and time to get up. Obviously if you're wearing the mantra mask, this won't help you, but if you want to have one of those light emitting alarm clocks, it slowly gets you up. I'll have a link to one of them in the show notes 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/380 three you can check that out.

I go to bed early enough to know that I'm going to wake up early enough, but if you know you can't or for one reason or another you were up later. This is not a bad compromise to avoiding that huge cortisol spike in the morning when you wake up to a blaring alarm. Okay. That was nine and apparently I did a numbering snafu. I thought I was giving you nine, but there's a bonus.

Journal about your sleep

One of the things I often encourage my clients to do is to journal about their sleep and not just journal about what time they went to bed and what time they woke up, but to really talk and think about the quality of their sleep and the trends in their sleep. So we talked about things that would disrupt your sleep. Oh, you were up a little later watching a program or you had to work on your taxes and you were up a little bit later. And so therefore you went to bed later, you were at blue light later and your sleep was just not really there.

That's data. That's really good data to know that yes, blue light does impact you and that having your mind racing at nine o'clock at night, doesn't impair your sleep? Understanding. Okay. That there was a really loud noise outside because there's something going on and if I had had ear plugs or some sound going on in the background, perhaps that wouldn't have been as big a problem for me.

Maybe it was that you had some caffeine late in the evening, you know that went out to dinner and had everybody after dinner had the coffee and I for the life of me cannot understand why someone would have coffee after dinner. I mean, Geez, it's already 11 o'clock and you're going to throw down and express, so I don't get it. People do it. I know they can't be sleeping very well after they do it, but it is what it is.

So I've given you basically now 10 tips and I might change the title of this. I was originally going to call it nine ways, I guess I'll call it 10 cause I, like I said, I screwed up on my numbering, but so I'm going to go over them really, really quickly.

Summary

Number one, go to bed at the same time each night.

Number two, avoid blue light, and that can be by getting away from electronics or using some device like blue blocker glasses.

Number three, avoid caffeine and or alcohol. You're going to have certain tolerances for the caffeine. That's genetic in many ways, but just know that there's certain times when you should not be drinking caffeine or it's gonna impair your sleep. Same thing with alcohol. It even though it makes you fall asleep faster or easier, it's not letting you sleep the way that you should.

Number four is to have a sleep ritual. Okay, I like to sit down, relax, read, meditate, write in my journal and I'll occasionally have a glass of the Natural Vitality Calm just to sit down and say, okay, this is my evening. I'm done and I'm unwinding.

Number five is to meditate or journal. Meditation is a wonderful way to clean your mind, to relax, get yourself steady, get yourself ready to go to sleep. Journaling is a great way to express gratitude, to find some joy in your day and to let go of any of the negative things that have happened and to push off those things that you know you really need to sleep and then be able to do tomorrow even better.

Number six is to have a dark room. I love my Mantra Mask. I wear it all the time and it's, it's a wonderful tool if you can't have blackout shades and the whole bit strongly encourage you to look at that.

Number seven is to be in a cool room and my wife and I kind of argue about this a little bit about how cool, but the cooler you can make your room probably the better you're going to sleep. I love it. Cool. When I'm by myself, I'm down 65 easy.

Number eight is sounds, you know, a box fan, white noise, something to eliminate the sound. Earplugs also work in a pinch. Those types of things will help a lot. The last three were all about environment make sure you have the right environment.

Number nine then is to find a way to wake up more naturally. Go to bed early enough where your cycles work out and you find yourself awake an hour or so before you know you need to get up, probably time to go ahead and go or have something where you're being woke up gently, like a light emitting alarm that's going to slowly raise, increase the intensity of the light to a point where you wake up.

Number 10 is to journal about your sleep so that you find the things that have the most impact. Look for those trends that'll happen. What you're eating, what you're drinking, when you're eating, when you're drinking, what's your activities were, which your stress level was? What's your energy level was during the day and what activities you did like did you lift weights that day? Did you run that day to just spend time with family? Did you have something stressful happen? The more you kind of focus on the things that happened the day before and how they're impacting your sleep that night, the more you'll know how to affect your sleep by changing your routine during the day and then into the evening.

We covered a lot of the 10 ways to improve your sleep. I hope you'll go through and at least try some of these to see what they can do to help you sleep better because the quality of your sleep is going to drastically affect the performance that you have. And as we spoke earlier, performance is about being the best you that you can be. So you're working on your fitness, you're working on your health, and sleep has to be a component of that.

You have to make sleep a priority. I hope you will. If there's anything I can do to help you, please do reach out to me. Love to talk to you about it. But otherwise, look at these 10 things. Listen to this episode again, go to the show notes at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/380 you can read through the transcript, find the bits and pieces that work for you and hey, give me a comment on Facebook or on that post and let me know some of the things you tried and how it worked for you.

Hope you enjoy today's lesson. I do put a lot of research and a lot of time into thinking of the best ways that I can help reach your health and fitness goals and getting good sleep is was one of those and so I work with my clients. I'd like to work with you just to show you what I can do. I'm offering a free, no obligation, 15 minute consult. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/Consult.

It's not a sales page. It's nothing more than my scheduling link. You go in there and schedule 15 minutes that works for you. We get on a zoom conference call and we talk about your goals. We talk about what matters to you most and what I think you can do to help you improve your health and fitness. I do believe 15 minutes can make a big difference in how you approach your summer from a health and fitness perspective. So go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/Consult I'll take you to my calendar for your free, no obligation. 15 minute consult. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/Consult today.

Another episode you may enjoy

April 29, 2019

Aligned for success with Brenda Shaeffer

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Thank you!

If you don't have your body in alignment, it is very hard to reach optimal health. Brenda Shaeffer is a physical therapist and the author of the book, Aligned for Success.

Allan: 01:50 Brenda, welcome to 40 plus fitness.

Brenda : 01:54 Thank you Allan.

Allan: 01:54 I have the specialty in corrective exercise and I see it myself. Someone will walk in and they'll start to lift and I'll be like, no, no, no, no, no. Let's do this right. I realize, okay, you can't lift weights right now. You need to get yourself fixed first because if you try to put load on the body and the frame, the way you're doing things today, you're going to break yourself. So I always go through with my one on one clients, this sort of evaluation just to see if there's any movement. I talked to him about any injuries they've had. But Yeah, you put together book pretty much will allow a lot of us to do that for ourselves.

Brenda : 02:27 That's right. And really over the many years that I've been a physical therapist, what I realized is that people actually limit themselves a lot more than they need to. And with our medical system, the way it's become over the, over the years that I've been practicing, which is over 40 years, what's happened is people have become defined by the diagnosis that they receive in their doctors office or as they've self diagnosed on the, on the Internet, and they've actually become very disabled. So I became very inspired by that and actually put together this book and actually have also developed a system of education that people can actually look at and learn to assess themselves and start doing corrections on their own in everyday activities and apply it to their every day activities to actually do more than they expect they should be able to be able to do. This is thank you to many of our good researchers and the technology available today that is proving what pain is and how our brain processes pain and actually how we move and also how the most common pain problems have happened in our muscles and bones.

Allan: 03:42 I'm really good about focusing on form while I'm doing the work, but, and your book, Aligned for Success. I kind of came up with this epiphany and I should have thought of this a long time ago. I was actually doing crossfit and I was traveling. So I was at a crossfit that I wasn't familiar with and the instructor came up to me and said, because we were doing one arm kettle bell thrusts. And so that's where you kind of squat down with the kettle bell by your side and you've only got one in one hand and then you basically do a squat and when you come up you thrust the kettlebell up in the air. When I was doing these thrusts, he said to me, he said, do you cross your right leg over your left leg pretty regularly? And I said, you know, I do that when I sleep. I said, my right leg actually goes behind an under my knees so I don't hyper extend my left knee. But I had never really experienced any pain. But that was kind of one of my original epiphany's and then seeing it in your book was just everyday normal things that we do can really affect the way our body moves, and then therefore later on particular if we put ourselves under load, we hurt ourselves, we feel pain.

Brenda : 04:49 That's exactly right and really again, the research that's now available. And again, thank you to the new technology that's available to measure how our brain is perceiving the inherent danger signals. What's going on is that what's most important for us as an individual to understand is that we need to be much more aware of what our alignment is, or another words, relative alignment of our legs, our core and our arms are during our everyday activity. That's actually as important or in my view, more important than when we're in the gym, when we're much more attentive to what our form is because that's, we're really in static positions where we're not getting as much circulation through our joints and through our muscles and our Fascia. And that's really where we're losing the battle and where we're creating the set up to have failures in our tissues. And that's where we're creating the problems that then we have failures in the gym. So that's kind of the message which we're looking at trying to teach people. And again, the body reset system, which is sort of the situational applications of how to learn how to use our bodies with proper alignment that the aligned for success book was a platform for that we've just launched, is actually going to show people how to to keep in proper alignment in everyday activities from texting, sitting around using your computer at home in a comfy chair. It shows you that you can be in proper alignment in everything that you do and that it's really once you learn a very easy three step method on how to look at yourself and make sure you're aligned from the ground up, from your feet, your shins, your thighs through your core and your arms, and then make sure you're supported in all of those parts of your body that you can sustain the best circulation and not have compression. In other words, have best health in both your structure, your circulation, your hydration, nutrition system, and also your electrical system, which are the three parts of your body. You can have best health so they can expect to have the best fitness level of your body at any stage, any age of your life.

Allan: 07:01 One of the things you said there that I think is really important for someone to understand, because a lot of people don't get this. They'll, they'll say, well, I feel pain in my hip or I feel pain in my neck. But it starts at the feet.

Brenda : 07:15 Absolutely. You have 26 bones in your feet and really you have to understand that unless you're in a very specialized job or you're a circus performer or something like that, most of us literally are always engaging with our bodies to move forward. We're doing things with our feet first and so when we're getting up to move, we're pushing. We're engaging with the ground first from our feet, so it's a chain reaction. Think of a domino effect. When you first hit the ground, the first thing that hits the ground is your foot, and then the chain reaction happens is the fancy word is kinetic, which means movement. The movement chain that happens is the first bone has the floor and then the next bone has to react to that and then it moves all the way up. So if one bones not in the right order, the next bone is going to have to react to that. But it's actually, it's all little sensors that are embedded in the ends of each bone. It's embedded in the ligaments, the tendons, the Fascia, everyone's heard about, which is just this sort of like a Saran wrap type tissue that's around every structure. Meaning when we're talking about muscles and bones and things, it's around the tendons, it's around muscles, it's around nerves that's also embedded in them little sensors that tell when things are stretching too far and it tells the brain that there may be danger if it stretched too far or there's too many toxins. In other words, there is a chain reaction of alert systems of information that go to and from your brain so the brain can make adjustments as needed. But at any rate, there is a chain reaction that starts at your feet and then your brain's adjusting muscles, circulation, and so forth as that chain reaction happens, it happens at your foot so that at the time it gets up to your hip, there was an adjustment. If you're hip has to be adjusted significantly by the time it gets your neck, there's even more significant adjustment. So you really need to make sure from the foot you have the best alignment possible. And if it's not there, then your neck will have to have an adjustment. Also, very often people say, well I just need you to look at my neck cause I just hold my stress in my neck. And I'll often say, well actually what you're doing is you're holding your foot up from your neck. So it really needs to be systematically a very, very much of a system that you're looking at yourself from the ground up. Are you in the best alignment? Again, to ensure that the information that gets to and from your brain and your nerves, your arteries and veins have the best position and they're free from compression and also from overstretching, so all that information and all the circulation, hydration, nutrition, and also the trash gets out back from your veins, get back in through your core to be processed. So all the systems of your body can be in their optimal function and again, so you can have the best health possible again at any stage. Any age of your life.

Allan: 10:06 Yeah. A couple things, I mean in general, as I looked at kinetic chain and I was kind of educating myself on this topic and then I saw it again in your book was I had an injury to my right ankle when I was 29. So a long time ago, it doesn't affect me in day to day life, but if I try to do a squat because my ankle is not functioning the way that it should, it's slightly tighter, my right ankle is slightly tighter than it should be, now my calves will compensate for that.

Brenda : 10:36 Correct.

Allan: 10:36 My calves get tight since my calves are tight, they're not allowing my leg to move the way that it needs to, which means my hips have to move differently. And then I ended up leaning forward on a squat and I have difficulty getting to proper depth on a squat. So what I end up doing is I end up spending some time before I'm going to do squats to really focus on loosening up my calves, getting my ankle as mobile as it will be under the circumstances. And then I'm able to safely do the work. A lot of people would go at this because if they start to feel pain, there's going to be this element of fear and then they're gonna move differently.

Brenda : 11:12 Correct. And again, this has been a long held misunderstanding about flexibility. I think one of the misunderstandings about flexibility, and this is coming from the world of training and physical therapy, particularly as we, I think in this field made people believe that flexibility is actually more of an exercise where flexibility is actually simply a measurement of how much mobility or how much motion we have at each one of the junctures of one bone to the next. And that's actually called a joint. And in your case if you actually had an injury to your ankle where you maybe never get full range of motion there or it's a difficult place to get range of motion or mobility. The concepts of, again thinking in threes, which is again a concept that I introduced in the book. One of the three things we think about is always having readiness before you do any of your activities. And in your case where you think about, “well, I really need to get the mobility that I need before I do activity.” You need to spend a little extra time and make sure you get that mobility with a little extra time and say, well, how much do I need to do my correct range of motion? And instead of being fearful of it and saying, well, I have pain. Remember pain's a positive alarm to make you pay attention and understand that tightness is even the warning sign before pain almost all of the time, you know what the injury was. So your expectation should be, oh well then I can expect that to be tight. And instead of thinking, “well I just need just stretch that” just know well if I just do a little bit of an active release, kind of one second on, have a little teeny bit of a stretch and a little bit off. Another second on a little bit off another little second on you'll notice that your brain says, okay, well I understand Allan, that I just need to let you move the little bit in a row release. I'm pretty soon you'll have enough mobility. There's no reason to be fearful when you understand that that tightness was just a little bit of a warning. If you didn't take that warning, you'll get a little pain and then your brain will understand that it's safe to move. It's just a new science that we know that that's what this means.

Allan: 13:22 And that self awareness is really critical when someone goes into a chiropractor because there's shoulder hurts or their neck hurts. Just kind of paying attention to the way you move and what what's going on with your body. Now you have this three step method that allows someone to kind of do that kind of self awareness assessment.

Brenda : 13:42 Right, and actually have a, what's called a flexibility. I still use that word because people tend to like it, it's actually a mobility checklist. Were really from the bottom up, I'm using sort of a general checklist that can get more specified in this. The book is actually an introduction to for a general, again, the question that that I think we've all missed in the past is, how much flexibility do we need or mobility for general activities. And the question is how much mobility do you need? And then I know we'll talk about this possibly in a in a minute, is what are your goals? What are you trying to do? Are you trying to be a gymnast or are we trying to be a Cirque du Solei performer? Or are we just trying to go out for a walk?

Allan: 14:25 Or walk down the stairs without pain.

Brenda : 14:28 Exactly! What are our goals? But say, if you're just going to get through a day and just, you know, go to the grocery store and make dinner and take care of your kids, you don't need, you know, a whole heck of a lot of mobility. So what I've introduced in a line for success, my book is just a general mobility check for everyday living. You know, just get through your day and mow the lawn and go to the grocery store and maybe go for a bike ride. But it's a mobility that checks to make sure that you have enough mobility for walking and picking things up off the floor and reaching overhead to get things out of your closets to fix dinner and load the dishwasher and so forth. But it's checking for side to side mobility of your legs, of all the joints and how much mobility you have to reach down and get things off the floor and look overhead and reach overhead and reach behind your head and reach up your back. But it's looking for a sequence of motion and that's also been missed. And secondly, can you do that motion with the speed force and finally the endurance that you need to move it. But within that, there were also looking for can you attain and maintain the proper alignment of all three parts of the skeleton structure that we have. And when we're looking at the skeleton part of your structure, there's also three parts. It's your leg, and then your core, which includes the three parts of your pelvis and includes the actual core, which is the lumbar and thoracic spine, which literally have almost no movement. And then finally the top part of your core, which is also three parts, it's your two sides of your rib cage and your breastbone. And finally the parts of your arms that you then have your hands hooked on the end, which have three parts, which are your arms, your shoulder blades, and finally your collarbones.

Brenda : 16:17 It's again looking to see can you maintain proper alignment and the method teaches you how to use your own hands to consistently and become confident and competent and being able to look and see if you can maintain, attain and maintain your alignment in both still possessions, in other words, still postures and also in basic movement patterns.

Allan: 16:44 Yeah. One example I really liked from the book that I think will give someone a really good visual of this. As you have someone sitting basically with their feet on the floor, they've got what you kind of call the three points of contact, effectively their butt and their feet, they're sitting comfortably, their arms are at a comfortable distance, a little bit away from the body. And then you have them put their hands on the kneecap with their middle finger basically pointing down the Shin Bone. And the idea is that your third toe should line up with your middle finger.

Brenda : 17:13 Correct.

Allan: 17:14 And so what this is saying is if you, if your feet want to splay out for one reason or another, then you're going to have an improper movement form. And that's going to go all the way up the kinetic chain. And so you can start training your brain to keep that foot where it's supposed to be starting originally when you're just sitting down and that's going to make it more comfortable to walk, it's gonna make it much more comfortable to run. And so a lot of the activities we want to do, we can start doing even static just sitting. We can start assessing to see if there's these things that aren't moving in the way that they were functionally designed to move.

Brenda : 17:49 And right away, I had a woman this week, she literally couldn't stand from her chair and her husband was there to help her get up. She said, well, I just can't do it. I said, well, you know what? Here's what you do. if you're sitting there, and we'll just joke sometimes, say there's that foot sticking out to the side again. If you put your middle finger right there in the center of your kneecap and it's aiming down, and it's not aiming at the bottom of your third toe, just lift the front of your foot up a little bit and move the front end a little bit. So now it's aiming at the the center of your third toe and I see we're going to call him a name, whatever, it's some sort of crazy guy moving back over there and it's just your brain has had to adapt over time for whatever reason. At some point, maybe she had sprained her toe and or maybe she had had a broken ankle at some point. Your brain is designed to help you survive at some point just to keep you going and if you don't reset your brain, your brain just continues to adapt. It's a positive thing. I've stopped using the word compensate because it's actually, there's a lot of research behind it, but it's actually in the English language. The linguists have figured out that the, the “c” sound is actually a negative sound to your brain and an “a” sound is more positive. We need to be positive and talk about things in ways we know our brain responds better and it will help enhance improvement in pain recovery. But if we actually know that it's a good thing, our brain has adapted. Speaking of adapt, by the time we're in our forties we'd be army crawling if we never got over it. I mean it's really cool how we actually can recover if we, if we allow our bodies to heal they will heal. So if all we have to do is lift our foot up and that makes our three parts of our leg lineup better, actually, if we go to stand up and we really just, instead of sitting there with one foot sticking out to the side and I have our knees together, we literally just put our heels out, the width of the chair lineup, our knees so we look down and go, oh wait, let's make sure we're aiming our middle finger towards our middle toe. Lean forward a little bit, keeping our core length, the right length and quickly stand up. Most people in stand up right away and they don't have pain. So that's something you do right away and you can become pain free almost immediately and feel strong. Alignment always comes before strength and you don't have to have perfect alignment.

Allan: 20:12 Well, the cool thing, alignment is going to help you avoid painful situations if you are doing something active. Alignments also going to help you properly apply strength. So as you're trying to come out of the chair, now that her feet are square, she has the base of support on the ground to actually get out of the chair. But it also helps with balance. So as we get older and people want to change, I'm going to use the word compensate.

Brenda : 20:39 Right! Adapted

Allan: 20:42 We adapt because of fear that we're going to fall. We changed our gate, we changed the way our feet sit on the ground. Those changes now go up our entire kinetic chain and actually are a problem. So taking some time to focus on this alignment from the ground up is going to do a lot for making sure that you maintain strength, maintain balance, and avoid pain.

Brenda : 21:04 Right?

Allan: 21:04 So in the book you had something that I thought this was, this was actually really, really good because most of us will go to a healthcare professional and the main goal is, oh, my neck hurts, so I'm going to go to a chiropractor and the goal is for my neck to stop hurting. But you agree we should set goals but not that kind of goal.

Brenda : 21:23 Correct. And that's actually approved by, it's not me, again, it's the researchers in the science labs have figured out that actually pain is not actually the goal. And I know that seems kind of mean of me to say the patients are also kind of surprised by it. So I kind of see why by having a little bit by having resources and references. It's not that pain is not important, but it's actually not, it's not measurable. It's measurable in each individual. But here's the thing, you need to actually have a goal that's measurable when relating it to pain. So you're much better doing an activity relating what you're doing when you have pain. So it's actually a activity related pain score. So I've included that in the book and that again is referenced, it's a researched scale where you actually just say, okay, if I have an activity that I have pain with, then you can actually start seeing if you have improvement and then you can start developing and adjusting what solutions you're actually attaching to how you're trying to solve your problem.

