Author Archives: allan
Author Archives: allan
Arguably the #1 expert on getting super strong and fit using only bodyweight exercises, Mark Lauren puts it all together for training sessions that take 9 minutes. We talk about his new book, Strong and Lean: 9-minute daily workouts to build your best body—no equipment, anywhere, anytime.
[00:02:43.690] – Allan
[00:02:46.410] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, how are you today?
[00:02:48.230] – Allan
I'm doing okay. Obviously we record this a couple of weeks ahead, so I'm actually in the United States while we're recording this, and I will be on my way when you're listening to this, I will either be back in Bocas or I'll be on my way back to Bocas. So I've been enjoying the oysters. I'm in a part of the country where that's the thing and so I've been eating the heck out of those and I've had a good bit of Brussels sprouts as well.
[00:03:15.410] – Rachel
Oh, good. Put it when you can.
[00:03:18.870] – Allan
Yeah, I'm doing what I can, but it's all good. I'm feeling pretty good. Rested. Time with families, some rest time. It's been good.
[00:03:28.500] – Rachel
Wonderful. That sounds great.
[00:03:30.520] – Allan
How are things up there?
[00:03:32.410] – Rachel
Good. Now that we're back from our big trip, I've got time to catch up on things, and I just realized that it was two years ago, Allan, that I earned my personal training certificate through NASM, and you invited me to be a part of your podcast. So kind of celebrating a two year anniversary, and I'm really excited.
[00:03:50.130] – Allan
Good. Yeah, I saw the picture on Facebook, and so you obviously got that, and you've since gone on to get your runners coaching certification. And I'm sure there's a lot more ahead because, as you said in your post, we have to get our education, and as a result, it means spending the time, spending the money, investing in yourself to make this happen.
[00:04:14.270] – Rachel
It does. NASM has a couple of classes I'm interested in taking, but so does RRCA. They've got a level two class, and there's another running course that I'd like to take, which teaches us about endurance and ultras and those types of things. So pretty excited to get my name on the list to get on these classes.
[00:04:33.410] – Allan
Good. Enjoy that.
[00:04:34.780] – Rachel
[00:04:35.900] – Allan
All right, are you ready to talk to Mark?
[00:04:37.880] – Rachel
[00:04:38.740] – Allan
[00:04:39.970] – Allan
Mark. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:04:42.630] – Mark
Hey, thanks for having me.
[00:04:44.070] – Allan
So your book is called Strong and Lean: Nine Minute Daily Workouts to Build Your Best Body. No Equipment, Anywhere, Anytime. And I have to say, in going through the workouts and what I know of some of the exercises because I've used them before, and some of them that as I was going through, of course, I got to get on the floor and try a couple of them out. This is a workout that you could start as a beginner, and it's a workout that will serve you even if you were the most advanced athlete. You're going to get a great workout, and it's just nine minutes, so it's really kind of fabulous.
[00:05:21.460] – Mark
Yeah. Thank you for that. Yes. Basically, I'm the author of the book You Are Your Own Gym the Bible of Body Weight Exercises, which published back in 2010 and sold a whole bunch of copies around the world, over a million. But the program in that book, I was just out of the special operations community when I wrote that book, and my understanding sort of a typical person's needs. I was totally not in touch, let's put it that way. And I was training guys to jump out of airplanes and scuba dive, et cetera. That program was I would say it was complex, and it was unnecessarily difficult. So over the next ten years, really, and I think this is always sort of like the learning progression. You figure out what's essential and what's not. Really, this program is a process of me sort of getting rid of all the unnecessary things and sort of distilling everything down to the bare minimum and the absolute essentials that get you the most for the least and making it as simple as possible and then of course, building in progression so you can continue to advance.
[00:06:25.990] – Allan
[00:06:27.130] – Allan
Now, one of the concepts that you got into early in the book which I was kind of fascinated by because it wasn't the way I've ever thought about it but once you got down that train of thought I was like Mark's absolutely right, is locomotion. Can you talk a little bit about locomotion and why that is fitness.
[00:06:47.830] – Mark
Right? So there's a couple of ways to describe it and the first way is when we work out what we're trying to achieve is the best possible overall gains. We're trying to get the best gains in overall performance. Right? And one of the problems with exercise a lot of times and I realized this long ago, especially as a special ops guy, etc. is that exercise, whatever it is that you do, you only get good at that thing. Like maybe you're lifting weights and you're getting stronger in the gym but in a lot of other ways you're getting less athletic. That tends to be a problem with a lot of different things. So I was really trying to figure out what is it that we actually need so that we can specifically focus on it and get the most benefit out of our training, out of our energy. And what I finally realized is the common denominator for all activities is locomotion. And then I think a really good example of the importance of locomotion can be seen in how infants and children learn to move. Right? It's all about locomotion. They begin in a backline position and then they begin to base.
[00:07:55.890] – Mark
The first thing they really learn is to stabilize their head which is spinal stabilization. Once they can stabilize their head they start doing arm and leg movements, right? So basically hip and joint movements start to develop and that's the simplest form of locomotion. That's basically single joint locomotion. So when I move my arm from one point to another point that's a form of locomotion. It's simple though, right? And then we start to combine those different hip and shoulder movements until eventually what do we have? We have a weight shift to one side or the other and that's the first example of rolling. Basically, now you have locomotion that involves your tire body moving and then let's say eventually you get to a frontline position and just some random combinations. You eventually learn to build up to a crawling position and now you have again a slightly more complex locomotion where you then learn to crawl, you then learn to build up. You learn to basically weight shift and take your first step so that you end up in a single kneeling position and then you eventually build up to a standing position. So the things that the athletic ability that we develop first in life is basically spinal stabilization, single joint movements, and then we learn the developmental movements, which is how to transition between lying, kneeling and standing positions.
[00:09:18.040] – Mark
And that's really where the foundation of athletic ability is developed. You need spinal stabilization and you have basically control of weight shifting. So then when you learn to walk or run or sprint, you have rhythmic side to side weight shifting through coordinated hip and shoulder movement and a little bit of rotation around the spine. And that's something that you use everywhere. Think about it. Like when you throw a punch or if you throw a ball, you have a lateral weight shift with coordinated hip and shoulder movement and rotation around the spine. And the examples of that are endless. So really, like if I'm trying to get you the best possible results in overall improvements of performance with the least amount of energy, it makes sense for me to design my exercise programs so that you improve the skills needed for locomotion.
[00:10:09.010] – Allan
Okay. Now a lot of us, when we think about exercise, it's typically going to be we're going to be doing weights of some sort in the weight room, in the gym maybe, or at home, or we're going to be running. Those are the kind of the two primary paradigms. When you say exercise, that's where most people's heads go. Why is that not the best way for us to approach this?
[00:10:31.450] – Mark
I think you can run and I think you can lift weights. I actually do both of those things. I think that you just have to have an understanding that you should do those things in a way so that you get the best possible overall results and you don't become too specialized. Right? So for example, there's a lot of guys at the gym with really big muscular bodies and they're really strong in the gym. But to be totally honest, if you were to take them on a long hike or for a short swim, they wouldn't make it, right? I think when it comes to truly fitness, which I define as preparedness, being fit just needs to be prepared. You're ready. And I would say fitness is about general preparedness. So when you do those things, you want to do them in a way so that you don't become worse at the thing that you need most, which is locomotion. So if you were to lift weights, combining it maybe with a little bit of running and walking especially would not be a bad idea. So really, I think you can do those things. They're not bad, and if you enjoy them, I tell people absolutely continue doing them.
[00:11:37.480] – Mark
But I think what we really need is we need an understanding of the fundamental athletic skills that you have to maintain in order to have a long, healthy, strong life. I think longevity depends largely on the strength of our foundation, which is made up of those fundamentals that I've mentioned. So you have to systematically train. You have to basically train your posture. And what does good posture means? It means basically being able to maintain a neutral spine, basically a long spine that's in the middle. You want to maintain all your joint functions, especially for your hips, spine, and shoulders. Right. You want to learn to move your arms and legs around a neutral spine and to be able to control weight shifting. And as long as you systematically develop those fundamentals, then really that lays really solve the foundation for you to do anything else, such as running, such as weight lifting. And that's what my nine minute programs do, so they're a great compliment in addition to being a standalone program.
[00:12:41.430] – Allan
Okay, now what do you think about machines then?
[00:12:44.530] – Mark
The problem with machines is really I talk, for example, about posture and weight shifting, right? Like weight shifting really is balance, but it's balance in motion, which is what we need. The problem with machines is, sure, you're training different joint functions, but a lot of times you're only training joint functions on the sagittal plane, which is basically forward, back, up and down movements. You don't have lateral movement, you don't have rotation, you don't have circumduction, which is making circles, and you have absolutely no need for balance or the ability to maintain a neutral spine while you're performing these functions. If you become really strong on these machines, but you're unable to maintain a neutral spine or good posture while you're exerting force, you're going to be more prone to injury, and your performance just will not be optimal, especially if you have poor posture in conjunction with the inability to control weight shift and basically poor balance and coordination. So there's a lot more to strength than just being able to exert force. There's fundamental athletic skills that we have to learn, and machines won't do that for you.
[00:13:51.740] – Allan
Yeah, and as you said earlier, if you practice something, you get good at it. So we get good at lifting on that particular machine that doesn't necessarily relate to real world strength.
[00:14:01.700] – Mark
I mean, that's exactly it. Adaptation tends to be pretty specific. That's why we have to be very clear about what it is that we're trying to develop.
[00:14:08.350] – Allan
Okay, now you've talked a little bit about posture, but let's dive in a little bit deeper. You sort of defined it, but let's redefine posture. And why is that so important to functional movement?
[00:14:20.490] – Mark
Okay, so first of all, posture mainly refers typically, it refers mainly to the alignment of your spine, right? And the spine is really that's your nervous system. I mean, it's not your actual nervous system. It's a part of your skeletal system that on which your nervous system depends. Right, so we have to protect our nervous system. Posture is the alignment of the spine and the place where so here's a good question. We talked about posture. We said that it's the alignment of the spine. And we often talk about good posture. And a lot of times we know that good posture tends to be when you're straight, right? Or your spine is relatively straight, it's neutral, meaning that it's in the middle. So why is the middle the right place for you to be? Right? That's the question. And the reason is that when you're not an flexion, you're not an extension, you're in the middle. That's where your safest. Because think about it, when you're at an extreme range of motion, like take any of your joints, if you're at an extreme end range of a joint's function, that's where you're most likely to get injured, right?
[00:15:33.510] – Mark
If you're in the middle, that's where you're safest because that's where you have the most room for error in the middle. It's a little bit like if you are standing way up on a little platform up in the air, where do you want to be standing on that little tiny platform? You want to be in the middle, right? So all these joints, you want them stacked on top of each other and neutrally aligned, meaning in the middle. So one, it's the safest. Two also is that the transfer of energy is going to be best when everything is neutrally aligned in the middle. When you have a long, straight, neutral spine, which you see typically for most sports, athletes do really well. They're doing that because it's safe and the transfer of energy is easiest like that. So it's about efficiency and safety, really.
[00:16:25.220] – Allan
Okay. Now, in the book you went into a little bit about motivation. Can you talk about your opinion about motivation? Because I think a lot of people get into working out and they just really struggle to keep after it when anything gets in their way and kind of bust their bubble. Can you talk about motivation?
[00:16:43.820] – Mark
Yes, motivation is so I don't get into cheerleading. And I think really the best way to motivate people is the way our behavior develops. It's about cost versus benefit. And when there's a behavior that is low cost, meaning low energy or low energy and low time, and the benefit of the reward is high in comparison to the cost, then that behavior tends to get repeated, right? And the reverse of that is also true. So if you have a high cost, certain behavior requires a lot of energy and a lot of time, and then there's a small reward, then the chance of that behavior continuing goes way, way down. And that's just simply understanding how we function as humans. And it makes a lot of sense. So I think one of the biggest problems in fitness is actually doing too much. And doing too much causes you to do too little, if that makes sense. Because in the beginning, in order for you to adapt and get results, you actually need very, very little because it's a new form of stimulus. So usually what we do is we go to the gym, we drive 20, 30 minutes.
[00:18:05.060] – Mark
Then you're using a bunch of machines doing strength training for, let's say, 30, 40 minutes. Then maybe you're doing some cardio and then you're driving home, let's call it an hour and a half, even if it's just an hour. So the cost there in time is pretty significant, especially if you're doing it three to five times a week. The cost of energy is super high. Right. And it's much more than you need. So there's a really high cost and time and energy. Then you're probably super sore for the next five days. We've all experienced that we did too much. Probably ten minutes would have been totally fine. So now the behavior was high cost, you're getting punished for it. And the results are not really they don't justify the cost. So the behavior tends to stop. That's a big part of the design of these nine minute exercise programs, actually, in the beginning of these nine minute so Strong and Lean comes with four six week cycles. And the nine minute workouts in the beginning, they start easy, actually. And you'll be surprised that in the beginning, you actually need very little to make good progress.
[00:19:13.310] – Mark
And doing more doesn't accelerate your progress. It just makes it less likely that you're going to stay consistent. So, again, the way this exercise program is designed is with an understanding of how we adapt and how we function.
[00:19:27.190] – Allan
Yeah. So let's dive in a little bit more into the program because a lot of aspects of it, one being nine minutes, I think that's something that just about anybody can free up nine minutes. Well, a little bit longer with a warm up and a cool down. But in general, we're talking less than a total of probably 15 minutes to be ready to get this done. And we're doing it like three times a week. Two or three times a week. Right. Can you just talk about the program and how it's put together and how people would progress through it?
[00:19:56.370] – Mark
Sure. So, like I said, the book has four six week cycles. In the first cycle, you're training just three times a week, monday, Wednesday, Friday. And the workouts require nothing but floor space. You're doing each 9 minute workout consists of three exercises that are repeated for three rounds. So basically, each exercise is allocated 1 minute. So you're doing three exercises for 1 minute each, which is three minutes, and then you're doing three rounds of that, which is nine minutes. But doing an exercise for a minute straight, like, let's take an example that everybody's familiar with. Like, to do a straight minute of pushups is actually very difficult. Right? So you could actually probably take some easy variation of the push up and then just do 40 seconds of it, rest 20 seconds, then do the next exercise for 40 seconds, rest 20 seconds, and so on. Right? And that's how the program structured, where there's a work interval and a rest interval and then it goes on to the next exercise. And as the weeks progress, the work duration increases and the rest intervals decrease. And those changes in intervals make a big difference. The first exercise is always a floor exercise designed to improve your posture, which will work your upper back, your core or your hips.
[00:21:21.320] – Mark
The second exercise is a mobility exercise. And then the third exercise is a standing exercise that improves your ability, basically standing movements that's going to be more your legs, your spinal erectors to work, weight shifting. As the cycles progress, you go from three times a week to four times a week and eventually five times a week. So the overall training volume increases. And additionally, starting in cycle three, we have nine minute circuits specifically designed for strength training. So they're a little less mobility based and more focused on strength. And those have a pushing exercise, a pulling exercise and a leg exercise where you have the option to also hold a weight and those get really tough. All these programs have progressions built into them and systematically cover all the fundamental athletic skills that you need to perform optimally and to develop a good strong body.
[00:22:21.500] – Allan
And what I like is after the first workout, the first workout, of course you have to introduce a whole bunch of exercises, but after that you really only roll in one kind of new thing at a time. So they're learning something new, they're doing something a little different. So there's some variety in there. But it's not overwhelming that there's 300 exercises that you're going to do all given to you and you're just trying to figure them out as you're doing them, you'll learn them, you'll get better at this stuff and then they start progressing. And I like how a lot of these are set up to progress. And then I guess the premise would be you go through the four six week cycles and then you can just go back and repeat week three, week four, and you can just make that a cycle that's going to give you some periodization and it's just going to allow you to continue to progress.
[00:23:09.730] – Mark
Right, exactly. So, yeah, just trying to make everything as simple and easy as possible, honestly, to get people the best possible results with the least amount of time and effort. So after the first workout, I never introduced more than one new exercise. But each new workout you'll get one tip on how to perform one of the exercises better. So there's gradual learning and introduction of new exercises. And at the end, if you complete all four six week cycles, then at the end of that book, we say that you can continue to repeat cycles three and four indefinitely. I have a subscription platform, mark lauren on Demand, which is a suite of apps for iOS, Android, Roku, et cetera. And there I actually have five cycles, and the training can continue there as well.
[00:23:53.780] – Allan
[00:23:55.750] – Allan
Like I said, it's really good. And the thing about it is the book has good demonstration pictures to show you the movements, and you're performing them as the guy. A lot of pictures. A lot of pictures there. And the descriptions of the movements are really good. One of the things that I kind of pride myself with is some of my clients are blind. And coaching a blind client that can't look at a picture, look at a video and describing the exercise, that's not an easy talent. But it's something you also seem to have with the way that you describe each of the movements in the book. So kudos for that.
[00:24:32.680] – Mark
Thank you. I really appreciate that.
[00:24:34.370] – Allan
Mark, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:24:42.490] – Mark
To stay well? So me being a fitness guy, I try to really clearly define everything. And I already said that I think fitness, it's about preparedness, it's about general preparedness. And I think general preparedness is really about the fundamentals. If you think about fitness as a whole, you could break it down into usually you hear three parts. You hear about food, nutrition, movement, and recovery, right? Those are the fundamentals of life. Like, if you don't have those, you will not survive. So I really think fitness is about doing those things really well. I think fitness is about doing the basic, most common things really well and continuing to learn how to do them better. And I think a big part of wellness and fitness is valuing and caring about the right things. And I think a lot of times, especially by marketing and our culture, were sort of seduced by shiny, complex things. But the real value, the things that really make us healthy and happy and fit and prepared are the basic, common, day to day things. And so my expertise is in the movement part of fitness. And again, there I think it's about the basics.
[00:25:54.850] – Mark
It's about basically those fundamental athletic skills that you learned earliest in life. I think it's my job to refine them, to clearly define what those things are so that we can improve them, refine them, and maintain them. Because think about it, what is it that you lose later in life? You start to lose your posture. Joint functions go away, and then our ability to control weight shifting goes away, and we start to fall, and we become insecure about getting up and down off the ground, like you're no longer able to get down and get up off the ground so easily. Right? So my fitness program, largely on the movement part of fitness and well being, is really about maintaining those basic fundamental skills that are always being used so you can move well into old age. And then if you want a strong, beautiful body that you have the joint alignment needed to basically be able to take the stress to build muscle and to burn all those calories. So, simply put out, I think it's about valuing fundamentals.
[00:26:55.810] – Allan
Thank you. So, Mark, if someone wanted to learn more about you and the programs and the book Strong and Lean, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:27:04.690] – Mark
marklauren.com has obviously all my information. I have instagram marklaurentraining. My book is available at any major bookseller and also Amazon.com. Yeah, I think it's the main places. marklauren.com, I have Facebook, Instagram, and I actually just started TikTok page a few days ago.
[00:27:27.050] – Mark
You got to do what you got to do.
[00:27:28.800] – Allan
You got to do what you got to do. Mark, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:27:31.990] – Mark
Hey, I really appreciate you having me on here.
[00:27:43.170] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:27:44.670] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. This is yet another book I need to add to my bookshelf. I love nine minutes.
[00:27:51.710] – Allan
Yes, he is one of the fittest people I've seen in a long, long time. And he demonstrates all of the exercises in the book. And part of what I know is when you have a photographer taking pictures and you're doing it, you end up doing multiple, multiple reps. So you're doing the reps and you perhaps trying to hold yourself in some of the positions for the pictures so that you get a good image of the bottom position or the top position. So I know some of the work he did to just even do this book was just fantastic. So very fit guy. And body weight.
[00:28:31.020] – Rachel
That's great. And I love body weight. I know that it gets a bad rap and a lot of fitness circles, but body weight movements are so important. And I can tell you that they've helped me a ton with staying healthy and strong for running. So I can't say enough good things about it.
[00:28:47.080] – Allan
Yeah, I like moving heavy weights. But he's right when he starts talking about locomotion being one of the core components, strength and control, locomotion. And so the exercises he has in the book are not necessarily they're not power movements and they obviously don't require any equipment. But I can just tell you, you can get really strong. And the exercises he has in there are varied. So the first time he's adding a whole bunch of exercises and then it's like each training after that, he's just adding one new exercise. So you're not having to learn a whole bunch of exercises. What happens is through the course of doing the training, you're incorporating different movements. And so this is a cycle thing, basically a periodized process. And at the end, you'll have a very balanced program for full body strength and control. And you'll be locomotive. I mean, you'll be able to do a lot of things you can't do.
[00:29:53.360] – Rachel
Now, what I love about it is that one, it's simple. It's simple and it doesn't take that much time, but it delivers a big bang for the buck. And I think that's what we need in our lives, especially all of us that are really busy with other jobs and child responsibilities and school and work and all the things. I mean, nine minutes, or like you said, 15 with a warm up and a cool down. 15 minutes, that's not that hard to squeeze that into a day and get a big bang for the buck.
[00:30:22.150] – Allan
Yeah, if you can't squeeze 15 minutes, then you're not committed to this. This is just not going to happen. 15 minutes is nothing. Three times a week, that's 45 total minutes. You spend more time than that on the toilet.
[00:30:42.430] – Rachel
Social media and binge watching our favorite TV shows and whatever. Yeah, we could definitely.
[00:30:51.070] – Allan
This is a good way if you do feel that you're just so time strapped. And like, I can't work out because I'm 06:00 until 11:00 every single day. And I'm like, no, probably not every single day, but you can get in 15 minutes.
[00:31:05.590] – Rachel
And the other thing, too, it doesn't sound like he requires a lot of weights or bands or any equipment. So this is also something that can go with you. You're traveling right now. I was traveling a little while ago when we're not home or can't get to the gym or like up here in Michigan. I'll be snowed in pretty soon this winter and can't go anywhere. It would be great just to have some simple, quick body weight movements and it's enough to keep it going.
[00:31:31.300] – Allan
Yeah. And the investment in this book is a lot cheaper than buying yourself weight equipment and a stationary bike and all the other stuff that you would have. And because of the nature of what he's doing, it's not so hyper specialized like he was talking about, where you're just building strength in a range. So I have strong legs from doing squats and I have strong chest from doing presses. That's great. But some of the exercises he has are going at angles that you would never be able to accomplish on a bench. You're pulling and pushing in very different ways. So it's a lot more balanced than I think a lot of people can do if they're just going and doing the exercise. Particularly if you like the machines and you're spending all of your time on the machines.
[00:32:17.830] – Rachel
Well, it's interesting you mentioned that, too, because right after I listen to this podcast, I had to run up and buy some softener salts for a water softener in our house. The bags are 40 lbs. It's an awkward carry. So I'm doing the farmer's carry, trying to get them from my garage down to the basement. But you need that stability. You need that foundation of a strong posture, a strong back strong abs in order for my arms to dangle 40 pound bags of softener salt and not fall over, fall down the stairs. So it was just really timely that having that foundation of strength is a great place to start.
[00:32:55.790] – Allan
Yeah. Like I said, he's super fit. So don't think you're beyond what he's doing in this book, because I can tell you, you're not. Professional athletes would struggle with some of these movements at first until they learned them and got good at them and built the strength to hold themselves and have the right posture and do the things they needed to do. And so none of this is going to be easy. If you're doing it right, it's all going to challenge you and it's going to make you stronger and better.
[00:33:24.740] – Rachel
I love that. That sounds really exciting. This is in my Amazon box already.
[00:33:30.010] – Allan
Good. All right, well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.
[00:33:34.000] – Rachel
Great. Take care, Allan.
[00:33:35.550] – Allan
[00:33:36.420] – Rachel
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Many of us lose weight only to regain it again. Over and over we go through the yoyo, up and down. In Dr. Katrina Ubell's book, How to Lose Weight for the Last Time: Brain-Based Solutions for Permanent Weight Loss she shares how to get off that rollercoaster for good.