Brenda : 22:36 In other words, if you think, well, my friend Susan told me to go to doctor so and so the chiropractor instead of just going every single week, what you should see is if ahead of time you said, well, I'm going to go to doctor so and so, and the goal is get rid of my neck pain because I have neck pain every time I sit at the computer within 30 minutes. Well, if it's going to be a successful solution, you should notice that if you've said my goal is to get rid of my neck pain in four weeks and I'm going to go see this doctor so and so, you should say, well what's a reasonable time when you see doctor so and so that I should get rid of my neck pain cause I have neck pain within 30 minutes? Well he should be able to tell you how long it's going to take. And so first of all, if he can't tell you that. I would question why you're going to that person. But also that'll tell you A, whether he's the right person, but B, if you're not getting any results, why are you going back to that person? Because either one, you're not actually, maybe you don't have the right diagnosis or again, maybe that's not the right person. So you have to know whether you're, you're using the right tool to get better. It's why people don't get that, or either they don't have the right diagnosis or they're not applying the right tool.

Allan: 23:48 Well, the chiropractor is helping you from the perspective of dealing with some misalignment for a moment. If they're focused on your neck, they're going to fix that misalignment, but the next time you sit down at your computer, you're probably going to run into the same problem because you haven't found the root cause.

Brenda : 24:06 That's what I'm saying. Do you need to go to the chiropractor? That's actually a question.

Allan: 24:11 Or bring the ergonomic specialist in to say, let's look at my desk or can I get an adjustable workstation so I can sit part of the time and stand part of the time. And that might be part of the solution to get you in proper alignment.

Brenda : 24:23 Well, but again, you have to remember, and there's lots of stats on that and I've included quite a few of those in the book, but also in a lot of those are available and I've given references for that. There are a lot of statistics that prove that having the solutions in just changing equipment only takes care of 20% of the problem. Having a person learn how to change themselves, it takes care of 80% of the problem. So when you're looking at spending your dollars correctly, there's a huge benefit and learning how to take care of yourself. So I think one of the take homes needs to be to understand that you, the individual are the only thing that you personally own control and can adapt. So remember that ergonomics is only a field. It's a field of study and field of engineering human for humans that actually develop equipment and supplies for an average size person that is completing a task. So for example, if you're going into a public building, the architects and the designers for those buildings are designing the doors, the desks or whatever's being used for an average size person, it's called anthropometric measurements. It's still in this country because we have huge variances and people in sizes. Those measurements are still only be made for people between five foot five and five foot eight. So again, none of this equipment is alive. So it's not able to say when you sit down at something, it's not alive.

Brenda : 26:00 It's not going to change. It's still up to the individual user to be able to determine when and how to make changes. So again, in the book it talks about how to change that, and again in the body reset system, it provides you the participant in that system some examples on how to again change your use of the equipment. And it's kind of the next step of the three step method on how you then can reassess yourself and make the changes. But the statistics are quite clear. Again, it's your responsibility to learn how to become confident and competent that you can look at your own body with your eyes, your eyes tell your brain or the brain senses that tell your brain 80% of the information your brain needs to know how to assess the environment, about looking down and seeing, oh, is my body in the right position. The other sense that uses is touch and all the little sensors that are embedded in your, in your ligaments and your joints. And finally you memorize things by how things feel. So it's very cool and the new part of the information is so cool because it makes the next generation that are under 40, hopefully not have to suffer the need to have to have all the total joints and all of these things that the people now over 40 in particularly the groups that are in the 60s and over, that have had to have total joints. That's where regenerative medicine hopefully won't have to happen anymore.

Allan: 27:31 It's kind of staggering how many people are getting hip and knee replacements these day?

Brenda : 27:36 Well, I'm hoping, I'm hoping it's not going to have to happen on the under 40 group anymore. If we embrace this, this stuff is going to make it so good for the next generations. If we just understand that we can get control over our bodies and in this 85 to 95% of the musculoskeletal disorders, and this is a world health organization number, they are preventable. They're predictable and preventable. We just literally need to rethink what's happening. Understand that if we goal set differently, we recognize what's going on. We then reset our bodies and learn that we need to get ready to use our bodies differently. We need to recover and give time to repair. We can use our bodies optimally for a lot longer than we think we can. We have in the past.

Allan: 28:25 And I like that. I liked it that you have kind of this real true proactive approach.

Brenda : 28:31 Oh, its very exciting!

Allan: 28:32 So one of the other big things in the book that I thought was really, really important was that by empowering yourself to say, okay, I am part of the solution here, you're going to develop a team.

Brenda : 28:43 Absolutely.

Allan: 28:43 And so talk a little bit about the solutions team, what we should be looking for, how we should approach developing this team and evaluating this team to see that they're still serving us.

Brenda : 28:53 Well again, and I touched on it earlier in the book it comes on an electronic version or print. But anyway you do it I would highly suggest that first you really sit down and be very honest and goal setting. And that's also available in the book, and again, in the e-version or print, but really sit down and get very honest with your calls and depending on the stage that you are, where you're really ready to make a change. If you're not quite ready to actually figure out goals, still maybe start with a solution team and what in the stage one of solution team, you literally can just sit down and say, I already know what I want to do, but just sit down and write down every single person that you have been using for advice, whether it's paid or not, so it can include your best girlfriends or your book club friends .

Allan: 29:41 Or your book.

Brenda : 29:43 There you go. Anybody, whoever it is, or you've been going to a chiropractor or a naturopath or a card reader or whoever it is. I had a friend today go, I'm really embarrassed to tell you, but I've been calling this guy and in West Virginia and I didn't know any of his credentials, but he was sending me some stuff to put on my tongue. I'm like, Oh for God's sake! But at any rate, whoever it is and the way it's set up is to write down who it is, and you're the only one looking at this, but at least it will start telling you who it is, what their credentials are, and meeting credentials, anything you know about them. So you get a reality check on A, Do they have credentials or is this just literally somebody doing snake oil? Are they licensed somewhere? Have they had any validated education of any kind of, but most importantly, what kind of results have you had from this person and then does it match any of your goals at some point. And then the other thing is there redundancy. Sometimes people will just put down this person as, for example, bodyworker. Well, what is a bodyworker start saying? What are they doing? What does a body start specifying what they are? Because again, good for you if you have endless money, but at some point, what else do you want to do with your life? People come in and say, well, I just want to come in and work out. And I said, well, do love to work out in they're like not really. I mean that's fine if that's what you want to do, but if you want to do something else, like you want to play with your kids or you want to travel, then if you're having to work out all the time and go to all your appointments all day, what else are you doing with your life for the next 10 years?

Brenda : 31:16 So it's a way of sort of sorting that what you want to do and then get your goal specified. And then as you sort of work through actually what your goals are. And I have people write down their goals in three categories. Every day activities, what do you really want to be doing? And then in that section they also write down what they're doing now. And it has to be in specific measurable goals that can't just be, I want to get rid of pain again, we talked on that earlier, but I have them do it in three categories, everyday activities, things like driving, putting on my shoes, whatever it might be in recreation. Leisure activities. Whether it's you know, your high level sports person or or whatever it is, leisure activities, what do you want to do, knit, whatever it is. And thirdly, work related activities and if somebody is retired, I still make them write work activities. If you know anybody that's retired that the joke is, Oh I do more work now than I ever did before, so I still have them do work related activities and then the thing is that I have people then prioritize their goals and then when they do that and then they really figure out what's going on, they prioritize the goals. And then when they get those prioritized then they go back and redo their solutions team. Then they start figuring out what their actual solutions might be and what tools they might use. That way you get started on what you actually do want to do to get to your goals and put timelines on it. So as you get started, you put timelines, then you can start figuring out and reassessing if your solution team is actually helping you get to your goals so you can get the right team and not get redundancy.

Brenda : 32:48 And there's been a lot of studies about how many people should be on your solution team and you really want to make sure per the research that you keep your solution team down to about three people is really what the recommendation is. If you get more than that, you're getting too much in most cases, too many cooks in the kitchen. So again, you want to prioritize and try to get down to the smallest number of people on the team and you really want to get people that are really on your team and are really willing to work with each other. My advice to most people is if you get people sort of trash talking, others, you know, it's a big giant red flag. The too good to be true things, again, giant red flag. People that just say, trust me, or I'm sure you don't, can't understand this. Again, big red flag.

Allan: 33:33 You're on your solutions team too, so they have to listen to you and what you need and if they're not, then there's someone else out there that is.

Brenda : 33:42 That's exactly right.

Allan: 33:43 Brenda, I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Brenda: 33:53 Well again I think in my view it's again getting yourself back in the driver's seat and being most honest with yourself and getting out of waiting for everyone else to give you advice. And I think I touched on most of them. I think in, and I'm in the Musculoskeletal business I guess is more what I'm speaking to today and when I start writing this book, I started to go more into whole health but in my career of over 40 years I stayed mostly with musculoskeletal stuff because that's what I do. And in that, I think if you can continue to stay with understanding the body is interacting in all three systems and if you can continue to stay, as I talked about before, is when you are listening to your body and staying current with actual research and stain and understand that nothing is static in the body, it's very dynamic and understand you've been given a huge gift of a body and of a brain and I think understand that the whole thing will, the whole body will continue to heal itself and continue to operate if we continue to rethink and stop, rethink and continue to recognize what we need and then continue to reset and think of our life in chapters and keep us balanced as we can and then we will be able to to reach our optimal fitness for a lifetime.

Allan: 35:11 Awesome. I like those. Brenda, if someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book, Aligned For Success, where would you like for me to send them?

Brenda: 35:20 My regular website is www.brendashaeffer.comif you'd like to go for a little free giveaway at of the top 10 mistakes that people make. They cause pain and it's at the bodyresetsystem.com that's site and the book can be gotten on Amazon and it's an anywhere at this point. Again, it's electronic version and also print version. I'm always available to chat with anybody when they need to.

Allan: 35:50 And it's not just a book its a complete workbook section. It walks you through this whole process to get aligned and figure out what you need to do for yourself. So Brenda, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Brenda : 36:04 And thanks for inviting me. Thank you.

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Another episode you may enjoy

April 22, 2019

Dr Josef Arnould’s american diet revolution

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Dr Josef Arnould is declaring war on the Standard American Diet and he needs you to join his American Diet Revolution.

Allan: 02:15 Dr Arnould, welcome to 40 plus fitness.

Dr. Arnould: 02:19 Hello Allan. Thank you very much. It's my pleasure to be here today.

Allan: 02:23 You know, when your publicist reached out to me, American Diet Revolution, I said, okay, something new. You've taken the concept of the American revolution and said we have probably something even more detrimental to, particularly the United States, but all western nations actually in the health crisis that's facing us.

Dr. Arnould: 02:46 Well, I try to make people aware of that, Allan, I just feel I should mention that I have had a clinic for almost 40 years now called strength for life in which I teach people how to exercise well, how to eat well, and if they need chiropractic care, deliver that to them as well. But I really feel that we face a real crisis and over the years, in my experience, people are losing their fitness as they age. And that's, that's really unfortunate. So, for instance, I'll take a patient to whom I might speak, start seeing in their twenties and by the 30s I can already feel on their spinal muscles that they're starting the gain body fat and lose strength. And those are two very disabling characteristics and things that I feel we have to do our best to try to avoid.

Allan: 03:43 Yes, I completely agree. Obviously I'm going to do this podcast and uh, you know, most of the folks that are we're talking to today are going to be in their forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, and above. And they've let some of that stuff go and they've come to the realization, hey, we've got to fix this. But much like the American, or at the time I guess, you know, the colonists had the probably the mightiest army that had ever existed facing them down, which, you know, seems somewhat impossible if you think about it. We've got an opponent in this, this war that is, is even probably more formidable in which you call big Pharmo with a “Ph”. Big Farmo with an “F” and a the medical establishment, they are not helping us at any rate and actually making us worse. And I do agree with you, it's, it's a crisis because what 30 some odd percent of people who are obese and nearly 75% of folks are overweight. We've fallen a long way.

Dr. Arnould: 04:45 We certainly have, let me give you a statistic and I don't want to be labor statistics, but this is when I was in graduate school and exercise physiology in the late 1970 so, and this is from a text book and it said that the average American at that time between the ages of 25 and 55 that is 30 years loses about one half pound of muscle per year. And at the same time the average American gains about one and a half pounds of body fat per year in that 30 year span. So each year it says that we weigh one pound more, which doesn't sound like very much, but at the end of 30 years with that means is by age 55 we have 15 pounds less muscle mass and bone mass. And 45 pounds more body fat. So we weigh 30 pounds more on the scale, but in actuality, we're 60 pounds to the deficits. And that's, those are just statistics. What's really heartbreaking is how disabling this is. And that in an effect, really are our enemy. That which is colonizing us today is obesity. And that is what we all must try to get as much information as we can to confront that challenge and win that fight for our independence. Because if we lose our health, then we lose the freedom of good health. We just can't let that happen. Yeah, as you said, the statistics are staggering now, but here's the reason. Americans are either overweight or obese, two thirds of American adults. That's frightening statistic.

Allan: 06:36 It is. And, but, the cool thing, the good news of this is that this is, this is winnable battle by battle. And so if each of us realizes that we're, cause wars made up of several battles and you're gonna win some, you're gonna lose some. But each of us can win our own battles. And in the book, you give us five armaments. So we kind of have some tools to start facing this, this battle that's in front of us. Can you go through your five armaments?

Dr. Arnould: 07:03 Sure. Allan. And some of these may not. Some of these may seem obvious and some a little less obvious. The first armament by which I postulate we can begin to achieve our independence again, is what I call educating ourselves. And I'll give you a good example. Now, most of us who were 40 or older. Remember the Food Pyramid, which was published in 1992. Now, pretty much 10 or 15 years ago, that food pyramid was abandoned and there is no longer in operation. However, even the food and Drug Administration, which promulgated it originally has abandoned it. But for the past 35 years, I have taken nutritional diaries of my patients and exercise trainees, on a one week nutritional diet. And what I found is most people still eat as though they were following the food pyramid. Well, in other words, they're confused. And that's one reason, the major reason why I wrote American Diet Revolution is to help people not be confused.

Dr. Arnould: 08:11 Because one day we get information that coffee's bad. The next day coffee's in. Um, one day eggs are out, the next day they're in. So I tried to clarify that, but I don't expect people to believe just what I say I want them to, and include myself in this, we need to educate ourselves. We need to read 21st century nutritional dietary advice and nutritional research so that we understand what we're up against when we purchase and foods, the second armament, I call eating for wellbeing. And that's simply applying the information which we derive from our study of nutrition. Now we don't have to become nutritional experts, we just have to bring ourselves up to date. We have to disabuse ourselves of the misinformation to which we were subjected for so long, almost the last 50 years of the 20th century. And for a lot of us, that's a hard thing to do. But when we begin to realize, when we read some of the books of the 21st century, many of which I recommend in American Diet Revolution, then we begin to see nutrition in a different way. And we, uh, we have the ability to alter our own diets so that they foster better health and help us avoid accumulating excess body fat. And I should add losing our muscle mass as we age. The third armament is what I call economize. And by that I simply mean that we, in our society today, there's kind of a movement to get the best deal you can on everything we purchase. Well, we have to be very careful about that with food because it's very easy for sellers of food to manufacture cheap food, which is inexpensive to buy, but in the long run is very detrimental to our health. And I think anyone who's paying their health insurance premium knows that it's a lot more expensive to buy health insurance now than it was 20 years ago. And a major reason for that is the food. So we don't want to necessarily buy the cheapest food, we want to buy the best food. And in the American Diet Revolution, I try to help people begin to understand what qualifies as the best food. The fourth armament is what I call ecologize. And by that I want people to start to look at what we eat and a little broader context. And that means in terms of the environment, what we eat is our internal environment, what we dispose of outside and trash or plastic, that's our external environment. Well, in my opinion and in the opinion of many of the progressive 21st century nutritional writers, a lot of the toxic foods we're eating constitute internal pollution. They're causing havoc inside our bodies just as throwing plastics into the ocean causes external problems. And then the, fifth armament of liberation from, obesity and the loss of muscle mass is exercise. And of course that's my own prejudice. But I can tell just from talking to you and listening to your other podcasts that you are a strong advocate of exercising, not less as we age, but actually more and more intelligent. So those are the five armaments that I feel we can use to liberate ourselves from the obesity causing foods that we've been consuming for so long.

Allan: 12:08 Yeah, and you know, as I went through that. I was, I, you know, putting each of them in place and thinking about them, uh, from different perspectives and you know, the fact that they can make processed foods so, so cheaply. Uh, you know, if you made, if you actually made your own, bread, and we'll actually, we'll talk about grains in a minute, but if you actually major own your own bread, you would probably spend on ingredients four or five times what a loaf of bread costs. The reason they can do it is they're putting things in there that are cheaper substitutes for what is real food and that's actually costing you in health. And then kind of beyond that, you can sit there and say, well, okay, so I'm going to eat something healthy. Well, I'm gonna eat some almonds. Well I live in Florida? The almonds are grown in California or potentially somewhere else in the world and they're shipped here. So I'm an effect causing some other things to happen in the world that if I just shopped locally and ate what was in season and you know, it's not wrapped in plastics or shipped in a box. So I'm actually doing these things that are more beneficial to the world in general and I'm getting higher quality food to put in my own body that's more nutritionally dense. It's kind of this win win.

Dr. Arnould: 13:28 I agree Allan. I think you've hit on a very important concept and that is eating more locally grown foods, cutting down on the transportation pollution, but also supporting our local communities. The local growers, especially those who have gone to organic food raising and uh, they, they, they need to be celebrated. They are our local champions. They are the heroes of our local communities. And I think that's part of the whole revolution. If we think back to the American revolution, it didn't start as like a nationwide movement to liberate ourselves from England. It started in local communities where people wanted to exercise their own freedom, their own right to self determination or in the case of Boston, not to pay an excess in tea tax.

Allan: 14:23 Yeah, I think it was probably a lot more than just a tea tax, but that, that was a, you know, that was a good firing, you know, shot. And I think if you're talking to your doctor and your doctor's telling you, you know, you need to lose weight or your blood pressure's too high or your cholesterol is too high, this is your tea tax moment, you know, this is the moment to say, hey, I've got to do something about this. And, you said something that I think was really important in the education piece is that the science that was in place before the 21st century, much of that was, was produced by the sugar industry or by the grain industry or, or whomever. That seem to have a little bit of a bias. And I know now in the 21st century, we have a lot more independent speakers that are coming out and they're doing some really cool studies that are follow ups on what we were told that we should be eating. And that's why we're getting what really feels like conflicting information today in the book. And I don't want you to go through all 15 of them, but if someone was going to go when they're, when they're on Amazon or in your book, can you name a few other books that they should consider looking up as a, as a part of this education?

Dr. Arnould: 15:42 Sure Allan I'd be happy to do that. I think what I advise my exercise trainees to read first is a book by a cardiologist, William Davis called Wheat Belly Total Health. And the reason I think that's important is Dr. Davis reveals some very precise ingredients in, especially in wheats, that we as individuals always assumed were healthy for us, but which when we look at how they're digested by human beings actually cause havoc in our gastrointestinal systems. Now that sounds a little bit heavy handed. The book is actually a lot more practical than that, but if we want to understand why foods that we eat can cause us to become obese or cause digestive problems, I think that's a good place to start. A second book that I think is very important is The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz, which was written in 2014 and the reason that I think that's an important book to read is that it demonstrates why in the 20th century there was so much confusion. Teicholz goes through in great detail, all of the sources of the information to which we were subjected in the 20th century, and she demonstrates very clearly that a lot of that advice was not honest nutritional research. That was research that was bought and paid for, as you say, by the sugar industry or by the grain industry. The reason I think that's important is in the 20th century, we were what I call accept doors. We accepted the information that the US Department of Agriculture gave us in 1992 the the, uh, so called pyramid. We never questioned why the Department of Agriculture, which really isn't a medical or a new human physiology organization, was giving us advice on nutrition. That advice was based upon what was good for the grain industry, not what was necessarily good for us as human beings to eat. So I think that's why I think The Big Fat Surprise is an important book for us to read. And then the third one, and there are many, but the third one that I think is really important is by David Perlmutter. And actually there are two books, one's called Grain Brain and the other is called Brain Maker. And in both of those books he goes into the, the detrimental effects of grains upon our nervous system. Particularly with the fact with the it's effects for causing dementia and Alzheimer's Disease of which David Perlmutter, who is a neurologist, his father who has a neurosurgeon, is a victim of Alzheimer's disease. So we need to understand those things. And I think those three books really crystallized for us a lot of the information that we never thought about before.

Allan: 19:03 Yeah. You know, I think it's easy for us to accept that sometimes, you know, the government's going to get it wrong. Uh, you know, when, when they were saying, you know, it's perfectly healthy to smoke and they were actually giving soldiers tobacco with the rations overseas, creating a whole generation of smokers. Everybody just at that point except that that is okay if our government was still passing out cigarettes to soldiers, people would be in arms and saying you can't teach an 18 year hold. It just joined the army to start smoking by giving them cigarettes while they're out in the field. So now we're saying, you know, now and the book, some of the books you've talked about, they kind of bring to the bare the fact that there were people influencing the decisions and it really wasn't based on science. As the science came in on tobacco, they obviously have come back and told you, you know, hey, don't do this. And we're just now kind of turning around in this century and getting the information that some of these foods are just not what they need to be or they've changed so much since maybe some of the things that we originally were eating, that they're not the same value. You have a pretty interesting quote in the book that I liked is you called grains are the fossil fuels of the human diet and we've talked a little bit about that, but could you just dive just a little deeper and why, why you feel that you know, this is, this is the big industry bad boy in our diet.

Dr. Arnould: 20:30 Okay. Well first of all, approximately 50% of the calories we consume in the United States come from grains, from what I call grain based food stuffs, crackers, bagels, bread, chips, etc. Muffins. And so they are obviously a major part of our diet. And what a lot of people think about, they're carbohydrated based foods that are going to give me energy. And that's true. It does give us energy. However, those foods when they in a sense burn inside of our bodies, when we, they go through the physiology of our digestive systems and produce energy, they also have a lot of residuals and I always compare it to like a burning coal in the basement of your house. Okay. You can do that to keep your house warm in the winter. However, the creosote and the and the other byproducts of combustion of coal are detrimental to your health.

Dr. Arnould: 21:37 Well, in grains and as William Davis points out in weak belly total health, there are a lot of residuals that cause damage, permanent damage in our bodies. One good example is a protein in wheat called wheat germ agglutinin. It's what's known as the lectin protein and is virtually indigestible in the human body and it accumulates. And if we look at what happens with these, these accumulating undigestable proteins, many of them combine with sugars in our bloodstream and eventually end up deposited in areas of our body that we don't want them. In our joints they cause arthritis, in our eyes, it causes cataracts, in our brain they cause dementia. Okay, this is not my finding. This is what science shows. In fact, there is a name for these byproducts of grain consumption and it's called Ages Advanced Glycation End Products. And what that means is this creosote, this abnormal protein from the incomplete digestion of grains, is accumulating in our body and diminishing our ability to function normally. Okay. And again, I mentioned earlier, David Perlmutter's book brain maker, he goes into great detail in describing what ages advanced glycation end products creosote does when it's inside of our body.

Allan: 23:16 I guess the sad part of this, and I'll tell this story, I used bread to gain weight when I was in high school. I was playing football and I wasn't heavy enough. And so bread was my goto fat fattening fuel. I knew that bread would, would basically make me fat. I mean, I knew it would help me put on weight. That was Kinda my thing. I knew that in milk and I just, I drink a lot of milk and I had a lot of bread. But looking back at it, I actually remember symptoms that were a part of exactly what you're talking about of what that bread was doing to me internally. I had those little skinfold thing, a little skin tags all over my back and I now know based on some reading, that was most likely caused by the volume and amount of white bread I was eating during that period of time. And if this has kind of really gets you fired up, I don't, I don't know what will, but if we're ready to go to battle and we've got our armaments in mind, you give us, uh, some principles for eating well because I think for a lot of us that's the easiest change to make. You know, some of us will sit there, you know, Well I have a bad knee or not feeling, you know, energetic and what not, if we change our food, I think that starts the ball rolling on a lot of this stuff so can you go through those principles for eating for well-being?

Dr. Arnould: 24:38 Okay. What I'd like to do Allan, if this okay with you, just to simplify it. Okay. There are two categories of foods which we want to consider for well-being. That is foods that we should eliminate from our diets and well as foods that we should add to our diets, which I call proactive eating. So first the foods that we should eliminate. There are two things that are the most important things to eliminate from our diet because they cause obesity and inflammation. The first one is foods that raise our blood sugar. Now, what foods raise our blood sugar? Well, if many of your listeners know of the glycemic index, that's a rating system developed in the 1980s by which they measured how much certain foods raised our blood sugar levels. Well, for instance, Blood Glucose, they assign the number 100 now the table sugar that we some people have on their tables, the white sugar that has a glycemic index of 59 so that means relative to blood glucose, white sugar will raise your blood sugar about 60% as fast as pure glucose. Now, here's a real staggering statistic. Whole organic wheat. What's the glycaemic index of that? 72! whole organic wheat will raise your blood sugar higher, faster, and longer than table sugar. Okay. What's the glycaemic index of oatmeal? 66 okay, got oatmeal, which most people, many, many people eat today. Their breakfast and consists oatmeal, raisins or bananas, a glass of orange juice and a piece of toast will raise your blood sugar higher, faster and longer than eating white table sugar. Okay, so we know just from science, not from fact or not from a food pyramid, that eating grains is going to raise our blood sugar levels. Now, what happens when that occurs? It causes the release of the hormone insulin. Insulin, as many people know, is what's associated with diabetes and those who lose the ability to manufacture insulin in their body become diabetic. Well, it's very clear that we need to avoid eating foods that raise our blood sugar because it causes the release of the hormone insulin and eventually we lose our ability to manufacture insulin ourselves or ourselves become resistant. Insulin insulin when it's released in the blood also has two other bad effects. It causes two hormones. One is leptin, which is the one that tells our brain, well, I've had enough to eat. It's time to stop now. That hormone is suppressed, so we continued to eat. We have one Bagel, uh it feels like I should have another one. And then the second hormone that insulin suppresses is Glucagon. And Glucagon is the hormone that tells our fat cells, okay guys, let's release some stored body fat for energy. So foods that raise our blood sugar are very detrimental and the champions of that are grains, especially wheat, corn and oats. Okay. Second thing we need to eliminate from our diet principles of eating well are foods that cause inflammation of the gut. In other words, they cause indigestion, gas, inflammation of our small intestine, ulcers, etc. What foods are champions of that? Well, the champion of all is wheat, why? Because there are indigestible proteins that ferment in the small intestine and cause gastrointestinal problems. So those are the two things we need to eliminate from our diet. But just as importantly, we need to add some good foods to our diet that haven't been there. Now, one of the premier examples of that in what I call proactive eating are foods that have beneficial bacteria. We have in our digestive system in our colon at any one time, somewhere between three and a half and five pounds of bacteria. We coexist with bacteria and have for about, at least since we've been homo sapiens, which is 200,000 years, but scientists can really take it back about 2 billion years. But the point is, those bacteria in our gut are essential for our lives. Okay? We don't operate efficiently. We don't digest food well. We don't stop viruses as well if we're deficient in beneficial bacteria, where can we get beneficial bacteria? One of the best places is Sauerkraut or other fermented foods and also eating organic foods. If we eat organic foods, they have a lot of these beneficial bacteria in them. If we eat foods that have been subjected to herbicides and pesticides in the field that killed a lot of the beneficial bacteria, so we become deficient in the bacteria we need to function normally as human beings. Okay? And then, uh, another example of proactive eating is making sure that we get the essential nutrients that we need for energy. And one of those essential nutrients are good fats as for instance, in Avocados or in egg yolks. And a lot of us have been brainwashed over the years to avoid fat to get, if you remember back to the eighties, seventies, they, they sold skim milk or low fat yogurt or Nonfat Yogurt. And still today you can get many of those products. But those products actually deprive us of the energy foods we need in order to function optimally as human beings. So those are just a couple of examples of foods that we should add to our diets and a couple of foods that we should, types of foods that we should eliminate from our diet.

Allan: 31:27 And I think that's really simple as you know, let's start cutting out the foods that are not serving our purpose, that are causing inflammation, that are causing excessive insulin release into our blood and causing problems. And that's why we have the weight gain. Also adding the foods that are going to give us, and like you said, that the good bacteria and the proper nutrition to make sure that our body has the building blocks and the energy to do what we do on a day to day basis. A lot of folks will sit there and say, okay, I'm going to make this change. And they start making the change and then this little problem called willpower starts to, starts to get in the way and it gets nighttime and they're like, you know, I just, I still want my little chocolate ice cream or, uh, you know, I want my little, little Debbie's cake at night or whatever. Whatever your thing is. For me, it would be a peanut M and. M's if they were in the house, um, I would, I would have some probably every evening. It's very hard for me to avoid them. There's actually some in the house right now and I've been avoiding them like the plague. I hit him in the Pantry so my wife can get them when she wants them, but I don't want them out. You have some tips in the book to help us avoid nighttime sweets.

Dr. Arnould: 32:37 Yeah, I'm glad you brought that up down. That's, that's good. Because we all face that challenge at the end of a day, maybe not feeling quite satisfied with all of the things we'v eaten or probably also staying up a little later than we should and getting the munchies. So one of the things that I've found over the years and helping my patients and exercise trainees with this problem, and it can be quite honest with myself too, is what I call the six nighttime weapons of fat mass destruction. And what they are is little techniques to not to deprive us of of food at night, but to alter the way in which we face our snacks. Okay. So let me just give you a couple of examples of the six nighttime weapons. The first thing we can do is after dinner, a lot of times after you've had the main course, you went, ah, I really shouldn't eat something sweet, but I just feel on the tip of my tongue I feel like it should have something sweet to kind of complete the deal here.

Dr. Arnould: 33:45 So one technique, I've tried this myself and it and it will work, and that is to have something sour right away. And the best, what I often do is just to have two tablespoons of Sauerkraut or a sour pickle. Now that sounds kind of crazy, but when you get a sour taste in your palate, it sometimes suppresses or even removes the, the desire to have something sweet. So instead of, you may want to have another pickle but that's not a problem or another, um, taste of Sauerkraut, but those foods of course are not going to cause us to put on body weight. The last thing we want to do is eat a lot of calories late evening that will then sit there over night while our foods should be digesting.

Allan: 34:40 And it's very hard to eat too much sauerkraut. I mean…

Dr. Arnould: 34:45 That's true and very, very good point. Now the second a weapon of fat mass destruction is what I call herbal teas. Now you could have black tea too, but that might keep you awake. And herbal tea is just usually made with herbs from botanical plants and flowers. And if you can find the tea that really pleases your palate. It will oftentimes satisfy that. Now in my own case, my favorite is licorice tea because it is sweet and um, sometimes, you know, just having licorice tea is just enough to really satisfy my desire for something very sweet. But other people may find a sour herbal tea. I think there's one called by celestial seasonings called Red Zinger. And uh, again, that will create a different, it's gives you a lot of flavor and I'll a lot of water at the same time. So it's kind of fulfilling and it, and it distracts you from wanting to get a dish of ice cream or a piece of cake or pie or something like that or some M&M's. The third weapon of fat mass distraction is having a good fat. Because a lot of times what we want is something that's flavorful and fat can often satisfy our pallets and not raise our blood sugar, whereas obviously sweet foods would. A good example is what are called high cacao chocolate. Now you can buy bars now that are up to 95% chocolate. To me that's a little bit too much. It's almost tastes like the Baker's chocolate that I tried to steal from my mom's cupboard and found out it was very bitter. But uh, there are the grades from about 60 to 65 to 70 to 75 to 80. And you can work your way up into the 90s. And the higher the Cacao content that is the more chocolate, the less sugars in them. A good high cacao content chocolate bar might be 85 or 90% cacao and have only two or three grams of sugar in half of a large bar. So that's not going to raise our blood sugar. So that's a good alternative, especially if you can kind of put it on your tongue and just savor it for a while. Another good example is dried coconut flakes or just fresh coconut. It has a sweet taste. It's very chewy and has a lot of beneficial fats in it, so it's very satisfying. Plus you have to chew it forever. By the time you get to have a few pieces of fresh coconut, uh, your jaws have had a workout and you don't really feel like eating too much more. Now, if all those tactics fail, then we can bring on the heavy artillery. One thing that I used to do in college when I had the munchies at night is I go in and I brush and floss my teeth. And just the onerous task of brushing and flossing my teeth made me much less likely to eat something else cause I didn't want to have to do it again before I went to bed. So there's kind of a disincentive in there to eat more than I should lay on. Now. if all those fail, the next thing we can do in the evening is to take a stroll. Ideally it'd be right after dinner. If we're exercising very lightly or even if we've eaten a little too much or a little bit more than we should, our blood sugar levels don't rise quite as high because we're using some of that blood sugar immediately to contract the muscles in our legs so that we can walk. So the old English tradition of a, of a walk after dinner has a lot, makes a lot of nutritional sense and it's an important weapon. And then the sixth weapon of fat, Mass Distraction. And that's a hard piece of advice to follow and that is to go to bed. If we stay up too late, we're going to get hungry, we're going to eat more than we should. If we're asleep, we can't be eating things. And you know, I know it takes discipline, but we all probably in our modern crazy society need a little more sleep than we give ourselves. So if we go to bed a little earlier or we don't stay up later than we should, or stay on the computer longer than we should, and we go to bed, we're less likely to eat foods that are going to raise our blood sugar and cause us to store body fat. So those are the six nighttime weapons of fat, mass destruction

Allan: 39:39 And those are, those are, those are great tips. Each and every one of them. You're going to find one of those that works for you most of the time and then you can always fall back on some of the others. The walking is definitely one of my favorites because there's actually scientific studies that have shown that if you do a short walk after a meal, your blood sugar doesn't raise as much. And a lot of that has to do with, like you said, the insulin, your blood. It's also responsible for shuttling the sugar, blood sugar into the muscles and the liver. So if you're using some of that glycogen, you're signaling to your body, hey, let's put it in the muscle first and then, and then we can store the rest of it. But if you haven't eaten that much to raise your blood sugar that high, that short walk, we'll do a lot to balance you out.

Allan: 40:28 So Dr. Arnould, 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. Arnould: 40:40 Okay. Um, well, we've talked about some of them. Um, I would say that first and most important one is to exercise. And I say that because I think in our modern technological world, we exercise far too little. Now, I talked a little bit about obesity before, but the other part of that equation when we lose a half a pound of muscle between the ages of 25 and 55, every year, a half a pound of muscle. And by the way, 40 is the mid point in that time. So those of us who are listening, because it's a 40 plus podcasts, take that to heart. 40 is kind of the turning point. That's a time when we can, uh, begin to make a change for the next 60 years of our lives hopefully. Now exercise in general is very important, but I think the thing that a lot of people are aware of this now, is strength training.

Dr. Arnould: 41:43 When we lose muscle mass as we age, the term for it is sarcopenia. SARCO means muscle. Penia means small and our muscles get smaller and weaker and that disables us. It doesn't allow us to do the things in life that we want to do, like hike, garden or play golf or tennis or that we have to do like shovel snow or rake leaves. So we need to build our strength as we age. And not just in our forties but our 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and onward. So a lot of people have gotten that message and it's very gratifying to see so many people now doing strength training. But that's why I put it in number one. Okay, exercise. Second, and we've already talked about this, and that's eating for wellbeing. Eating foods that enhance our digestive system, that get us the energy we need, the proteins we need to rebuild ourselves every day and eliminating the foods that are toxic to our bodies.

Dr. Arnould: 42:49 And then the third tactic, which, um, and again, I think many of your listeners are already thinking of this and that's what I'm going to call rest, relaxation and loving interaction with those who are around us. Our bodies need rest. We need to get enough sleep. We need to relax a little. But that the third element that there is loving relationships with the people around us. That is something that nourishes our souls and inspires us to keep doing all the things that we do and that we find meaningful in our lives. So those are the three most important tactics in in my opinion.

Allan: 43:34 Yeah, I like those. Thank you. So a Dr. Arnould, if someone wanted to learn more about you and what you're doing, learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Arnould: 43:44 Thank you for asking Allan! The website of my clinic is called strengthforlife.com.

Allan: 44:01 Okay, well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/378 forward and I'll be sure to have that link there. So Dr. Arnold, thank you so much for being a part of 40 plus fitness

Dr. Arnould: 44:15 Allan. It has been a delight and I really thank you for all your insightful questions and provocative questions. You really made this a very enjoyable experience. I appreciate it.

Before we get out of here, I did want to ask you for one small favor, would you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/patreon. And there you'll find a page that will allow you to contribute something to the show. I want to continue to bring you this great show. This is how I'm making my living so to speak and I want to make sure that I'm able to continue to bring you the best content possible. And if you would just give even a dollar a month that would do so much to help me spread the word and keep this going. So if you want to be a part of the 40+ fitness podcast mission, just go to patreon and you can find it through 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/patreon and that'll take you to the page where you can contribute.

If you contribute at certain levels. There are things that I'll do for you. So there is some incentive there to consider a little bit more if he can, but my base level is just a dollar an episode. And if you can do that for me, really it means a lot to me. I'll acknowledge you on the website. I acknowledge all the patrons and I really appreciate those of you that have contributed, but if you haven't checked it out yet, please go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/patreon. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

April 15, 2019

Ultimate age-defying plan with Ashley Boudet

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Before we get started today, I wanted to take just a moment to reach out to you and offer this special invitation. I’m opening up my calendar to give you a free 15-minute consult. During this consult, there’s no obligation. I’m there to help you reach your health and wellness goals, so we’ll talk about the things that are getting you stuck. We’ll come up with strategies that will help you be more successful and we’ll look for those little things that you might be missing on your wellness journey. So if you’re ready to do something special before the summer, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/15min. And I’ll be sure to have that link in the show notes. So, do go to the show notes if you forget this, but it’ll be out there – a free 15-minute consult with me; the same kind of consult that I would normally have with my clients. This one’s going to be for you absolutely free. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/15min. Thank you. 

We all want to look and feel our best. In her book, The Ultimate Age-Defying Plan, Ashley Boudet helps us use a plant-based diet to slow the aging process.

Allan (2:19): Ashley, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Ashley Boudet (2:22): Hi Allan. Thank you for having me.

Allan (2:24): Today we’re going to talk about your book, The Ultimate Age-Defying Plan: The Plant-Based Way to Stay Mentally Sharp & Physically Fit. I can say I have celebrated my 53rd birthday this year. That term “age-defying” starts to resonate with me as I’m kind of turning onto what I would call the second half of life. Age-defying is pretty darn important.

Ashley Boudet (2:51): Yeah. Well, you’re pretty young. It’s been so much fun writing the book and also learning. And it’s a little bit of a relief, I think, to learn that there are things that we can do to stay young. A lot of people look at me and they’re like, “What do you know about aging?” But I thought turning 40 would be a big deal. And I think that even though I try to ignore age, it doesn’t really matter that much. There was something about it a few years ago that was like, “What’s going to happen?” I thought it would be something big or a big change in it. It really wasn’t.

And I think my fabulous coauthor and I would both agree that we both have felt better later – 40s and 50s and on, than ever. So it’s turned into an opportunity in a way. Sometimes eating well, exercising and all of those things come easier when a person is younger and may have a different meaning when you get a little bit older. It’s more of an opportunity, and what I call it is self-care. We talk about this a lot in some of our classes, that the way we really do see the future of medicine is self-care, is learning to take care of yourself and bringing the power back. And that also includes cooking.

Allan (4:08): That’s what I really like, is your book’s unique in this perspective. I’ve seen doctors that have brought in folks to write recipes for them before, but this is a book that you could naturally tell the book knew what the recipes were because they’d eaten it. It was almost, I’m not going to say a love of food, but it really talked about how you can use food to nourish your body. And we’re going to talk about that acronym in a minute, but that food’s a big, big part of that; in fact, the first part of it. But as you’re going through the book, it was telling you if you’re looking at this stuff and you want to get these nutrients in, here are the recipes, here are the page numbers. Go after it. I thought that was really cool because it wasn’t necessarily a prescription. It was empowering someone, like you said, to do self-care.

Ashley Boudet (5:05): Exactly. As a naturopathic doctor, many times, and even in my early training, I would give people lists of things that you shouldn’t, or ways that you should eat or things that could help to support your body. But I learned that actually knowing what to do with those foods was so huge. Some people had no idea how to even make a food taste good. And Mark calls what he does “food activism”. He’s been in this vegan chef world for a long time and he’s very clear that it has to taste good for anybody to even try it, to even begin to bring vegetables into their life on a regular basis. What we also do in our classes, and we wanted this book to be similar to that, where it’s bringing up the experience of the food and the experience of how these things are medicines and how they work in our body.

Allan (5:59): I was looking at something as simple as wanting to get more dandelion root into my diet and saying it looks different; it doesn’t look like all the other lettuce and stuff that I would normally eat in a salad. How do I put it in there and make it a normal part? Some of that I’ve found works really well with smoothies, it also works very well with a salad. But it is a little intimidating when you’re looking at a particular vegetable that you’ve never cooked with before and saying, “Here’s this big purple eggplant. What do I do with it now?” There are some recipes in the book that will actually help me do that.

Ashley Boudet (6:35): Yes, exactly. And we like to encourage people to use these recipes as what Mark calls a “template”. So, to try this recipe and then to begin to get more creative and to bring in another food. Like if you’re doing a green salad or something with greens, how can I make this work with dandelion? And just to start experimenting more, but to kind of give you a place to start, so you can then have years and years of recipes that you can just come up with yourself.

Allan (7:04): There are 175+ of them in this book. So this is a really good start for anyone that does want to either go plant-based or at least make sure they’re getting more plants in their diet, because I think that’s important for all of us. You have an acronym in the book that I really like. I tend to go towards numbers and acronyms; it’s just something I love. You have a really cool acronym – NOURISH. Do you mind going through each of those pieces and what they mean for us?

Ashley Boudet (7:36): Sure. I love the word “nourish” itself, because I feel like it’s a very rich word. It kind of invokes the idea of really taking care of yourself. We like to simplify things. The book has seven ingredients or less; we want to make things really easy and doable for people. At the same time, the information and the idea of this age-defying plan – we want to keep it as simple as possible and to look at the things that we do every day that we feel could be the most powerful and healing. So, NOURISH is pretty easy to remember. I’ll go through them quickly.