[00:03:56.310] – Allan
Dr. Ubell. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:03:59.010] – Dr. Ubell
Thank you so much. I'm so glad to be here.
[00:04:01.570] – Allan
So today we're going to talk about your book, How to Lose Weight for the Last Time: Brain-based Solutions for Permanent Weight Loss, and I don't think there's anyone listening to this that ever tried to lose weight for the last time. They almost feel like we're always, in this cycle of trying to lose weight, gain the weight back, not really understand why we can't really lock these things in. What I like about your book is that it really does kind of address all of it. And what I mean by that is it clearly defines that this is a mindset problem first.
[00:04:37.300] – Dr. Ubell
[00:04:38.150] – Allan
And then after we deal with some of the mindset stuff, which I think is probably a lifelong journey, then you put together kind of a protocol that can help us make this easier, make this more automatic, and then we develop the right habits, and then we have a sustainable lifestyle, and then the weight comes off.
[00:04:58.200] – Dr. Ubell
And that's how we keep the weight off, too.
[00:05:00.160] – Allan
That's how we keep it off, too. Yeah, perfect. So it's a really good book for anyone who's wondered why they yoyo and wondered why, it just seems like there's somebody else in my head making me do things that I don't want to do. I tell myself I'm not going to eat the animal crackers.
[00:05:19.270] – Dr. Ubell
And then, lo and behold, I'm stuffing my face with them. Like, I don't understand what's happening.
[00:05:24.110] – Allan
Right. So let's talk about that from the over hunger and over desire perspective.
[00:05:30.630] – Dr. Ubell
Yes. So I think that the way I try to approach this is it's definitely a mindset based approach, and that's very important. I think that we really focus on food and how we eat and what we eat a bit too much, sometimes a lot too much. But there's also some basics in terms of just how our bodies function. Well, just like human physiology, that when we work with our bodies instead of against them, the whole process of doing this is so much more comfortable. So in my opinion, if you can get to a place where the way that you're eating while weight is coming off is supportive to you, you feel satiated, you feel energetic, your digestion is good, you're sleeping well, it's a lot easier from that place to then look at the emotional aspects. Right. The mindset issues, like all those other reasons why we're asking food to solve our problems for us, we can address that a lot better compared to when we're white knuckling it with our food. We're starving all the time. We're overeating, like a lot of drama around, like, I shouldn't have had that and I can't go to that thing because they're going to have this there and I won't be able to control myself and the distraction from doing the real work that we need to do.
[00:06:46.050] – Dr. Ubell
So many people will talk about how they just feel hunger all the time, or inappropriate hunger, or they feel like they can only go a couple of hours before they're hungry. Or a lot of people are actually very fearful of experiencing hunger. And I just want to mention that there definitely are people who come from a background of lack where maybe they did really go hungry as a child or as a younger adult. And there are some issues around that. There's a lot of emotional issues too. So I don't want to downplay that when I say hunger is okay, it's like, yeah, but as long as it's feeling tolerable and not like clobbering you over the head, like you feel like you're going to pass out and faint and that kind of thing. So the best way to address over hunger is to get our hormones to function the way they're supposed to function. Essentially, I think it was like hitting the reset button on our bodies. If humans have been around for 200,000 years, it's really just the last really even just a couple of hundred years that a lot of foods have been so available, but really only more like the last 30 to 40 years where these foods are everywhere and they're relatively inexpensive and it's getting harder and harder than not eat them.
[00:07:53.990] – Dr. Ubell
So you have to understand our bodies have not adapted. So when we're eating highly refined food, when we're eating a lot of foods that contain sugar and refined flour, it messes with the way your body functions. Of course, in the book I go into more detail about that, but because of the way our bodies respond to that, when we feel hunger, it feels much more like an emergency. It feels really extreme. It feels like your stomach is eating itself or your stomach's eating your spine. Or like people talk about being hungry, the combination of hungry and angry, it's like you're so mad about being hungry. All of that is like kind of funny. We laugh about it, but it's actually not normal to experience hunger in that way. And so when we take a break from regular flour and sugar consumption and I'm not saying you can't ever have it again, I'm just saying you're taking a break. It's like rebooting your phone or rebooting your computer. You're just like taking a minute to pause and let everything settle back down. So what you notice then is the hunger that you experience is much more gentle.
[00:08:57.690] – Dr. Ubell
I think of it as like when you have been eating all that stuff, like the hunger can feel like a wave crashing over you. Just, like, pummeling you. But when you've stopped eating it and everything is evened out, it feels like a little Caribbean wave lapping at your ankles. It's just a real subtle, soft little suggestion. Hey, you could eat or not, doesn't matter. It's okay. Because humans never had food so readily available. There were lots of times for the vast majority of human existence that humans were hungry and didn't eat, and they didn't collapse, they didn't faint. No, they had energy, and they went and found some food. They went and created whatever they needed to, whether it was hunting or gathering or whatever. So that's the first thing with over hunger. And it's one of those things where often we don't even recognize how extreme the hunger is until we're not feeling it anymore. And then we start going, wait a minute, this is, like, incredible. Who knew this was possible to not really be that hungry? Like, wow, it's really not that hard to not overeat when you're not that hungry. It makes it a lot easier.
[00:10:01.000] – Dr. Ubell
Like, my experience with dieting over decades was the opposite extreme hunger. Just feeling this incessant, constantlying hunger that was just very much a means to an end, so I could just try to get this weight off. So that's what we deal with with over hunger from an over desire standpoint. Over desire, to me, just means wanting food more than is appropriate for the amount of food that your body needs. So of course it makes sense, because food keeps us alive, that we would want to prioritize food, at least to a certain extent, and that our brains would do that. But what happens for those of us who have over desire, who are overeating? I always kind of think of it as like if you've ever sat in a meeting around a conference table and someone brought some treats and they're in the middle of the table and it's like cookies or something, cookie platter. And everyone's having the meeting, but you're having intrusive thoughts about the cookies, and is someone going to take one and are they going to pass it around? And like, what if no one takes one, but I really want one, and would it be weird if I grab one now?
[00:11:01.190] – Dr. Ubell
Is it weird if I'm the first one to take one? What if everybody leaves and no one's taking one? Like, maybe I should just sneak back and grab one. I don't know if you've experienced that, but just, like, literally..
[00:11:10.750] – Allan
Sitting in a conference room, they bring in lunch and they set it over there on the counter, and you can smell it and you can see it, and the lunch is right there and the dude's talking, and now like teachers, like, wah wah.
[00:11:20.920] – Dr. Ubell
you can't even pay attention.
[00:11:22.910] – Dr. Ubell
Yes, exactly 100%. So that's over desire. I remember looking at other people and like, they don't seem to care that there's cookies on this table. Why can I not think about anything else. That's because our brains have gotten confused in thinking like, this is essential for survival. It's extremely important, and you better eat it right now because bad things are going to happen if you don't essentially is what's happening there. And so that's a combination of the way our brains respond to eating more processed foods that contain more sugar and flour. Of course, taking a break from that really helps with over desire, too. But we also, most of us are not aware of how the weight, like our beliefs and our thoughts about food, how that creates over desire. So if you have thoughts or beliefs around certain foods, like your favorite things or your trigger foods, like, I can't control myself around that food. It's my favorite. If that's around me, forget it. I'm going to eat everything. If I see that there's no chance that I'm not going to eat that. And we think we're just conveying the news. Like, we're just like, hey, just letting you know what the facts are.
[00:12:27.900] – Dr. Ubell
But really what that is, is a story we're telling ourselves about our behavior around this food. We're telling ourselves we should think this way, feel this way around this food, and act this way around this food. And that actually creates a lot of excess desire. So we want to get to a place, I always call it peace and freedom around food. And what that means to me is you can be around all of those foods, all of your favorite foods, all of the things that are historically difficult for you to control yourself around. And it's not like you hate them or you think they're gross or anything like that. They're just not that important to you anymore. If you eat it, you know, it'll taste good and that's fine. Or you could also just as easily not eat it and you're totally fine as well. It's really a place of confidence and control and power, really. Right. Because you've taken the power back from the food, right? Like, from controlling you. We think the food has the power, then the food controls us. When the food is just this inert substance that happens to be digestible, it's just sitting there like it has no power over us.
[00:13:30.740] – Dr. Ubell
It's our thoughts about it, to have the power. So that's what we want to work on. We want to understand that, yes, there's certain ways that help our bodies to have more of an appropriate amount of desire for food, but also really looking at the contribution that our thoughts and beliefs have around food, because that makes a huge difference. I've done it myself on many I mean, just to give you an example, it's not actually in the book. This is actually after I lost my weight, I was finding myself eating peanut butter, like, spoonful out of the container, you know, and like, one spoonful, whatever. And then it was starting to get to be more and more. And I remember the day that I kept going back for another spoonful, and I looked in the container, and I was like, I think I've eaten literally a cup of peanut butter in the last however long, 30 minutes or something. And that felt like an absolute brick in my stomach. It did not feel good, yet I still was, like, wanting that emotional I wanted to feel different than how I was feeling. And so I was asking the peanut butter to do that, and I was realizing, like, I'm having intrusive thoughts about going back and having another scoop of peanut butter.
[00:14:34.210] – Dr. Ubell
So I have over desire for this, and so I had to do that at work to remove that excess desire. And now I have peanut butter in my pantry all the time. I have children. We have peanut butter. And I literally never think of it. I can have it if I want it. And also, most of the time I just don't care. I can eat it or not eat it. It doesn't matter to me. And that is that peace and freedom around food, whatever the food is, I'm going to be okay.
[00:14:59.160] – Allan
Let's talk a little bit about that because I think the peace and freedom aspect of this is kind of where we're breaking away from the cycle. And most of us, when we're gaining weight and we can't keep the weight off, we're in this cycle, we're emotionally bound to the food. We're over hungry, over desire, or both. And so there's this cycle, and to really to break through this cycle and use it for our own benefit, we've got to separate the fact that there's this reptilian brain that just thinks, feels, does over and over. So that's why we repeat these cycles, and they get ingrained and they're wired and they're in their habits. And to break that, to get to where we want to be with peace and freedom, with food, we've got to turn on the human part of the brain and kind of break through those things and create and rewire. Can you talk about the thinking cycle and how that all puts us either in a bad circle or a good circle?
[00:16:03.250] – Dr. Ubell
Yeah, the thinking cycle is something that comes from cognitive behavioral therapy. So if any listeners have ever participated in that, they might be familiar with us. It was created by Aaron Beck, who's a psychiatrist, but I'm not a therapist. But we can learn a lot from this for our purposes we can still utilize it. And really what it comes down to is that the way we think, our interpretation of whatever is happening in the world around us, our experience of life, those are our thoughts, and we get to choose what those thoughts are. If you've ever changed your mind about something, if you've ever decided to reframe a certain thing that happened to yourself, like, we know we can do this, we can decide to think differently. That doesn't mean we always have to or should, but it is available to us. If we want to do that, then the way that we think creates our feelings or emotions. I use those terms interchangeably. And that's really like the result of you thinking of thought, which is just two neurons in your brain having a synaptic connection, like a chemical connection. There's a whole chemical cascade that's triggered in our bodies.
[00:17:03.170] – Dr. Ubell
And that's our feeling. If you think about maybe the feeling of being really nervous, for me, nervous is always the easiest one. Like that butterfly feeling in your stomach. But maybe it's like anger or maybe it's even like your heart is going to split open from joy or love for somebody like that's all a result of the way that we're thinking. And then the way that we feel drives our actions. And that's like what we do, but it's also what we don't do. When we're talking about weight loss, often there's inaction, right? You're saying, why don't we do the things we know we should? And why do we do the things we know we shouldn't, right? It's all coming from the way we think and feel. And that's what's driving our actions, whether it's things that are supportive or not. So if you're thinking thoughts that create feelings that drive you to overeat or to eat more food than your body needs, or maybe a combination of foods that doesn't really serve your body, there's going to be a result to that and that result will probably be weight gain. Or it could be just stagnation plateau, just not losing, if that's what one of your goals is.
[00:18:04.050] – Dr. Ubell
And so what we do when we're typically dieting is we focus on the actions, right? Everybody is saying, hey, eat this way, don't eat that way, exercise this way, don't exercise that way. And here's the thing. If you do those things regularly, it will work for most people. I mean, I've done all kinds of things and I have lost weight, but I always gained it back again or I wasn't willing to continue doing it. Whatever it was, it just wasn't going to be something that was going to work out for me long term. So when we still have the old thoughts and feelings that drive the action of overeating, which creates weight gain, and we just try to take different actions, you know, we're white knuckling it through. We're forcing ourselves trying to use will power to take different actions. We can get some results for a while. But the problem is we still are thinking and feeling that old way that drives the action of overeating. And so we have to understand that better. So when it comes to the brain, I like to keep it super simple. I'm not a neurologist, and I don't think any of us need to be to understand what's happening in our brains.
[00:19:05.440] – Dr. Ubell
We need to recognize that there are two different parts involved in decision making. The first part, like you call it the primitive or the reptilian brain, I call it the primitive brain. I mean, it's an important part of our brain. It's really what helps keep us alive. It's not bad, it's just much less mature. And so I think of it as more like a toddler. Toddlers live in the moment, right? They're not thinking about next week. They don't even know what tomorrow is, right? But they're just like, what do I want to do right now that's going to be fun and make me feel good? And that part of us is like, I don't feel like doing that today, I don't feel like eating that. Let's order pizza. That's, that part of us that is just like forget what the plans are, I want to feel good right now. Then there's the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of our brain that makes us human, that separates us from the animals. It's not just about survival, it's really about thinking for the future. It's able to think about the past, it's able to plan. It's much more sophisticated.
[00:20:02.870] – Dr. Ubell
And I think of that part of the brain more as like the supervising mother of the toddler. And so that's what we want to be doing. We want to recognize there's nothing wrong with having that primitive brain. It has an important role but also it needs supervision. You can't just let toddlers run amok alone unsupervised in the house. Like bad things happen if you do that. So what we want to do is access that more wise part of our brain that is going to be keeping our overall best interests at heart. And we want to rely on that as much as we can. And one of the best ways I know to do that is to plan for the future. So like if you plan your food in advance, meaning like maybe the night before you go, OK, these are the things I'm going to eat. And it doesn't have to be involved just like the basics of what you're going to have. Then the next day, like when you've had a stressful morning and you're at work and you don't really feel like eating that lunch that you made, that's on plan for you.
[00:20:53.760] – Dr. Ubell
And supportive, it doesn't really matter if you feel like it or not, all you have to do is follow your plan. You know that the plan was made from that prefrontal cortex and there's not really anything up for discussion. There's no argument that needs to happen. There's no negotiations to kind of remind myself that not every meal has to be the very best thing you've ever eaten. It's okay if you don't really want to have that. And what I also want to say is that I'm a really big proponent that everything that you eat, make sure it tastes good to you. I spent so many years, forcing myself to eat all kinds of wacky, diet foods and weird recipes that I didn't even like. We're not doing that right. Let's actually eat food that is palatable to us, that we enjoy. So it's not a hardship to eat on plan. Like, maybe it would be fun to have the tortilla chips. That was always my thing. Like, the pharmaceutical reps would bring in these huge bags of tortilla chips, and I was just like, mindlessly eating them? I love them. It's like, yeah, those could be good.
[00:21:48.380] – Dr. Ubell
But you know what? I can also go to queued up. I can get those chips anytime I want to. So I don't need to eat them now because I didn't plan for them now, but later if I want to plan for them, I can because I'm thinking from that prefrontal cortex. So I think that's kind of a simplified version of how to think about it. But it also doesn't have to be so complicated. So much of weight loss, I feel like, has become so complicated and time consuming, and it just doesn't have to be.
[00:22:12.590] – Allan
I think the key here is we have to slow down a little bit. Too many times we find ourselves mindlessly doing something or just automatically doing something, and then that typically leads to shame or anger or frustration, which is not productive. So what we have to do is look at this process, and when we've done something that we didn't plan to do, break it down. Okay. What was I feeling? What was I thinking? What was going on? And then the next time we kind of find ourselves in that space, and maybe it's a point in time. You mentioned that you were doing your charts. Basically, you got into a cycle, and it was just that, I'm going to do this, I'm going to do that. And then that just happened, and you caught yourself. And so from that point, you basically slowed yourself down. You kind of put some space there. And I think that's really where the rubber hits the road here.
[00:23:09.680] – Dr. Ubell
Yeah, I think of it as like, there's like a potential space there's, like something that happens if something happens for you, and you get the idea, I want to go eat something, or what do we have to eat? Let me see what we have to eat, or whatever the thought is, right, I'm going to move my way toward the pantry or the freezer or whatever it is, wherever the food is. And so often we say, like, I don't know why I was just eating it, or before I knew what happened, I was eating it, or it was all gone. It's like we kind of almost go into a fog, but also when it is so habitual to do these things and to cope in our lives with food, there isn't a lot of thought happening there because it becomes like the brain is very efficient and this is just what we do. It just basically down regulates the whole decision making process so that you just don't have to think so hard about it. You don't have to think about how to brush your teeth every single time you do it. You just driving is another great example.
[00:24:08.070] – Dr. Ubell
So what we have to do, or what we're invited to do, really, because we don't have to do anything, but we're invited to do, is to recognize, hey, you know what? I'm going to build awareness around the fact that I want to eat this food, and before I eat it, I'm not telling myself I can't have it or I shouldn't have it. I'm just saying, hey, before I have it, can I take a moment to just check in with myself to figure out what's going on for me? And because we know our actions come after our emotions, and many of us are not aware of our emotional lives, we can maybe start with, how am I feeling? Like, what's going on? For me, another great question is what is the problem that I'm asking food to solve for me right now? Unless you're physically hungry, but, like, assuming you're not, because most of the time when we're doing this kind of behavior, we're not physically hungry. What is it? And it's not like we don't have to judge ourselves or put pressure on ourselves to figure it out. It's just coming from genuine curiosity and interest.
[00:25:00.660] – Dr. Ubell
We just want to understand better what it is that we're doing. If we just keep overeating and then try to shove it away, pretend like it doesn't exist, this detestable part of me that I just want to ignore and pretend like isn't there, then we just keep repeating the same cycle, which so many of us have had that experience, right? We're like then we start just thinking, something's wrong with me. It's not possible for me. I'm broken. I'm hopeless beyond any repair. All these things that are just, of course, not true. So if we can even just create a little space, I'm talking maybe 15 seconds, 30 seconds, maybe even if you don't know what the emotion is, maybe you can just ask yourself, like, okay, well, what was even just going on right now? Like, what am I thinking about right now? And it could be as simple as, like, you're just bored or restless or maybe a little lonely, or maybe you feel a little disconnected. A lot of us use food to create this feeling of connection, companionship. It's not bad. None of it's bad. It's just we want to understand it better.
[00:26:01.080] – Dr. Ubell
And once you have a little insight into that, and even if you don't, I mean, it's okay if you try the first couple of times and you don't figure it out, but you keep saying committed to that, then you can ask yourself, do I still want to eat that? And if you do, you can. Go ahead and do that, that's fine. But then maybe the next time you can get a little bit more insight. Maybe you can find that emotion in your body and understand. I always like it. It's like if you say, I just feel so lonely, kind of asking myself, like, how do I know I'm lonely? What does lonely really feel like in my body? We teach small children what the emotions are, and then we just know, like, I'm mad. How do you know? How do you know you're mad? It's an interesting thing, actually, I think, to just kind of explore, what does it feel like in my body? And then you can find it in your body, maybe spend a little time with it and just be there with it. You're not trying to change it. Keep breathing, just noticing.
[00:26:48.570] – Dr. Ubell
How would you describe it, writing the intensity maybe a little bit, and maybe you can do that for a minute before you decide to eat the food. Then next time, maybe you can go for two minutes, maybe you can go a little bit longer, and maybe over the course of time, you can build that up to staying with that emotion for four or five minutes. I always ask yourself at the end, do I still want to eat this? And what you find over the course of time is just by staying with that emotion, it actually goes away. It just solves for itself. And then you ask yourself, do I still want that food? And the answer is no. And then sometimes we're like, But I still could eat this, so I'm going to. And if you do that, that's okay. But over the course of time, when we build a relationship with ourselves, and we know that we're going to meet our own needs, I'm not going to let you starve. It's going to be okay, right? Because we have let ourselves starve, many of us, for many, you know, over the years. So it's important to reassure ourselves of that, and then we can just remind ourselves, you know, I can have that another time, but right now I don't really need it or want it, so I'm not going to eat when I don't need or want the food.
[00:27:47.200] – Dr. Ubell
And that's a way to honor myself. And if at another time I want it, okay, then I can address this again, but it sounds kind of almost like sort of simple or like, really, that's what you have to do. But I'm telling you, this is a game changer for people who have struggled with overeating, have gained and lost. yoyoed tried all the diets. Can't figure it out. I just want to say one more thing, that the way I sometimes think about dieting is like, when we're trying all the different diets, and it's like, okay, now I'm going to go plantbased, and, okay, now I'm going to go keto. Now I'm going to whatever do paleo or whatever it is, what we're doing. It's like having a wound on your body and then just changing the bandaid again and again, right? Like changing the dressing going like, okay, well, it's not healing. Maybe I need a different bandaid. Maybe I need a bandaid of this size or one that looks like this. But we're not actually healing the problem, right. And that's why we're so focused on food. Like, oh, we think it's the bandaid that's going to do it.
[00:28:41.500] – Dr. Ubell
When we do this work to really understand the emotional component, we heal the actual wound. You don't need a bandaid anymore. It's just not that important anymore. Food no longer has to serve that role for you anymore. That's peace and freedom around food, that's actually solving for the problem.
[00:29:01.090] – Allan
Now I want to say, new thing coming out. Two thirds of people in the United States are overweight. And so it's not like there's just a few people out there that have this issue. There's a lot of us that have struggled with our weight, and a lot more probably will. But the way our culture tends to go is it almost kind of I just want to say it, Jack knifes. It just completely does this knee jerk reaction to just about anything. And so a lot of people will say, OK, I want to lose weight. And now there's this new concept called fat shaming, which is the thing, I see it, I hear it, I know about it, it's real. But there are individuals that are so into this diet culture concept stuff, that they're like, well, if you want to lose weight, that's a form of fat shaming because you're saying you're not good enough. It's really a concept I can't actually wrap my mind around. But there probably are some people that have kind of felt like because I think a lot of us approach this and say, well, I need to change because I'm not a good person.
[00:30:07.150] – Allan
And it's wrong to think that you're a bad person because you're overweight. So I get a little bit of it.
[00:30:12.270] – Dr. Ubell
Having a weight problem does not make you a bad person. It was like totally separate. Who you are as a human being and the size of your body and your eating habits are two totally separate things, right?
[00:30:22.960] – Allan
And then so for you to want to lose weight does not mean that you're disrespecting who you are
[00:30:28.780] – Dr. Ubell
or disrespecting others. Some people feel offended if someone else they know loses weight. It's been a really interesting thing, and it's interesting that you've picked up on it, because I have too. Here's why I think it's especially problematic. Because if we're not allowed to say or express our desire to live in a smaller body, then we'll feel even more shame. We already feel shame about the struggle that we have. Then we'll feel even more shame and hide even more, like, don't tell anybody, but I actually do secretly want to lose weight. And the problem is you can't do that in secret because people will see it on your body, right? Even if you don't talk to anybody about it, they can still tell that your body has changed. Here's the way that I think with so many things, the pendulum swings, I think, yes, the messaging is so important. Like, your value does not lie in what your body looks like, right? Like, it really does not. But at the same time, we all have autonomy to decide what size body we would like to live in. Some of us just want to be more comfortable. Or for some people, they don't have health problems when they're weighing less than they do when they weigh more.