N is nutrition – the basic nutrients that we need for our body to work.

O is oxytocin. And I love that. Oxytocin, not a lot of people know what that is, but it is what they call the “happiness hormone”. There was a study not long ago that I think was pretty widespread out there that was talking about how hugging for I think it was 20 seconds or something – like a long hug – actually would increase the levels of this pleasure or calming hormone in your body. There are so many things that also will increase oxytocin. This is one of the first actual studies that looked at the blood levels of the hormone, but anything that makes you feel good. So I put oxytocin in there, and that can be being outside, talking to a friend, even eating a really delicious meal, laughing, things like that. So, that’s the O.

“Use it or lose it” is all about using your brain and your body in the way that they want to be used. So, challenging yourself, getting rid of that idea that it’s too late to try something new. If maybe you thought you might want to do a triathlon – not that that’s something I would do – but use it or lose it. Always moving your body and never feeling like it’s ever too late. Also, challenging your mind as well. And we go into all of these in more detail in the book, obviously.

R is for relationship, and that is the importance of really nourishing your relationships and nourishing the idea of a connection to a community, to how we contribute to our community and how we share our stories with each other. That can be very nourishing.

I is for intention, and by this we mean knowing what’s important to you in life, having a vision for your life, knowing what you value and making choices from there.

Then the last two – pretty obvious, but super important on the top of my list really, are sleep and hydration. Sleep is the importance of getting your body that downtime to shut down and recuperate. In the book, I have some studies that are really interesting about how sleep helps us to detoxify as well.

And then hydration – this is simply getting enough water. This is something that, living in Colorado in a dry climate, I’m always having to remind people of. But really anybody can benefit from sometimes drinking a glass of water when they’re looking and wondering, “What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I feel well?” in many different ways. Also we talk about with hydration, using water as medicine. So this can be taking an herbal bath or jumping into a cool river and having our circulation react to that and really awakening our nerves and our cells in that way.

So, those are the things that we have learned both separately and together over years that have really helped us to stay healthy; things that are important to do every day. They seem very simple and they’re actually very powerful to us.

Allan (11:32): You put a lot of good detail in the book on each and every one of these; some considerations, some things you can do to get this. I really appreciated that this was not just a, “Here’s the acronym” and then, “Go do these things.” You actually provide a lot of guidance in the book on exactly how to do those things.

Ashley Boudet (11:53): Right. We wanted it to be, one, something simple that didn’t feel too overwhelming for people. We also have one page on NOURISH, so we were hoping that could be something people could take with them at the gym or something, just to remind themselves of what all these things mean.

Allan (12:14): Now, one thing that I have not really talked about a lot on the show, and it was kind of surprising because this is episode 377 – we’ve never really talked about kidney and urinary tract health. As I was reading your book I saw the section on that and I was like, “376 episodes leading up to this, we haven’t had this conversation.” So I was really glad that you got into it. The kidneys, obviously we know they filter our blood. We know that if someone gets diabetes, over time they are very likely to cause damage to their kidneys and perhaps need dialysis. Dialysis shops are popping up all over the country pretty much faster than weight loss clinics are. It’s just surprising to me how many there are now. We are not taking good care of our kidneys.

Ashley Boudet (13:12): Right. I wanted to put this in the book, and it’s kind of a small section in the book. I think from the naturopathic perspective, it’s less strange to talk about the kidneys as really important organs of elimination and balance in our body. Even if you look at Chinese medicine, the kidneys are central to health, and something that’s always looked at and addressed, kind of in a different way in Chinese medicine. I wanted to see what people are dealing with when they’re aging, and surprisingly, chronic kidney disease was one of the top 10. This was from the Council on Aging. I looked at the top 10 things that a lot of people are dealing with with aging, and kidney was number six. So it was right up there with heart disease and diabetes, and it’s because it’s connected to all of these things. In addition, all of these things that we can do every day, like drinking enough water and nourishing our bodies and our cells and exercising – all of these things are going to help to support our kidneys as well. So, the idea that I like for people to keep in mind is, it’s really scary to think of kidney disease. I’m not trying to minimize when someone has a very serious kidney disease, but all of these things that we do every day are also protecting our kidneys.

Allan (14:40): So, in many cases, kidney disease is also a lifestyle disease.

Ashley Boudet (14:45): Right.

Allan (14:47): Okay. Now, I’m someone who enjoys cooking. I probably don’t cook enough meals on my own, but as this is going on now and I’m down here in Panama, I’m going to obviously cook more, primarily because there’s not a huge number of restaurants within the distance and I would get very, very bored eating at the same ones all the time. So, I do tend to cook the majority of my meals. And I do recognize that one of the cool things about that is I actually now know what I’m putting in my mouth, so there’s no extra this or that getting snuck in there that I don’t want in my body. Can you talk about some of the value of when we cook our own meals? What does that do for us?

Ashley Boudet (15:36): Yeah, it’s huge. So, Mark has been teaching cooking classes for many years. And around the same time that I was doing my clinicals and telling people about nutrition and learning everything about nutrition was when I realized people need to learn to cook. I need to learn to cook. Honestly, when I was in school and in a doctoral program and was more stressed out, what really brought me to health, one of the main things was taking the time to cook for myself. It turned into really my time. So when we teach classes, I try to invite people to bring in all of their senses. As we’re starting to sauté the onions, to really smell those foods. And when we’re talking about which herbs we’re using, to smell those as well and to look at them and maybe even get a little bit more quiet and think about where these foods came from. So, using all of our senses and using all levels of experiencing that food is something that you can’t get when you just go and get takeout food or go to a restaurant. Some people talking about the prana in a food, and the prana is a very real thing. It’s the energy and you could say the love that someone puts into the food. That actually helps us with digestion and really contributes to our health as well.

Allan (17:00): What I found is that I get a lot of pleasure out of going to a local market, a farmer’s market, and literally sitting there with the person that grew the plant and asking them about how they grow this. You start seeing them just light up. I think they get more joy out of being a farmer at a farmer’s market than they make profit selling at a farmer’s market, because the food’s cheaper and better there. But you know that they picked this this morning. They got up at 6:00 in the morning to make the 7:00 or 7:30 farmer’s market time. They got up; it’s daylight, they picked it. It’s sitting right there. You take that home, rinse it off, and that becomes part of your dinner that night. To me, it’s so fulfilling to know that literally, this was a growing plant this morning and it’s on my plate tonight.

Ashley Boudet (17:56): Right. Isn’t that beautiful? It’s our connection to nature. Food is our medicine.

Allan (18:02): And it didn’t fly in from Chile. Not that there’s anything wrong with Chile, but that’s a long trip. The organic, locally grown produce is going to provide you better nutrition and you’re going to feel better about it when you’re helping out a local farmer with that purchase. A lot of times when I’m talking to folks, they’re saying, “I really struggle to cook for myself because I just don’t have enough time” or, “This doesn’t work out for me. I go into my refrigerator and there’s nothing there.” Can you give us some tricks – I know in the book you had seven – for meal prep and making it a snap?

Ashley Boudet (18:44): Yes. This is very important because it doesn’t matter what someone else thinks you should do; you have to do whatever is going to work in your life. We’re all busy and life keeps us going and going, so one is to think of it as something that you’re doing for yourself; so back to that NOURISH. I could go through the seven from the basic cooking techniques section, but it has to taste good and be easy and be something that you enjoy. This should be an experience that you enjoy. So some of the quick things that you can do to make sure that you’re prepared for having that good experience and it not being a stressful experience, are to prepare ahead of time, of course. We suggest maybe taking a weekend day and in a relaxing way to plan out a menu for the week and think about where you need to get these foods and what you need for that week, and get that ready. Then preparing ahead of time, and also creating an organized space. Maybe Marie Kondo can help – I know everybody’s talking about her these days. But really having a Zen space, is what Mark says helps so much to be able to make those meals more quickly and to have the preparation process be much more enjoyable. So, having a place for everything, knowing where to find what you need, and then planning ahead are some of the simple things that you can do to bring in both flavor and nutrition. We also have a few recipes in the book on making spice blends. The idea is that you can have different dried spices that you can blend together. You can put together parsley, basil, oregano and some other herbs and make an Italian blend, so we’re going to have Italian night. Or you can put together certain herbs with cayenne, and that can be more like a Mexican flavor or an Indian flavor. You can have those at your hand, and that way you can feel like you’re being more creative, but it’s also not too much work to have to do. 

Another thing is – and this is something big that Mark teaches in all of his classes – is the idea of the template. So, the first meal, or some people say, “What’s a go-to meal?” To get nutrition and to also have it be interesting and delicious would be what he calls the “monk bowl”. It’s the idea of a bowl that has a nice balance – so a grain, a green, and a protein. The grain could be quinoa or rice, or even rice noodles or pasta. The green just means any veggies. You want to go crazy on the veggies and have all the different colors that you can imagine, not just green. And then the protein, which can be for a vegan diet something simple, like quick roasted tempeh or tofu, or you can do lentils or beans or something that you can either do in a quick cooker, or even a can or something like that if you’re in a hurry. When you have that base, then you can add extra things. The things that we like to add are some toasted seeds or avocado or something raw, like some raw greens on top, or even sauerkraut or something like that. Those are pretty simple things that you can have in your pantry or in your fridge all the time. And then in a few minutes you can create a really delicious, really nutritious meal that’s not the same as one that you’ve ever had before, because you can mix and match all these ingredients.

Allan (22:27): I liked all of that because this is something like the salad in a jar concept. That’s great, because you could set that up the night before. In the morning when you get ready, you go. So maybe you had the salad for dinner, you had the extra that you put in that jar, and that’s your lunch and you’re set. Now, the one that hit me in the heart that my wife, when she does listen to this episode, she’ll understand – I just mess up so many dishes when I’m cooking. But you guys had the tip in there to try to use the same pan for more than one thing, and a lot of the recipes do exactly that. I thought that was pretty cool, because I’ll go make something and it’d be 15 pans, and forks and spoons and all that dirty. It got me to thinking I am spending time washing these dishes, and in some cases my wife steps in and does that since I did the cooking, but it is time consuming. There are things we can naturally look to that are going to reduce the amount of time. So if time is the issue, you can remove that issue.

Ashley Boudet (23:37): Right. And on other days, when you have a little bit more time, you can make the big mess in the kitchen and make it your art space and go crazy. But on a regular day-to-day, make sure that this can really be a part of your life and not something that you just do every now and then. That’s the person that we were thinking of in this book, and how can we make this as easy as possible?

Allan (23:59): And I liked that a lot of the recipes can be batch-cooked or batch-prepared, particularly with the spice blends. I had never thought of that. My wife thinks I have a spice fetish. We did the move to Panama; I’m throwing out all these spices or giving them away. I just collect spices, because I think they make the meals delicious. As I’m down here in Panama, I have less selection but I’m making it work. Ashley, I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Ashley Boudet (24:47): I like that too. I like to break it down into simples. So three things. I’m going to go back to NOURISH, and I would say, nourish your body, one. So this is food, water, movement, challenging – all the things we talked about. Nourish your mind – so your brain, your emotional body – finding joy, quiet, spending time in nature. And then nourish your connections. So, nourish your body, nourish your mind, and nourish your connections. And that’s your connection to family and friends, community, maybe your connection to greater, to all beings that live, and even maybe extending beyond to something greater than yourself, because that’s where we can answer, “Why am I doing all this stuff in the first place?”

Allan (25:38): Those were wonderful. Thank you. If someone wanted to learn more about you and Mark, learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?

Ashley Boudet (25:50): Mark and I together is Doctor and Chef, so our website is DoctorAndChef.com. And on that website you can find where to find the book, more information about the book, and we have some resources that are downloads and different information on certain topics that we talk about in the book that we go more in depth on.

Allan (26:11): I liked that there were a good many links to the resources section to dive deeper. The book is a great resource in and of itself, but you have some add-ons that they can go find. So the name of the book is The Ultimate Age-Defying Plan and you can find the links to all of that at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/377. Ashley, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Ashley Boudet (26:36): Thank you. It was great chatting with you.

Allan (26:43): I really love having conversations with folks like Ashley, where they’re stretching me to learn new things, to focus on things maybe a different way. It’s always great to get guests on the show that teach me something. I’ve really enjoyed this journey of podcasting, where I’ve been able to read all of these great books and have some really cool conversations. And one of the ways I think I can help you is by sharing that with you. If you find yourself stuck, you just want a boost to make your summer awesome – let’s get on the phone. I’m offering a free 15-minute consult. You go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/15min, and that will take you to my Calendly calendar. There you can book a time and we can get on a phone – it’s a Zoom conference line. Really easy, just you and I, 15 minutes. We’re going to set some strategies, we’re going to go over goals, and I’m going to help you make this fitness journey much, much better. So go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/15min. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

April 8, 2019

Mariza Snyder on essential oils and hormones

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As we age, managing our hormones becomes more and more important and essential oils might just be a part of the solution. Our guest today is Dr. Mariza Snyder the author of the book, The Essential Oils Hormone Solution.

Allan (1:15): Dr. Snyder, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Mariza Snyder (1:19): Thank you so much for having me. How are you?

Allan (1:21): I’m doing very well. When your publicist Jimmy reached out to me any had the book, The Essential Oils Hormone Solution, I did a little bit of a double take. I was like, “Hmm, essential oils and hormones.” I want to have more conversations about hormones, because they are such an important aspect to overall wellness. If you don’t have your hormones in balance, you just aren’t going to be well. But I’d never really heard anybody talking about using the essential oils protocols or anything like that to affect hormones. I was really interested to dive into this book and get a better understanding of how essential oils can be used to help manage our hormones.

Dr. Mariza Snyder (2:03): Absolutely. I’m super excited to talk about that today and give some clarity around that topic.

Allan (2:09): The reason that this topic is so important to me is, as we get into our 50s and 60s, a lot of things are going on with our bodies, a lot of things are slowing down. For men, your testosterone’s going down; for women, your progesterone and estrogen start to decline. And that has some fundamental changes in the way that our bodies function. Not to mention, growth hormone, lower thyroid. Everything else seems to slowly be getting out of balance from what was making us feel young and vibrant. You use a term in the book, and I’ve heard this phraseology maybe not exactly this way, but I want to dive into this. You use the term “my body at war”.

Dr. Mariza Snyder (3:00): Absolutely.

Allan (3:02): Can you kind of peel the layers away from that a little bit? For someone that hasn’t experienced some of this stuff, I think it’s important for them to understand this feeling so that they recognize it. I know for men it happens kind of slowly, so I wouldn’t think of it so much as a war, as just a slow, gradual melting.

Dr. Mariza Snyder (3:25): A slow, gradual decline. I’d love to talk a little bit… When I was in practice, what I saw in practice a lot and then what I had personally experienced – as you know, we are hard wired for survival. That is the number one MO of the body. It’s how our brain functions, it’s what our metabolism is driven by. We constantly think about inside of the brain. A really important aspect of the brain, probably one of the oldest parts of the brain is the limbic brain, the limbic system. Your limbic system is driven by an autonomic response and we have two different ways that we respond. If you’re looking at it cut and dry, it’s going to be parasympathetic, which is rest, digest and reproduction. That’s really where we’re at when we are eating, we’re reproducing. Except the other MO is that not only do we have to survive, we have to survive long enough to procreate. Being evolutionary success means that we have grandchildren – that’s just how it’s defined in biological terms. So, we’ve got parasympathetic and then we’ve got sympathetic. Sympathetic nervous system can be in overdrive. We call it “sympathetic dominance”. And that is when our body is at war, if that system is constantly running on overdrive, because it’s survival. When your body is constantly running in survival mode, that’s where we kind of get in trouble. 

I always imagine a gazelle in Africa. You’ll see gazelles grazing inside of a pasture, just relaxing. They’re in parasympathetic mode; they’re just kicking it. Then someone spots a tiger lurking. Everyone gets the message, “fight or flight”, sympathetic nervous system mode kicks in and they start running like gazelles. And once they know that the danger’s gone, then they go back to grazing. Problem is that we are constantly perceiving so many of our environmental stressors as tigers behind us all the time. And when that happens, your brain and that neuroplasticity, which is driving a lot of the hormonal responses, becomes in a scenario of “my body at war”. We are in constant sympathetic nervous system mode and we drive important survival hormones like cortisol and epinephrine coursing through the system. Well, those have negative ramifications – digestive ramifications, reproductive ramifications, cognitive function ramifications. Things like even putting on weight in areas; that belly fat that we talk about. You can create a fatty liver because you’re constantly stressed. You can drive your thyroid into the ground. What I oftentimes see is that I don’t think we realize that when we fuel our life based on stress or the constant demands of everyone else’s priorities, when we’re all things to everybody else, we don’t realize that that fuel we’re running on is really lending towards chaos inside of the body.

Allan (6:25): Okay. I kind understood a little bit of that beforehand because I’ve gone and gotten massages, and the masseuse will occasionally use some oils or scents or something like that, have a diffuser in there. I’ve used some lavender to relax and sleep better. So I have used some essential oils. I like that your book actually has a lot of recipes, because I think that’s going to make it easy for folks to put together as a recipe to deal with various things. But before they go down that line: “I’m fatigued. I know I’m stressed. I know this is going on in my life”, it’s important for them to go get some hormones tested first to know which direction to go with this, right?

Dr. Mariza Snyder (7:12): Absolutely. I’m a big fan of knowing your numbers. I think that’s really, really important. We can make changes and make stride even without hormones if indeed it is stress-driven. We can disrupt this stress response and the resulting domino effect of that with natural solutions at your fingertips. But yes, I do recommend getting tested. If something else is going on, you want to know what’s going on in the body. Absolutely, it’s important. If you find that your hormone imbalances are being driven by a different root cause, like let’s say it is chronic stress – you could work on your hormones and your thyroid all you like, but if you’re not addressing the core root of the issue, which for some of us oftentimes can be the stress we’re dealing with on a day-to-day – our bodies go back to where they were. That was what was happening to me. I was trying to treat my stress with nutrition. I have a quote that says, “You can’t green smoothie your way out of chronic stress.” And I thought I could for many years. I thought I could exercise and green smoothie my way out of it, but it was my, I would call it the “operating system”. I was running on stress 24/7, and without changing the operating system, which I think oils can help to do, we find ourselves back in those patterns.

Allan (8:35): That’s a big driver to our move to Panama, is to kind of get into that lower gear lifestyle. I was corporate for so many years and the last few years with the layoffs and everything was really damaging to me. I knew that was the one last thing I needed to fix the puzzle. I’ve gone to doctors and the doctor will say, “We’ll do labs.” And then you get the labs and start trying to do, I guess a little bit of doctor Googling to figure out what this is actually telling you. You start doing some of that research and it’s like, “I just got this test, but this article is saying I really should have gotten a more broad panel.” Like, you got TSH, but you didn’t get T4, T3 and reverse T3. If someone’s going to go in and put together a panel for hormone testing, what would you recommend that they go get?

Dr. Mariza Snyder (9:34): Absolutely. Inside the book too, I do such a great job of really giving people all the testing that they should be asking for, because as you know, we really have to become our own advocate for our own health these days. There are a lot of different reasons why that’s the case. I would recommend if I were to go into my doctor… And your traditional doctor may even say “No” to these, and it’s really worth looking for a functional medicine doctor or a naturopath – someone who’s really willing to look at everything. Clearly the big one is a complete blood panel. I think everyone should be tested for thyroid. With the thyroid there’s so much that can go wrong there – toxic load, stress, adrenal deregulation. The thyroid tends to be one of those very delicate endocrine glands that just takes a beating. Any autoimmune or allergy issue, the immune system is like, “You know what? Let’s just go after the thyroid too. Why don’t we just knock that one out?” So, I always recommend running a thyroid panel. The thyroid stimulating hormone, free T3, free T4, reverse T3. I also want you looking at antibodies because if it’s hypo thyroid, 80% to 90% of the time it’s probably Hashimoto’s driven, meaning the immune system is causing the problem. So, TPOAb, then the antibodies as well, the antiglobins, so that is going to be the TgAb as well. Then I want you to look at the adrenals or at least look at cortisol levels, and that is throughout the day. So, morning before 9:00 AM, afternoon, evening, and before going to bed. That’s that diurnal cortisol test that I’m looking at. I also like total testosterone and DHEA levels. I think those are important. Progesterone, specifically on days 21 to 23 because that is when progesterone is at its height. That’s when we’ll really know what’s going on with progesterone. I also want to look at estrogen levels as well, see where they’re at. Fasting insulin, glucose, HDL, hemoglobin. I want to look at the growth factor of the growth hormone. And then also important – nutrients. I want to look at vitamin D, vitamin B12, folate, ferritin, iron. Those are things that I want to be looking at as well, because nutrient depletions can have a profound impact on what’s going on with those hormones. So those are the things I’m looking for in a real, comprehensive lab test. Unfortunately, right now a lot of traditional doctors are not running these levels of tests.

Allan (12:16): I actually have an agreement with a lab. I’ll put a link in the show notes for that. You can go and get your own tests and request what you need. And men, you’re not going to see progesterone, so that’s fine.

Dr. Mariza Snyder (12:29): You don’t need to test for that.