[00:31:45.560] – Dr. Ubell
And they just prefer that. Some people are like, my knees hurt more and I don't want my knees to hurt. Like, that has nothing to do with diet culture, right? Really what it comes down to is I think ultimately all of us have this tendency to think that we know how to live other people's lives better than they do. You know what I mean? So we're like, well, this is what's worked for me and this is the way I think about it. And you, everybody else should think about it the same way. And instead, we just have to focus on ourselves. What do we want? What do I want for myself? What do I prefer and why do I want that? And if I can create that for myself in a way that's supportive, in a way that's sustainable, I don't see what the problem is. But I will say that some people will say, well, by writing a diet book, like you're just saying that everybody needs to lose weight. And that is not what I'm saying. I do not think that thinner is always better or even necessarily ever better. I don't care what people weigh.
[00:32:40.910] – Dr. Ubell
It's literally not something that is a goal of mine or any kind of impact I'm desiring to make. But what I am desiring to do is to help people find peace and freedom around food. And when you do that, people who have been overeating and stop doing that will often find that some weight comes off just automatically. So I like to say, like, the title of my book is how to Lose Weight for the Last Time. But it has two meanings to me. The first meaning is, would you like to lose weight? Yes. I can help you do that. Here's some great steps. But the second meaning is like another way to lose weight for the last time is to just stop trying to lose weight. You can focus on strength, wellness, how energetic you are, how high quality is your sleep, what's your digestion like, what's it like to be you around food and maybe improve that, figuring out how to deal with your emotions and your emotional life in a way that doesn't use food or alcohol as a crutch. And then we just see what happens, right? You might lose some weight and that could be okay and maybe you won't, and that could be okay too.
[00:33:44.810] – Dr. Ubell
But I think part of the idea, particularly for women, is we've been sort of sold this societal kind of message that the way to be acceptable, the way to be valuable, the way to be okay and worthy is to be whatever the current ideal body shape, size is. So we start thinking, and I'm not saying men don't experience it, but I think for women it can be kind of more heavily ingrained. That the way for me to be OK? The way for me to like myself, for the way for me to have the life that I want to live is to lose weight. And that is a problem because when you lose weight, you will still be you just in a smaller body. And I've experienced that too, so many times. It's almost like I expected myself to have a brain transplant. I'm like, Well, I'm thin now, so I shouldn't ever have a problem anymore. Which makes no illogical sense, but it's like we still kind of hope that it's the case. So that's the kind of stuff that we need to dissolve. Like no, you need to work on your sense of self worth and your thoughts about yourself.
[00:34:43.470] – Dr. Ubell
That's a whole different situation that is closely tied to weight. But then you just lose weight because you want to, because you prefer to, not because you're trying to make up for some deficiency that you believe you have.
[00:34:58.080] – Allan
Now, in the book you have an eight part protocol. And I think this is where we take all that mindset work and some of the tools that you share in the book up to this point. And we put them in place and we put them in place in a way that's sustainable for the long term, which I think is kind of the critical aspect for this. When you build this protocol, this is not an eight week protocol or an eight month protocol. Can you do this for the rest of your life eight part protocol? Can you talk about the protocol and how it works?
[00:35:30.700] – Dr. Ubell
Right? Yeah. So it's really important to me to stress how important it is for everybody to have autonomy in how they do this. Like so often we think, well, I can't possibly be trusted to know how I should eat or what I should do because I'm the one who got myself into this predicament to begin with. So that's also the messaging. Like we're the problem, we are the weak ones, we're the ones who, whatever it is, undisciplined. We need someone else to whip us into shape, someone else to tell us what to do except then we end up rebelling against it or it doesn't work really for our schedule or our family. Or we don't think the food tastes good or whatever it is. So when we create the protocol for ourselves, it's individual to ourselves. Like my clients, none of them have the same plan because none of them have the same life. And so this is like the best news ever. When you create your own plan, there's nothing to rebel against. You only put food on it that tastes good to you, that you enjoy eating. If time pressure or needing to be efficient is a priority, you build that in.
[00:36:31.010] – Dr. Ubell
You make it so that it works for your specific life. And definitely we don't want to be doing any kind of things that are like a means to an end behavior. I'll do this now just to lose the weight and then I'll figure out in maintenance, like, you won't trust me because for decades I thought that and I never figured it out. You have to figure out a way to do it sustainably, where the plan that helps you to lose weight doesn't feel like a hardship. It's like you're more than happy to continue doing this for as long as you need to, and that is how you end up losing weight and keeping it off. Not to say that you don't ever change it. You might, but you're not doing it because you can't tolerate it anymore, right? You change it for other reasons. So I also just want to mention that everybody is different and some people really like to jump in and kind of do everything all at once, and other people want a little bit of a slower, gradual approach. And I just want to say that I think either way is fine.
[00:37:25.470] – Dr. Ubell
Like, if any of these eight parts don't resonate, they don't feel right to you. You don't want to do them right now, then don't do them right now, but you know that they're available to you. Some people like to do one thing, really establish that, then keep adding. Other people are more like jump into the deep end head first, and either way is completely fine. But I'm certainly not saying that you have to do all of these eight things to have success. I don't think that's true. But they are great tools to help.
[00:37:47.630] – Dr. Ubell
So the first is keeping a food journal. And I do this very simply. I actually asked my clients not to use any of the apps because unintentionally, you'll end up seeing like different macros and calorie counts and things, and that just messes with your head. So many of us are like trying to reform ourselves as calorie counters or points counters or whatever it was. We don't need any of that stuff. What you need is maybe the notes app on your phone or a piece of paper and a pencil, and all you're going to write down is what you ate.
[00:38:15.650] – Dr. Ubell
Like, literally what you ate. Like, for dinner last night, I had grilled salmon, roasted potatoes grilled asparagus. That's all you write down. This is not hard to do, it doesn't take long because we often hear food you're like, oh, it's the worst, right? No, we just write down what we ate. We don't have to worry so much about amounts unless it feels relevant to us. If we're like, well, I ate three hamburgers when I normally would eat one. Maybe that's relevant. That could be worthwhile to put down. And the point of this is not for it to be like the mean teacher who's taking the ruler against your knuckles, but instead for you to just build awareness. What do I actually eat? So many people will tell me like I eat so healthy, I don't overeat and they totally struggle with their weight. But it's like I eat so healthy except for all these other things that I eat. And it's like our brains are so slick we will literally forget that we eat them. We will literally forget. So we just want to have some evidence because we won't remember. But the other thing is we often think if things aren't working out very well, we can figure out what to change.
[00:39:19.100] – Dr. Ubell
Yes, but the other thing that's great about a food journal is when you are getting results, you know what gives you results, right? So if later you're stuck in a plateau or whatever is going on, you can refer back and go, hey, you know what, things were going great when I was eating these things. Maybe I should bring those back in again. So that's what a food journal is.
[00:39:36.930] – Dr. Ubell
Number two is taking a break from sugar and flour. And what I mean by that is just on a regular basis. So like your regular food that you're eating day in, day out isn't going to contain that. That does not mean that your food necessarily is low carb. It could be low carb if you like that if you feel good with that. I ate tons of carbs and I lost weight. So it's not low carb, it just means that you're not eating it in the form of added sugar or added flour. This is actually way simpler than you think. I always tell my clients, I never give them any recipes. I'm like, if you know what food you like to eat, a lot of it will naturally be devoid of flour and sugar.
[00:40:10.480] – Dr. Ubell
Just eat those things. It's really, really simple. It's like the more complicated the recipe, the more likely you're going to deal with that and the more processed the food. But the good news is that even if you don't cook, there's so many places now, like grocery stores and delis and stuff, where you can get all the things that you need pre-made and you can totally do fine without that. So it doesn't mean that you don't ever eat it again. It's just that it helps your body to function hormonally so much better. It helps you to release weight so much better. It makes you more insulin sensitive, which helps with weight loss. And then you can start to add it in gradually. And that's such a great opportunity for you to see how you do. Like, for me, I used to be obsessed with bread. Like, any bread that was near me was in trouble because it was going to get eaten. And then over the pandemic, my husband started baking sourdough bread like so many people did. He still does. So we're like two and a half years in now. I've been making this amazing from his own starter that he created bread.
[00:41:07.610] – Dr. Ubell
I cannot tell you the miracle it feels still, every week when I'm like, I could eat it or I could not eat it, it really doesn't matter. Do I eat flour and sugar? I do, but I don't feel controlled by it at all. I could take it or I could leave it. It really doesn't it's not an issue for me. So we want to practice that. We want to sometimes eat that food and go, whoa, my brain got lit up by that. The chatter's back. Okay, there's some work to do on that. What are my thoughts about that food? Let me figure out a way to peacefully coexist with that.
[00:41:36.360] – Dr. Ubell
The third one is eating at meals. And so I have a whole section of the book about the snack food industry and how really it was created to sell more food because they couldn't get us to eat more food at meal times. And really, physiologically, we do not need to eat snacks. We are not infants, we are not toddlers. Like, our bodies definitely can go four or five, 6 hours between meals. Absolutely. Lots of people will say, look, you need to keep the metabolism up and you need to do this and that, and the other thing.
[00:42:01.560] – Dr. Ubell
Again, I just go back to like, if you think that our ancestors were eating every 3 hours, small meals all the time, they definitely were not. And they were trim. They were at fighting weight for sure. So not to say that if you aren't physically hungry later, you can't eat, but what we want to do is make sure that our meals are satiating enough that we can make it. And so freeing to not have to think about eating so often. I got to prepare this other little meal for very busy people or people with unpredictable schedules. It's just not sustainable to have to do so much food prep. So if you decide I'm going to eat three meals a day and I'm not going to eat snacks, like, a lot of people start losing a lot of weight just with that. So that's amazing.
[00:42:42.800] – Dr. Ubell
Number four is creating the rules for your protocol. So that is deciding like, how often you're going to eat, about what times you're going to eat. Of course there can be flexibility and even day to day. Some people have a different protocol for the weekends or the weekdays, or if your weekdays shift.
[00:42:59.230] – Dr. Ubell
Maybe some days you work from home and some days you're in the office. You can change it up based on how you decide to do that. There's lots of flexibility there, but going like, well, so and so expert says I have to eat this way or that way, or don't eat after this time. Or I get home late from work, but then I'm super hungry. But they say you shouldn't eat after that time. I say toss all of that out. You just have to look like, is your body asking for food? Are you actually physically hungry? Then you should probably eat something and it's okay if it's a little bit later. We think that denying our needs is going to help us to lose weight. It's not. It just makes us overeat more. We get the opposite effect.
[00:43:34.540] – Dr. Ubell
Number five is intermittent fasting. This is not for everybody. This is just a suggestion for my clients who are busy doctors. It can be just one of the most amazing things that's possible because emergencies happen all of a sudden. You thought you were going to have lunch and now you have to work through it.
[00:43:51.930] – Dr. Ubell
Just things come up and it's so nice when your body is like, OK, cool, we're not eating that's fine. So intermittent fasting, just to be clear, is not an eating disorder in disguise. This is not like, oh, this is how we justify really undereating. That's not what it is. It's eating all of the food that you would typically eat over the day, but over a shorter eating window. And some people really, really love it. The point of that is to give you a longer fasting period because we already fast at night. Just to extend that a little bit. That helps us to be more insulin sensitive, keeps our insulin levels low, and especially for people who like eating larger meals, who just enjoy the feeling of feeling fuller, it can be really nice because when you do eat, you tend to eat a little bit more. Also, a lot of people don't like eating breakfast. It's just not their thing. Great, then you don't have to. It's not the most important meal of the day.
[00:44:40.790] – Dr. Ubell
All right. Number six is planning ahead. That's like what we were talking about, which is planning at least the night before what you're going to have the next day.
[00:44:49.150] – Dr. Ubell
And the great news is when you plan for your food for the next day and you just follow that plan, boom, your food journal is already filled out. So two for one here. So easy. You just follow what it was. And if you had to change something for some reason, then you can do that.
[00:45:01.800] – Dr. Ubell
And then number seven is including exceptions. And exceptions are just time when you're eating off of your plan, right? So that would typically be things that are maybe more flour, sugar containing, or maybe you're deciding not to have alcohol most of the time, but then as an exception, you want to have that. And so the point of that is we're not robots. We're going to want to have some of these foods, most of us, from time to time, and deciding how we want to do that. So I typically suggest when people are in the weight loss phase, that they can still be losing weight just fine on one a week, but it's up to everybody. I have other clients who are like, yeah, I feel like I want it cool. You don't have to do that at all, but it can be available to you.
[00:45:38.330] – Dr. Ubell
And then the 8th tgool is weighing yourself daily, which is something that a lot of people get pretty worked up about and they get mad. I just want to say that what we have to remember is this is all related to our thoughts, like your gravitational pull on the scale at any given moment in time, as read out by this glass and metal and electronics device that's on the floor, is not judging you. It is not telling you whether you are a good person or a bad person. It is not telling you whether it's a good day or a bad day. It's just a reflection of some facts about your body in that moment. So many of us have such complicated thoughts and beliefs around the scale. By weighing ourselves daily, we have the opportunity to unravel that. We have the opportunity to go, hey, you know what? I get to feel how I want to feel about myself no matter what the scale reads. And it also helps us, those of us I was like this too, who feel very entitled. Well, for two days or three days, I followed my plan just fine.
[00:46:35.080] – Dr. Ubell
I should for sure see a pound down on the scale. And when I don't see it on the scale, I go, this isn't working and I'm just going to eat whatever anyway. And what we learn when we weigh ourselves daily is that we're playing the long game here. You might not see results from what you ate today for a couple of weeks, like two or three weeks. What you're seeing today is a reflection of a whole lot of other things. Like last time you went to the bathroom, possible hormonal changes, hydration status, how salty your food has been. There's so many factors that play into that. And so when you pay daily, you can actually create a reasonable set of data points to follow the trend versus if you weigh yourself once a week or once a month, depending on when you catch yourself, you might be up because you ate sushi the day before and with all that soy sauce or something and you're like kind of bloated or whatever. So people then, if they don't weigh very frequently will sometimes get upset. They're like, I haven't weighed myself in a while. I've been following my plan, and look, I weighed myself again.
[00:47:30.770] – Dr. Ubell
I haven't lost or I haven't lost as much as I wanted to. Well, right, but we don't even know what the pattern has been. So I take from this, like, the way that as doctors, we treat as somebody's lab values. You don't necessarily especially when someone's, like, hospitalized, you're following the trend. You're not being very reactive to any individual data point. You're just looking at the pattern and seeing what's going on. And when you start noticing the trend going up and you know, you haven't been following your plan, okay, well, that's good data. It's just feedback. That's all we know. Okay. We have the opportunity to readjust maybe that isn't really working. So the weighing daily thing, I think, doesn't have to be necessarily forever, but it's definitely a good way to keep track of maintenance as well. Like, we don't have to gain ten or 20 lbs before we decide, oh, hey, weird, I'm gaining this weight back. We can catch it a little bit earlier. So those are the eight tools, and like I said, you can use all of them. You can use some of them. You can have tons of success no matter how you work it.
[00:48:27.030] – Dr. Ubell
It's more that you are consistent in doing that and that you're working with yourself instead of against yourself.
[00:48:33.070] – Allan
Yeah, and I would encourage people to try each of the eight. Don't just say, well, that's not for me, because I don't like the food journal, so that's not for me. Just try it. Give yourself three weeks, four weeks. See what you learn. And if it's not a helpful tool, then do away with it. Try some intermittent fasting a couple of times a week. See how it feels, see how you do. See if that helps. And if it's not working for you, then, yeah, toss it.
[00:48:56.980] – Dr. Ubell
Most of my clients end up liking being able to fast, but I have definitely had clients who have really tried with the fasting, and they just never feel good. And you know what great then the solution to that is you just eat. It's okay.
[00:49:06.750] – Dr. Ubell
Like, there's nothing bad you can't do. That it's. Okay.
[00:49:11.090] – Allan
Yes. Dr. Ubell. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:49:20.840] – Dr. Ubell
So my first one is you have to know how to manage your emotional life. You've got to learn how to even understand what your emotional life is. I grew up raised by German immigrants. I mean, emotions were not a thing. This is just not something I ever learned. And I was in my 40s when I actually started figuring out, like, what is an emotion? What do I actually feel like? I literally don't even know. So I think that's a huge piece of wellness because I think a lot of the areas where we struggle are as a result of us avoiding our emotions. We don't know what to do with them. We don't want to feel them. It feels scary, it feels unacceptable. Whatever it is, we just try to stuff them down and we use other behaviors and other kinds of crutches to keep us from experiencing them. So first of all, moving toward that, I'm not exaggerating when I say I hired a therapist to teach me how to feel. I literally did like to teach me how to cry. I feel like it is in there, but I can't get it to come out.
[00:50:19.910] – Dr. Ubell
That was the level of kind of repression I had been holding for emotions for so long. So I'm not saying somebody necessarily has to hire a therapist to do that, but just to point out if it's hard for you, it's okay. There's nothing wrong with you. That is a normal thing, particularly depending on what your upbringing and just what your life has been like. So I think that's the first part. I think the next part about really being happy is developing that positive relationship with yourself. What I mean by that is doing what you say you're going to do for yourself. What we usually do is we're totally accountable to everybody else in our lives. And if we tell them we're going to do something, we're for sure going to do it. But when it comes to ourselves, it's a bit hit or miss, right? Like. I might, I might not. And then we get mad at ourselves where we think that cracking the whips, so to speak, speaking internally to ourselves, harshly being mean to ourselves, that's somehow going to help us to do better. But it doesn't. It actually makes us want to eat more food.
[00:51:18.850] – Dr. Ubell
Because being with us, being me in my life feels miserable when that's the self talk and that's the inner narrative. So just to be able to enjoy life as you on this planet, it's really worthwhile to stop judging yourself, to offer yourself kindness and compassion. That doesn't necessarily mean letting yourself off the hook. That's what everybody's worried about. Then I'll just eat everything and I'll just lay on the couch and I'll never be productive. No, you won't. You'll actually feel safe enough to go out there and do things knowing that if you mess up, it's going to be okay because you won't abandon yourself, you won't beat yourself up. You won't be mean to yourself over it. Essentially offering yourself unconditional love. So I think those two are just absolutely huge. And then the other thing I would say is I just want to touch on exercise because we haven't talked about that too much. There's so much, especially in the weight loss world, about the types of exercise that will help you to lose weight the fastest and exercising with the purpose of trying to lose weight. And I think it's so much more important to connect to the idea that human bodies are meant to move.
[00:52:24.820] – Dr. Ubell
It actually feels good to move a human body, especially if you can find a way to move that you enjoy. Rather than telling yourself, I have to go on the elliptical for 30 minutes and you don't like the elliptical, like, what do you like to do? Maybe it's like playing tennis or getting out and playing golf, and you walk with your bag instead of taking the cart or getting out into nature or taking a dance class or just other things and not having that be, like, something that you're doing because you're trying to lose weight. Because we know that exercise does not actually help with weight loss. It does help with weight maintenance, but not with weight loss, but reconnecting to your body in that way. This is part of one of the benefits of being a human on this earth, being able to enjoy moving your body. So just keep at it until you find something that you enjoy. If you're already doing something, ask yourself, Do I like this? Why do I do this? If you do it because you feel great, it elevates your mood. You're just a happier person. You connect with your friends.
[00:53:24.530] – Dr. Ubell
Amazing. Keep doing it if you're like. I'm doing this because, like, out of fear or worry or feeling like, obligation, I would reconsider that because that's also something that we're not usually willing to do ongoing either. And then we're exercising in fits and spurts as well. So I think that can really change people's relationship with exercise.
[00:53:45.570] – Allan
If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, How to Lose Weight for the Last Time. Where would you like for me to send them?
[00:53:54.390] – Dr. Ubell
Yeah, well, the book is available anywhere you can buy books. So, Amazon, Barnes and Noble Independent Booksellers. Even internationally, it's available. There's also an audiobook version on Audible that I did narrate, and there's actually some audio extras on there as well. If they're listening to a podcast, they might like to listen to books as well. So those are all available. My website is katrinaubellmd.com. There's some free resources there. And then also within the book, I think with basically every single chapter almost, we have some additional resources to offer because, you know, what we do, what do we all do? We've all done this. Buy a book, and then it just sits. We don't read it, or we kind of flip through, or we just don't take action on it. So those resources will help you to take action on what you're learning in the book. So you actually start to apply this to your life. So those are available for free as well.
[00:54:46.280] – Allan
And there's a lot more to this book than what we were able to discuss today on your hunger scale. I wish I could have gotten to that, because I think that's brilliant and just the opportunity to really do the deep dive into the mindfulness and mindset stuff, you really got good on that. So thank you for that. And Dr. Ubell, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:55:07.010] – Dr. Ubell
Thank you so much for having me. It was so fun.
[00:55:17.330] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:55:18.960] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. Wow, I could have listened to you guys for another hour, talk about that book, how to Lose Weight for the Last Time. Brain Based Solutions. It's right up our alley. I love the mindset start.
[00:55:31.620] – Allan
Yeah, it was so funny because as I was going through the book, I always have my talking points, and I send those over, and as I was going, I realized, okay, we're going long. If I ask everything I want to ask, then this is going to be a very long podcast. So I didn't even ask, like, I wanted to talk about her hunger scale, because this is a really interesting tool when you sit down to eat, and if you really focus on it, it's going to keep you very mindful of how you feel while you're eating. And the principle is this as you think about a scale from a negative ten to a positive ten, and so I forget which way the scale flipped, but basically, if you find yourself getting to, like, a negative four, meaning you're really hungry, starting to get hungry, started to feel hungry, you go ahead and eat. You don't skip meals unless you don't feel that hunger. So she does talk about intermittent fasting as a tool. But beyond that, she says eat before you get too hungry and then only eat to a point where you're at a four, not a ten.
[00:56:36.110] – Allan
And so there's a principle of eating, there's a Japanese statement for it called hara hachibu, which basically and I probably butchered that. So if you speak Japanese and I said it wrong, correct me, but I'm sorry. At any rate, it's just basically a principle of eating to you about 80% full. And I think most of us are aware of that. We don't want to get over stuffed. We don't want that bad feeling. So if you're eating to a point where you're almost full, as time passes, you'll notice that you feel that fullness and you ate just the right amount. If you eat to a point where you're just no longer hungry, by that point you've probably overeaten.
[00:57:16.640] – Rachel
Sure. It's really important to sit with that hunger feeling. As a kid, I was told I couldn't leave the table till I finished my meal. And it's a behavior that kind of sticks. I look at my plate and my kids plate when they were little, and I'm like, oh, can't let that food go to waste.
[00:57:31.740] – Allan
Yeah. And that's a true statement. And she brings that up in the book, is that that's a part of the whole conditioning as we grew up, is to eat a certain way and eat everything that's on our plate. And it's just really hard to break that. One thing you could do is just buy smaller dinner plates.
[00:57:50.990] – Rachel
[00:57:51.870] – Allan
And then just buying smaller dinner plates, you're going to have less food at the table. Also preparing your food in the kitchen on the plate, plating it and carrying it out rather than having a buffet sitting in front of you that you just keep eating on. But that self awareness, that thinking through of what you're doing, what you're feeling, your thoughts, and just kind of building that bridge and understanding. If you're doing something that you don't want to be doing, there's probably some thought process, some emotional process that's going on that you're feeling a certain way when you're doing it. And if you can break that down and then put that pause in there, give yourself some space, it'll help you choose your actions a little bit wiser.