Allan (12:31): But you do need to check for estrogen because we can get too much estrogen and then you’ve got moobs and you’re not feeling really manly. So, you do need that. And women, it’s important for you to also test your testosterone, because women do have some and need some to have a good, solid libido. So, I like that list and that’s in your book. Just getting that list makes this book a pretty valuable resource. In the book, you go into the five pillars. Because I come from an accounting background, whenever I see a number, I’m immediately drawn to it, like, “Oh good, a list!”

Dr. Mariza Snyder (13:06): I love a list.

Allan (13:09): So, you have the five pillars of a foundational lifestyle. Do you mind going through each of those?

Dr. Mariza Snyder (13:14): Absolutely. I have, as you mentioned, five pillars, and this is what I’ve learned in practice that really moves the needle. I’m not going to lie, Allan, I feel like a lot of why we can get ourselves in trouble is lifestyle. We don’t realize the implications of lifestyle until we realize the implications of lifestyle. And usually we start to feel those things around 40 years old. I know very often when people were walking into my office, that was when they were like, “Something isn’t right.” Things start to chip away. So, number one, and this is going to be of no surprise to anybody, is nutrition. We know that nutrition is fuel, we know that nutrition is information, and our bodies are taking in that information. So you vote for what goes on and what happens in your body, the conversations and communication that goes on in the body, with every single fork. That is so important, so that’s number one. Number two is exercise, moving your body. The benefits of exercise are so far reaching, but even stress, getting your body out of that “my body at war”, reducing stress levels, supporting the cardiovascular system, helping to boost cognitive function, respiratory system, boosting mitochondrial function. Even having more receptor sites on every cell for your thyroid hormones is important and driven by movement. We are seeing those implications far and wide. Number three is stress management. Stress comes in a lot of forms. It’s perceived, it’s emotional, it’s chemical, it’s physical. But I’m really concerned with the unrelenting perceived stress that we’re dealing with every day and the repercussions that we talked about. Four Is reducing the toxic burden. Recently, in the last six months, I’ve had five friends of mine diagnosed with breast cancer or thyroid cancer under the age of 45.

Allan (15:13): We have a friend that’s going through chemo right now herself, and she’s not even 50.

Dr. Mariza Snyder (15:19): It’s insane. That’s the worst of the spectrum of what happens when toxicity or toxic burden is high in the body. But hormones can deregulate because of toxins; gut issues; even the thyroid. It’s usually a combination of things that are happening with the thyroid, and toxins do play a major role there. So looking at reducing your toxic burden. And then number five, which I think oftentimes is put to the wayside, is going to be self-care. How do we build in self-care every single day? How do we build in the breaks and the pauses so that we can manage the life that we’re living?

Allan (15:59): I just want to say, with something like these five pillars, this is not something where you say, “I’m going to fix the first pillar and I’m going to be good.” The reality is, you need to be working on all of them. They all need to be a part of what your lifestyle is going forward. Anything you can do to improve those, you need to be slowly chipping away at getting that done.

Dr. Mariza Snyder (16:20): And the beauty of it is it really is possible to do each and every one of these things every day. It’s the mindset in which we live. I think about how my day started today. I was using oils, I drank my big glass of lemon water, I made a green smoothie, I went outside and ran. I have a really big hill that I live in, so I even start my day running that hill a couple of times. I journaled in my book. Lunch was a big salad. We made this really beautiful veggie frittata and sauerkraut for gut support. I took all of my supplements. And I have little breaks built in into my phone for those moments to take a pause. So, we are hyper productive over here; yet, all of the decisions I’m making for my health or for my body are based on those five pillars.

Allan (17:11): Yes. I think you have to do that at some level, but they do snowball. That’s one of the cool things about this. If you’re eating higher quality food, you’re going to have more energy. And when you have more energy and you’re moving around, your lymphatic system is functioning better, you’re getting rid of toxins easier. When you get rid of the toxins, you’re sleeping better. And as you start feeling better about yourself, the self-care and the reduction of stress become easier. So, it’s a self-fulfilling, self-building kind of thing here when you are taking the time to make sure you’re focused on these.

Dr. Mariza Snyder (17:48): Absolutely. And I think when you start to feel great and you start to feel good, you really don’t want to regress back. And you’ll notice when you start to not… I know if we’ve taken on a big project or we’re working harder than normal, there are signs and we’re really mindful of those things. So, I’m quick to get right back on track, knowing what it feels like to not be on track. I think sometimes we don’t necessarily know what it feels like to feel really great all the time, or at least a good chunk of the time. But I promise once you get to that place, you’re going to want to sustain it because you’re not going to want to feel anything different than that.

Allan (18:28): I completely agree. As people are getting into essential oils, you’re the second guest. Of 374 episodes, this is the second episode that we’ve had on essential oils. It was really because of the compelling nature of the hormone and essential oils, and I really want to dive into that a little bit. But before we get there, one of the things that I do know from my previous guest is that it’s very important for you to focus on the quality of your essential oils. This is not just to go find a scented candle from Walmart, light it and sit in the bathtub. There are some quality issues from some manufacturers and you really have to know your product. Can you talk a little bit about what makes an essential oil high quality?

Dr. Mariza Snyder (19:18): Absolutely. So, an essential oil once upon a time was a plant. And just like we’re concerned about the plants that we consume, like the blueberries, the kale and the carrots, it’s really important if you want to use these for therapeutic benefits, you have to be really mindful of where these plants come from. You want plants coming from their indigenous location. So for instance, frankincense should come from Somalia or Oman, cardamom should come from Guatemala or the Middle East, melaleuca, tea tree should come from Australia. The province of France and Bulgaria is where lavender should come from. It’s important that there are different parts of the world that only grow these very specific plants. Anywhere else you’re losing the chemical constituents. Let’s give an example of myrrh. A high quality myrrh oil, the sesquiterpene content on that needs to be above 60%. That’s going to be a high quality. Where are we going to get myrrh with a 60% chemical constituent content of sesquiterpenes? That’s the level of research that needs to go into these oils. Same thing with frankincense – the monoterpene content needs to be above 35%. So that’s what I’m usually looking for. If they’re disclosing where the plants come from, how are these plants treated, are these local farmers? It really matters how these plants are grown. Then on top of that, after these plants are grown and harvested in a sustainable and beautiful way and they’re distilled for their benefits, how are they being tested? We’ve got testing like gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, chirality testing, microbial testing. As a biochemist for many, many years before I became a practitioner, this is where I was really fascinated. I always recommend that people do their due diligence and make sure that you just go and look them up. If you’re buying from a company, you want to make sure that they are disclosing where their oils come from and they’re disclosing the type of testing that they are doing on their oils.

Allan (21:18): And not just the oils. Each oil typically isn’t just the oil. Isn’t there’s typically a base oil?

Dr. Mariza Snyder (21:27): It depends. No, not normally. If there is a base oil in it, like let’s say a fractionated coconut oil – that must be disclosed as well. What we call oils that have extra stuff in them besides the pure version of it – they are adulterated. That means they’ve been tainted. I’ll give you an example. A 5ml bottle of rose oil takes about 8,000 rose petals. Those roses are grown in Bulgaria most of the time. A 5ml bottle of rose oil is about $800, give or take; $500 to $800. But there are companies that will dilute pure rose oil in fractionated coconut oil or something like that, and they have to say that. And that oil may only cost $75 or $100, but they’ve got to disclose that information. But a pure oil, unless you’re dealing with a rose or a jasmine or a neroli, where it would be hundreds upon hundreds of dollars to get that bottle of oil – they should normally be just literally that essential oil, that chemical constituent.

Allan (22:35): Okay. As I was going through I wanted to figure out how this is affecting my hormones and how we are going to use essential oils to help heal ourselves. I liked that you did this kind of walk across where you talked emotion, hormones and essential oils. Particularly I like the way you told your story about the first time you used wild orange. Do you mind telling that story and explaining from that context how all this works?

Dr. Mariza Snyder (23:09): Yes. So, wild orange was one of the first oils that I met and that I fell in love with. Actually, wild orange is sitting right here next to me in this interview. We’re kind of best buds; we hang out a lot. Wild orange and most citrus oils, like grapefruit, lemon and lime – each and every one of those have different chemical constituents. For the most part, what we’re looking at is a limonene content, which is in a family of monoterpenes. Limonene in wild orange runs about 85% to 90%. That’s what we’re normally looking for. And wild orange is known as the oil of abundance, but what we can demonstrate is when you breathe in the chemical constituents of wild orange, these chemical constituents have a no holds barred directly into the limbic system. What a lot of people don’t know is that our sense of smell is hardwired to our sense of survival. So if you smell a fire, you run, or you smell gas, you run. Our sense of smell has always been tied into that wiring. So we are leveraging the power of these chemical constituents. They bind to the olfactory bulb, then they’re binding to other receptors that send messages to the limbic brain. But what we know about limonene content is that it boosts serotonin and dopamine production in a really balanced way. So it has a profound impact on our neurochemistry, specifically on those neurotransmitters. We also know that serotonin is a hormone, so it’s got two different properties. And we can actually shift the way the limbic brain and the limbic system is working by merely breathing in this oil. I always say you cannot stay angry or mad breathing in wild orange. It literally shifts the chemistry in the brain to go from an angered state to a much more… I wouldn’t say that you’re going to be happy, but you’re at least not going to be feeling super, super angry. You’re going to feel more neutral after breathing in this oil.

Allan (25:04): Okay. And as I said, I’ve had exposure to lavender oil, primarily to sleep. It’ll help you sleep kind of thing. Can you talk through how some of these oils work? You’re throwing a lot of terms out there that I know as a biochemist you love.

Dr. Mariza Snyder (25:24): I can break it down to simpler terms. Let’s give lavender a go. I think, Allan, what I want people to understand is that a lot of people are like, “Oh, it’s woo woo. If you have good intention, it’s kind of calming, but I don’t know what it is.” The cool thing about it is there’s a lot of science that backs all this up. And as you saw in my book, I have 40 pages of bibliography.

Allan (25:48): That’s the thing I was going to say at the end. The bibliography is there, so there are studies after studies. You can just go down that rabbit hole and spend a long, long time reading about how they’ve proven a lot of good qualities from these oils.

Dr. Mariza Snyder (26:04): Right. What’s so cool is that Europe’s a little bit more ahead of us than we’d like, in terms of holistic medicine, and lavender is one of the number one recommended solutions for anxiety in a lot Europe. They take it orally in a little capsule. And oftentimes naturopaths and functional practitioners here in the States will also literally in a prescription form. They are these little teeny capsules, like you would get in a prescription, and people take them for lowering anxiety levels. It’s because we know that there are properties in lavender that will calm down an overactive limbic brain when we’re having that anxiety or we’re feeling really overwhelmed. In a nutshell, lavender is all things calming. It’s designed to calm the brain, it’s designed to shut off the mental chatter. It’s even calming for a mosquito bite. It’s great for a sunburn – a really minor sunburn. Lavender is just very soothing to the body. But lavender is very deceptive. It’s a deceptive woman, a deceptive flower. She is very powerful, she’s very potent, and sometimes she knocks people on their butts. So I always tell people to be really mindful. I love the potency of oils, but every oil is going to be a little bit different for you. For some people, lavender is the bee’s knees. Other times lavender may be a little much. You may want to soften it up with Roman chamomile or cedarwood, something that lavender is very complimentary to. But yes, ultimately lavender is designed to shut down those worries and those anxiousness and that mental chatter that could be happening when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep.

Allan (27:43): Okay. And there are lots of others. You had multiple recipes. Can you go through a few more to kind of give us some ideas, particularly those ones that are directly related to hormones and health?

Dr. Mariza Snyder (27:55): Absolutely. We’re talking about stress levels. My go-to stress blend – I call it “stress be gone blend” – it’s a combination of two oils. I’m going to keep it simple on the podcast. Some of my recipes get a little bit more complex, but I love simplicity. So, it’s just a drop of lavender, a drop of bergamot. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, just by rubbing those two oils together, rubbing your palms together and taking some deep belly breaths, you’re going to reset that system. You’re going to disrupt the stress response. Another blend that I talk a lot about – people are concerned about brain fog and cognitive function, working memory and alertness. Rosemary has been researched over and over and over again for boosting working memory by 75% by simply breathing it in. I love a combination of wild orange, peppermint, rosemary and frankincense. You could do a drop of each or you could do it in a roller. I don’t have the exact blend in front of me. It would be, let’s say, 8 drops of each of those oils – frankincense, wild orange, peppermint and rosemary. And that is what I call the “get it done blend” or the cognitive boosting blend. So if things aren’t firing 100%, you’re not feeling like you’re on top of your game – you just breathe that blend in and it’s profoundly incredible for that. Now, for hormones, my go-to hormone oil for regulating testosterone and estrogen is going to be clary sage. Lots of research there, because it helps to bind two receptor sites in the adrenals and beta cells, it helps to get rid of xenoestrogens and false estrogens inside of the system by cleaning up receptor sites. I have a hormone blend that is a combination. It’s called “my hormone synergy” blend. I’m going to pull it up for you guys right now. And that is in a 10ml roller – 10 drops of clary sage, 8 drops of lavender, 8 drops of geranium, because also geranium is great at helping the liver detoxify excess hormone metabolites; 4 drops of bergamot and 4 drops of ylang-ylang. Ylang-ylang is the ultimate libido booster. It has profound benefits on testosterone. I really love this blend because it does tackle a lot of the hormone systems that we’re looking at in the reproductive system.

Allan (30:21): Cool. And the book even goes into how to make your own roller. This is a great resource for someone that wants to learn more about essential oils and actually get into using them. I guess we’ll go ahead and close out with my last question. 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. Mariza Snyder (30:44): I love it. So, the first tactic I think is a must, must, must, is you’ve got to have a morning ritual. Set the tone for your day. It can be 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, where you are on your own agenda and not somebody else’s agenda. Strategy number two – use your oils for those emergency moments. You need more energy – grab an oil. You need to win the staredown with that cupcake or that stale donut – get peppermint out. It’s a powerful craving suppressant. And then number three is, also have a wind-down routine. It is so important to rest and shut down the brain, get decent sleep. The reason why so many of us are just slogging through the day like zombies is we’re not getting enough sleep. We’re working overtime or we’re choosing that last episode on Netflix. When you set an intention for an evening routine, using calming oils or reading a book before bed, shutting off the computer at 9:00 PM – you will recharge and that missing energy will come back for you.

Allan (31:51): Cool. I like those. Dr. Snyder, if someone wanted to learn more about you and what you’re doing or the book, The Essential Oils Hormone Solution, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Mariza Snyder (32:06): I think you have the link for this. I have an amazing cravings, fatigue and stress cheat sheet that we’ll make sure we get the link for you. You guys can go and check out. I do have a podcast myself. It’s called The Essentially You Podcast and it’s all about helping you to become the CEO of your health. I know I spotted off a lot of recipes and I know there are a lot of recipes in the book, but sometimes just having that little cheat sheet to address those core issues that I see so often, is a step in the right direction. I can get that for the listeners so that you guys have that and start making some amazing progress.

Allan (32:45): Okay, cool. This is episode 376, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/376 and I’ll be sure to have that link there. Dr. Snyder, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Mariza Snyder (32:59): Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.

Allan (33:07): Are you stuck with your health and fitness journey and just need a little push? Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Consult, and that will take you to a link on my calendar where you can schedule a free 15-minute session with me. We can discuss your goals, we can talk about what you want to accomplish, how you can accomplish it, and a lot more. So if you need a little push, maybe a little bit of accountability, please go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Consult for your free consultation today.

Another episode you may enjoy

April 1, 2019

Choosing the sloth life for better health and fitness

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  • Judy Murphy
  • Randy Goode
  • Debbie Ralston

Thank you!

Tammy and I decided to move to Panama as an opportunity to slow down and reduce stress. On this episode we discuss why we chose the sloth life.

Allan: 00:47 Hello. Today's podcast is going to be a good bit different than anything else that I've done on the show. We are actually recording in our little bitty apartment in Bocus del Toro, Panama. So you're very likely to hear the sounds of chickens, cars, kids, music, all kinds of stuff going on in the background with us, roosters for sure. You know, the thing about it is this is kind of our new lifestyle. We're not going to necessarily live in this town as we go forward, but there's going to just be some differences in the way that we live our lives and the things that we let stress us. So I wanted to actually take you through the story of the move to Bocas del Toro and I couldn't think of a better way to even do this show without also letting you hear from my very special guest today. My wonderful wife, Tammy.

Tammy: 01:37 Hi everyone. I'm glad to be here.

Allan: 01:39 And so as we, as we got into this move and, and the reasons we were doing this move, I thought it would be a great lesson for us to have on the show. And there's been some people that have been fairly curious about this move and each time I talk to a guest and I remind them that they're very likely to hear sounds in the background, that they wouldn't hear any normal recording studio, definitely wouldn't have heard in Pensacola where I was recording the show. There's going to be quite a bit of that now, and I think you'll see as we go forward on the show, even during some of my interviews, you're likely to hear some of the sights and sounds of what's going on here, uh, in Bocas town. So I want to give you just a little bit of the history of how this all came about because you may or may not know me that well, you may not have been a longtime listener, but I was in corporate America for over 25 years. And at the end, you know, I was pretty high up in the rankings as far as executives in a business and the business I was in, uh, well, we were on a pretty healthy downturn. And by healthy, I mean straight down.

As a result, the company was doing layoff after layoff, after layoff. And as you can imagine, being the boss of quite a few people, it fell on me to have those, “You're, you're not needed anymore” conversations, and the goodbyes and all that goes with that. So to say that this was a stressful job, I think would just really be an understatement. It was, the stress was almost debilitating. It was something that when my name finally showed up on the list and we finally went through that and I was sitting at my home in Pensacola and it just occurred to me that I really just didn't want to go back.

This was not a financial decision. This was just a, I know that job is killing me and if I go back and do it, I am effectively sacrificing my health for the job. I decided that I wasn't going to do that anymore. I wasn't going to let making an income be something that was going to detrimentally hurt my health. It wouldn't be fair to me, and one, I think I'd be disingenuous to you if that's how I lived my life. And so I made the decision to not go back to work and to effectively figure out a way to make an income.

That's when I kind of ratchet it up and started doing a little bit more personal training. Uh, and I decided to start working on a book. And there's other things that I had in the works, but because of the current state of healthcare in the United States, one of us had to get a job so we could pay for health care. And uh, Tammy was nice enough to take that on. So she did get a job. Uh, just really just for health insurance. There was no other reason for her to have a job. We didn't need her to work. We just needed the health insurance. It was just far too expensive. I think I got quoted $1,600 a month for health insurance, but I'll, I'll let Tammy tell you a little bit about her taking the job, what that did for her and against her and how she felt about it.

Tammy: 04:46 Well, first of all, I didn't work for like, I dunno, five years before that I took a job here and there doing different things just because I was bored and wanted to do something. And then when it came down to where he decided not to go back to work and we need he insurance, because in America you have to have medical insurance. Getting the job was a little stressful, but at the same time I was kind of excited to go back to work, just to get away from Allan because he's in the house all the time. But, um, I took a job that something I didn't know, but it was interesting job. It was just basically for the insurance.

I also met a lot of nice people and had a good time working there. However, I was not really wanting to work, who wants to work really, you know? But the only reason why I didn't want to work with more because of having to have a boss to deal with or having to watch what I say or do. And you can't really be, I wasn't really comfortable, I guess I got used to being at home for the last five years or whatever it was, taking care of the house, the dogs and Allan and doing what I wanted to do. But going back to work, you know, it helped us for for wha, about almost a year. And it was, the insurance was great and then we decided we were watching TV and decided to take it a step further and I'll let Allan go ahead and start that conversation.

Allan: 06:18 So yes, we were watching Netflix and we came across a show called Death In Paradise and it's an interesting show where they take basically a British detective and they put him on a Caribbean island and he's living in this little bungalow and obviously he is a Londoner through and through wearing his suit every day, obviously uncomfortable in the 90 plus degree, 90 plus percent humidity environment. But he's really good at his job and they decided to keep him. And that's what kinda started the series. And we were watching the series as it went through and I think they had like seven series. They went through three different detectives, each kind of bringing a different feel to the show.

What was consistent about it was the, you know, the location, the beauty. And this guy lived in a non air conditioned open shack, basically a little bungalow on the beach, but it was beautiful. It was beautiful and they made it work and they were comfortable they are. And that got Tammy and I to talking about how we could change our lifestyle, we could reduce our stress, we could reduce our expenses, we can reduce our environmental footprint, uh, if we went somewhere and did something like that. And that got us to searching for different places.

Tammy: 07:38 And I started thinking that I was wanting to go to Belize. So he checked out Belize and all Allan got attacked by mosquitoes and not justattacked but like a swarm of mosquitoes. And then we went during the time that the season wasn't very pretty, the beaches weren't very nice. I guess the seaweed came in and it just wasn't as nice as we thought it was going to be. I mean, it is a beautiful country, beautiful place. Not saying anything bad about it in that way, but we really, you know, we're thinking something along the same line. And then I came home from work one day and Allan told me to keep an open mind and he mentioned Panama and I'm like, well, what's in Panama? And he goes, well, there's no hurricanes. And then there's also the Caribbean island. Cause, I mentioned, I said, well, we want to live on the Caribbean. And he said, well there's, there is a Caribbean side and it's Bocas del Toro. He'd been there before with his daughter 10 years ago?