[00:58:37.190] – Rachel
The other interesting thing she mentioned was her relationship with peanut butter a while back. And like many runners, yes, I do have a very strong relationship with peanut butter. And it is funny because it is a go to of mine. If I get stressed or anxious, I first like to go for a run. Two, I do like to pour myself a cup of coffee because when I drink my coffee, I make myself sit and ruminate. So I need to think about things when I have my coffee. But peanut butter, I do the same thing she does. I'll take a spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar. And a lot of the times it is an emotional it's not necessarily that I'm hungry or that I need peanut butter for any reason whatsoever. But it's interesting the relationships that we have with food that can be soothing for different reasons.
[00:59:23.310] – Allan
Yeah. And there's just so much in this book. So I'd encourage anyone who is having difficulty changing the way you eat and you're eating foods that are not on your diet, not on your plan, and you find that just kind of being a normal thing for you. This is a good book because she's got a lot of tools and a lot of things in there for you to do. A lot more deep diving into your relationship with food and improving it.
[00:59:48.800] – Rachel
The eight part protocol she has seems like a really helpful list of tools and things to think about. And we've talked about journaling in the past.
[00:59:58.340] – Allan
Yeah. And it doesn't have to be this crazy thing. Some of my clients, I'll be working with them, I'll just say, take a picture of your food, everything you're going to eat all day, just take pictures of it, post it into my app, and then we'll see. And that is often enough with them, just as soon as they sit down to eat something, taking a picture of it for them to kind of think through, okay, why do I have these Pringles sitting here? Why am I eating them? What's the feelings I'm having? Is there something going on with my body that I just need to be aware of? Am I really hungry or is there something else? One of the things she said in the book was that every one of us is an emotional eater. And it's true. I don't think anyone can deny you might at first say, oh, no, I'm not an emotional eater. But I can say, okay, well, if you go to a baseball game and you feel like you have to have a hot dog and a beer because you're at a baseball game, that's emotional leaning. If you've ever sat down with a bag of something and you're watching a sporting venue, watching a TV program, and you eat the whole thing, that's emotional eating.
[01:01:12.710] – Allan
If you're not fully aware and mindful of what you're eating, you're emotionally eating.
[01:01:18.940] – Speaker 4
For sure. The way we celebrate birthdays and all the things, there is a lot of emotion tied to that stuff.
[01:01:24.890] – Allan
Yeah. And so that's the big part of this. Is managing your hunger. But living in it and understanding that sometimes we are over hungry and sometimes there's over desire for foods and just recognizing those and then trying to build a protocol using these eight parts to go through and say. Okay. This is what I'm going to try these eight protocol steps. And maybe I implement them one at a time. Which is basically saying. This is how I'm going to eat. And once you get that plan together, sticking with it long enough to see that it's working, I think you can do a lot of good for a lot of people.
[01:02:03.430] – Rachel
Yeah, that was really great. Sounds like a really great book to have.
[01:02:06.990] – Allan
Yeah, it's a really good one.
[01:02:08.770] – Rachel
[01:02:09.480] – Allan
All right, well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week.
[01:02:12.640] – Rachel
All right. Take care, Allan.
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Throughout my years as a personal trainer, I've talked to a lot of people over 40 who were trying (unsuccessfully) to lose weight. On episode 555 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss the 7 most common weight loss mistakes that people over 40 are making.
Today I want to share with you the seven weight loss mistakes that I see most people over 40 make. And these are really important because if you're making these mistakes, it's going to make weight loss much harder. So let's go through these seven weight loss mistakes and see if you're doing any of these. Okay?
The first one is cutting calories too much. A lot of people will drop their calories down to some drastic number in the hopes that they're going to lose the weight faster or begin losing weight again if they've stopped. And so I want you to think of body fat in the same terms that we would look at like our country's strategic reserves of oil.
OK? We keep those barrels of oil and gasoline. We keep that stuff in reserve because we know at some point we might need it. Okay? And what happens when you cut your calories too much is you're signaling to your body that you're going to war. And if your body believes that you're going to war, it's going to cling on to its energy reserves as much as possible, meaning it's going to hold on to that body fat. And so you actually are training your body to lower your metabolism and thereby not release that fat because it's afraid it's going to starve to death. And so while you're not really going into a starvation mode, that doesn't happen for many days. You are telling your body to function on less and your energy levels will go down whether you recognize it or not. When you work out, you're not working as hard, so it really cuts back on a lot of things and it keeps you from optimizing your health. So instead what I recommend is, yes, cut your calories a little. Your calories should never go below 1200. 1200 is the basics of what your body needs to survive.
Just with basic function, if you're down around the 1200 or below 1200, your body is going to struggle to function, right? It's going to turn certain things off and that's not a good thing. So if you just cut back your calories a little bit from what you would normally eat and then just move a little bit more than you normally move, you're going to create a slight deficit for a while. Your body will adjust. But you just rinse and repeat this. Instead of dropping down to say, 1500 calories, take a look at what you're eating today. And if you find that you're eating about 2000 calories, drop it down to 1800. And then just try to add a little bit of extra walking, a little extra movement into your day and see if that works for you. Give it a couple of weeks and see where it goes. But you have to make sure that you're not hungry because if you let yourself get hungry all the time, you're going to fall out of it. This is not going to work and it's not going to be sustainable in the long term. You're going to train your body to function on fewer calories and then you're not going to want to eat fewer calories because you're going to be hungry, and that's going to create a problem for weight loss.
The second mistake that I see people making is being a scale fanatic. Okay? Your worth is not determined by the number on that bathroom scale. It just isn't. That's not who you are. And the scale is measuring more than just body fat. So even if the weight is going down is not a good thing all the time. You could be losing muscle. If the weights going up, that could be a good thing, because now you're rehydrated instead of being dehydrated. So the scale is not you, and it's measuring more than body fat. And then the other things happen. You may step on the scale and weigh a pound more than you did yesterday. But I can tell you, I know you didn't eat enough food yesterday to gain a pound. That's 3500 calories. And you know you didn't eat 3500 calories. So if you let yourself believe that you're getting fatter, that's a huge mistake because it's not true. The other part of this truism stuff, when we're looking at this being a scale fanatic, is that it's never going to be a straight line. You're not going to consistently lose half a pound every day, each week.
It's just not going to happen. There's going to be spikes up and spikes down based on body water, hydration, and just things are sticking around in your system. Yeah, the poo is going through your system. If you didn't have your regular break, then maybe you have some of that in you. That's why you weigh slightly more or didn't lose weight. So it's not going to be a straight line. And so if you find when you step on the scale, that number is hurting your feelings, or that number is how you are now going to live your day, you really need to change your relationship with your scale. I don't recommend people weighing themselves every day if they feel they have an unhealthy relationship with the scale. I encourage you to weigh yourself about every four days, maybe once a week. Give it a little bit of time so you're seeing a trend over a few days and a week or four days, something like that, gives you enough time to make some course corrections. If you go through two weeks and what you're doing isn't working, then you might want to tweak it a little.
Not a lot, but a little. So don't be a scale fanatic. The scale is not the number you're interested in. It's body fat. And if you want to lose body fat and you want to measure that, start measuring your body in the places where you carry body fat. And that's when you're going to see that you are actually getting smaller. Might not show up on the scale, but then, you'll know.
The third weight loss mistake that I see a lot of people making is they become cardio bunnies. They're cardio and more cardio. It happens every year in January. You go into any fitness place and you're going to see all these newbies that just joined the gym and they're all on the cardio equipment and that's all they're going to do. And then they're just going to do more of that and more of that until they finally fall out. You've probably heard the statement that abs are built in the kitchen and that's the true fact. You're not going to lose weight just by doing cardio. I mean, I've seen people come to the gym and stick with it and they're there five days a week on the cardio equipment.
And over a year you don't see any change in them at all. They're literally the same size as they were a year ago and they're doing the cardio. So the cardio is not going to get you there. What you eat and how much you eat is what's going to move your weight. It's what's going to help you lose the weight and lose the body fat. So we want to eat whole food and we want to make sure that we're getting adequate nutrition and we're eating just enough to stay healthy and lose some weight. Okay, so cardio is a tool. If you want to have more stamina, cardio is a great tool for that and it can help you with your weight loss goals, but it is not the way to do it. And just doing ever more cardio is not the answer to weight loss.
Weight loss mistake number four is drinking your calories. Now this could be juices, smoothies, protein drinks, alcohol. We drink a lot of calories and some people don't even want to count those calories, but they can be quite significant. One of the problems that happens when you're drinking calories is one, a lot of the things that we drink are calorie dense and not nutritionally dense.
So alcohol is just empty calories. That's all it is. You might enjoy it, but it's not helping you lose weight. A lot of people will take these shakes as a way of losing weight and their meal replacement shakes, but again, they're not going to satiate you long enough for them to be effective over the long haul. And what's going to happen when you stop drinking those shakes? You're probably going to put the weight back on again, even if it did work for you. So avoid drinking your calories whenever you can. Eat whole food, chew it up. Make sure your body is going through the digestion process because there's an energy cost to digestion. And if we are drinking our calories, it's already digested practically just goes straight into our system. And you want to slow the process down so you feel full longer and your body burns energy, digesting the proteins and the fats and the fiber. You want that. You want that slow steady burn of calories over time and not just the big hit dose of boom here it is.
Number five, going it alone. Now there are people that can, there have been people that do but most don't.
Okay? Now that doesn't mean you're a bad person and it doesn't mean that you lack what you need willpower and motivation. But what you do is bring on a team. And when you have team members with you it makes your success better. It makes it easier. It makes it sustainable. It makes it a part of you. So having a workout buddy or a walking friend, hiring a coach, having these team members, having these partners and coaches they're all going to help you be more successful. They're going to help hold you accountable. And accountability is one of the most significant motivators out there. Some of us are self motivated and that's great. That intrinsic motivation is really good. But if you don't find yourself 100% intrinsically motivated to do your workouts every day, to do your movement every day, to do your eating the right way every time then you're going to struggle. But having an accountability partner is really really important and a lot of programs including my own are built on the structure of accountability. Okay? The other thing that going it alone means that sometimes you just don't know what the next step is.
I mean you know you're on a diet you're going to try this diet but how do you transition off of that way of eating after you've lost the weight and not getting it all back again? So having someone there to provide a little bit of guidance and support can also be very important on your journey. Otherwise you might find yourself chasing after all the snake oil salesmen that are trying to get you to do something else besides having a healthy diet. And that leads me to the next one.
Weight loss mistake number six is using the easy button. Okay? There are pills, there are shakes, all kinds of things out there that are sold to help you lose weight because it's a multi billion dollar industry to help you lose weight. The problem is that most of the time these things don't even work and many times they're quite dangerous. There was a drug on the market called Finfloramine. Okay? So they call it FinFan and basically FinFan was a drug and it was quite effective but it was also quite effective at destroying people's hearts and the heart valves in particular. And the sad part of this was that there have been supplement companies selling weight loss supplements and putting some of these banned substances in their products so they would be effective.
And so when you start trying to go down this road of trying this pill or trying that thing just buyer beware. They may not have your best interests at heart. They want to sell product and if they can give you a product that shows it's working but in the long term it's hurting you. They're going to sell a lot of product, they just are. Okay? So just realize that these guys are out there trying to sell you something. There is no easy button. There just is no easy button.
And then the 7th weight loss mistake is not getting your Mindset work done first. Too many people approach this with a strategies and tactics first model. They're going to go on this particular diet, they're going to exercise this many days per week on the treadmill. They got it all planned out, all these strategies and tactics. But then they stop. And why do they stop? They stop because they didn't get their mind right first. So you want to start your process by thinking about your why. Why do you want to lose this weight? If it's not important to you, not important enough, not emotionally important to you, then you're going to struggle.
You just are. So getting your why together, being very specific about why this is important to you, to get off your medications, to be healthier for your children and grandchildren, to not be in a nursing home when you get older. Those are all very compelling why's that I and some of my clients use every single day to make sure that we stay on track. Okay? The other thing that Mindset brings to the table is it helps you have the patience and for you to have the right pace in mind as you go forward. Because too many people want to lose the weight fast. And fast is not good when it comes to weight loss. It's not sustainable and it's not something that's going to stick long term. So having the mindset that this is going to take a while and I'm just going to keep chipping away at it and this is the pace I'm going to be able to go because I've got all of these other things going on in my life and I can't just diet and exercise all day long. The folks that are on the Biggest Loser program, that's all they do for the whole time they're in the camp.
They just work out and they don't eat much and that's how they lose that much weight. But most of them go home and they don't have that structure and they have to go back to work and you have to get back to normal lives and they gain the weight right back. So having the patience and going at the right pace makes it sustainable for the long term. Also, Mindset helps you deal with Pitfalls and Saboteurs. Now I talked a little bit about Saboteurs a few weeks ago and we can talk about some of the Pitfalls, but every one of us is going to have something happen or some struggle. Someone brings donuts to the office and God forbid I ate one of them. We're going to have those without the right mindset, a lot of people will go completely off the rails and say, hey, I blew it. I blew it with the doughnut, so I may as well go eat lunch with the group, and I may as well have a terrible dinner and some drinks tonight. They ruin the whole day instead of having one bad incident. So having the right mindset helps you maneuver and get where you need to be, even when you have a slip up.
And then the other thing Mindset gets you to do is it helps you keep the weight off because now you're thinking in terms of developing a healthy lifestyle, and you're not thinking about a temporary diet. You're not thinking about this as I'm going to diet because my daughter is getting married in November, and I want to weigh a certain weight and be a certain size by November. You're not thinking in those terms. You're thinking in terms of, okay, my daughter's getting married. Grandkids might be coming up within the next three to five years. I need to be fit to be the best grandfather I can be, right? I want to be able to spend time doing active things with them. And so that's my motivation. That's my why, that's my mindset. And that has to become a lifestyle and not a diet. I'm not going to diet for three to five years. I'm going to have a lifestyle for three to five years. It's going to help me ready, and that lifestyle is going to stick with me for the rest of my life. So the right mindset work done first is so important to this process. I put it number seven, but it's really in my mind, number one.
So to kind of summarize these a little bit, the seven weight loss mistakes most people over 40 make:
Now, in my opinion, and a lot of people believe this as well in this industry, a lot of them don't. They want to sell you something that's not going to help you. But I believe that a healthy lifestyle is what you should charge after, and that weight loss will end up being a side effect of doing the right things for your body. Movement, food, and stress are all information to your body. Your body is looking for information on how to operate for you. And if you're giving it the right food and you're moving the right ways and you're reducing your stress, the bad stress, your body is going to respond by making you healthier. And when it's healthier and it gets the information that this is going on good, you're getting a good communication in your body, then your body can sit there and say, you know, it's probably okay for us to get rid of this strategic reserve body fat that we have here, because we don't really seem to need it.
There's plenty of food. I'm satiated most of the time. We're moving, we're active, and we're getting enough. We're getting the nutrition our body needs. It's going to let go of that body fat. It will.
I want to finish with a quote by Michael Pollan. He wrote the book, In Defense of Food, and I think this kind of wraps up weight loss advice into seven words and one sentence. Three sentences, okay, but seven words. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Okay. So if you start putting the right food in your body and the right amount of food in your body, and you're moving and you're managing stress, the weight will come off. So don't fall for one of these seven mistakes. And if you are, it's time to make the change. So check us out. Come to 40plusfitness.com and see what's going on there. I have some challenges. I have my be fit for task program. Check it out at 40plusfitness.com/bfft.
[00:21:09.110] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, your seven weight loss mistakes are really perfect. I think I've made every single one of them at some point or another, and we might as well start with number one. Cutting calories too much. I know that I have done that.
[00:21:25.200] – Allan
Yeah. No one really knows how many calories your body needs, but we do know that there's a lower limit. We know there's just some point where your body is not getting the nutrition it needs to survive. Now, where is that line? Well, Ansel Keys did a study in 1944 called the starvation diet, or starvation. They want to study starvation. They wanted men to lose 25% of their body weight. And so they cut their calories down to 1570. And these men went nuts. They were doing self inflicted injuries. They couldn't let them leave. They kept them locked up in the University of Michigan stadium. If they left, they had to go with a buddy, and they do the buddy system to make sure that neither one of them cheated, and they needed them to lose 25% of their body weight. It was insane. These guys went insane. And that's at 1570.
[00:22:23.780] – Rachel
[00:22:24.830] – Allan
For a normal person. And the point being, though, is food today is very different. It's not just that you're not getting the energy that your body might need to function well. It's that you might not be getting the other nutrients that your body needs because you're just not eating enough food. And so, you know, yes, you can cut your calories down and lose the weight very fast. But the problem is other systems, other things start to shut down. And so people will talk about extended fast and things like that, and those can be done and managed. But almost every person that does an extended fast gains every one of those pounds back as soon as they stop the fast. So it's not an effective way to lose weight and keep weight off. The main point being is find the right level by experimenting. But don't just go on and say, well, this little formula says I should be eating this many calories. Therefore they didn't calculate that formula for you. They calculated the formula based on average people with normal functioning, this and that, wanting to lose weight. And there is no straight line to any of this.
[00:23:43.040] – Allan
There is no formula. Your body will burn more calories one day than it does the next and then more the day after. And there's no rhyme or reason exactly, other than hormones and the types of foods that you ate and when you ate them and your activity level, all those different things play into this. This is like trying to use plus and minus to deal with calculus. And there's a lot more operators out there in calculus than just plus and minus. So you can't just go at this and say, I'm just going to do the calories and calories out. It'll help you cut a little bit of body weight. It will, it'll work. It does work. The math makes sense in the short run. But if you're looking at making this sustainable and doing this over the long run, just cutting calories down to some very low number is not going to be sustainable. And unfortunately, as soon as you go back to eating the way that you ate, you're going to gain that weight back.
[00:24:43.470] – Rachel
Well, it's important to notice too. I mean, ages and ages ago when I used one of those food diaries, those online apps that you can use nowadays, I plugged in. I wanted to lose five or £10 and it set me at a 1200 calorie day for dieting. And at the time, I didn't know any different. Like I didn't know that 1200 calories was probably way too low. And I did my best to eat appropriately. But there's a lot of things wrong with this picture. It's just not enough calories. I was getting fatigued. I wasn't choosing the most nutrient dense foods. Number four is drinking your calories. Those diet shakes that you can drink are low calorie and they're supposed to be these meal replacement things, but those certainly aren't satiating. I mean, just a snowball of mistakes that happened and I really didn't get anywhere with it, to be honest.
[00:25:45.210] – Allan
And here's the point where I can empirically show you that the math doesn't work. Because that same company that puts out those same numbers who won't be named here, there's value to what they do, but it's not as valuable as a lot of people think is. They will tell you you had a great day. If you eat like this every day for the next six weeks, you will be down to your goal. Okay? But you notice as you weigh yourself, you're not losing that weight the same every day, or even every week, or even every month. There's declining results. And so what's happening is you're breaking the formula. And unfortunately, once you break that formula, what, are you going to recalculate the formula? Well, okay. Again. Now we're starting to get into calculus.
[00:26:43.230] – Rachel
[00:26:45.390] – Allan
If you just try to cut your calories and that's all you're going to do. I can just tell you overall, that doesn't work for 99% of the people. It might work for you, but that's only if you're going to be doing it very smart. Cut a little, move a little bit more. That might and can be sustainable. But you're not giving your body the nutrition it needs. You are destroying your health. You are not helping yourself.
[00:27:11.580] – Rachel
Well, I think that you just hit the nail on the head is that you can't just cut calories. You can't just say, I'll eat less of a salad, or less vegetables with dinner, or less this and that. You really need to focus on what less nutrient foods you can cut out of your diet. Drinking less calories and pops or teas or extravagant coffees. Can you swap out a cereal, sugar laden cereal, or donut at breakfast or maybe some eggs instead? You really need to focus on the nutritional part of it and what nutrients your body needs versus the fun to eat stuff. It's an easy place to cut.
[00:27:52.650] – Allan
Yeah. And sometimes it's not about eating less. It just isn't. It's about finding the right foods that your body needs so your body can actually feel cared for. If your body is in a mode where it feels like there's no food because realize your internal organs. Your body doesn't have eyes. When you stop feeding it food, the signal it gets is there's no food. That's the one signal, no food. She's not eating. There's no food. Okay. You stop moving. It's like, oh, we're in danger. We're hiding. All these signals are bad signals. Whereas if you're out and about doing things and you're eating good nutritious food, the signals are all clear. We don't need to hunker down. We don't need to hold on to this extra body fit. We just don't. We're storing it because we're afraid of what might happen. That's the body's control and protection. So you start teaching your body, we're in a good place. I'm not stressed, I'm sleeping good. I'm getting movement, and I'm eating well. Your body will say, oh, okay, well, maybe we don't need this body fat, and it starts to shed it. And if you keep feeding at those signals good.
[00:29:14.670] – Allan
The side effect is it will say, okay, we don't need to store this much body fat.
[00:29:19.330] – Rachel
Yeah, I like that. I like that approach. The weight loss is a side effect. If you take good care of your body, then your body will do what it needs to do and you'll be healthier and more fit for it.
[00:29:32.940] – Allan
And then in the end, is being skinny the answer is weighing lesser, because you could be skinny and unhealthy. You could be skinny and frail. You can be skinny and diseased, or you can be healthy and vibrant and likely still be able to get to a comfortable body fat percentage that way. And so I will always err on the side of the healthy, improving your wellness over what you weigh any given day, for sure.
[00:30:08.820] – Rachel
My goal is not to be skinny or to be focused on the number that's on that scale. My goal is to be healthy and fit and able to do the things that I want to do to live a happy life.
[00:30:21.400] – Allan
Yeah, but the problem is, if I had written the title, the Seven Health Mistakes People Make over 40, no one would have paid attention. But I put that word weight loss, and suddenly ding, ding, ding, everybody's clicking everybody's.
[00:30:34.910] – Rachel
That is so true. We've all been there, though. Like I said, I gained a lot of weight with both of my pregnancies, and I spent a lot of time trying to lose it. And like I said, I have made every single one of these seven weight loss mistakes in that attempt to lose that extra weight. So if we could steer people to realize that these are mistakes, that cutting calories drastically is not the answer, that doing tons of cardio is not the answer, and to please don't focus on your scale all the time, 24/7. That is definitely not the answer. Then we've probably cut some corners that people can focus on what they can do to lose a little weight, but primarily get healthier.
[00:31:17.740] – Allan
Yeah. I just came up with a million dollar product idea.
[00:31:21.770] – Rachel
[00:31:22.950] – Allan
Sneakers with scales in them.
[00:31:25.160] – Rachel
Oh, my gosh.
[00:31:28.850] – Allan
Bluetooth to your phone. Tell you what you weigh at any point in time in the day.
[00:31:32.410] – Rachel
Oh, my gosh. I don't want to know, Allan. I just don't want to know.
[00:31:38.270] – Allan
I just said that out loud on the podcast, so I'm sure it's going to show up on Indiegogo soon.
[00:31:42.900] – Rachel
[00:31:46.070] – Allan
All right. Well, Rachel, I know you've got your hike to do. Tell Mike I said good luck to both of you. Thank you. I wish you well on that. I'm looking forward to in a few weeks when we get back together for this, having that conversation and understanding how your trip went, the good, the bad, and probably some funny interesting stories.
[00:32:07.320] – Rachel
I'm sure there will be.
[00:32:09.590] – Allan
And then, of course, I'll be driving around the United States and enjoying my time there with family. So even though you guys are listening to this on September 13th, Rachel and I will probably about that time, be talking to each other again for around the first time in a few weeks. So it's been great talking to you, Rachel, and then I'll talk to you in a few weeks. For everyone else, it'll seem like I'm talking to you next week. So be safe, enjoy yourself, and we'll talk then.
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In his book, The Warrior Within, DJ Vanas teaches us from the perspective of North American indigenous people how to better care for ourselves so we can serve and protect those around us. On episode 554 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we sit down and talk about this and the book.
Because Rachel is on an off-the-grid hike for 8 days, we won't be having the normal hello session on this episode.
[00:04:05.590] – Allan
DJ, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:04:08.410] – DJ
Thank you for having me, Allan. Happy to be here.
[00:04:10.760] – Allan
Now your book, The Warrior Within: Own Your Power to Serve, Fight, Protect, and Heal, it kind of appealed to me, the one there's, the guy thing. But there's plenty of female warriors out there, so ladies don't tune out because this is for anybody that serves. And if you're a mother, if you're a grandmother, if you're a daughter in some capacities, you are serving, you are fighting and you're protecting just as much as any man or anybody else. So this is everybody and I really want to start telling you there's something you had in the book. And I'm like if I was going to say what is this book about and why this book is important, I would say this and this is from you. Anything that makes us mentally stronger and more true to ourselves is worth investing time and effort. And so reading a book, learning these lessons that you bring forward in the book, that's a great investment.
[00:05:06.610] – DJ
Yeah, well, that's why I wrote it. That's my hope. That was my goal, is to make sure that what I wrote was worthy of everybody's time, focus and attention. We live in a busy, hurry up world and I wanted to share the things that I know have impact, that I know can move the needle on the dial, getting to that level of life that we want to get to where we're a better version of ourselves, we're stronger, we're more resilient and we're more able to serve the people that we love and are with everyday.
[00:05:37.330] – Allan
And that's one of the topics I kind of want to get into early on here, is that I think when we become parents, particularly when we become parents, I think it's just something in your head just because quick, I'm a different person, I got to do something different here. But a lot of people also choose careers where they're serving as a teacher, as a firefighter, as a policeman in the military or even just being a leader in your community.
[00:06:02.530] – DJ
[00:06:03.080] – Allan
I think a lot of us get so involved in that that we miss one of the most important things and that's actually taking care of the warrior first.
[00:06:14.110] – DJ
[00:06:15.040] – Allan
Can you talk about self care and why that's so important and how we can make that paradigm shift?
[00:06:21.610] – DJ
It's critical and I'm glad that you're bringing this up. And by the way, that list that you just fired off. All those people are populated throughout the book. Those examples, those real world impact moments of how these principles show up in the lives of educators, firefighters, people in health care. When we talk about this warrior concept, and again, it transcends race, gender, age, stage of life. So I want to make sure that that's clear. But I put very directly in the book, you cannot be a warrior when you're falling apart. It just doesn't work. Intentions, you can dismiss them. It's execution that matters. And when we talk about this in practical terms, it comes down to self care, taking care of the vessel of all this great service, which is us. And you are the only you that you will ever have or be in this lifetime. We have to act accordingly. And sometimes we wait for other people to take care of us. We wait for it to be convenient and never will be. We wait for something to intervene, to really pull us into that self care mode. And sometimes that thing that pulls us into it is a health crisis.
[00:07:28.690] – DJ
And that's the reality is we need warriors who can sustain in the good fight every day, serving other people well, having a good impact. What we don't need is martyrs. And martyrs are the ones that just go till they fall apart, stand back, look at the debris field and say, how the heck did this happen? And I work with these people and I love them, whether it's a firefighter or educator or people serving in the military who are given their heart day in and day out, but they're not holding anything back to keep developing and protecting themselves. And that is unsustainable.
[00:08:04.690] – Allan
And the worst part of it is we don't get to choose when we fall apart. It's going to happen when it's going to happen. So you might be most needed at that moment when you're most unable.
[00:08:17.230] – DJ
And that's the reality. And that becomes extremely painful for people who have dedicated their lives to impacting others in a positive way. We don't know when it's going to show up. Sometimes we get some indicators, but we really don't know when to make that change until something crisis level happens. And that's one way to learn. I don't recommend it. I went through that same experience myself. Yeah, it was an awful experience, but it also made me a born again advocate for self care. Because I know if you keep doing that over and over again, drawing from the well without putting anything back, not only is your warrior spirit going to be depleted and drained, but you are going to go into a place where you don't want to go, which is that complete apathy, burnout health crisis. And there are better ways to do things in life. And you can learn from my painful lesson when you read the book on how not to wait, but to take care of yourself. Every day in our tribal communities, we talk about medicine. I mentioned that in the book too, as something that goes beyond a pill or a vaccine.
[00:09:22.600] – DJ
Medicine in our tribal communities and our traditions was anything and everything that kept us healthy, mind, body and spirit. So it could be spending time with family, spending time alone, it could be getting enough sleep, exercise, funny movies, hobbies, outdoors, whatever it is. That's your medicine list. We have to incorporate that daily because also tribal, we look at medicine, it's not something we go to when we're already sick and out of balance. It's something we incorporate into our lives to keep us healthy and strong.
[00:09:51.550] – Allan
Now, when we hear the term warrior, I think, and you said this in the book very well, people think of this really strong, almost invincible, against the odds, us against the world, or against the army or against whatever. And we don't realize how much when you actually look at real warriors in action, how they're not ashamed or afraid and they have the courage to ask for help.
[00:10:26.950] – DJ
Yeah. And that's a tough lesson to learn because the reality is you have to ask yourself a question how bad do you want to serve others? And if it is a deep drive, that passionate drive, then you have to set yourself up for long term success. And that's part of that self care idea. And yes, warriors are strong, but they are not invincible. I write in the book very clearly, warriors are not bulletproof. In our tribal traditions, our warriors fought against incredible odds. They were out matched technologically, they were lied to, it every turn. They had all these different obstacles and they still found a way to rally and deliver what they needed to for their people, to protect and defend their people. And if we're going to do that in our roles today, we have to take care of ourselves in the best way we know how. And a lot of that includes support from the outside because we over emphasize this warrior role where it is somebody who always has the right answer, is always strong, never afraid, doesn't deal with pain, doesn't need any outside support or encouragement. And that's all garbage that gets us into hot water quicker than anything.
[00:11:40.750] – DJ
Warriors are strong, but they struggle at times. Warriors are brave, but they deal with fear. Warriors are courageous and action oriented, but they also fall down at times and need help. That's totally okay. As I said, you have to think bigger picture. We all need that. We're all human beings. So that's important to include in our resource list. Yeah.
[00:12:04.500] – Allan
Now, I know from experience in the military, and you can see this in movies, it's a little bit more overdramatized of okay, get on the radio and call in support. It's a pretty common thing in a lot of movies where someone had that drama of we're getting overrun. But in real life that can be something as simple as just asking your spouse to take care of the children for 20 minutes or so for you to just go have a mental health break it's knowing when you need that and asking for that help and not being afraid to communicate that I'm being vulnerable with it. But just saying. Hey. I can't do this on my own right now. I need your help. And that trust that you put in the person that's helping you, well, they're probably a warrior in heart too. So it's a symbiotic thing where you're letting another warrior come in and be there for you just like you're going to be there for them later.
[00:13:01.450] – DJ
That's it. And there's strength and vulnerability. That's the other thing I've learned as I've gone along on my journey is being able to think through a different lens, realizing that sometimes the ultimate strength is actually asking for help, saying, hey, I'm not doing this right, I need some outside support, I need a different answer. That takes great courage and that's sometimes we're all worse than me when we don't exercise that. But just being able to reach out and get that support, that is critical because the way that we're wired, it's really bizarre because the moment that we're going through struggle is the time that we need support the most. But it's also the time where we are most likely to withdraw and go into our bunker, go into our own teepee and just lock everybody else out. And I always share with people, I was taught traditionally we're a lot more like bees and ants than we are like eagles. We need each other. We're better when we're with each other. Or let me clarify that with the right people we become very important to eliminate that. But we become more resilient, we become stronger, we become more brave, we become a better version of ourselves based on who we're surrounding ourselves with at the time.
[00:14:15.050] – DJ
That's why it's critical that we're not only selective be picky on who you tribe up with, who you associate with as a fellow warrior because if they're out there doing that good work at times you're going to lean on each other. And I take great comfort in knowing I'm surrounded by that caliber of folk. The men and women that are in my life that I know will be there for me just as I am for them. That's how you become brave as a group. That's why I say in the book warriors never fought alone. Why? Because that's dumb. You are going to severely limit your capacity to deliver anything good into this world when you try to go solo or lone wolf, it just doesn't work. It looks good on TV or in the movie, but in reality it doesn't work like that and it gets us into trouble more often than not.
[00:15:04.270] – Allan
Even rambo usually has a little bit of help
[00:15:07.930] – DJ
a little bit.
[00:15:09.730] – DJ
It's still mostly him. But that's that imagery, though, that gets us into trouble. And we do that too. Even in our native communities, we over romanticize that warrior role and make it inaccessible. And it's like that warrior role isn't about perfection. It's not about having all the right answers. It's about being strong enough to get yourself up when you get knocked down and continue to serve other people to the best of your ability. But warriors cry. They make mistakes, they stumble, but what they don't do is quit. And so that's the deciding factor there in that dynamic.
[00:15:44.710] – Allan
Yeah. Now, as a personal trainer, I come across people and there's two basic excuses that I get from people when they come. And probably the one that I kind of poopoo away and say, okay, that's not really true, is the motivation part. And I'm like, you'll be motivated when you want to do this more than you don't want to decline. When that balance happens, the motivation will come. But the other one I can somewhat agree with, at least from a perspective of experience, of understanding, when you think, okay, I just don't have enough time in the day to do the things I need to do for the self care, for the this or for the that. And you put something in the book, and I think it comes back to that phrase you used a minute ago, being picky. Yeah. Can you talk about kind of the mindset of what you put in the book about how we can look at time management to make sure that we have the time to do what we need to do?
[00:16:46.690] – DJ
Yeah, great question. First and foremost, there is no time for anything in this world. There's no time to eat, to pray, to play, to work out, to hang out with our families. There's only time for what we make time for, and that is it. If our health and wellness are not at the top of that pyramid, I'll tell you what we've also probably experienced everything we're trying to do may fall short because how realistic is it to go into this world, into this life, into this warrior role and want to deliver 100% of who we are and what we can do on a half charge battery or less? I mean, that's like plant carrot seeds and hope when coconuts grow. That's pure wishful thinking, and it's not reality. And the thing is, with time, it's non renewable. That's the other thing that makes it so precious, is we have to put it not towards everything, which is the temptation of the world we live in, but towards the right things. And if we never learn to delineate which is which, we doom ourselves to chaos. And one of the biggest challenges is learning not just what to say yes to.
[00:17:50.210] – DJ
We're good at that. It's learning what to say no to so that we have clarity of purpose we're able to concentrate our power and focus on the things that really matter because to not do that, we're dividing and conquering ourselves, which is the worst thing a warrior can do in battle. We're spread too thin and my gosh, do we feel it. We feel like too little peanut butter on too much toast, going a million different directions and not doing well in any one of them. So time management is absolutely critical in a busy world, and saying no to certain things, I know, can be painful. But the good news is you're saying yes even louder to the right things. And we're the ones who have to do that.
[00:18:29.780] – Allan
Yeah. And that's important. Everybody is going to pull on your time if you let them.
[00:18:35.740] – DJ
That's true. We live in a world where everybody and everything wants a piece of your time and they'll take little bites here and there and it's almost like you're swimming with piranha. Eventually you got nothing left and you don't know where it went. So that's why you got to get out of that pit or that pool of water and be able to operate on your own and be conscious about the choices you're making.
[00:18:57.010] – Allan
So about nine years ago I did a Tough mudder and then I was going to try to do a Spartan about four years ago or so and I tore my rotator cuff and so it's kind of that setback. And I was training for another Tough mudder that was supposed to do and not much time. It's pretty soon coming up here and I hurt my back and I didn't hurt any training. I don't know exactly how I heard it. It's not cute, but you said something in the book. The phrase you use is what to do when the wolf comes. And it's like, okay, I'm 56 years old. Occasionally I'm going to have some form of injury. It's kind of almost part of it, I'll tell you. Mentally, it's tough. How do we deal with setbacks properly? Because I think all of us are going to experience them as we go. It's never just the happy sailing, everything is good, I'm winning all the battles kind of thing.
[00:19:53.370] – DJ
Yeah. And it feels great when we're winning. Right. But the guarantee is the wolf will come and the wolf is that really huge setback, that heartbreak, that loss, that devastating pain, where we really are kind of reeling and wondering how do I keep moving forward at this point? How do I even stay afloat at this point? And a big part of that comes from who we surround ourselves with, like what we were just talking about, who we tribe up with, who our fellow warriors are. We need to be able to identify that and it's better to know what that looks like before you go into that moment than trying to figure that out when you're there. So that's the first one. The second one is really having a strong relationship within yourself. To be able to ask yourself questions when you're going through emotional turmoil that comes with loss, pain, setback is being able to kind of have a self interview where you're able to talk to yourself. And when you're able to do that and sit down with your emotions, I know it can be scary, but I promise everybody listening. You will not ignite on fire.
[00:20:56.900] – DJ
You will not melt down. You will not die. I know it's scary to do that, because dealing with those emotions makes us more resilient and enables us to get through them versus running away from them, which I know is a temptation. I mean, I've done that in my life, too, where you run away from the bad feelings as long as you can. They still catch up with you. They just catch up with you when you're exhausted now and not in a good position to deal with them. So it's better to face it and deal with it. But being able to ask questions like, are these thoughts useful? Because a lot of times, man, we all do it. We ruminate, we kind of go over the same turf over and over again. We're not making any progress. Why did this happen to me? How is this fair? Why does the world work? Like, we start going through this Rumination process that doesn't serve. The second thing is we can start asking ourselves questions like, what story am I telling myself about what just happened? We all talk about are all familiar with PTSD. Post traumatic stress disorder.
[00:21:56.720] – DJ
But there's also a thing called post traumatic growth. Which there's a lot of great researchers who are working on this now. And one of the big takeaways seligman is one of them who identifies that one of the most important questions we can ask is. What am I telling myself about this story or what I'm going through right now? And is it a story of doom gloom? It's never going to be the same. I'll always be broken or have a wound, or is it this is a learning experience. Yes, this is hard. I can do this. I can do hard things, and I'm going to be better for it and be able to help other people maybe deal with their stuff, too. Same situation, two different stories. But we're the narrator, we're the director, the producer, the actor, so we can recreate it. And then the other question is, is this story real or is this just fear showing up? Am I just really in pain right now? And if so, that's okay. You need to take care of yourself. But when we're able to do that, we're able to assess where we are and then how to move forward.
[00:22:59.230] – DJ
We can't do that if we're just in panic mode or stay stuck in the paint.
[00:23:05.620] – Allan
For me, it was looking at it from the Holistic of this thing really defined me. And it's like, no, this is critically important. I'm not a professional athlete. I'm not getting paid to do this event. I was doing this event because it was fun and it was motivating and the training to know that, okay, I got to build myself stronger than I need to be, to be who I am today, to do the event the way I want to do it. And I was going in that direction, but when I think about it from the longer term, it's like, okay, no, that event, that point in time, doesn't define me. It's upsetting that I won't get to do it, but I still get to be me. I still get to have the future that I'm going to have. I still get to be the warrior tomorrow.
[00:23:58.450] – DJ
[00:23:59.480] – Allan
And it won't do me any good to hurt myself worse today for the sake of something that isn't nearly as important as what I want tomorrow.
[00:24:08.110] – DJ
That's it. And you live to fight another day. This is such a great point, Allan. It doesn't define us. That one moment doesn't define us. It's really crazy to me, and not because we're all guilty of doing this, you run into one bad moment. You completely dismiss the track record that you build in your life, in your career, on your journey to get to that point in the first place. We took completely forget it. And that's one of the things I talk about in the book, is recognizing when you exercise courage, when you show discipline, when you face fear head on, is recognize those moments of bravery. Recognize those. Don't forget them. Don't blow past them. Because what happens is we're just looking forward all the time, which is important to look forward, but we never look behind us to see what it took to get here. And the reason why that's so important is when we remind ourselves of who we are and what we've done in the past, when we encounter that fear again or that setback, we can look at that reservoir of courage, and we can draw from it. We can say things like, I've been here before.
[00:25:10.690] – DJ
I've done this. I can handle this. I did it before. And actually, what I went through before was even worse, and I'm still doing this. So it's a process. And the other thing is, with the setbacks, we learn a lot about ourselves. One of the stories I tell in the book was about training for the Wing Open boxing tournament my senior year at the Air Force Academy. And I trained, I worked my guts out, and I broke my nose twice. The second time was two weeks before the tournament, and I broke cracked an eye orbital. So I was done. I was out. I was devastated. But I never looked at that as a defeat. I looked at it as a disappointment, but I never looked at it as a defeat. Just like, what you're saying with your injury, you can only do so much. And at that point, if you fall short, we can beat ourselves up for it or we can honor all that it took to get to that point in the first place. It's not always going to work out in our favor.
[00:26:07.510] – Allan
[00:26:09.910] – Allan
DJ, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:26:19.570] – DJ
I love this question. This is a journey where all works in progress, but if we have that as a goal, and basically I would summarize that as kind of being the best version of ourselves and we're constantly evolving, we're constantly transforming, or at least should be. But the way that I see that is, again, having a personal dialogue, having a personal connection, and constantly taking an assessment of where you are. Are you happy with where you are? And if not, what are you doing to progress in that area? So it's kind of like a heat seeking missile going towards a target. There's infinite micro corrections to get to the target, and that's part of life we have to constantly be assessing. Am I doing well in this area and this area? Can I work on this area a little bit here? I'm doing pretty good, but it's a constant assessment and it's an internal thing externally. Again, we have to surround ourselves with the right people. I can't stress environment enough. I had an elder tell me this years ago. He said our spirits are like sponges. They soak up whatever they're around. And we get to define what that is.
[00:27:27.370] – DJ
Are we listening to an eight hour news loop or are we hanging out with our friends who give us encouragement? Reading books that inspire our minds, going through health practices that strengthen our body and minds. We get to determine what we're surrounding ourselves with that's also critical to our success. And then the other thing is celebrating. Celebrating the wins. Gosh, we don't do that nearly enough and we wonder why we condition ourselves just to kind of be humdrum and just on to the next thing. It's like we need to learn to celebrate, do the victory dance. We had songs when warriors would come back from battle to celebrate that victory. We wanted it to be something that people remembered. And how often do we achieve great things in a moment and we just totally blow past and go onto the next thing? How can we be inspired to go onto the next thing when we're not even honoring this thing? It just doesn't work. So we need to learn to celebrate, reward ourselves. Give yourself a break. A pat on the back and make it appropriate too. You don't want to do a good workout, good 20 minutes workout, then have a full chocolate cake.
[00:28:42.630] – DJ
Yeah, it's like you got to balance it out. But even sometimes I find. For me, some of the best rewards I give myself is just permission or kind of an acknowledgment that in that moment I delivered. Just to be able to actually recognize that that's one of the best feelings. It's not about buying something or going somewhere. It's about being able to sit with yourself and have that internal conversation where you hear your own voice telling yourself, you did a great job there, you really delivered, you brought it, and that feels awesome. I mean, we need that. But however you celebrate, we need to do that more because we want to condition ourselves for the next success and the next. We don't want to condition ourselves to go into Burnout faster.
[00:29:27.770] – Allan
Perfect. DJ, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, The Warrior Within. Where would you like for me to send them?
[00:29:36.530] – DJ
Please go to nativediscoverycom. That's my website and it's got all the information on what I do, who I work with, information about the book and where you can get it. It will be available everywhere, also as an audiobook, but really excited to put it out into the world and strengthen the people that read it and appreciate that.
[00:29:58.810] – Allan
It's got a lot of great insights. So thank you for sharing and thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:30:04.700] – DJ
Chimmy Gwetschniji. Thank you very much, my friend, for having me.
[00:30:15.270] – Allan
[00:30:16.410] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. That was an interesting interview with DJ Vanas. I'm curious to know it sounded like he was a Native American.
[00:30:24.000] – Allan
He is, yes. And very much in the service area, military and now service to people. This is written from a very different perspective of caring about people and being the light for others, the example for others. That's very important to him and with his culture. And so yeah, going through the book you really get a sense that he's a lead by example person.
[00:31:01.250] – Rachel
That's so neat. It was really interesting. There's a lot of good things in your interview, but why don't we talk about having the courage to ask for help? I know that I struggle with that sometimes it is hard to ask for help. I don't want to be a martyr or anything, but I just sometimes feel like it's just better if I get things done when on my own. And I do want to help. I want to be a good mom to my kids. I want to be a good wife to my husband and a good daughter to my parents. And sometimes it just gets overwhelming.
[00:31:34.030] – Allan
Yeah, this is just my opinion, so I could be completely wrong and if I am, just ignore me. But I think men have a difficulty asking for help when it comes to physical things and getting things done on that side. A lot of men will say, okay, I'll fix it myself. And I don't mind. We'll spend a whole Saturday fixing something they could have paid a mechanic $50 to fix, but they just want to do it themselves, and so they will sit there and go through that time and expense of figuring it out to solve that problem. Now, women on the other side, I think it comes to more of the emotional trying to get help with the things that a mother should be good at or a sister or a daughter should be good at. They don't want to ask for help there. But the reality is, regardless of what your hang up is, it's really important to recognize when asking for help will move the needle.
[00:32:40.680] – Rachel
[00:32:41.990] – Allan
And we've talked about big rocks and little rocks and all that. Sometimes your big rock is to ask for help.
[00:32:48.410] – Rachel
[00:32:50.150] – Allan
If you're thinking, okay, I could lose the weight myself, what you're saying is, okay, I lose 1 lb a month doing it the way I'm doing it, and I want to keep doing that. I'll get to my goal weight in three years. That's great if you stick with it for three years, whereas maybe just hiring a coach could get you there in a few months or six months. Same thing. If you want to run a five K, you could start training for the five K, but you might tell yourself, okay, well, we're getting close to the end of the season. They're going to do some fall runs up until Thanksgiving, Christmas, then it gets too cold here, and then it'll be March, April before I'd want to run again. So I'll train for a 5k in April.
[00:33:39.450] – Rachel
[00:33:40.320] – Allan
Okay. And knowing that most of that training is going to have to be done on the treadmill, or you could hire a running coach, and you could be running that 5K by November. You can be doing the turkey trot easy. And so just thinking in terms of how much a trainer will help you move the needle is a big thing. The other thing is asking for help elsewhere, and I think this is another area where I think women might have a more difficulty is to say, okay, you're the primary caregiver for children. You're the that, and you want to start training. Well, you can't be mom and train at the same time. And now maybe you're lucky enough to be in a place where they have a daycare at your gym, and you can drop the kid over there, and they can sit there and see mama working out over there, and they can watch their videos and things like that in the little play area, and that's cool. But if you don't have that, then you got to ask for help. Help. I need you to watch the kids for an hour each day while I do this training.
[00:34:45.330] – Allan
Because it's not entirely fair for you to say. I got to wake up at 04:00 in the morning so I can get my training run done so that the training done. So then I can come home and be mom and then go to work and come back and be mom and get everything done for house and home and do it all over again the next day. If something as simple as, look, I need you to get the kids ready for school four days a week, three days a week, and I got the other two. You can get three training days in each week. And for a lot of us, that's enough to move the needle.
[00:35:19.170] – Rachel
Oh, for sure, yeah. It's important to communicate with your spouse or whoever else you have in the household about trading that time off. I'll watch the kids this time so you can do your thing while we'll try it off, where you watch them, where I can go do my thing. And same thing with the chores. If you can't keep up with house chores, you split it up. It's just a matter of communication. But when you do hire a coach, you could, like you said, move the needle, but I don't have a clever way to say it, but the coaches have already done all the hit and miss. They've already done all the research and have seen experience. They can cut you right down to the bone of what you should be doing to move that needle the fastest. When I first started running, I was just learning as I went. But I did hire a coach just recently. The spring I ran a marathon, I was aiming for a PR, and I hired a coach who got me that PR. And so even her techniques, her knowledge, her experience got me to where I wanted to be.