It's changed a lot since then, apparently. And it's changed a lot since we came here in July. But when we got here in July was only here for a few days. And I knew the beauty of it was there and it was very pretty here. And I'm looking at the beaches and just the possibility of living on the water and off the grid, basically, rain catchment and solar for your energy and power and with lights. And why not go for something different and do something in a different change in life and uh, get out of our comfort zone and make an adventure of it.

So we decided to open this up, this idea up to a Panama and we've been here for almost a month over just over a month and make it, making a lot of new friends, and people here are very nice. The culture is different, just the Indian villages that are around. It's been an amazing month so far and we've learned so much about the people here. Um, and the expat community as well. And then, um, you know, we, we decided that this might be where we want to be. So we've been looking at places here to make a footprint here for ourselves.

Allan: 09:48 Yeah. One of the cool things about Panama is that they, they make it fairly simple. And I say fairly cause it's, it's not actually simple, but it's much simpler to be an ex pat and live here to get your residency here, uh, than it is in a lot of different countries.

Tammy: 10:03 It's still not simple.

Allan: 10:04 Not simple, but, uh, with some help from an attorney and you got through a process. They do want investment here. They do want people here. Uh, so they do value, uh, ex pats and, and they make it, uh, make it a way for you to get here. And as long as you prove that you're not going to be a draw to their society, you're going to help improve their society, they're very much amenable to allowing you to have residency here. So we're currently working through that process.

I am actually looking at buying the gym here. There's a gym on the island and I'm in negotiations with the current owners, to sell me their shares in the company. And, so I will be a gym owner here. And we'll be living what we refer to now as our sloth life. And I know, you know, the term sloth often gets a lot of bad reputations, but if you see a picture of a sloth there, they're pretty damn cute with the exception for the claws.

Tammy: 11:01 Allan is afraid of the claws.

Allan: 11:03 They'll slowly claw your eyes out. But uh, anyway, the sloth life in my opinion is this, this concept of finding the right size for you, finding the place and finding the people and finding that connection, the thing that's going to give you the lower stress level give you the more connectedness to not just the people, but the place.

Tammy: 11:29 Just slowing down a little bit even in life and not having to rush and worry and think about everything that's going around it's just, it's just stressful with regular life like that and living this life life is what we're calling our slough life is being laid back more and relaxed and, and just living at slow walking down the street slow and taking things a little slower. We don't need to rush through life. Life is here us to enjoy.

Allan: 11:55 And so that's, that's kind of this concept of 2019 for me. Uh, and for Tammy is how do we find that place where we have that connectedness where we have this, uh, this more relaxed environment and where we're able to basically just be, be ourselves and not worry about punching a time clock, not worried about the deadlines at work. Uh, be our own boss. Um, so that we can make what we need to make and be who we need to be. You know, if you've read any of the studies on the blue zones and people living the longest in the world, they live in places like this. Uh, they live in places where they walk, they eat locally grown foods.

Tammy: 12:36 There are no fast food restaurants here. Thats a great thing!

Allan: 12:41 And don't bring any please. Uh, yeah, there are no fast food restaurants here. There's some really nice restaurants here with really fresh food, so it's a really cool place to be. It does have water catchment for most of our water, and you know, a lot of the places are completely off the city grid um, so the electricity is generated by solar. So there some feel good about that. And uh, you know, the, the island is looking at recycling programs and a lot of other things. A lot of self sustaining places are building up around here. So it's, it's, it's becoming a really cool, cool thing.

Tammy: 13:14 We should probably back up a little bit Allan about Bocas del Toro. Where is that? What it is? It's an archipelago of nine big islands, I believe with a bunch of little islands all around it. And we're in the main island of Isla Colon in Bocas Town right now and the other islands where we've been trying to explore a few of the other islands around us as well, there's so many islands out there, there's no way to explore them all, but we would like to try and do that. So anyway, Bocas del Toro is just an archipelago of islands out here. For any of you who were curious.

Allan: 13:51 Yeah, it's not the easiest place to get to because you have to connect in Panama City. And you actually have to fly out of a different airport if you were coming in from the international airport. So there's a little bit of a task to getting here, but once you're here, you know, you have access to everything you need for the most part and you find you don't need a lot of the things that you think you need. Uh, but Amazon does deliver here.

Tammy: 14:14 After about two weeks!

Allan: 14:16 But they do deliver if we needed something.

Tammy: 14:18 I have not tried yet, but I might.

Allan: 14:21 And so I talk about in the wellness roadmap that, you know, as you're looking at stress, uh, you know, probably the best thing you can do for something that's chronically stressing you is to just eliminate it. And I think that's what we've been able to accomplish with this move is I don't have to worry about laying anybody off again.

Allan: 14:42 I can come in and I can run the gym and I can have employees and I can make it fun for them. And I'm the boss of the, boss of the boss. And so, you know, I can make the things the way they need to be, uh, to fit where we are. Uh, you know, Panama as a culture is very laid back and I like that, you could be challenged by it if you don't understand that, that's the nature of the people. But you know, they tell, tell you when you come here, don't think you can change Panama. You have to change for Panama if you want to be here. And so that's really the crux of what this, this move was all about. I know some folks have been curious about it. Uh, I'm glad to be able to get my wife on the show for the very first time.

Allan: 15:26 And this is episode 375. I'll try to get her on this show a little bit more often here and there. But I think the key of it is and the takeaway that I want you to get from this is that you really do have a lot more control over your life than you think you do. We let stuff, we let jobs, we let things imprison us because we have this innate belief that we have to have these things.

We have to order that, uh, that shirt from Amazon. We have to order those shoes, we have to, and so our closet gets full, we put weight on and then we can't even wear the clothes we just bought from Amazon, so we go buy more clothes and those sit in our closet and we know we're going to get into those skinny jeans one day. So we hold on to them and, and I'm just here to tell you that you don't have to be locked into that cycle.

You can make changes. Is it a sacrifice? Absolutely. But the trade offs can be quite substantial. I don't have the income I had before, but I have the life that I want and that to me is worth any amount of money that I could have been paid. So I doubt very seriously that you're going to ever see me in a corporate boardroom again. I have no desire whatsoever to go back to corporate life. I'm going to do my own thing and that means I'm going to be giving 100% to my clients and making sure they get the results that they deserve. I'm going to be giving 100% to this podcast and making sure that I'm bringing on the best possible guests to teach you and give you the information you need to find your health and wellness.

I'm going to be doing the things with the gym and others just to help people here be healthier and more fit. So, My life now is, is dedicated towards wellness. Uh, but not just yours, mine as well. But if there's anything that I can do to help you on your wellness journey, please do reach out. If you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/15min I'll give you a free 15 minute consult. We can talk about your health and fitness goals. We can help set strategies for what will work for you. If stress is something that's really affecting you. We can talk about strategies for stress management and where you can, I'd encourage you to completely eliminate the stress. I know that's not possible for everything, but you know, I think I can help you get through some of these stressful moments or eliminate these stressful moments through just this little console.

So go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/15min and that will take you to my calendar. You can set up a 15 minute consult with me absolutely free, no obligation. I want to help you reach your health and fitness goals. So please do get your free consult. So before we cut out though, I wanted to say bye to Tammy and thank you for being a part of 40 plus fitness.

Tammy: 18:21 Thank you for actually having me for the first time. He's never asked me, by the way.

Allan: 18:25 I haven't. I'll be honest. Yeah, I haven't asked her before this, but I felt like it would just, it would not be the complete story of me telling about the move to Bocus without having you on.

Tammy: 18:37 No, it wouldn't be. He needs me.

Allan: 18:39 Okay. So thank you for listening today and I'll talk to you next week.

Speaker 4: 18:44 Bye.

Another episode you may enjoy

Lyn Lindbergh takes us from couch to active

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

  • Judy Murphy
  • Randy Goode

Thank you!

Our guest today is so much fun! Lyn Lindbergh is a health coach and the founder of the Couch to Active community.

Allan (1:10): Lyn, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Lyn Lindbergh (1:13): Hello, Allan. Thanks. Good to be here.

Allan (1:17): I always like interviewing podcasters, because I know, one, you’re going to make it very, very easy for me from a sound and quality perspective.

Lyn Lindbergh (1:27): Or will I?

Allan (1:29): Or will you? Remember, we’re doing mine first and then I’m going to record on yours.

Lyn Lindbergh (1:35): I’ll be good.

Allan (1:35): It goes both ways. But the cool thing is, your book is called Couch to Active and that’s also the name of your podcast. I really, really like that. I think so many people today get locked into this concept of, “I’m not going to look like that person, so maybe I shouldn’t even try.”

Lyn Lindbergh (2:04): Yeah, that’s it. That’s a tough thing for people because I think we all have that image in our head of either the bikini body or the sweaty, ripped six-pack abs. Most of us will never get there, even if we do train exactly by the book and do everything by the book. But the thing about Couch to Active is, that’s not the point. And we recognize that for most of us, that’s not even what we want.

Allan (2:33): I agree. I’ve always tried to tell my clients, because some of them want that look. And I say, “If it’s a look you’re after, that’s great. You can aspire to that, you can work towards that and I’ll do what I can do to help you get there.” But what I’ve found is in the end, when I start really digging in with them, it comes down to, what do you want to be able to do? That’s where the “active” concept to me comes in. Active in your mind could be being able to run around with your grandchildren at the zoo, whereas active for someone else could be they want to go do a Spartan.

Lyn Lindbergh (3:11): Exactly. I found that at the core, I want to live a life I love. I want to love my life. If I’m going to the gym for an hour a day, doing a workout that I hate and dread every day, just so I can look a certain way, that doesn’t make me happy. That doesn’t make me find any joy at all. That’s where it falls apart for most people because really, it’s that internal feeling that we want of joy and peace and happiness.

Allan (3:48):  think the other side of this is, you’ll see a training program, like Couch to 5K or something like that that’s put out there. Someone will get out there and start doing it and then all of a sudden something gets thrown in their way. It could be a health issue, an injury. How do you coach, how do you talk to people about dealing with those health issues that just pop up and get in our way? It’s never going to be a straight line, but we want it to be a straight line. How do we deal with that?

Lyn Lindbergh (4:19): I want it to be a straight line. If you find it, call me. I’ll give you my number. That’s the interesting thing. There are, as we know, a gazillion workout programs, pills, potions, lotions, gyms, you name it. Anything that you can give your wallet to, it’s out there for you. In and of themselves, for the most part, there’s nothing inherently wrong with them, but most of them are designed for when life is going good. The problem is, like you just said, what happens when the cart gets upset? What happens when you have chronic illness or surgery, or God forbid, we age? I have found that a lot of times one of the big things that we forget about is compassion, and compassion for ourselves. Part of my journey was I got a couple of chronic health issues that I’m really public with. I’m missing 30% of my lung function and I’ve got fibromyalgia and another mysterious disease we’re still trying to figure out. It keeps me in the back of the pack all the time. And I had to pause and really look at it and say, “Why am I beating myself up trying to get the faster 5K time when I can’t? Why is this so important to me?” I redefined success as doing what I can do today and honoring what my body can do today. And if today all I can do is a 30-minute walk and maybe 20 seconds of jogging, and I do it – that’s success. Or if today I’ve got a big flareup and all I can do is grocery shop and then take a 4-hour nap – if I honor my body and what it can do one day at a time, one hour at a time – that’s my new success criteria. For me and for tons of people I’ve worked with, that becomes so freeing and so liberating. Then you can begin to really have that incremental success and gain strength, because you’re not torturing yourself over the things you can’t do that you used to be able to do, and instead you’re focused, or I’m focused, more on that positive what I can do. It’s just a better, happier place to be.

Allan (6:59): Yes. I like how you started that out with the word “compassion”. I’m in the process of reading a book that’s set up so that each day there’s a verse and it’s based on stoicism. It’s called The Daily Stoic. Each day there’s a little passage from Seneca or Marcus Aurelius or one of the original stoics, and then he writes his little blurb, his little bit about it to get you thinking about things. The first section of that is clarity. As I’ve gone through it and then I read in your book, I hadn’t really given a lot of thought to how much negative self-talk I have.

Lyn Lindbergh (7:44): Oh, it’s huge.

Allan (7:45): I called myself “fat”, and I guess I was fat. I considered myself to be fat, so I used that word. And every time I noticed myself slip up, the negative self-talk would kind of step right back in. What are some things we can do to get that compassion back for ourselves?

Lyn Lindbergh (8:08): Just push the “Happy” button and you’ll feel happy.

Allan (8:12): Where is that button?

Lyn Lindbergh (8:13): I’ve been looking for it. It doesn’t exist. I won’t give up hope, I’ll find it someday. No, you’re exactly right, Allan. That compassion piece is huge, because our generation – when I say that I mean 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s – we were just drilled with that concept of “No pain, no gain. Grit, self-discipline. Try harder, try harder. Live like you’ll die tomorrow.” We’ve all heard these thousands of times and it just puts more and more pressure on us and we end up feeling bad. Like you said, we feel fat and out of shape and ugly. So, part of it is to really start paying attention to what that brain is thinking. When you put on the pants in the morning and you look in the mirror, what is that brain saying to yourself? For me, a lot of it has been just talking to people about body image. If we talk about body image, for example, it’s an issue for – I’ve discovered and learned because I hang out with a lot of bodybuilders and a lot of women that you would call “tens”. We all have body image issues and we all are hard on ourselves. It’s really that awareness of, “I am beautiful. I am handsome.” The reason I’m dancing around this is the work is just huge to do around it. One thing that helps me is to realize if I ask myself the question, “Who are the best friends in my life? Who are the people that I have the most respect for? Who are the people I most admire?”, none of them fit on the cover of a Cosmopolitan or a Vogue magazine at all. When I bring that back to myself, it helps me remember this body external thing really isn’t that important. It helps me give myself compassion. That’s the external piece of it.

Allan (10:35): I’ve found that it really comes from a practice called gratitude. You sit down and you think about the things that make you happy, those moments of joy when you can sit back and say, “This was good.” And what I’ve found is if you are eating the right foods, you can be grateful that your body’s using that food to improve your health. Like you said, you go out and do that 30-minute walk with 20 seconds of jogging. When you’re done with that, that’s something you should celebrate. You should be happy that you had the capacity to do that and that you’re doing something to improve yourself. And when you find yourself starting to go down that negative thought path, that’s when you want to turn it on and say, “Okay, I might not have eaten very well today, but I kissed my wife in the morning, I called my daughter and told her I loved her.” All those different things that you do, you can feel gratitude for. And if you keep practicing gratitude and keep looking for joy, a lot of that negative self-talk goes away.

Lyn Lindbergh (11:45): It really, really does it. And then possibly too is to take inventory of who’s in your social circle. They say you’re the composite of the five closest people around you. Whether that’s true or not, everyone’s saying it, so it must be true, right? So, what are those folks around you saying? Are they helping you with a positive mindset?

Allan (12:12): And it’s not on Facebook. Everybody’s presenting their best front side image in Facebook and filters and all the other stuff. Just realize that you don’t have to keep up with them; you just have to keep up with you.

Lyn Lindbergh (12:27): Yeah, what do they say? Don’t compare your inside life to everybody’s outside life or public life. Absolutely.

Allan (12:35): Exactly. Which is also why I’m not on Instagram. I might be the only personal trainer that’s not on Instagram.

Lyn Lindbergh (12:43): I’m barely on Instagram, because of the peer pressure.

Allan (12:48): I can’t do it. Plus it’s a phone thing. You can’t do it on a browser. I’m too old for that.

Lyn Lindbergh (12:55): Yeah, what is that? Okay, good thing. 40+, not too many of us are on Instagram, so we’re good.

Allan (13:05): Now, as we go through things, I think this is where a lot of people start to struggle, and you talked about it a little bit with your lung issue – we’re going to hit these barriers. And they’re natural barriers, because if we were all meant to be six-pack abs, bikini body people, then everybody would be, if it was easy. But it’s not easy. There’s an overabundance of food and there’s overstimulation where it’s easy to sit on your couch and never leave. Literally if the pizza guy would walk in the house and put it down in front of me, on the coffee table, I would never leave the house.

Lyn Lindbergh (13:50): I’ve got teenage boys. That’s exactly the life they would love.

Allan (13:54): “Hey, come on in!”

Lyn Lindbergh (13:56): “Right here, Mom. Just put the pizza right here, I’m good.”

Allan (14:00): So there are all these things that are going to distract us and keep us from getting where we really want to be. How do we break those barriers?

Lyn Lindbergh (14:09): When it comes to breaking barriers in fitness, one of the things that I like to share a lot is when you think about your biggest barrier, it’s not a gym membership. It’s not cash to throw at a personal trainer. It’s not all kinds of things. It’s the couch. The couch is our biggest competitor. Then we look at, what are our barriers to getting off the couch? And I say that metaphorically, because I know some people are listening to this and saying, “But I’m not on the couch. I’m just so busy.” One of the things that we do and teach, we call the “breaking barriers list”. The reason this exercise, the “breaking barriers list”, is important and impactful is because it helps you get crystal clear on what your real barriers are versus imagined barriers. And then it helps you get really laser focused on what you can do that requires the least amount of work to have the biggest impact on your ability and motivation to exercise. So, this is what I do to get people there. You could even start this right now. You just get any old piece of paper, or if you prefer to type on your computer, and you think of every single barrier to exercise that you can think of. And there are the big barriers: “I broke my leg”, “I got really sick”, “I have an aging parent I’m caring for”, “I have a job that I can’t quit”, “I can’ just quit my job or retire. I’m not there yet.” And then there are all the little, tiny barrier, like “I’m just busy” or “My kid called and I needed this this afternoon when I was going to work out.” This happened to me once – I showed up at the gym with two right tennis shoes. I forgot my left tennis shoe. List them all out; then go through that list and really ask yourself objectively, “Of all of these barriers that I see, which ones can I actually impact today, or which ones can I impact in the future?” You take the ones you can impact today, pick one and say, “Of all these barriers…” Take this stupid example of two right shoes. I can pack my gym bag earlier and leave it in the car and it’ll be there for me. Pick one and just work on breaking that one barrier, and let all the rest go. Maybe the next day or the next week, pick another one and let all the rest go. And just work through that list. Then the next question that always comes up really naturally is, what do you do with the barriers that are here to stay? So myself, for example, missing 30% of my lung function – that’s there to stay. It’s probably only going to get worse the rest of my life. You’ve got to make peace with those. That’s the real hard work, and it goes back to that compassion piece: “What can I do, given this barrier?” Sometimes it’s really easy to try to think, “Life should be perfect, life should be perfect. I’ll never give up, I’ll never give up.” And it’s not giving up; it’s just facing reality head-to-head and getting yourself in a real positive mind space and a positive mental space around it. So, that’s the whole “breaking barriers list” piece that we work through in a nutshell.

Allan (18:10): To me it comes down to self-awareness. If you can do this exercise, this is groundbreaking for getting you on track to really accomplish some great things, because once you start understanding what those barriers are, you eliminate them. I learned the same thing. I had to pack my gym bag the night before, or invariably I would forget my shoes or my socks, or just forget the bag. I literally packed the bag and set it by the door, so I’d almost have to trip over it in the morning to get out the door.

Lyn Lindbergh (18:46): You and a million people every day.

Allan (18:49): And I’d double check. You have to put those little strategies in place for the things you know are going to trip you up. I walk into the office on Friday and I see the sharks chumming in the break room. I know they brought donuts. I’m staying away from the break room.

Lyn Lindbergh (19:06): That’s a hard one. That’s an advanced skill.

Allan (19:14): It was funny. These were particularly weird – they were called Spudnuts. They were made from potato flour, so probably even worse than regular, from a sugar high. They put your blood sugar through the roof. And I loved them too. Then I was like, “Okay, I’ve got to get away from that.” So, I’d have nuts in my office and I’d see them be just like sharks chumming. I decided I can’t go there. I’d go to my office and sit in my desk and not go into the break room until lunchtime, because they would usually be gone by then.

Lyn Lindbergh (19:51): That’s great.

Allan (19:54): That was a practice of self-awareness and understanding what the barriers are that are going to keep me from getting what I needed. That was one that would come up every once in a while. I can’t keep them from bringing donuts in, but I have to know myself to deal with it.

Lyn Lindbergh (20:13): Absolutely. It’s funny how this moment of shame is coming back, which I must let go. When I worked in a corporate office for 20 years, sometimes I would even be good at leaving those donuts alone until everybody was gone and it was only me.

Allan (20:35): When nobody is looking, it doesn’t count.

Lyn Lindbergh (20:37): Exactly. And part of that mindset and self-awareness, one of the things to break through that usually gets people really excited and helps them feel young and alive again – it’s really looking at your stereotypes. When you’re looking at breaking barriers, really challenge your stereotypes about who does what kind of exercise. So much of the time we think yoga is for the skinny girls and aqua aerobics is for fat and injured and out of shape. That’s so, so wrong. If you can break through your stereotypes of what kind of exercises you do as a person and try something new, it’s amazing how creative you can get. I had one woman who came to me and she was so excited. I had no idea how this came about exactly, but she said, “I was listening to your thing about breaking through stereotypes, because I’ve never exercised in my life.” She was almost 50 and she’d never exercised in part because she didn’t see herself as somebody who would exercise. And she said, “I finally found it and I love it. I got a treadmill. I put it in my dark basement downstairs with no windows. And every morning I read a book on the treadmill.” I just had to laugh because I told her that would be torture for me. I would hate it. She loved it though. She said, “I can do this.” So what if everybody else hates a treadmill in the dark by yourself? She loved it and that’s what got her to make a breakthrough.