[00:36:24.070] – Rachel
And I'm a running coach. I should know all this stuff, and I do. But sometimes you just need somebody else to hold you accountable, to do the right things at the right time. There's just a lot of value to it.
[00:36:37.070] – Allan
Yeah, and I did that with strength. I can train myself. I've done it before because I had to do it before. When you work 90% of the time, you're traveling 90% of the time. To put that in context, you're home three days a month. Oh, gosh, okay, so home three days a month. And there's no way for me to hire a trainer at the time because there were no online trainers, and specifically were no online trainers that were used to coaching people over 40. The only online trainers I knew were the ones that were like the nutrition coaches for getting yourself ready for contest prep or posing coaches who are getting people ready for their posing for a contest, a fitness or physique contest. And so there really wasn't anybody that was going to say, let's make an old fat man on fat. So that's what I needed, though. I needed something like that. So I went and got certified. I started spending time, I started making sure I stay in hotels with certain amenities, gyms and things like that. And I was able to do that. But I did put a stop. I made it something I had to get done within a certain amount of time, all those kind of things.
[00:37:46.550] – Allan
But when I hired the strength coach, I thought, okay, yeah, this will help me get a little stronger than I was before. No, I got as strong as I had ever been, even as a high level high school player, football player. I was squatting more at 51 years old than I was in high school wow. As an offensive lineman. So that's what my strength coach was able to do for me. And it was little things. It was these little things that he was able to just put into my thought process that pushed me a little harder, a little faster. And even at my age, I was trying to be the voice of reason. It's like there's no reason I should put that much weight on the bar, but I had done just a little less than that weight the day before, a few days before. So I was like, well, let's go. Let's see what happens. And I mean, I would push myself. It's not that you need to be the strongest person you've ever been. It's not that you need. But if you really need to move the needle on something to realize a coach is going to make that happen, that change will happen easier and better.
[00:39:04.220] – Allan
If you have someone there that understands what you're going through, can push you just hard enough and keep you in the game and doing it. So you're not making excuses to not do it. And there's all those things the coach brings. Like I said with my clients, it's like it's direction or guidance. It's support, and it's accountability, and that's what a good coach will bring you. But again, you have to ask for help if you want to go it alone. You might get there, but it might take you a lot longer. It took me over eight years, almost nine years to fix myself, and that was me doing it alone.
[00:39:48.010] – Rachel
Well, the interesting thing about a coach, too, Allan, is that we have the laser focus on what our athletes goals are. We don't have the same distractions that they have. They've got work and they've got family, and they've got outside obligations, and so it's easier for them to change their balance or to skip a workout or something. But as a coach, I'm looking at my athletes every single day. I want to see what they're working out. I will push them to do things, and I know when they do have crazy things coming up in their lives, we'll adjust. But again, we have that laser focused on what their goals are and can get them there. And then two, we've said in the past, you need to have some skin in the game, and when you hire a coach, you're paying for that service, and you're going to take full advantage of what you're paying for. So you get a lot of accountability and motivation just from that as well.
[00:40:45.650] – Allan
You sure do.
[00:40:47.410] – Rachel
[00:40:48.560] – Allan
All right. I will talk to you in a few minutes, but everyone else will talk to you next week.
[00:40:54.930] – Rachel
[00:40:55.960] – Allan
[00:40:56.880] – Rachel
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Having time to be excellent at work and spend time quality time with family is hard, throw in fitness and it can seem impossible. In his book, Everyday Athlete, Art Trapotsis shows us how to find that balance.
[00:03:26.310] – Allan
Hey, Ras. How are you doing?
[00:03:28.190] – Rachel
Good. How are you today, Allan?
[00:03:30.150] – Allan
I'm doing all right. I'm doing pretty good. Of course, I'm getting ready to get on an airplane to travel back to the United States for four weeks or so. It's about four weeks to spend time with family, and then I'm going to take an actual vacation. This one actually by myself in Mexico, so I'll be gone for about five weeks. Traveling around and seeing family and doing this and that. But I did drop the tough mudder. It wasn't in the cards for me this time, and I've accepted that. But that just means I could spend more time with my mother.
[00:04:05.890] – Rachel
[00:04:07.210] – Allan
[00:04:08.950] – Rachel
Great. Trade off. Perfect.
[00:04:11.290] – Allan
How about you?
[00:04:12.620] – Rachel
Good. Same thing. I'm actually getting ready to get on a hydroplane myself. That's how we're going to get to Isle Royal in about a week or so, and we'll have eight days on the island, so I will be unplugged for about eight weeks. I'm looking forward to that.
[00:04:28.060] – Allan
Yeah, that's going to be exciting. You just mentioned before we got on the call the weather is changing a bit, and so plans are changing, and it's kind of evolving thing as you get going and imagine even being on the ground, you kind of have to have that concept of we need to be able to pivot when it's time to pivot and roll when it's time to roll.
[00:04:48.250] – Rachel
You have to be flexible. Some of the days that we're going to be out there might have longer hikes than others. We have a limited food supply. We're packing in what food we have, packing out all the trash. So, yeah, you got to be flexible and be ready for weather changes, landscape changes, animal changes. We don't know what to do.
[00:05:09.720] – Allan
Just remember, you only have to be able to outrun Mike. You don't have to be able to outrun the bank.
[00:05:15.430] – Rachel
[00:05:18.070] – Allan
Although he probably still runs a little bit faster than you.
[00:05:20.450] – Rachel
He is he's very speedy,
[00:05:22.400] – Allan
but he's got more meat on his bones. Go get it
[00:05:25.930] – Rachel
right? Yeah. Just looking forward to it.
[00:05:28.910] – Allan
Well, are you ready to have a conversation with Art?
[00:05:31.190] – Rachel
[00:06:11.210] – Allan
Art, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:06:13.640] – Art
Thank you so much for having me, Allan.
[00:06:15.590] – Allan
So your book is called The Everyday Athlete: How to Balance Work, Family and Fitness for Life. And there's a lot to unravel in that title for a book, and we're going to do some of that today. But this is a big thing. It's really hard for me to explain because I know I'm a coach and so by the time someone is coming to me, they've already somewhat hot committed, if you will, to say, I'm going to do something for my fitness, I'm going to do something. And they're listening to 40 plus Fitness. So we're somewhat there. But the whole balancing thing, a lot of us missed that.
[00:07:01.190] – Art
Yeah, I initially thought that there were three sort of separate buckets with work, family and friends and then fitness. But one theme that kept emerging when I was doing research for this book and interviewing people was that without fitness, it's really hard to succeed in the other two areas and to feel balanced. So fitness is sort of interconnected with everything else that we do in life. And we can't just think of it as a silo that we put on hiatus when we're focusing on work or family.
[00:07:33.150] – Allan
Yeah, I actually did that when I was younger. I think we all, a lot of us, fall into this trap. We get into our late twenty s and thirty s and we're like, okay, I'm putting in the hours and I'm getting promoted at work. And so it's almost like the more I pour of myself into my job, the better my career goes. And now you're competing with everyone else at work and you're winning those competitions because you're putting in the time. And so I ended up at 37 years old, sitting on the beach in Mexico, by all accounts fully successful. I'm a vice president of a Fortune 500 company and my life is wonderful. Except I know I had fallen out of a volleyball game the day before I went to play sand volleyball and it was four on four, it wasn't even twos. And I played one game and I subbed out. And I'm thinking to myself, I never would have subbed out in my entire life. I would have been the last guy to sub out. I would have done it just to let people play. But I would not have subbed out because I needed to.
[00:08:39.310] – Allan
But I did. So the next morning I'm sitting on the beach and I'm like, why am I so pathetic? I've got all this great stuff at work, but I didn't have it at home. I didn't have it in my health and fitness. And so it really was that disconnective balance that I was so one sided. And I fought that for eight years. I'm like, how do I rebalance? And it took me eight years to figure it out. And for me, what it was was this idea that everything that I had been successful at in my life, I committed to. And the only way I was going to find balance was if I equally committed to all three things.
[00:09:18.470] – Art
Did you feel unbalanced during those eight years?
[00:09:21.210] – Allan
I did. But I kept trying. You know. It was like this Yoyo thing where it was like gravity almost and I kind of equate it to I don't know. I've seen movies where two planets are coming together and you got the gravity going one direction and the gravity going the other direction. And I would start getting pulled one direction. And then all of a sudden work would be there. I'd turn to face work and I'm back the gravity well, yes. And another year later, yeah, I got another promotion. I worked so much harder, and then I write back being spit back out, like, wow, that didn't work. I'm still not fulfilled. And so, yeah, it was a really hard thing to do because it meant breaking a lot of who I was down and saying, okay, why am I the way I am? And then it meant breaking up relationships, it meant cutting back at work, and it meant finding the time to do those things and really just figuring it all out.
[00:10:21.800] – Art
Yeah. So I was a competitive cyclist earlier in my life, and when I got a real job, went into the real world, got married, started to have a family, and became less competitive. But I noticed that there were quite a few folks in my circle of friends that were still remaining competitive with cycling, and I was wondering how they were doing it. So I started to interview some local masters athletes to put on my blog. And as I spoke to more and more people, I became really fascinated because I was like, oh, there's quite a few folks who sort of figured out how to manage all three aspects of their life. And I started to weave together some common themes and create this book, The Everyday Athlete. And one of the big things that came out of it was time management. I mean, just learning to be flexible and taking advantage of available time when you get it to sneak and exercise whenever you can, even if it's just a 30 minutes run or weight lifting session. It doesn't have to be some massive two to four hour endurance ride, which is sort of the norm if you're a cyclist or any endurance world.
[00:11:39.230] – Art
So that was one of the themes that came out of the time management piece.
[00:11:42.830] – Allan
and that was definitely part of it. And to me, again, it was about the committing to the fact that I had to have that balance or I wasn't going to be complete. And then from there, everything just sort of started falling in line because once you truly commit to something, you have to do it. You don't have a choice anymore. And I knew I was at that point, I knew I knew I was. You said something earlier, though, that I think is really important, and it was that if you don't have fitness, it's maybe even impossible to really be fulfilled or balanced in those other areas. And for me, the biggest part of that is what exercise does for us, and not just physically for our bodies. Because I think people know, okay, well, if I exercise and burn more calories, that makes weight loss or weight control a lot easier. But really the special sauce with exercise is what exercise does for the brain. Could you talk a little bit about why that's so important? Because, again, if it's going to make everything else better, I'd like to know why.
[00:12:45.000] – Art
Well, there's a lot of data to support that. The fact that fitness in your life creates a ripple effect. So you go out for a 30 minute walk at lunch during your work day. You come back and you feel a bit more productive, and there are chemicals associated your brain that sort of stimulates more engagement at work with whatever it is you're doing. In the book, I referenced a book called Spark which talks about they perform some studies with students who had a break or perform physical fitness during the day. And those students were better students over the course of the year because they were just more engaged and they've learned better. So I sort of extrapolated on that and took that into the workplace.
[00:13:34.430] – Allan
Yes, you actually have programs at your workplace that people can exercise and take time off. And you're really flexible with all that because you know as an employer actually pays you for them to be that way.
[00:13:49.590] – Art
Yes, we installed we moved to a new facility about three years ago, and one of the layout pieces was, okay, we need to put a gym in here to make it as easy as possible for people to get some exercise. So we've got showers, we've got a gym. We created a wellness program with monthly activities that are totally voluntary. Nothing is forced upon anybody, but they're pretty fun. Just in a couple of months ago, we had our annual walking challenge where if you have a Fitbit or an iPhone or something, recorded your steps and it became sort of a little bit competitive. But it also was kind of fun because now you see people going out at lunch and getting in their steps and walking with their colleagues and recording it on the weekends, and all those folks just seem a bit more engaged when they get back to the office.
[00:14:40.520] – Allan
Yes, sometimes a little bit of competition can really spark some interest and get people doing a little bit more. That's awesome. Now you hit a concept in the book that one, I know it's going to resonate with Rachel kind of big because this is something she does. But you titled the book Everyday Athlete. And so we're not just talking about the person who's competitive or thinking about going masters, Olympian or something. This is just the person that wants to be able to hike on the weekends like something beautiful. They want to be able to ride their bike, play tennis again, or just do things, be a great grandmother, just that awesome person that keeps up with grandchildren at the zoo. Can you talk about the value of calling yourself an athlete?
[00:15:29.220] – Art
Yeah, I think that there are so many hurdles in the way of folks finding a way to get the fitness in their life. And I think and I propose this in the book, that if you think of yourself as an athlete, you're training for a 5K or 10K or a marathon or something. And if you just started to think of yourself as an athlete, then you start to adjust your behaviors a little bit. Oh, I think I'll go to sleep a little bit earlier tonight. Maybe I won't have that extra piece of cake. But also it becomes just more ingrained in your daily life. You think about your whole day with your meetings and your eating schedule and sleep schedule, like, oh, there's also a component there that involves me getting some exercise, and I need to do that because I'm an athlete. And I think getting over that hump of thinking yourself an athlete can really just make fitness more ingrained in how you are as a person.
[00:16:25.860] – Allan
Yes. The way I really ramped myself up was that my daughter was a CrossFit coach, level one CrossFit coach. And so I was looking back at her, she's 20 years old, and I'm thinking, that was me at 20 years old, I was an athlete. And then I'm thinking to myself, well, why wouldn't I be thinking of myself as an athlete today? Why would I be a spectator in my daughter's life going forward? And I wasn't comfortable to retire the cleats, if you will not done. I wanted more. So I said, okay, I'm going to train to do a tough mudder, and I'm going to do it with my daughter. And by committing to doing it with my daughter, it went well beyond that. I didn't want to just do it. I wanted to not hold her back. I wanted her to be able to run her race, and I want to be able to keep up with her. And I wanted us to finish that thing together, and I didn't want to be wrecked doing it. It was, okay, well, I have something now that I'm training for. And when I started the training, it's like, well, okay, I do have to feed the machine.
[00:17:30.290] – Allan
My body is a tool to do what I want to do. And if I do the right maintenance with it and I do the right training, it will respond, and it will reward me with a beautiful experience with my daughter. And it did that whole concept of I went back to being an athlete, and there are times I'll tell you, I still struggle with that because I can't do it all the time. I can't be that athlete all the time. Even LeBron James, he has an off season. And so in the book you talked a little bit about off seasons. We're not going to play basketball every day all year. We're going to have off seasons. Can you talk about why having off seasons is important?
[00:18:10.310] – Art
Yeah, I mean, there's a concept called periodisation where over the course of a year you slowly build up and develop what we call sort of base fitness. And as you approach your event, if you have an event in your calendar, you might convert some of that base fitness into more intense workouts. So you're kind of building the pyramid and the top of the pyramid is your event day. And when you reach the top, there's always a necessity to take a break. And if you have, let's say, two events during the course of the year, you want to filter in some rest time. It could be a week or two weeks. But eventually as you get around to, let's say, the winter season, if you're a cyclist, you might want to consider taking off a full month and just sort of not stopping exercise, but scaling back the volume, the intensity. And then that also resets your brain. Okay, I don't have to be on every single day of the week or every week to get workouts in. I can back up a little bit and it recharges you for the next season. So you don't have to go hard all year long at some point.
[00:19:20.620] – Allan
And I think that's really important. There's a balance to that. Like I said, that's what this book is really about. If you know, it's like, okay, well, Christmas time and Thanksgiving time is when I'm going to be spending time with family. And I don't want to be spending even though I could, I don't want to spend 4 hours every day training and not be able to drive over the house until 02:00 because that's when my training runs going to be done. Everybody's going to be there at noon and here I come straightening up at 02:00. And that's not really cool. So I'm taking that off season and saying it's okay. It's okay to relax, it's okay to enjoy these other things. And then that recovery that refresh it's across not just your body but your brain and everything. You can go into your next season, your on season, and start really pushing for higher and higher goals.
[00:20:10.730] – Art
Yeah, it's okay to give yourself a break and be gentle with yourself. You don't have to drive yourself into the ground all year. So you mentioned the holiday season and for me, like, that's the time where I sort of push aside some of those longer training sessions and focus more on the family piece and spending time with family during the holiday period.
[00:20:33.480] – Allan
Yeah, and family of the three, to me that's the hard one. Now I don't know why work, for some reason or another, was like I said, that little black hole that just sucked me away from everything else in life. But once I got back to the family part and I see it a lot with my clients. Particularly those that are the caretakers. And particularly when we're in this sandwich kind of generation of where someone's were still taking care of our children while we're taking care of our parents and that pull on us to be there for our family all the time just seems to be something that can kind of really derail the fitness and even sometimes our careers. How do we get around the family? Not like break up with the family, but how do we make that work when the family has such a huge draw on us?
[00:21:28.130] – Art
I think it starts with communication and basically expressing to your significant other and to your family members, like what you value and what's your priority to you. So if getting in the run on the weekend is really important to you, then you don't sit down and say, hey, honey, I want to go out and do a huge ride this weekend. I'll see you later. It's more like, hey, what does the family want to accomplish this weekend? We have some commitments here, some chores here. Can we carve out a little bit of time for me to go off for a run? And I think having that communication is so important because if it's not there, then the other department will always feel some sort of resentment or you're leaving them hanging with the rest of the family activities to organize and create. So the communication is like the first piece and there's a lot of little things we can do to improve communication, like having a family calendar and sort of sitting down and saying what I just said, where you look at the weekend, what do you want to accomplish and what do you want to do for fun and do you want to have the family dinner?
[00:22:39.590] – Art
So that is a really important piece in our household.
[00:22:43.170] – Allan
Yes. I think the way you put it in the book was really great was that you had little kids. This is not like you're talking about just send the teams off to spend time with their friends and you go do your run. This was okay. We've got little kids. One of them has got to go to this practice. One of them has got this game. And so it's like, okay, based on the times available, I'm going to have to get up and from six to nine I'm going to go do my ride or my run and get that done. So then I'm done and then I can take this one to the game. And then while we're at the game, you can take and do your run and then we meet back. And now we're together as a family having our dinner. And we made everything happen that needed to happen and we had the balance between us and the conversations between us and the trust that, yeah, she's going to follow through, I'm going to follow through because it's not just, I'm going to get my running. It's like, you know, I think I'm going to go play some golf with the guys.
[00:23:39.640] – Allan
I got a call. No, we commit. We do the right thing. And that communication and trust means that they're willing to give because you're willing to give. And in the end, if you're not taking care of yourself, then you're not really going to be 100% for your family. As we mentioned earlier, how key fitness is to all the other dynamics.
[00:24:00.120] – Art
And sometimes it isn't even about the other person. Let's say also going out for a run or getting in some fitness. It could be done wanting to disconnect by doing some gardening or meeting up with some friends for coffee. It's whatever it is that your significant other things of is like, disconnecting and re-energizing them. So I think it's just having a respect for whatever your partner feels like they need to do to stay balanced.
[00:24:28.290] – Allan
Yeah, my wife would be the I'm going to go spend some time with my friends kind of person. She's not going for a run, but I totally get you there. But yeah, we're different people, and we have different needs, and with the respect we have for each other, that we just we make it work. But I don't have the little kids. It's just the two of us, and our only little kid is Lula's, our bed and breakfast.
[00:24:51.590] – Art
Well, I'm just checking in that your partner has some time carved out for themselves, like, oh, do you need some time to disconnect and do what you would like to do?
[00:25:03.670] – Allan
Yeah. All right. It does. Understanding that and as I said before, I didn't have that balance, and I didn't have that skill because I think the communication between a significant other is a huge skill that a lot of us go into marriage without really ever having. We go into relationships without really having and or practicing. And once you kind of practice that skill, it's very powerful.
[00:25:29.530] – Art
Developing the emotional IQ.
[00:25:32.510] – Allan
That's it. Yeah, that's the word right there. Now, one thing I always recommend, and a lot of other people recommend, is do something you enjoy. So if your fitness doesn't have to be, okay, I got to get you in the gym, I've got to do three sets of eight on that leg press, and then we're going to move over to this machine, and we're going to do three sets, eight. For a lot of people, that's intimidating, scary, and they're not going to enjoy it. And if they're not going to enjoy it unless I'm there asking them to do the next set, they're not going to do it. So a lot of people encourage, just do something, enjoy. So it's like, take a group class, take a Zumba, go out and join a running club or a walking club or a biking club. Why is this group training? Why is that so valuable? What's the draw? And why are so many people interested? And why is it so much more fun, I guess would be the question is what are all these values that group classes do that we wouldn't do ourselves?
[00:26:30.170] – Art
Well, part of it has to do with the motivation piece. Sometimes it's just really challenging for you to get your own butt off the couch and then to go out and do that ride. But if you know that there's five or six people waiting on the coffee shop for you to also go for that ride, then it just gets you a little bit more of an edge to get out there and do that. And in our area where I live in our neighborhood, we have weekly group rides. There's something going on every day of the week and it's super motivating because, you know, on Monday, if it's a recovery day, there's a recovery ride. The folks around here are called the Muffin Ride because it meets up at a coffee shop after the Muffins. And I think that that's got a lot of folks in our area off the couch and motivated. And many of them have events on the calendar now where they're doing centuries 100 miles rides. And these are folks who were not engaged that level of athletic fitness just a few years ago. So the group ride or whatever group activities you want to do, it goes a long way from foundation.
[00:27:38.040] – Allan
Now, a lot of people will look at that and they'll say, oh, well, I'm going to go try to ride with people that are doing 100 miles races and more. And it's like, well, I physically can't do that right now, so if we're going to go do a training ride, see you, they're going to leave me in the dust. But you also mentioned a concept that you call the no drop mentality. And so occasionally some of the groups that you train with will use this or have this. Can you talk about what that is and how that could help someone who's maybe just a little intimidated to get started?
[00:28:12.450] – Art
Yes, the no drop ride. So when you get dropped on a ride, it means that you've fallen off the back of the group and basically have been left for dead and no one's waiting you and you're riding by yourself. So there's number rise throughout the week or the month where we announced a no drop ride. Words basically at the top of the hill, we'll wait for everyone to gather and you never felt like you're left behind. There's always someone looking out for you and it's at a pace that usually everybody can hold and it really lowers the barrier to entry because it's like, okay, let me show up as a no drop ride. I know I'm going to make it all the way home on this 25 to 30 miles loop, and I'm not going to be left to figure out how to get home. So with that, we've actually drawn in quite a few newbie cyclists and they've loved it. And over the years they've gotten better and they've gone on to some of the harder group rides that become very competitive. But I love the no drop rides. My favorite one to do, especially on Sundays.
[00:29:14.970] – Allan
Yeah, the concept, to me, it's two sided and the two sides, this one is as a group, I think it's just really great that you're having this inclusivity of saying we want to introduce more people to the sport, to this thing. And the way we do it is by making them feel more comfortable and more included. And I can tell you, in a gym environment, a lot of people feel intimidated. They walk in there and they see the big guys over by the free weights. They're kind of like, I'll just hang out over here by the treadmill, don't mind me. But the reality is a gym environment, most gym environments are no drop mentalities. The guys you see over there are those heavy weights. They're happy to see you there. They won't walk over and tell you and welcome you, but they're glad to see you there because by you paying a gym membership, you're helping pay for that equipment they're using too. And so most gyms are going to have a no drop mentality. They're not going to let you fail just and laugh at you. They're not going to do that. They want you to be successful.
[00:30:13.640] – Allan
They want you to be long term gym members just like them. And eventually you might be over in those free weight areas and they'll be glad to help you in any way they can. But then there's the other side of this equation, and that's the mindset that you bring to the game. I know if I got into a ride, I'm not keeping up with you. There's no way. And I don't mean that as a slight. What I mean is I can't lose my battle, my sport, by competing with you. I'm competing with myself at this point in my life. And so my comparison is to Allan yesterday. I want to be as good or better than the Allan I was yesterday. And it's not just in sports, it's just not fitness. It's family, it's work, it's everything else. What am I doing today to be better tomorrow? And so I think if you look at a no drop mentality, not only is important if a group has it and makes you feel comfortable, it's kind of building in yourself that I don't actually care if I get dropped. I'm not comparing myself to the best riders in this group.
[00:31:24.200] – Allan
And if I do get left behind, then I'll figure it out. But I'm going to come back and I'm going to get better and so at some point, I might be that good, but I'm not going to compare myself to them. I'm going to compare myself to who I was yesterday.
[00:31:38.690] – Art
There are so many folks that I've ridden with and went running with, and I was involved with triathlon over the years that started off very intimidated. Didn't want to put the spandex on the Lycra, but.
[00:31:57.390] – Allan
It just shows how great you look. Maybe you don't feel like you do. Yeah.
[00:32:03.160] – Art
No, but I think it takes someone to say, here, let's go for a short ride on the bike path. That's just get you comfortable on the bike or the run or even a swim. And then, hey, let's show up on the 20 miles no drop ride this weekend, and we'll go together. And over time and I've been doing this now for over 25 years, many of these folks are much stronger than I am now. And they just developed it's like their inner competitive cyclists came out, and now they're phenomenal athletes. So it's been a pretty fun process to do that.
[00:32:42.410] – Allan
Well, as we said earlier, I think everybody has an athlete in them. Our human body was built to be athletic, to hunt, to fish, to forage, to move, to play. We were built for this. And so it's there. It's just a function of bringing it out. And it starts with the mindset, it starts with the doing. And if you can find these groups and find the way to do the training where you feel comfortable, but then you push that comfort zone, then you get better. And I think that's one of the keys. And what I really liked about your book was it just kind of pulled that altogether to say, if you want this balance, it's within your grasp. And it's not just a concept of having it all, which I think is what a lot of people think balance is, but it's the understanding, the compensation with all of them to fit them together in a way that fits your lifestyle.
[00:33:38.130] – Art
Yeah. And also that it's a journey. You're not going to have balance every single day of the week. It's something that we're always moving towards. And even the folks that you think have life completely dialed in, they don't. They're always trying to figure it out.
[00:33:56.350] – Allan
But they're instagram famous.
[00:33:59.310] – Art
Exactly. So we're all in the same boat. I've interviewed over 100 folks through this book of all walks of life. And every single person I interviewed, no matter how successful they appear on the outside, or how successful they appear as far as athletic prowess, everyone struggles. Everyone. So I think if we can keep the fitness piece in our life, as we grow our families and build our careers, it will make us at least feel like we have life in check. And that's what my proposal is in the book.
[00:34:38.380] – Allan
Yeah. And I would say, being over 40, if you can reintroduce fitness into your life, it's going to enhance those other things just as well.
[00:34:48.730] – Art
I totally agree. There's quite a few folks who were competitive in high school, or maybe not even competitive. They just did some sort of sport in high school. Maybe they played in college. And then there was nothingness in their late 20s or even into their 30s. And then they feel like, okay, I need to get back into doing something. And when they do that, it's like a switch turns on and the rest of their life starts to fall in place.
[00:35:19.210] – Allan
And it's not even that you are an athlete when you were younger. Because I remember I was 29 when I ran an ultra 50 miles ultra. And I was standing in the morning meeting, and they have these briefing the day before briefing. And so we're sitting in the briefing room and I'm standing next to this really old guy. I mean, at the time I'm looking, I'm like, okay, he's ancient. He was 68 years old. So we started talking and I started looking around. I'm like, everybody here is way older than me. And like, what's going on? What bizarre world am I in? And he said, he says most people don't actually even ever start running until they're in their 40s. Most ultra athletes were not really necessarily even athletes when they were younger. They got into their forty s and running was a way for them to destress and get in shape. And then they just kept adding miles. And here we are lining up tomorrow for a 50 mile run. And I just thought that was so compelling. And then you see the results of the run. It was a twelve hour cut off.
[00:36:24.710] – Allan
There were 28 of us that started the run. I think 18 of us finished. And the guy who came in first was 29, and I was 29, and I came in next to last. And then when I finished, they're on the radio and there's one guy left and like, is he going to make cut off? They're like, it's going to be close. And then they said his name. And I'm like, that's that 68 year old guy. I was standing next to a briefing yesterday. So I'm standing at the finish line watching this guy finish this race. And so this is a guy who didn't start running until he was in his forty s. And here he is competing with himself, but competing in the 50 mile run. And he finished it just under time. And so at that point, I knew anything is possible. You can come back at any age and you can do this at any time. So it's not that you had to be an athlete. The athletes there, it's always been there. And it's just a function of pulling it out and using it now, using your fitness, because it's going to enhance everything.
[00:37:27.550] – Art
Well, one thing that I'm glad you just told that story. Because one thing that resonated with me in one of my first triathlons, I was maybe around 25 years old and there's a couple of older categories that started in a way behind us, about ten minutes behind us. And in any triathlon usually put your age on the cap. So with a marker you can see the age of the person. So here I am in the final leg of 5K, 25 years old and I'm going to a pretty good clip, maybe like a six minute mile pace or something. And up comes behind me is this gentleman and he's fast and he's blown by me. And I look at his cap, it says the number 47. I'm now 47. I see his number 47. I was like oh wow. He actually started like eight or ten minutes behind me. And the thing that resonated with me was when we got to the finish line, his wife was there and two of his kids were there. And I just thought this is amazing. And that's what really motivated me over all this time, my career and family, that you can keep doing this, you can keep doing it, still be competitive and have the whole thing.
[00:38:46.520] – Art
So that resonate me. And I just love that you kick my butt there.
[00:38:52.390] – Allan
Good, good. And hopefully he's still running, but hopefully he's still doing that.
[00:38:56.700] – Allan
Art, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:39:04.890] – Art
That's a great question. So number one, I think consistency, try to do something multiple times a week. I'm going to say at least five times a week. That's one thing. Number two, I'm gonna say this now because I have a lot more years of experience on my belt. Sleep. Sleep is so important because then you're ready to go the next day 100%. The third thing is having the ability to disconnect. And when I say disconnect, just disconnect from work, disconnect from your phone and just letting your mind sort of recharge. And you can do that in a form of meditation, reading a book. But I think that's really important to just overall wellness.
[00:39:53.410] – Allan
Thank you. I love those. Thank you. Art, if someone wanted to learn more about you or learn more about your book Everyday Athlete, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:40:03.370] – Art
[00:40:15.490] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/553 and I'll have a link there for that book and for your website. So thank you Art. Thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:40:26.600] – Art
Thank you so much, Allan. It's a lot of fun.
[00:40:36.350] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:40:37.990] – Rachel
Hey Allan. Art I think might be my new best friend. There's so many great things in your interview but the first thing I wanted to mention was a quote and I don't know if I got it exactly right in my notes, but I believe the quote was, without fitness, it's hard to succeed in the other areas of life. And I just wanted to take a minute to recognize how important it is to be healthy and to be fit in your day to day life. It's so important.
[00:41:07.130] – Allan
Yeah. I missed this myself. I got well into my career and I was in a sedentary job, so I had all the fitness I needed to be an accountant, but I didn't have the fitness to be the other things that I wanted to be in my life. And so as my health was declining, I recognize that my performance was going to decline during the longer days. And sitting at the desk all those days and all that, I was not at peak. I mean, I was doing enough, and it was enough to be where I was. But I think about what all the other things I could have accomplished in my life if I had the energy and the stamina and the capacity to do those other things, and I didn't, but I didn't even recognize it. It's kind of one of those things that you're sitting in this water and you don't really recognize the temperature of the water. I'm not going to say what that comes from, because people get mad every time I say it. No, I don't do that. But the whole point being is we lose sight of our own surroundings because we're so in it.
[00:42:19.230] – Allan
And so if you find yourself not thinking outside of your environment, you might think what's going through is normal. This is just what we all normally hurt. We all normally can't do things we all normally break, and that's not true. There's a big variation of the aging curve, and we get to make some decisions, and we get to make those decisions each day. But yeah, we won't perform as well if we don't take the time to train and get our body as strong as we can get it.
[00:42:51.100] – Speaker 3
Well, that's a really good point right there, Allan, is that when we're young, we have used on our side, and it seems like, being that I'm 51, I can look back and say that the younger people, including my younger self, we had energy to spare, we had some level of fitness to spare, and then as we age, that level of energy is not the same. I would always say if I could bottle the energy my kids had, I would make millions. But the fact is that as we age, things happen. And you guys discuss too, the balance, having balance between work and family life and fitness. If you think of those three things, those three major concepts, family, work and your health and fitness, it is hard to be an expert at everything all at the same time. But there comes a day where you really do have to focus on that health and fitness level, because if you're not healthy, it makes everything so much harder. Work becomes harder. Running around with your kids or grandkids is immensely harder, and then you're missing out on some really wonderful activities.
[00:44:02.580] – Allan
Yeah, it's really important.
[00:44:05.310] – Rachel
But the other thing, the reason why I really do love Art, and you mentioned it as you were talking, is that, yes, I do love calling my clients athletes. I love to think of myself as an athlete, even though I am not Olympic level. I'm not contention for anything super like an elite or professional athlete. But when you do think of yourself as an athlete, your perspective on everything changes. When I go out for a run in the morning, if I don't get enough sleep, I don't have quite as much fun in my run, or I can't go quite as far as I want. And if I'm training for a race, sleep becomes even more important. And the same thing is with my food. If I eat poorly over the weekend, I can't have my long run. It's just I don't do it quite as well, and it's not as enjoyable. So once you start thinking of yourself as an athlete, things do change.
[00:44:55.850] – Allan
Yeah. I spent so much of my early life kind of doing the flip flop of use the word early on when we were talking, before we came on as academic, thinking of yourself as an academic, or thinking yourself of this, and you tend to get this tunnel focus. At least I did. And so it was like, yeah, when I left high school when I was in high school, I was an athlete. That's all I thought of. I didn't think of high school as even an academic pursuit. It was something I had to do to be on the football field, the track, the tennis court. I did those things, but I was an athlete. That's why I was in high school. And then I got into junior college, and it was like, okay, well, now I have to be an academic, and I have to just be an academic. And so I was so focused on the academics that when I then had to make a pivot in my life, it was like, I've been working so hard in one area, I didn't want to do that anymore, and I pivoted all the way back to athletics.
[00:45:58.980] – Allan
In fact, the reason I went infantry in the military was they showed all these videos of all the things I was capable of doing. And when I passed the Azab, the score, my recruiter said, do anything. You can literally do anything in the army you want to do. And so I just told him, I said, Drop everything that says engineer, mechanic, anybody that fixes or does anything with their brain. Just turn that one off. They came up with field medic, arterial surveyor, which was math, and then infantry, and they showed the infantry guys, and they're all just running around all the time. And I'm like, that's what I want to do. For two years, quite literally, it was signing up and just saying, what can I do for two years to earn some money for college? And I did two years of infantry. And I'm not going to say it didn't use my brain power, but it didn't use it to the power of thinking of academics. It was, I'm learning everything I can about this field of study, which is how to kill people, but physically I was focused on being the brood, being the most physical person I could be.
[00:47:14.850] – Allan
And then I left out and went back to college. And in college, it was probably the only time I felt like I had balance because I was except for family, because I was got married and so I was basically at college lifting and then work, and there's rinse and repeat every day and there was no other time. So quite literally, yeah, I was taking a full load, working full time and getting in the gym 2 hours every day. That was my entire life. And so I've never until about now been in a position where I've said, okay, I can manage to balance. And so I understand the challenge of all of this. I'm fortunate now that the kids aren't home. So there's not that. There's my wife, my dogs. They are my home and my family right now. And then I'm going to go visit family. I'm beginning the research of where the gyms and all the towns that I'm going to be at. I know there's a YMCA in my mother's town, and it's like $5 a day to work out there. Maybe cheaper if I pay by the weeks off the sea. At least it was the last time I was able to work out.
[00:48:28.100] – Allan
The last couple of times I've been there, it was closed because of covid, but that's kind of where I'm looking at, what can I do to keep my fitness on track? And I'm realizing cardio might be a better option for me during this next month. I'll just have to look at it. But I'm more in a position now to have balance than I ever have been in my entire life. That's where I'm at. And not everybody can do that. But the closer you are to balance, the better all of this fits together so that you don't feel like you're losing anything, you don't feel like you're giving anything. It is a compromise and there are going to be points in time. As Art said, when you're training for something or there's a family thing or there's something going on at work, that you need to focus on a project, but you need to think about the after the project or after the thing, because you got to get back to more of that balance. And if you don't do that audit, that self audit, it's very easy to lose sight and find yourself again, very one sided.
[00:49:34.010] – Allan
I know I have a tendency toward that, so I'm going to spend a lot of time with family. For me, also, being an introvert, that energy is energy spent, but I still need to be able to focus on clients and focus on my health. And I know what's going to happen as soon as I come back to this island, my being a lone, fitness, going on long walks thing is going to happen.
[00:49:59.350] – Rachel
[00:49:59.850] – Allan
So I'm going to need that. So just looking at how I'm going to maintain balance, particularly during these changes, is really important. I think that's kind of a message I took away from that, for sure.
[00:50:10.170] – Rachel
And I think part of having that balance or finding that balance is also being flexible. I know that when my kids were younger, I would get them up for school, go do a quick run, make sure they got on the bus, and then I could finish the rest of my day. And just like you said, now that my kids are college age, I don't need to worry about whether or not they get on the bus. I can schedule my runs at any time. When you travel, you're going to find some time to do walks in the morning and enjoy the cities that you get to visit. And it's a lot of change, but you could still make that a priority wherever you are in life and whatever responsibilities you have, and it is really important to focus on that, because I like to tell my clients this, too. You can't pour from an empty cup. You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of other people. And so if that means a quick ten minute walk or a ten minute run in the morning, you're going to feel energized, and you're going to feel a little less stressed and a little more happy, and you'll be able to be more patient as a parent or with a loved one.
[00:51:16.220] – Rachel
So it's just really important that you are flexible and try and squeeze in whatever fitness you can whenever you can.
[00:51:23.050] – Allan
[00:51:24.250] – Rachel
[00:51:24.840] – Allan
All right, well, since Rachel and I will both be traveling this next week, and she won't be able to carry the recording gear in her equipment because she just doesn't care that much weight, and she also wouldn't be able to connect to Zoom, there's probably that as well. But we're not going to be recording hello sections for the next two episodes. We're actually going to record our after show sections right now, so there's no reason for us to say three hellos when it's the same day, it's ten minutes apart. So I just realized we will skip the hello sections in the next two episodes, but we are going to record our afterthoughts for each of those two episodes in just a few minutes. So, Rachel, I'll talk to you in a few minutes, but everyone else, I will talk to you next week.
[00:52:12.450] – Rachel
[00:52:13.460] – Allan
You too. Bye.
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In her book, Immunity Food Fix, Dr. Donna Mazzola shows us how food can be a powerful tool for improving our immune system. On episode 552 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss how food can either lead to chronic illness or lifelong health.
[00:02:45.550] – Allan
Hey, Ras. How are you?
[00:02:47.220] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?
[00:02:49.410] – Allan
I'm better. Tammy's back from the US. And so I have some help here. Now, I had help, don't get me wrong. My staff we have are great. When there was only one of them, sometimes there was only me. The 18 hours days were just a little too much. And I'm glad that's over. I even told my wife, I said, look, if it gets to be too much, bring in somebody. Go ahead. Let's go ahead and spend a little bit of money so that you don't get as stressed out and beat up as I did. Skip meals. I sent myself to bed hungry some nights, and just because I didn't have the energy to cook. And so that was my week or two weeks, three weeks thing. I had staff for part of it, and then one of them was off completely, and then it's just four days a week. Three days a week. I didn't but I'm through it. And I just told her, don't beat yourself up the way I did, because that was not fair to me. It wouldn't be fair to her.
[00:03:53.390] – Rachel
Sure. Yeah. Well, gosh. Well, good luck, because you're fixing to leave. You're fixing to leave in another week or so.
[00:04:00.680] – Allan
Yeah, and that's kind of the point. As this is going live, I'm about ready to head up to the States for a while. And I told her, I said, don't live my life the way I lived my life. I learned, and it was wrong. We need to bring in help when we need help. And so even if it's just condensed shifts and asking someone, one of our staff that's supposed to be off, if they want to come in, give them a few extra hours, it'd be worth it.
[00:04:27.620] – Rachel
Well, that would be great.
[00:04:29.510] – Allan
How are things up there?
[00:04:31.160] – Rachel
Good. You know, we're doing the countdown in a couple of weeks, we'll be doing our trip across the Isle Royal. So we're just kind of weighing our supplies, making sure we've got the food dehydrated and ready to go. And we're stocking the weather right now to make sure we pack appropriately. So, yeah, it's getting exciting.
[00:04:51.170] – Allan
Good. That is going to be a good event. Exciting event. Eight days in the wilderness
[00:04:58.970] – Rachel
eight days unplugged
[00:05:00.170] – Allan
and moving. This is not just sit and camp for eight days. No glamping for these folks. They're going to be out there in the wilderness.
[00:05:11.580] – Rachel
[00:05:12.380] – Allan
Hoofing it every day.
[00:05:13.530] – Rachel
That's right. Looking forward to it. I can't wait.
[00:05:15.920] – Allan
What's your longest daily mileage that you need to be making? How does that work?
[00:05:22.130] – Rachel
I think we're hoping to average about four or 5 miles a day, but I think our longest day might have a seven-ish mile hike. We're trying not to do too much of that if we can manage it, but yeah. So it'll be reasonable.
[00:05:37.450] – Allan
Yes. It's an interesting trade off. Your pack is really full when you start because you have all that food you're carrying, and then at the end, you're fatigued. The pack weighs less. Do I want my long miles with a lighter packer? I want my long days with a heavier pack when I have more energy. That will be an interesting one.
[00:05:56.370] – Rachel
It will be. It will be quite the trade off.
[00:05:59.210] – Allan
All right, well, let us know how we're about four weeks away, but when you get back, we definitely want to want to hear how that went.
[00:06:07.690] – Rachel
For sure. Yeah, it'll be great. Thanks.
[00:06:09.900] – Allan
All right, are you ready to talk to Dr. Mazzola?
[00:06:12.860] – Rachel
[00:06:13.800] – Allan
All right, let's go.
[00:07:21.500] – Allan
Dr. Mazzola. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:07:24.330] – Dr. Mazzola
Thank you. I'm excited to be here.
[00:07:26.060] – Allan
So today we're going to talk about your book, Immunity Food Fix: 100 Superfoods and Nutrition Hacks to Reverse Inflammation, Prevent Illness, and Boost Your Immunity. And one of the things I really enjoyed about the book is kind of the juxtaposition of a pharmacist telling us that food is the medicine, and the stuff that we might be getting at the pharmacy is just a patch to get us over symptoms. I really appreciate that being in the book because it's too easy to rely on pills, and it's not that hard to rely on food if you just take a little bit of time to educate yourself. And I think this book is a great resource for someone that's looking to do that.
[00:08:14.090] – Dr. Mazzola
Yeah, exactly. I appreciate that. I think that's my mantra is balancing nutrition and medicine, and medicine has a place in healing, and there's a lot of great medications out there that have helped and have extended lifespan. But food and nutrition is really at the brink of it. I mean, that's where we need to focus to prevent us from even getting to that point. But certainly you can reverse disease, and we've seen it happen time and time again when we change our diet and focus on those nutritional aspects. But I think where, as you stated, there is a gap is that foundational understanding and how nutrition fits into that.
[00:08:54.280] – Allan
Yeah. When I was way out of shape, way unhealthy, and not living the life I was supposed to live, I had high blood pressure, so I was on a pill. I had issues with my thyroid, so I was on a pill. I'm sitting there, I was 45, 46 years old, and I'm like, I've already got a medicine cabinet full of medications that I take every day. And so as I started fixing my food. My blood pressure came down, my thyroid picked up and started doing what it was supposed to do. And to me, it was so interesting that as I started eating right, my body responded by getting healthier.
[00:09:41.870] – Dr. Mazzola
Yeah. All right, I say this in the book garbage in, garbage out. It's like a direct quote in there. And you're going to get out what you put in. If you feed up the right things and you nurture it, you do a plant. You feed a plant in the right things, and it's nourished and it grows and it's lively. You feed a plant garbage, it's going to die. And there's no difference between us and that plant. Let's just look at it that way. It's a good analogy for people.
[00:10:10.900] – Allan
Yeah. Now, most of us, if we're not paying attention to nutrition, we find ourselves eating the same stuff. It's the fast food. It's what you get in the middle of the grocery store when it's easy, the Hamburger Helper or the fixed meal that's already there ready to go. You just toss it in a microwave and two minutes later, you're eating that boiling hot apple, whatever it is.
[00:10:39.570] – Dr. Mazzola
[00:10:40.210] – Allan
And we call that a Standard American diet. What is fundamentally wrong with that? Why is that not really food? And what are the downstream effects that we're seeing from the sad standard American Diet?
[00:10:54.950] – Dr. Mazzola
Yeah. I mean, the Standard American Diet, as we know, is a highly processed, nutrient depleted diet. And so when you think about the nutrients you need for your body to function, to operate at a cellular level right. Like, we want to go back down to the cell, and if it's broken at that point and we're not giving it what it needs, what is going to happen when it gets all the way up to the actual organism, which is you, and how these organisms are work together? They don't have the nutrients that they need to function in that way. Not to mention we bring in our gut into that and our gut microbiome and how we're destroying that by not also providing it the nutrients it needs, the food, if you will, from plant based foods that it needs to nourish the good bacteria in our gut. So Standard American Diet is ultimately a highly processed, high trans fat, high sugar, high gluten, high alcohol, processed corns, processed soy. Think about if you read any packaging. That's what's in all these packaged foods. And unfortunately, it's because of our lifestyle. So we call it the standard American diet.
[00:12:08.230] – Dr. Mazzola
But the American lifestyle requires that type of diet. Unfortunately, everyone's on the go, nobody has time. Making home cooked meals is not top of mind for people. They just need something convenient, something quick, and food is not necessarily a priority. And so as a result of that, and as a result of consuming these types of foods, we have a dysregulation in our immune system. We're releasing as a result, what's truly happening is you're consuming these foods and your body is responding to them as there's some type of invader. So it's like things that are not recognizable by the body, they're chemicals. I mean, we're consuming chemicals within our foods. And so as a result, you're getting this inflammatory response. So your immune system turns on as it's supposed to when it sees that there's a foreign invader in the body, something that's not supposed to be there. The problem is that we continue to consume this type of food and we never turn off our immune system. We constantly have this inflammatory response going on. And a lot of that is why we're seeing this uptick in autoimmune related diseases that are developing, or even just symptoms.
[00:13:25.830] – Dr. Mazzola
Like people don't even get a diagnosis. They just have these unexplained symptoms of like fatigue and brain fog. And it just the overall inflammatory type symptoms. And a lot of it comes down to the foods that they're eating when people switch their diet, get off of those foods and start consuming just whole foods. Like, we don't even have to make it complicated, just eat real food. And when they do that, that's where they see the change and suddenly their symptoms go away, as you have stated, like they're reversing some of their diseases. They're getting off medications and whatnot. But yeah, the standard American diet, the other big aspect of it to understand as a contributor, inflammation as well, is the ratio of omega six to omega three fatty acids that are consumed. And when you think about it, simply put, the omega three is your anti inflammatory. Omega six is inflammatory. Now, you do need some omega six. It's not all bad, right? But it's the ratio of it that we have to be looking at and where we evolved as human beings, we were at a one to one ratio and thinking about the Paleolithic diet where we've come now, it's like a 25 to one where we're consuming, right?