Allan (22:36): I think what’s really cool is that you’ve got to find your place. I could tell you you should be doing all this lifting and you should be doing some cardio. We can go through the “shoulds” and there’s a valid reason for each one. You should be working on balance, you should be working on mobility, all those different things that we do need to make sure we’re maintaining. But how you get there can be your own unique joy, your own unique path.

Lyn Lindbergh (23:05): That’s really where the “smile” factor comes in in a big way. I’ve got folks who back country ski, folks who sword fight. For real, that’s a real thing.

Allan (23:18): I know, fencing. I envision this old lady beating the crap out of somebody with a sword.

Lyn Lindbergh (23:28): She just turned 50 and she’s so excited. “You won’t believe what I’m doing.” But we all know body doesn’t know or care if you’re on a treadmill or walking. To your body it’s movement. So, if you’re moving and it’s exercise, it counts. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a gym or not.

Allan (23:49): Very much. Now, every once in a while something is going to come along – a car accident, you’re out going for a walk or a run and you slip on some ice and you twist your ankle or mess up your knee or break an arm, and now dealing with this setback. And a lot of times it’s, “I can’t use my leg because I twisted my ankle.” So they stop exercising. They figure since they’re not exercising, they’ll just eat what they want to eat, go back to their old ways, and they end up with this setback. What was an unplanned detour now becomes a, “Let’s turn around and drive back home” kind of thing. How do we deal with that?

Lyn Lindbergh (24:35): The setbacks is a really interesting, tricky one. One of the things I love that you said, Allan, is “when” you have a setback, not “if” you have a setback. I think that’s an important piece, is realizing that setbacks are normal, they happen. They happen to all of us, they happen to me. Some of the setbacks that really trip us up the most is a lot of times we get in our mind that we’re going to finally be a person who exercises, and now all of a sudden I’ve got my plan and it’s all perfectly laid out. But that’s not the way it is; life changes. Those are the tricky ones, when like you said, you’re moving to a new home. So, new routines, new everything.

Allan (25:23): The gym on this island that we’ve moved to is not really a gym. They have some dumbbells, they have a leg press. I would call it more of a fitness studio. They do classes. I’m thinking if I go there I’m probably going to have to do the classes until I get my equipment here, which is going to take me a little while because you have to put it on a container ship, it has to go on a boat. It’s going to be a while before I see that stuff. So, that routine is completely thrown out; I have to come up with other things. I even asked if they have tennis courts. There are no tennis courts on this island. Unless I want to build my own. I could build one and then charge people to use it. That might not be a bad idea. A lot of the things I was thinking my lifestyle was going to entail when I move down here, it’s not here. So I have to change and I have to adapt. I’m doing a lot more body weight stuff, I’m doing a lot more walking. Those types of things are the things I’m putting into my regimen. I’ll probably lose a little bit of muscle mass because I’m not lifting like I was lifting. I lost a little bit of strength, but I can do what I’m going to do until I get my equipment down here.

Lyn Lindbergh (26:42): That’s exactly it. I would say for any of those setbacks – whether it’s a broken leg or moving to an island with no tennis court or, quote, unquote, “real” gym – one of the pieces to start out with first and foremost is that compassion piece again. Start first from a place of compassion for yourself and realizing this is normal. Setbacks do happen. And when you get there, which it could take you 10 seconds or two weeks, it depends, then you can start talking. If you live with someone, talk to them about your goals and your desires. If you make a new friend, talk to them about your goals. You’d be amazed at how people can help you find resources to make it happen. Really, at our core, most of us want to be exercising. Most of us want to have a buddy to work out with. That’s where I usually have folks start. And again, back to breaking through that stereotype of, what kind of an exerciser am I? What do I do? I can get massively creative to start really focusing on what exercise is going to meet my goals and make me smile? And those three things really are that sustainable piece that helps you stay in a good mindset for it all. Because again, Couch to Active – I’m all about living a life you love more than just creating out workouts you hate.

Allan (28:22): Yeah. I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Lyn Lindbergh (28:37): I would say for me in my life, because getting and staying well has been complicated and I know I’m not the only one – education is huge for me. I’m an avid reader, constantly reading. I tell you, for anything, if I Google “Is keto good for you? Is keto bad for you? Are oranges good for you? Are oranges bad for you?” – the amount of data out there is just ridiculous. The more education you can have on everything, the better. The second one for me – a huge piece of physical wellness is also mental wellness. I think our generation has been raised with a lot of anxiety, a lot of pressure to perform and a lot of that negative self-talk. So I think a huge wellness piece of that is to not be afraid to crack that door open. If something inside of you is saying you need to look at mental health, look at it. And then the more simple one is, get the junk out of your kitchen. That’s what I had to do. If it’s there, I want to find the “Happy” button and the “Unlimited Willpower” button. If you find those, let me know, Allan, because junk’s got to stay out of the kitchen.

Allan (30:09): I’m pretty much the same way. My wife bought some Life cereal the other day and she was like, “Don’t judge me.” I’m like, “I’m not judging you.”

Lyn Lindbergh (30:18): Food shame!

Allan (30:20): But at the same time I knew I would end up in that box at some point. I knew myself. I almost said I’ll just eat it all so it won’t be here anymore. I didn’t go that far, but I did actually eat some of the cereal. Lyn, I want to thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness. If someone wanted to learn more about you and learn more about the book, Couch to Active, where would you like for me to send them?

Lyn Lindbergh (30:54): Just have them Google Couch to Active and head over to the website, www.CouchToActive.com, and everything’s there.

Allan (31:04): Excellent. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/374, and I’ll be sure to have links there. Lyn, again, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Lyn Lindbergh (31:15): Thank you. It’s been a ball.

I hope you enjoyed that interview with Lyn. Really fun character, very goofy, but has a lot of fun with life and that’s a big, big part of the wellness formula. You have to be happy with what you’re doing. I love how she brings that to the table and it bears in her podcast and in her book. Do check those out.

Spring has sprung. As this episode goes live, we are into just the spring season starting up. And you know what that means – that means we’re going to be wearing a little less clothing, revealing a little bit more of our bodies. This is a perfect time to really start working on your health and your fitness. So if you’re looking for a coach and you’re interested in getting things done in the most efficient and effective way, without injury, I’m available to be your online coach.

You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programshttp://40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programs, and from there you’ll be able to see the various programs that I offer. I have group, one-on-one, and I do have some “Do It Yourself”, if you are so inclined to push yourself. I do have programs that have been proven effective for losing fat and for gaining muscle. So if you’re interested in training with me, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programs. Again, that’s 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Programs.

Another episode you may enjoy

Finding your balance between health and a life with Nathalie Botros

March 18, 2019

Dr Jaime Hope shows you how to habit that

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Dr. Jaimie Hope is an emergency room doctor who knows a thing or two about building life-long habits. In her book, Habit That! she teaches how you can change your habits and create a healthy lifestyle.

Allan (1:18): Dr. Hope, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Jaime Hope (1:21): Allan, thank you so much for having me here today. I appreciate it.

Allan (1:25): The book we’re going to talk about today is called Habit That! And I talk to a lot of people about habits and things that we do. With my clients I’m talking about it, we talk about it on the podcast from time to time. I’m a big fan of exploring your habits and understanding what they’re doing for you or against you, depending on the nature of it. So I really did enjoy this deep dive into healthy habits.

Dr. Jaime Hope (1:53): Thank you. It’s so important. We have a lot more habits in our lives than we realize. It finally took me some time to discover if we can hack human nature and use it for good instead of bad, we can actually get a lot healthier.

Allan (2:09): Absolutely. I kind of equate it this way when I’m talking to folks: Did you drive to work today the same way you drove yesterday? It’s a habit. The first time you drove to that office, you probably didn’t know exactly where it was and you had to think about it. And then over time you may have actually developed a shorter route where you figured out, “It’s best for me not to get on the express way because it’s going to be backed up, so it’s easier for me to go this route.” Then once you have that notched in, you’re almost on autopilot.

Dr. Jaime Hope (2:36): Yeah. Have you ever gotten home and realized you didn’t remember any of the drive?

Allan (2:40): It’s scary.

Dr. Jaime Hope (2:42): It’s a little scary, but it’s because it was such a habit. You took the directions off your cognitive load and you were able to listen to a podcast, sing along to the radio, curse at the drivers in front of you. Please don’t do that. That’s what’s so interesting about habits. Once you remove it from that level of conscious thought, it’s really good, except when you’re driving, of course.

Allan (3:07): We all want to get to a certain spot, and having that notched in for us makes it that much easier. But as people go, we’re going to have folks that are going to have objections, and in your book, you go through six major objections. Could you take a little bit of time and go through each one and what we can do if that’s what our inner enemy, or frenemy, is going to do for us? How do we get the right mindset to overcome those objections?

Dr. Jaime Hope (3:40): That’s really common. We start with this great idea, “New Year’s! Hooray! Happy New Year” or whatever time of year it is. Like, “Yes, I want to be healthy, I’m going to lose weight, I’m going to do these things.” And then immediately it’s that other voice inside your head that is like, “Well, this and this and this.” I’ve been practicing medicine for 13 years, so rest assured it’s not my first day at this. And with all the patients I talk to, there were a lot of objections that kept coming up over and over and over. Those are the six that I discuss in the book. So let’s dive into number one. People talk about “the knowledge”: “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to use the knowledge that I have. I don’t know what’s a good source of knowledge.” So some people take that very easy objection and just say, “Well, I don’t know, so I give up.” Clearly those people weren’t very deeply connected to why they want to do what they want to do. That’s an objection and it’s legitimate, but the example I use in the book is, you’re at the gym and you don’t know how to use the squat machine and you want to. You can quit the gym, quit fitness altogether, or you could go ask somebody how to use the squat machine, or look up a video on YouTube.

Allan (5:01): And I’ll tell you right now, if you find a personal trainer that’s on the floor – when you work at a gym like that, you get assigned to the floor – they will help you. They don’t want you to get hurt. Just ask us.

Dr. Jaime Hope (5:14): They want to help you. They don’t want to see you screwing it up. In fact, I had one very politely come over and say, when I was doing an exercise, “May I offer a suggestion?” I knew that this was going to be something good and useful since clearly I was doing it wrong enough that they came over. So I was like, “Of course, absolutely.” And of course they were right. Like you said, Allan, they don’t want you to use the machine incorrectly. They’re not going to charge you $1,200 to answer a question.

Allan (5:41): No, no. They’re also not going to train you for free, but there’ll be glad to tell you, “This is how you use this machine” or, “This is how you do this lift properly.” And probably make some other recommendations that are going to keep you safe.

Dr. Jaime Hope (5:54): Yes. I’m very pro trainer. I’ve had physical trainers. I usually do multiple sessions a year and keep on an ongoing thing to make sure that I’m doing it correct. So by all means, if you can, definitely get a trainer. So, talking again back to this objection about knowledge gap. Sometimes the gap is, “I don’t know what to eat. This website tells me this is healthy and this website tells me if I eat this, I’m going to burst into flames. What am I supposed to do?” It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. You’re going to see so many conflicting things out there. Now there’s a new fad diet coming up every week, it’s hard to know what’s healthy and what’s not. So, I help teach people about, number one, common sense. If somebody is telling you that donuts are the healthiest food because they happen to be the author of the Magical Donut diet – that seems a little bit suspicious. It’s pretty hard to argue against things like broccoli, for instance. So really any diet that’s saying that’s completely horrible for you is ridiculous. So, applying your common sense to it. Then looking at, what are the qualifications of the resource that’s telling you this information? What type of bias might be playing into it? It’ll help you decide what’s going to be the best information. So, on to objection number two. Are you ready for this one?

Allan (7:17): Yup.

Dr. Jaime Hope (7:18): Okay. So, this one I get: “Why bother trying your new thing? I have tried a million other things and it never works, so I quit.” Allan, have you ever had clients that have said that?

Allan (7:31): Typically no. I’ve had people that didn’t become clients for that reason. I’m talking to them and they’re wanting to work out and do something to lose weight. And I say, “First let’s talk about what you’re eating.” And they’re like, “I’ve been on every diet and that just doesn’t work.” Like you said, they tend at that point to say, “I don’t need your help. You’ll just tell me to take another diet.” I’m not actually talking about a diet. I’m talking about something different. I can’t help someone who’s not interested in really making the change, so I can’t help them overcome this objection. I can’t convince you to not eat the donut if you want to eat the donut.

Dr. Jaime Hope (8:23) Right. Short of walking around with a fly swatter and smacking people’s donuts, which I also don’t recommend.

Allan (8:29): Which we don’t do. We’re there for three to five hours a week at most and then you’ve got a whole 170 odd other hours. So you have to overcome this objection yourself.

Dr. Jaime Hope (8:40): You really do. This is a mindset objection, and in a lot of ways they’re not wrong. Sometimes they have tried a bunch of diets and they all failed. But then if you go through their history and look at the diets they’ve tried, you and I both know this – they’ve all been crap. They’ve been some ridiculous gimmicks, some unhealthy fad diet. So they go into it, they lose a bunch of weight, then they go back to the way they were eating before and gain all the weight back. Rinse and repeat, over and over and over. So what I’m trying to talk to people about this objection is, we’ve got to get off that train. This isn’t about a quick fix or rapid weight loss or gimmicks. And interestingly enough, that’s why people are like, “That’s not sexy. This won’t sell.” Because I’m talking about slow, long-term, sustainable healthy habits. We all want to lose 100 pounds by next week, but these are the people who have tried it all and it doesn’t work. What I’d like to say is to completely throw out that old type of mindset and try something new. Just focus on nourishing your body and being healthier and taking care of the four pillars of health, and eventually people will start to see substantial differences. They just have to be willing to change the way that they look at this. This isn’t a rapid thing, this isn’t a crazy thing. This is the real thing.

Allan (10:07): The way I look at it when I’m talking to folks is, let’s look for that lifestyle. And there’s nothing sexy about it. I can’t sell it. If you write a book, I could write the same exact book, and on the over, I could call it “The Misner Diet”, or I could call it “The Misner Lifestyle”. And the diet book is going to sell a hundred fold more. Mine is The Wellness Roadmap. If I called it “The Wellness Diet”, probably would’ve sold more. But that’s not where my head is and that’s not what I want for my clients.

Dr. Jaime Hope (10:42): I think yours and my values are aligned in a lot of ways. It’s about your overall wellness. It’s your lifestyle, it’s your long-term type of thing. And you’re right, it can be a little bit more difficult to sell. I was told the same thing: “You could call this a diet book.” Absolutely not. It’s not. It’s the anti-diet book. So that’s objection number two, and I think you and I are very similar in the way that we feel about that. Alright, are you ready for number three?

Allan (11:11): Yes.

Dr. Jaime Hope (11:12): “I am doing everything right and I am still not seeing changes.” The way that I dive into this with patients and clients is, find out what exactly it is they are doing that they think they’re doing right. In the book I use the example of this guy. He was very strenuously objecting, saying, “Your healthy food ideas make me fat”, and this and that. And he didn’t understand. When I actually sat down with him and understood what he considered “healthy”, it was crystal clear why he was gaining weight. He had heard that whole “Milk. It does a body good” slogan, heard it was good for you. So he was drinking up to two gallons of whole milk every day. I was astounded by the amount of liquid, first of all. But in his mind he was doing everything, quote, “right”, because he heard that milk was a health food. So sometimes just diving into that makes a difference. But what I also find with patients is maybe they actually truly are following what you and I and a scientist would consider a healthful diet, and maybe they are exercising. But when you step back and take a look at their lifestyle as a whole, they are stressed to the max and they’re not sleeping. And when they’re not taking care of those pillars of their health, the body still stays in that “fight or flight” mode and that long-term chronic stress mode, and even if you are doing everything right, it’s extremely difficult to lose weight. It’s like pushing a ball uphill. That’s the nice thing about having expertise, so people can really look at that. That’s why I specifically go into the four pillars of the book, not just diet and exercise, so people can read for themselves and decide what areas they need to work on the most. And people are sometimes surprised. Alright, objection number four. Are you ready?

Allan (13:03): Yes.

Dr. Jaime Hope (13:05): You’ve probably heard these ones: “I don’t have the time” or, “I don’t have the money.” It’s all about the time: “I’m so busy, I don’t have time to get healthy.” We tend to be very overscheduled in this modern era. We’ve got work, we’ve got friends, we’ve got family obligations. But if people realistically look at how they’re spending their week, I think we’re spending a lot more time on things like TV and social media than people realize. So there are ways to carve out time. I’ve even told people, quite frankly, I would rather they do five minutes of something than to do nothing towards their health. It’s just the way to gain that momentum, to start going, getting into the habit. When my kids were very little and napping, I used to try and exercise when they were napping, except for I still had to do laundry, I had to do writing, I had to do charting and all these other things that were eating into my time. What I realized is that when you have two very active children, instead of trying to schedule around them, I just started scheduling it with them. Incorporate it into your day and into your time. And it’s fun. We have crazy jumping dance parties and we run around the yard. So now I’m getting double duty because I’m getting quality time and fitness time, plus the added bonus that I have healthy, active kids who are seeing how important this is to our lifestyle. So instead of going against your grain, try incorporating it into something you are already doing and already like. If you’re not willing to miss your favorite show, exercise during your favorite show; then you’re getting that time back. So there are a lot of different ways we can play around with time.

Allan (15:01): There’s actually an app now that comes with the iPhone that will tell you how long you were on your iPhone for the week. And my wife is astounded because I’m typically under two hours. I almost never have been on my iPhone in a given week for more than two hours.

Dr. Jaime Hope (15:19): Good for you!

Allan (15:25): If you have an iPhone, go look at that app. It’s how much time you’ve been spending on social media, because that’s probably where you’re spending most of that time. I bet that’s what you’re going to come across, that you actually have a lot more time than you give yourself credit for. And that five minutes that you spent on social media, if you spent that walking up and down the stairs at work or walking out to the mailbox when normally you drop off on the way out, or all the different things that you do, parking a little bit further from the entrance of where you work. All those different things are going to add another three minutes here, another five minutes there. And those little things can make a big difference.

Dr. Jaime Hope (16:05): People get intimidated or they just quit because they don’t have an hour to dedicate to the gym every single day. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t fit stuff in. I absolutely like that, definitely. Do the stairs, park farther away. All those little things start to become habits and you gradually develop a more active lifestyle. I’m sure you’re very well aware of this – the more active you are, the more energy you have. It sounds counterintuitive. People say they are too tired to exercise. But once you can get them over that hump they realize the more you exercise, you actually have more energy and feel better. All those five minutes add up here and there and will give you the energy you need to take it to the next level. Now, of course, the other part of that objection was money. I hear people say they can’t afford a personal trainer, they can’t afford a gym, those types of things. But I think people are sometimes forgetting the amazing amount of free resources that are out there. If you can’t hire your own personal dietician or expert or coach, listen to their podcasts, read the book. Look for videos on YouTube where they’re helping teach you how to do specific exercise. Turn on the radio and dance. You can squat in your living room for free; you could go up and down the stairs for free. So there’s a lot of stuff. People are underestimating what they can do with limited or no resources. 

Allan, I actually work with a homeless shelter in Detroit. This is a shelter that’s specifically designed for people with families – men and women with children, to help get their independence back. So when I go down there and talk to them about how they can also focus on getting healthy, you’re talking about folks that have zero financial resources. They can’t go buy organic, they can’t go join a yoga studio or a gym or hire a trainer. They’re trying to make sure that they have enough food to feed their children for that day. But I bring fun activities that we can do, games that they can play with their kids and get active and silly and fun in the context of the lobby of the homeless shelter. And all of a sudden people see there are things they can do and still accomplish this. It’s very awesome to see that light come on, and it’s very empowering for people to realize they have more resources than they think they do, even if they have no resources.

Allan (18:29): Yes.

Dr. Jaime Hope (18:31): Alright, so on to number five. I hear this: “Now is not a good time.” We’re always busy or there’s something going on in our lives. So, everything had been great except for now things are crazy at work. In my case, one of the examples I use – my mother in law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and moved in with us full-time while I was working two jobs and the kids and everything else. It would’ve been very easy for me to say, “Now is not a good time to be healthy.” But in reality, that was the time when I needed it the most. When you are under that much stress and busy and everything else, that’s how you get released. That’s how you help your body be strong enough to handle the crazy stress and the things that are going on. So whether you’re taking care of a sick family member or things are really bad at work or you’re going through a financial crisis or something like that, having these healthy habits as your stable base is going to give you the physical and emotional resources you need to meet these challenges, and you’ll actually feel better and not worse for it. So whatever is going on in your lives, I encourage you, even if for five minutes, do something. Self-care isn’t selfish and you can’t carry the weight of the world with a broken back. So it’s really important to keep focusing on these things.

Allan (19:58): I liked the story you told about your father when that was going on, and how he saw that now was absolutely the time. Probably the time when he felt like he needed to be very much more a caregiver, that actually became his fuel.

Dr. Jaime Hope (20:14): Yeah, it’s interesting. This is a man who I adore, who had never been focused on his health in any way. And then suddenly when his wife, my mother in law, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer… This is long hours – sitting there for eight hours during the chemotherapy infusion, hospital visits, stuff like that. He couldn’t even carry her suitcase, he was so out of shape. So that became his reason. He could’ve just sat there and ate donuts in a hospital chair indefinitely, but he knew that he needed help to get stronger for her. And his transformation has been remarkable. He lost 65 pounds.

Allan (20:53): That’s good. That’s really good.

Dr. Jaime Hope (20:55): Yeah. He lived with me, and he’s the kind of stubborn person that’s the last person I was ever going to give advice to. But he started watching what I was doing and doing some of those things; going for very short walks at what his abilities were. He’s 70 years old and he was overweight, and then slowly got stronger and stronger. And as he got that momentum, he started feeling better and better. I forgot the last time he told me over the last two years, he’s logged well over 1,000 miles walking and just making those habits and the differences in his life. Yeah, it’s never a good time. We’re never going to have all the time and money we need. So I say, it’s a random afternoon – why not start right now? 

And the last objection is about, “It just doesn’t fit who I am.” It’s very interesting how we get these mindsets and these labels of ourselves. I talk about somebody who I grew up with, that as he got older, teenage years and beyond, started gaining some weight and he started calling himself “the fat kid” as a joke. He actually wasn’t even fat, but it kind of became his thing; he would juggle his belly. It was interesting the way he started incorporating that label into who he was. Like, “Hey, do you want to go for a bike ride?” “No, I’m the fat kid.” “Three weeks ago you liked going on bike rides. What gives?” I’d had watched him embrace this label so much that he started to behave in a way that was consistent with that label he had given himself and actually gained more weight after that. I talk to patients a lot about what their mindset is. How do you see yourself? Because however you see yourself is how you’re going to act. If you see yourself as a diet failure or a yo-yo dieter or somebody who just can’t stick to something, you’re going to act like that. I love to give people a whole brand new label for themselves and I just say “healthy person.” I don’t like the label “skinny” because skinny isn’t always healthy. When I was growing up, I ate nothing but Cheetos and grilled cheese. I was a terribly unhealthy eater, but I was skinny. They don’t necessarily have to go together. But if you start to see yourself as a healthy person, then you’ll start to treat yourself as a healthy person. And that mindset, that label, sometimes is that first domino that you can knock over and really help move you forward down the right path, instead of calling yourself the wrong thing and then continuing to act consistent with that negative, incorrect label.

Allan (23:45): Absolutely. Now, in the book there was something else that was very, very interesting. I’m very familiar with SMART goals. In fact, I actually even cover that in my book, but I had never had it put together the way you did, calling it SMARTER goals. Could you go through that acronym, what that means and how that is going to help someone effectively have better goals?

Dr. Jaime Hope (24:09): Absolutely, I love this. So, I’m an assistant professor at our medical school, teaching motivational interviewing and behavior changes, as I’m sure you know. And the person who used to do the lectures before me was a lovely person, but also being really boring. Goal setting doesn’t have to be that complicated. So I started looking up the SMART acronym, and depending on which source you look at, it can mean something slightly different. But I was specifically teaching health protective behavior changes. So I changed it to SMARTER to add the additional elements that were consistent with the teachings that I wanted to get across. And so far it’s gone really well. 

The S is “specific”. I don’t mean “I want to lose 40 pounds”, not that kind of specific, because that is an outcome. What is the specific action that you are going to do? I have a SMARTER goals worksheet and I truly encourage people to put one goal per sheet. Say for instance your bigger goal maybe is that you want to lose 40 pounds, but the action that you’re going to take, this SMARTER action is that you are going to exercise for a minimum of 15 minutes, five days a week. That’s very specific. I’m talking I want granular, I want to know all of those different pieces. M is for “motivation”. So, why is it that you want to achieve this particular goal? We all know that we should make healthier habits, in the same way that smokers know they shouldn’t smoke. I mean it says it right there on the pack. This is not a surprise to anybody that these are bad for them, but people do it anyway. If you really want to make a true change, you have to be connected with your motivation. What is your real “Why” for quitting? In the 13 years of talking to patients about this, very rarely is it something like, “Because I care about my cholesterol” or something like that. It’s more of very personal things I’ve heard people say: “I want to be comfortable having sex with the lights on without a T-shirt.” “Every man in my family died of a heart attack in their 40s and I don’t want to do that.” “I was playing with my kids and I was so winded I had to sit down and it made me feel awful. It’s not the kind of example I want to be for my kids.” So it needs to be something that you are deeply connected with. You can’t assign it to somebody else. They have to choose their real “Why”. And then every time you start getting off of the habit of doing this, reconnecting with that motivation is going to be the thing that helps keep you going. The A is for “action plan”. You’re going to use action-oriented statements, so you’re going to say, “I will work out for 15 minutes, at least five times a week.” You are going to be specific. I want to know the time, I want to know the location, I want to know the equipment. Who, what, when, where, why, how are you going to do this? And it’s going to increase your chance of success. You need to look at your schedule and say, “How am I going to fit this in for five times this week? This day I’m going to go for a walk. This day I’m going to do home exercises while I watch my favorite TV show.” Fit it into your schedule and into your lifestyle because that’s the only way you’re really going to make it work. 

R is for “roadblocks”. Also, I like to call it “reality”, because things happen. People, time, circumstances are going to come up and make it more difficult to achieve your goal. Say your goal for next Tuesday was to walk outside for 15 minutes, and then it happens to be a torrential downpour. You don’t say you’re not going to exercise at all. You just have to know that was a potential possibility, so what’s your backup plan? I like people to list every possible thing that could go wrong in achieving their goal. In this case, the example of exercising five times a week – what could go wrong? Your car could break down, you could sprain your ankle, you could get bit by a dinosaur on the way to work. You never know. So, say your car breaks down. What’s going to be your plan for that? Say you sprain your ankle. How do you still want to be able to work out? You can do a rowing thing, you could do an upper body type of thing. If the dinosaur bites you, I feel like that would be very interesting and you could probably make a lot of money with that story. Then use that money to hire a trainer. So I get people in the habit of pre-anticipating common roadblocks and knowing what they’re going to do about it, so when it does happen they’re ready for it. It’s another mindset habit. Then T is for “timetable”. The goal should be, I like to call it grounded, yet ambitious. So if your goal is to do two sit-ups in 2019, that’s specific and you’re very likely to achieve it. But that’s not really going to do anything. If your goal is to do 2,000 sit-ups every single day in 2019, that’s going to be a little bit more difficult, especially if you’re starting from a baseline of zero. So I want the goal to be something that you’re stretching a little bit to, but not so unrealistic you have absolutely no possibility of achieving it. And then breaking it down into specific time. What can you do today? What can you do in a week? What can you do in a month? And what do you want to accomplish in a year? It just makes it seem so much less intimidating than trying to tackle the whole thing all at once. We’re almost done. We already did SMART; now we’re on the ER part. E is the “evaluate and evolve” type of thing. So if your original goal was working out 15 minutes a day for five days a week and you find that while you’re exercising, you’re usually going longer and you feel great – expand your goal. Make it a little bit longer; that’s okay. If it was too easy, make it harder. If it was legitimately too hard, dial it down. It’s okay to make adjustments based on the context of your life, because still your biggest overall goal is to be a healthy person. That’s the focus, so this exercise goal that you’ve set is specifically aiming at that ideal. And then just helping keep up your enthusiasm. The last one, the R, is “record and reward”. Anything that you do that is measured improves, and anything you do that is measured and recorded improves exponentially. So I encourage people to, whether it’s on a plain piece of paper or through an app or any other way, when they make the goal, I want to see you recording it, writing it down, and then you can preset rewards into that. So, if your goal is that number of workouts and at the end of the month if you hit that, choose a reward. And choose a reward that’s consistent with a healthy lifestyle. I’m not saying to go eat a dozen donuts as a reward for working. Buy a new pair of shoes, buy a great workout outfit, do something like that. So, finding that way to write it down. And give yourself credit for all the amazing things that you’ve been doing. I put it all out on a sheet for people and it’s in the book. If we work smarter, not harder, as they say, it makes it so much easier to reach our goals.

Allan (31:53): That’s one thing I liked about your book Habit That!, was in the back you basically put all these different tools to help us go through. So the appendices are extremely valuable.

Dr. Jaime Hope (32:02): Thank you. And I have free PDF versions on my website as well. It’s all open access. It’s free, it’s available. Download it, print it out, use it however you want. I want people to have this information.

Allan (32:15): So they’re setting SMARTER goals.

Dr. Jaime Hope (32:17): Yes, exactly.

Allan (32:20): One of the things that I think has really gone haywire in America is that we have kind of lost context of what a serving is. A lot of people will say, “I’m eating the right things. I don’t think I’m overeating. I might have a little bit of this or a little bit of that, but I’m not eating that much of it.” And when you get to talking to them, you realize that was probably more than a serving, because the bag has three servings and you ate the bag. Or we go to a restaurant and it’s’ like, “Here’s a 12-ounce steak.” And I’m like, “That’s three servings of beef. Box, please.” You use the hand, which I thought was really, really good. If someone wants to understand what a portion of something is, how can they use their hand as a base guideline?

Dr. Jaime Hope (33:11): I’ve seen products over the years where you can purchase different sizing things for a serving size, but can you imagine taking that into a nice steakhouse? Nobody’s going to invite you to dinner anymore, let’s just put it that way. I always say the power to portion control is in the palm of your hand. So, if you look at your closed fist, that’s generally about a half cup. Looking at servings of grains, if you eat grains and stuff like that; half cup vegetables. You generally want to do at least double that. But that’s approximately the right size. Stretch out your index finger and from that last line, that last joint, till the end – that’s about a teaspoon. So when we were looking at toppings and spreads and stuff like that that are less healthy, sticking to that guide. Now, I’m like you – I’m all for healthy fats. We used to say, “Limit fats to that size”, and I disagree with that; I think we should have healthy fats in more abundance. But if you’re going to have something that’s an unhealthy fat, that’s what you would aim for. And if you look at your thumb, from that line at the end to the end of your thumb – that’s a tablespoon. So you’ve got about a teaspoon on your first finger and a tablespoon on your thumb. And then your open palm is generally about the size of an appropriate serving of meat for your body size. My son is five years old, so if I gave him the size of meat serving for a grown adult, that would be crazy. You can just look at their hand and that’s approximately the size you’re looking for. So if you’re staring down that 12-ounce steak or heaven forbid, the 42-ounce porterhouse…

Allan (34:58): I’ve done that.

Dr. Jaime Hope (35:02): Aiming for something that’s about that size. And what I do at restaurants is, like you said, box. I really do. I will cut the appropriate serving size that I’m going to eat, put the rest in a box and then eat my dinner. Because the longer you sit there in front of it, the more you tend to want to nibble and go. And then we do that thing: “Well, I’m almost done with it, so I might as well finish it.”

Allan (35:23): “There is no sense taking these last three ounces home.”

Dr. Jaime Hope (35:26): “It’s not worth saving, so I might as well eat it.” It’s this hilarious mindset. I have a graphic for this. It’s in the book and it’s also open access. It’s available, so people can take a look at that and see.

Allan (35:38): Cool. And I think that’s really helpful as you’re looking at this, because in a general sense when people are talking about the calories and all of that, if you are off by serving sizes, you can be way off. I’m not going to say “calories in, calories out” is this perfect model, but there is some basis to it. If you eat more calories than your body needs, it has to put it somewhere and it’s going to be putting it as body fat. So, if weight loss, or fat loss is a better term, is something you’re after, portion control is going to be a part of it. That means knowing what portions are and then eating slow enough that your body can say, “Hey, that’s probably enough.”

Dr. Jaime Hope (36:20): It truly has gotten out of hand. If you just go to your average coffee house and order a muffin – those giant things that they’re telling us is a muffin – that’s about four servings. Who cuts up a muffin into quarters and shares it? We have; we’ve gone off the rails. And like you said, we eat it so fast we don’t have time to register that we’re full until it’s a little bit too late. And then we’re stuffed.

Allan (36:44): Now, talking about muffins, you have this term, and I guess it comes from a meme that I hadn’t seen until I read your book, but it’s called “muffin moments”. And I think all of us will relate to these events that happen to us that you call muffin moments. Could you give us a little bit on that?

Dr. Jaime Hope (37:06): I have a fairly ridiculous sense of humor. I love memes, I think they’re hilarious. I’m never tired of seeing them on Facebook. Unfortunately, sometimes I’ll find myself in a rabbit hole of time, just flipping through memes. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I just spent 15 minutes doing that.” But I remember I saw one that was so hilariously ridiculous. It was this giant muffin that had landed on and crushed someone’s car; like a meteor, but a muffin. And the caption of the meme said, “Suddenly, a muffin!” And I remember laughing so hard. That’s how life happens sometimes. You’re driving along and you think, “Worst case scenario, I’m going to get in a traffic jam. And suddenly, a muffin! I wasn’t expecting that.” I’ve definitely had some muffin moments. One of them, I was on the squat machine at the gym and unfortunately I didn’t ask somebody how it worked. I thought I knew what I was doing, I wasn’t pressing that much weight. It was the end of my workout, I was just killing a few more minutes. And my back felt a little stiff while I was doing it. And then as I got off the machine, I could hardly walk. I slipped a disc on the squat press machine at my gym, like an idiot. And I had this great workout plan. I’d had all these things on my calendar, I was super excited, and now I could barely walk. Now I’m 39, I turn 40 this year. This was a couple of years ago, and I’m like, “I’m in my middle 30s and I need a walker. This is awful and ridiculous.” I certainly wasn’t expecting that. That was a bigger muffin than I had planned on. I did the thing where I figured I can just push through it, and made it worse. And then I finally was like, “I’m a very well educated physician. Perhaps I should take my own advice that I give to my patients, rehabilitate this properly.” And even when I was writing this book, I had a two-hour phone call scheduled with my editor and I emailed him in the middle of the night saying, “I just had an emergency appendectomy that I wasn’t really expecting, so can we change our appointment?” So, those things are going to happen. Some of them you can anticipate when you’re doing the roadblocks in your SMARTER goals, and sometimes stuff is just going to hit you. And if you’re really connected with your “Why”, why you want to do this, and that big overall picture of being a healthy person, it makes it easier to stay on track. When I hurt my back, my goal wasn’t to be an Olympic athlete, it was to be a healthy person. So some days all I could do was go for a walk. I went from being a runner to a very slow walker, but not overdoing it, because that’s not consistent with being a healthy person either. So when you’ve got a stable foundation of those, it makes it a lot easier for you when those muffins come along.

Allan (39:55): I had one of my muffin moments. I was training for a Spartan. I’d hired a coach, a personal trainer, Dave. Coach Dave was helping me get stronger and stronger, because I really wanted to make sure for this Spartan, I was able to do the strength part of it. And then I was doing the other stuff because in the Spartan when you can’t do an obstacle or you fail at an obstacle, you have to do 25 burpees. I did a lot of burpees. But what happened was right before the race, about probably two weeks out from the race, I tore a rotator cuff.

Dr. Jaime Hope (40:36): Oh no!

Allan (40:37): And I knew it was torn. I knew it was completely torn when it happened and I knew exactly what I was feeling. Instead of saying all is lost, I said, “What can I do?” So I stopped doing pressing movements and shoulder movements, because those were aggravating the shoulder, but I could still do pulling movements, I could still do all the other lifts that I wanted to do. I just didn’t do the presses as much. We moved it over to the Smith machine. I’m not a huge fan of the Smith machine, or machines, unless you need them for recovery. So we did move to machines; it helped me. I went and I did the Spartan. It was not fun but I got it done, because it was my goal. It was something I really wanted to do. I also skydived that weekend, so it was really cool.

Dr. Jaime Hope (41:35): That’s a great reward!

Allan (41:36): But as soon as we finished the race, I did the skydiving, then I went to the surgeon, did the MRI. I had the surgery on a Thursday, I was meeting with my physical therapist on Monday. So three days later, I’m in PT. And because I had kept moving, I had much better range of motion in the shoulder than he said he’s seen from anyone with a tear close to mine.

Dr. Jaime Hope (42:04): Good for you!

Allan (42:06): And he was used to dealing with college athletes, Division I football players and whatnot. So, I felt pretty good about that. And then I did everything he told me to do. I did all my homework, I did all of it to get my shoulder recovered. So, just realize that these muffin moments are going to happen. You still can find a path forward. You’re going down the highway, the interstate. It’s great to be able to drive down the interstate at 70-75 miles per hour if you’re within the speed limit. And then there’s a traffic jam and your app is telling you to take the next exit and go on the frontage road for five miles. That’s going to slow you down. You’re going to be later than you thought you’d be, but you’re still moving forward.

Dr. Jaime Hope (42:50): That’s a perfect analogy. And one of the reasons that you were able to recover so well was that you had this healthy base. You were already living healthy, so as those things come along, you’re ready. I love how you kept your goal, and I love, on behalf of all clinicians everywhere, that you did your homework. That makes me so happy!

Allan (43:09): I did my homework. I’m a personal trainer and I’ll be the first to admit that – and you have the four pillars in your book – food is probably the most important one relative to health. I even put stress and sleep above exercise, because I’ve seen those hold people back so much more than exercise can move you forward. But if you hurt yourself, go to the doctor, get it fixed, don’t think it’s just going to fix itself. A slipped disc, a torn rotator cuff – we’re going to deal with those things, those muffin moments. Get it fixed. See the physical therapist, get yourself well, and then it’s time to go back to training. Make sure you’re doing the things to heal yourself before you try to tough it through. This is not a grit contest; you’re not going to get any points for grinding your way through things in life.

Dr. Jaime Hope (44:11): There’s no trophy if your arm falls off just because you were too stupid to go get it checked.

Allan (44:18): This is all about taking care of yourself.

Dr. Jaime Hope (44:20): Yes, absolutely.

Allan (44:23): I’ve got one more question. 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. Jaime Hope (44:37): I love this. This is so fun. So, my number one thing is sleep. Please, please, please, sleep more. We are not getting enough sleep. We’re not getting quality sleep. We’re interrupting our sleep with electronics and lights and all this other stuff. Like you said, it’s hard to exercise if you’re exhausted. It’s hard to lose weight with diet if you’re exhausted. It’s honestly hard to function. When you’re sleep deprived a certain number of hours, it’s like taking a shot of whiskey. That’s not how you want to live your life. You’re not having this high level cognitive function, you don’t recover as well, you get sick more often and you can’t hit your other goals. I think it’s that secret one that people don’t focus on enough, so I’m choosing that as my number one – sleep.

Number two – I love to remind people that self-care isn’t selfish. We have this crazy idea that we have to run ourselves into the ground and work a billion hours, because people actually do reward you: “Oh, you worked 60 hours this week. 100 hours? Oh, you’re so amazing! High five!” That’s crazy. If you’re trying to run a high level company or take care of your children or a sick parent or anything, if you’re taking care of yourself and your health is solid, you’ll be so much better able to do all those other things. So you have to make this a priority. You can integrate it in your family time. There are tons of different ways you can do it, but self-care is not selfish.

And number three is, look for the experts. Unfortunately, the diet industry, the whole weight loss health industry, they say 40 billion – I think that’s a conservative estimate. If you’re looking for quackery and gimmicks and crap, I assure you you can find it. So, looking for experts in what you’re doing. If you need help with exercises, talk to a physical trainer, even if you hire them for a few sessions. If you hurt yourself, go to a doctor, go to a physical therapist. Go to the people who know what they’re doing so you can learn how to do it correctly, instead of spending substantially more time trying to fix the mistakes that you made on the backend. So absolutely, the experts are experts for a reason. Listen to audio books, listen to podcasts. These people like Allan are out there. I’ve been listening to the other podcasts and I think this is really helpful. So use the resources of the experts; it’s all at your fingertips.

Allan (47:15): Awesome. Thank you, Jaime. If someone wanted to learn more about you or the book, Habit That!, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Jaime Hope (47:24): My website is DrHopeHealth.com. That’s where I’ve got the free PDFs for the SMARTER goals, the 12 reasons, a bunch of different things that you can print out for free. I run a Facebook group called The HabitThat Tribe for regular, realistic people who are trying to incorporate healthier habits into their lives, whether it’s about stress or diet or anything like that. It’s a supportive tribe for people who are just looking to get healthier. I’m on Twitter @DrHopeHealth, and the book is available on Amazon.

Allan (48:04): Awesome. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/373 and I’ll be sure to have links to all of those there. Dr. Hope, again, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Jaime Hope (48:16): Allan, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you for what you do. It really matters and I am very grateful to be a part of it.

Allan (48:22):Thank you.

I hope that you enjoyed today’s episode and that you took something valuable from it. I work hard to try to bring the best possible guests to the show. Typically, that’s me reaching out to them. Occasionally, publicists will also reach out to me. But it does take some time to get them scheduled and get them on the show and make sure that we’re giving you the best possible content that I can from their book and from what their thoughts are. And I do hope that you’re getting some value out of each and every episode, because I do put a good bit of time into making sure that happens for you.

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