[00:14:36.430] – Dr. Mazzola
So it's much more inflammatory than it is anti inflammatory. And again, a lot of that is in the food that we're eating and that's leading to a lot of these inflammatory type conditions.
[00:14:46.800] – Allan
Yeah, the way I like to talk about real food is when you know it was alive, because it's really close to the state where it was alive. And it's something that if you left out on your counter for a week, it's probably not going to be edible. If it'll sit in your pantry. I think you even said this in the book. If your pantry is bigger than your refrigerator, you're probably eating much of the things that are in the Standard American diet. And it's interesting because some people will say, well, I must be sensitive to gluten because they eat the bread, but they're not sea lack. It's probably other stuff in the bread, preservatives other stuff. The fact that they basically broke down wheat to a powder. And now so finely processed, your body treats it like sugar. And then they put it back in there and they say, well, since we took all this niacin out of it, we're just going to put some more niacin back in to fortify it. And then we can even put the labeling on the bag. Fortified with vitamin B.
[00:15:49.450] – Dr. Mazzola
[00:15:50.570] – Allan
It's only because they took it out in the first place to make it shelf stable. Yeah. And so I think that's some key things is real food is not shelf stable for a long period of time. Seeds and that will sit for a while, but for the most part, most of the things we call whole foods, they're going to spoil.
[00:16:09.610] – Dr. Mazzola
Yeah, exactly. And I think just thinking about another aspect of it, like we talk about processed foods, think about things like the emulsifiers, the stabilizers, the binders, the sweeteners, the flavorings, the dyes. Everything that's in all of that is causing that reaction in your body, that immune reaction to occur. Really? I refer to it as just this immune dysregulation that we're all suffering from. Like, everybody has inflammation. I mean, I told everybody, I'm like that's inflammation you're inflamed. And it's a result of our diet period.
[00:16:40.890] – Allan
Yeah. Now, your book and your book, you go through 100 foods. I think there were a whole hundred in the guides. But as you go through it, this was a great reintroduction to the variety of what's available to us in the world today. Of all the different colors of the rainbow, all these different foods that probably most of us don't really kind of branch out and maybe haven't even tried. Broccoli is very easy to get here. Cauliflowers, sometimes kale and some leafy greens are really plentiful, but there's a lot of them that were on your list that I won't ever be able to really get my hands on here. So when I go back to the United States, I'm scarfing that stuff down. I'm hitting Brussels sprouts on every menu because I just can't get them down here. Can you talk about plants, a plant based eating style and why plants are so good for us?
[00:17:41.870] – Dr. Mazzola
Yeah, absolutely. And I like to start by stating this is not me saying that against animal protein or anything in that way. So when I say plant based, I get a lot of people, like, backlash on that. And it's really focusing on whatever else you're eating is fun, like other sources of animals, whatever eggs, whatever it may be. But focusing on the fact that you should be eating at least nine to twelve serving of plant based foods in your diet daily, that's where I think I just want to make sure there's not that misunderstanding from people.
[00:18:17.540] – Allan
Well, and the other thing is with the meat is if you're getting the standard meat that we get in the grocery store, that's where that mismatch of omega three and omega six are really blown up. So if you get a nice marbled steak at the grocery store that was not cared for well, as an animal, their omega six is out the roof. You're not going to get to that one on one. It's just not going to happen. If you're eating a little bit more grass fed, humanely managed animals, then yes, they're going to have a higher omega three if you're eating wild animals. So something that was hunted and living in the wild and it wasn't living near something where it was eating something it wasn't supposed to, then it's going to have a really good omega three to omega six ratio. And then now it's manageable with plants and fish and meat to get that right mix. But I think that's one of the reasons why having more plants in our diet is never a bad idea. That's one. The other is I have yet to really find anyone who can overeat plants. It's really hard.
[00:19:31.250] – Allan
I tried going pescatarian and the truth was I was overeating the nuts and I was overeating the fruit. And so that did cause me to put on a little bit of weight. But if you're eating a variety of plants, if you're eating the rainbow, weight loss is just going to be a symptom of you getting healthy. Your body can't help it because you just can't eat enough plants to get fat.
[00:19:54.120] – Dr. Mazzola
Yeah, I would have to agree with that because plants, they're powerful. And I think where we focus on that is understanding that there are these phytonutrients in plants that are responsible for immune modulation, immune boosting, immune supporting properties all around for immune system, for your health, for your gut especially. Right. There's so much that we can get into, like apples. We talk about an apple day. Keeps the doctor away. That's the famous line. But why? Where did that come from? Right? What is the reasoning behind that? And just understanding that the pectin and fibers and how it can alter our immune system, how our gut responds to that pectin and nourishes, it, I mean, that's huge. So it's like, yeah, these little phrases we hear, there is meaning behind them and there's a reason for where they came from. But ultimately, when you think about plants, there's primary and there are secondary metabolites. And so the primary metabolites, essentially they're those substances that are used by the body, the carbohydrates, the proteins, the fats, et cetera, those are essential, obviously, but it's really the secondary metabolites that we are gaining the most benefit from. And when you think about a plant and when it's out there in the wild and growing, it has various phytochemicals and phytonutrients that protect it, right, protect it and stay alive.
[00:21:30.750] – Dr. Mazzola
Like antibacterial properties. Antiviral properties that are keeping the bugs and the other outside natural, I guess, invaders, if you will, from attacking it. And so they have their own protective mechanism. The beauty of that is when we consume that plant, we benefit from those phytonutrients. That's where those properties come alive, is when we're consuming it. And some people say, oh, I can get like, apple pectin in a supplement form. I can just take that. But it's not the same. So what we found and for some, when you look at some of the research, when they have extracted the actual phytonutrient out of a particular plant, they don't see the same response in a clinical study that they've done as they would if we ate the entire plant. And there's a reason for that. And it's when you consume the entire plant in its entirety that's the synergies that occur between, let's say, the stem and the leaf, all of it, the entire thing. And there's multiple phytonutrients in there. There's over 5000 phytonutrients. We haven't even discovered the majority of them. So we have a handful that we know of. But those federal nutrients work together in synergy to bring that benefit on.
[00:22:47.390] – Dr. Mazzola
Then when you start consuming variety of plants together in synergy, then it's just like a magical party that's occurring within your body, right? And so all of these phytonutrients are now working together, communicating with each other, and ultimately giving you those benefits, those immune modulating benefits, the gut health benefits that come from consuming that variety of plants. So that's why I say consumer variety, nine to twelve servings, but of a variety of colors. And you want to keep switching it up. I know you mentioned some people consume the same things, and we were talking about processed foods, right? They may eat the same, but it's the same for real food, right. So you don't only want to eat broccoli every single day. So there's a benefit to have that variety, to switch it up, to continue to bring on various phytonutrients from a variety of colors, as we say, eat the rainbow to gain those benefits.
[00:23:43.230] – Allan
Yeah. And one of the things I like about the book is very clearly you go through and say, okay, yeah, the reason that apples are good for the immune system is the pectin. And when you eat Brazil nuts and I'll tell you, you're not unique, I actually think that myself. When I hear the term brazil nut, I think selenium. So you said that in the book. I was like, I do that too. Just having a better understanding of what's in the food that you're eating kind of gives you an idea of how important it is to mix these. Because if you're just eating one type, yes, you're getting that benefit, but you're missing out on potentially a lot of other synergistic benefits that are going to help you. And just having that variety is going to really help you have kind of a good mix of foods that you eat and have that enjoyment of. We're going to have watermelon as dessert tonight, or we're going to have some of that papaya or oh, look, they've got persimmons available at the grocery store today. I'm going to go ahead and grab a couple of those.
[00:24:44.970] – Allan
And so you kind of see how knowing that these foods are there, and then when you see them in the grocery store, you might even have walked past them before. Like, I remember when I first discovered Dandelion, I was like, walking past the solid. I read something on Dandelion. I'm like, oh, my grocery store actually has dandelion. It's just all this leafy green stuff over on the side. And I started looking around at what was actually there. And then the health benefits around each of those Chickery what is it? Chard, Dandelion, all of them. It's just an opportunity for you to give your body something. And the way I like to say it is food is communication. It's a signal to your body. It's information to tell your body how to function better or worse, depending on your choices. And so choosing a good variety of plant based and good meats to put into your diet is basically going to be communicating to your body here you have everything you need to be healthy, so let's be healthy. And your body reacts and does exactly what you told it to do. Whereas if you're eating a standard American diet, your body thinks something terrible is going on, there's a huge immune response, and that leads to chronic disease.
[00:26:05.040] – Dr. Mazzola
Yeah, it's simple. I mean, like I said, you put in the bad stuff, you get a negative output, and your body is going to respond accordingly. The human body is brilliant. It's amazing. It's just how it functions, and it knows it's going to fight off what we're putting in. We weren't created in this way to be consuming these types of foods, right? We're meant to be consuming whole food, real food, right? Not stuff that's been sitting on a shelf. So, yeah, absolutely.
[00:26:33.730] – Dr. Mazzola
One thing I talk about in the book is to try to keep it simple, is to focus on the colors. And this is not like across the board, but just high level, trying to categorize each color into its benefit. You think about eating the rainbow and having a salad of various colors. You have red foods, like tomatoes, for instance, things you want to think, okay, this is anti-inflammatory. Orange. Like, if you have shredded carrots in there that's hormone regulating. We know that carrots have the ability to detox out that bad estrogen. I've shared this multiple times on my platform just to say if you're experiencing symptoms, estrogen dominance a week before your cycle, consuming raw carrots can actually help regulate that.
[00:27:22.930] – Dr. Mazzola
And like, the response that I've gone because people let me try it, it's a simple, it's not going to hurt. That's the beauty of the ability to use plants as medicine is it doesn't hurt anything. Focusing on yellow for digestion, green for detox, like you're talking about dandelions, Char, all of that. Right. All of those green kale. They're beneficial in liver and detoxing out the toxins that are in the body. We have our own internal detox system. We just have to support it. That's what's missing. And then, of course, antioxidants are that purple color. So thinking about those colors and what they do, you can look at your plate and ensure that there's a variety so that you're at least gaining some of those benefits to kind of balance out each process.
[00:28:07.550] – Allan
Yeah. Now, the next thing I want to talk about is nuts and seeds, because this is one area where I find I tend to eat the same kinds of seeds and the same kinds of nuts all the time because they're just easy to obtain. But I did order some Brazil nuts and have them shipped down here. At one point, I think I bought like 10lbs of Brazil nuts, and I ate it in about three weeks. But let's talk about nuts and seeds and why they're so valuable to our diet. And again, as part of eating more plants for these health benefits, nuts and seeds are a great way to get more of this in your diet.
[00:28:52.150] – Dr. Mazzola
Yeah. So you think about a seed. A seed grows an entire plant. So that's how I try to simplify, even in the book, is when you think about the benefit of a seed, they are truly the superfood, because you can take a seed and grow an entire plant out of it, so it actually holds tons of nutrients concentrated in there and so absolutely consuming. And then, of course, the nuts are the fruit of the plant. So as a result of that so having the two of them is essential. And there are so many benefits that come from we just start with seeds. I know I talk about in the book, like even seeds for, again, going back to balancing hormones and what's been found there, and the ability to utilize flaxseed or pumpkin seeds at certain days in your cycle versus sunflower and sesame seeds at other days in order to kind of gain that balance in your hormones. It just speaks to how powerful they are and the benefits that exist within them. And there's a multitude, and people often ask, well, then, what seeds should I consume? Again, it goes through all the different benefits in the book, but I think you can incorporate all seeds in various ways.
[00:30:11.190] – Dr. Mazzola
And so for me personally, I probably eat them all. Flaxseeds are my egg alternative when I'm baking. Sesame and hemp are easily added to salads. It gives you added fiber, added protein, and a small amount. You can also add pumpkin seeds. So, I mean, you can't go wrong, right, with what you're consuming there. But yeah, ultimately they are the super food because they're so concentrated in the benefits that they can bring from a phytonutrient standpoint.
[00:30:45.550] – Allan
And one of the. Things I really like about nuts and seeds are they are the snack that if you want that something that's savory or salty and you find yourself on the chip aisle, these can be a great substitute. You won't miss your chips. Some roasted pumpkin seeds, some sunflower seeds, pistachios, other nuts. They're a great opportunity for you to get a lot of good phytonutrients because they have those too, and they've got healthy fats.
[00:31:16.870] – Dr. Mazzola
Right. And Protein.
[00:31:19.480] – Allan
Yeah. And protein. And they're going to give you kind of that salty, savory flavor if you spice them that way. And so they can make a great snack to get you off of the standard stuff you're going to buy in a grocery store.
[00:31:34.100] – Dr. Mazzola
Exactly right. So it's like the fat and protein content in them is going to create that satiety. But you're also benefiting in a lot of ways. I mean, they're so anti-inflammatory as well. We talk about Brazil nuts and selenium, but Brazil nuts are also extremely anti inflammatory as well. And so there's more to it than just the minerals, and that goes across the board for all of them. So I think that's critical. And as we talk about the omega three omega six ratios, these are your good fats in these nuts that you're consuming. And so that's a good way to ensure that you're getting the appropriate omega three fatty acids in your diet, as you said, as a great snack alternative.
[00:32:20.710] – Allan
Dr. Mazzola, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:32:30.670] – Dr. Mazzola
So I'm going to move away from food for this answer because I think that's, to me, a no brainer, and I think some things that are not thought about, and I feel like we should put a lot more focus on them, especially with the American lifestyle, are movement, sleep and stress mitigation, that's what's killing us. Yes, our food, we need to change it. But if you can sleep 8 to 9 hours a day, if you have opportunity for breathing, exercise, meditation to mitigate stress, going for an afternoon walk in nature, whatever it may be, and then finding something you enjoy and moving for 30 minutes a day, people ask me, what's the best exercise for me? Should I do high intensity? It doesn't matter. Whatever you like. And if you like it, you're going to do it and just get at least 30 minutes of movement a day. And those are low hanging fruit to me. Like, for some people, it might seem like, oh, my God, I have to overhaul my whole diet. All right, well, then move 30 minutes, sleep eight to 9 hours, and have some type of stress mitigation. Start there, and you'll be on the right foot.
[00:33:35.650] – Allan
Great. Thank you. So what I like, again, about this book is you've really done a good job of defining these foods that we should have in our diet. Or should try to get into our diet eating the rainbow and not just, okay, here's 100 foods, so put them on your grocery list. This is why this food is good for you. This is what it gives you and this is the benefit you're going to see from it. So it's really good. If you want to get educated about some of these foods, this is a really good book to kind of really walk you through it in a very conversational way to understand your food better. And when you understand food better, you make better choices and your body's going to thank you.
Dr. Mazzola, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book Immunity Food Fix, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:34:24.370] – Dr. Mazzola
Yeah, so they can number one, check out my website, drautoimmunegirl.com, and there you can find an entire page about the book to better understand what you're going to get out of it. Also, I have a blog on there. I have a newsletter. On social media, you can find me at drautoimmunegirl on Instagram and Facebook where I share regularly various nutrition hacks, what you can do. And it's all evidence-based. It's all backed by science referenced. Same with the book. We have over 150 references there, so it's nothing I'm making up and it's not opinion based. It's all factual and science.
[00:35:03.130] – Allan
Great. Doctor Mazzola, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:35:08.440] – Dr. Mazzola
Thank you. It's been my pleasure.
[00:35:17.150] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:35:18.680] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. That was another great interview about food is medicine and garbage in, garbage out, all the things eat the rainbow, all the colors of food have that variety, all the things we need to hear on a periodic basis and things that I'm even guilty of doing. I get stuck in a rut. I get to eat the same foods over and over and then I wonder why I'm so fatigued or just not feeling great or whatever. It's just my choices.
[00:35:48.440] – Allan
Yeah, well, it's easy. And then one of the things that we always going to come and gravitate to is what is the easiest thing to do now? Our ancestors easy was what was in season. Sure. You couldn't store food for months and months and months or you couldn't have other people transporting it from around the world with the seasonal there. So we didn't have a lot of the foods except for certain seasons. So pumpkin and squash, those are fall nuts or fall berries are in the spring. So you start looking at when food would be available and not available. And even if we're moving around a good bit to kind of follow the food, if you will, there's a lot to be said for eating what's seasonal.
[00:36:36.890] – Rachel
[00:36:37.580] – Allan
And we don't do enough of that. And as a result, it becomes very easy to say, okay, I'm steak and potatoes, steak and potatoes, hamburger potatoes, hamburger, potatoes.
[00:36:51.170] – Rachel
[00:36:52.250] – Allan
And that just becomes what we eat. And it's like, okay, well, what other vegetables do you eat besides potatoes? It's like, well, I eat french fries. I eat mashed potatoes. Every once in a while.. But you kind of get the idea. It becomes very easy to kind of get into the I like these foods. They're simple, they're comfortable, they're cozy. But taking the time to have a variety in your diet is a challenge. But it's a challenge worth taking. And the kind of the beauty of this book is it will give you those ideas about which of the foods you should also be including. And I only say they're super foods because I don't think there's really such thing as a superfood. But they're called superfoods because they're not standard in the diet. Most of the time, the standard American diet doesn't have these. So you're saying, okay, I'm adding this food, and I'm having pomegranate, or I'm having a kee berry, or I'm having beets. And if those are not something that you eat on a regular basis, then what we're ending up with is it's a superfood, because the nutrients that were in that food, you're never getting otherwise.
[00:38:04.830] – Allan
And so having a good variety and understanding what's in the food is good. Like, we talked about Brazil nuts and selenium, I've known that you actually have to be careful with Brazil nuts because selenium can be dangerous if you get too much of it. So I ate a lot of Brazil nuts when I had them, but that's not something I would do all the time. It's just I managed to be able to get some down here, and I ate the crap out of them until they were gone. But I know that's not something I should do all the time because the selenium is good. I need it, but I don't need it all the time in the quantity I was eating it. So getting good variety, not thinking of any one food as special. All the food a whole rainbow all the way across are good, and she identifies, like, 100 of them in here. And so there's something that you're not getting. This is a good pick list for you to add some foods to your repertoire.
[00:39:05.670] – Rachel
I think that's a great idea because, like I said, I get stuck in a rut. I don't do a lot of the cooking in my house. Mike does, actually, most of the cooking. And my daughter even does a lot more cooking than I do because I get bored with the same recipe over and over again. But maybe flipping through the pages of her book or just browsing the produce area of the store a little bit longer, maybe I could pick out a new vegetable to try and have that highlighted in a couple of days worth of recipes for the week. But trying new things would be helpful for introducing that variety that I don't often do when I cook.
[00:39:41.990] – Allan
And a lot of us would go autopilot. We walk into the grocery store we always walk into, and we go right to the same place and pick up the same things. And we might say, oh, they've got fresh raspberries. I'll grab those. That might happen. But if you slow down when you're in the produce section and you go over where they have all that green stuff that's not just lettuce, there's all kinds of stuff over there like dandelion greens and mustard greens and greens, things like that. Things that you're not typically eating that you can add. And it's easy enough to go online today with the internet and just look up a recipe, okay, they've got dandelion greens and they've got collard greens. What's something I can make with those that I would enjoy? And then you just try it. And it takes effort, it takes the money. And to break through your channel the way you are kind of grooved, that takes effort. It's not something that just happened. So just making that point of slowing down when you're thinking about food and realizing it's nutrition, and when you have proper nutrition and you're getting enough protein and enough fat and all the things your body needs, it feels good.
[00:40:57.070] – Allan
And when your body feels like it's getting everything, it needs things to start working better. Your hunger signals and satiety signals work better. You stop eating when you're full because you're not needing something. You're not having all the urges that you may have been having for something. I need something salty, I need something sweet that tells you right there and maybe you don't need something salty or something sweet, but that's your body telling you for one reason or another, it's lacking in nutrition and not necessarily calories.
[00:41:28.930] – Rachel
And to look for the food that has the nutrients that you're needing. It was interesting how she went through the rainbow and was highlighting. Red foods are good for the antioxidants, and green foods are good for gut health and whatnot. I just forget about things like that when I'm staring at the produce in the grocery store. But I have those side effects. I do feel gut health every now and then. And I know I'm not eating a whole ton of greens right now, so maybe I need to hit the grocery store and pick up some greens.
[00:41:58.410] – Allan
Yeah, that would be a plan. And slow down and just walk around and see what they have there, because I think you'll be surprised with the variety. It just looks like a bunch of green stuff sitting there, and you're like, it's just all of it's just lettuce. And it's like, no, there's a lot of other stuff over there. And so just taking your time, getting a good variety of the foods, different colors, and then yeah, having a book like this or going through and at least understanding the nutritional value of some of these different foods that you don't get regularly, knowing that your body needs some of it and you're not having other foods that have it. It's like, okay, maybe I need to go ahead and get some more Brazil nuts, or maybe I need some oysters when I travel back to the United States. And I'm going to eat the crap out of oysters when I'm up there.
[00:42:47.710] – Rachel
Yeah. Get it when you can.
[00:42:49.230] – Allan
Yeah. And so that's kind of the concept. And unfortunately, our food companies, they try they iodize our salt, and it's bleached, terrible salt with iodine. And we need the iodine because we're not getting it from the other foods. And it's really because you can't get the foods anymore the way that we used to be able to, so now they have to supplement it. And so supplements, there's a time and place for them. But if you're eating the variety and you understand why she's calling this, why people would call these superfoods, it's because it's a nutrient that's not available in a lot of other foods in the quantities that you're able to get it from this food. So incorporating it in regularly is something that's going to make you feel better, function better, and lose weight, if that's what you're into doing.
[00:43:37.200] – Rachel
Sure. That sounds great. Sounds like a great book.
[00:43:39.760] – Allan
Yeah. All right. That's a pretty book, too. Lots of pictures of food. Eat before you go with it and start looking at your grocery store.
[00:43:52.570] – Rachel
[00:43:53.840] – Allan
All right, well, I'll talk to you next week, then.
[00:43:57.080] – Rachel
Take care. See you.
[00:43:58.420] – Allan
[00:43:59.310] – Rachel
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In his book, Simplify Your Health, Dr. Lucas Ramirez and I discuss several easy ways you can drastically improve your health and we break through a few myths.
[00:03:25.750] – Allan
Hey, Ras. How are things?
[00:03:27.770] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?
[00:03:29.980] – Allan
I am tired. But.
[00:03:33.490] – Rachel
[00:03:34.930] – Allan
Tammy took our granddaughter back to the States. And since we're on reduced hours for our staff and one of our staff is on her month long vacation holidays, they get paid vacation for one month. And we opted to not have them here for that month rather than just pay them a 13th month, which is what some people do. So that was me by myself this morning doing all of it. But I was late getting on this call because I was actually folding guest laundry. We have a laundry service that we do, and so guests turn in laundry, and I was like, okay, I got to get this done, got to get that done. So we make certain promises like wash, dried, and folded by dinner if you drop it off at breakfast time. So I do have a deadline. But also something pretty interesting happened. One of our guests was going out to a chocolate farm, and when I reached out to the guy who was running the chocolate farm to get information and my guests were just about to leave, he said, look, I got this animal that is hurt, and someone brought it to me, and I can't take care of it.
[00:04:34.900] – Allan
It's got problem with its jaw. And can you ask the taxi driver, the water taxi to bring the animal back? And I said, well, let me ask my guest, because they'll either be willing to do it or they won't. So I ask my guest and they were. So they brought the animal back in a box. It was a tyra, which is like a type of weasel tyrant thingy, just cute. But we got it back here, got it into the local rescue. They tried to do some surgical work on it. But not knowing the anatomy of a tyra, I don't know anybody that does, but they knew some people in David, which is a town about 5 hours drive from here. And so they got the animal to David. And I tried to get a catch up on what happened, but the guy that runs the rescue, he's got dengue, so he's out for the count. Dengue is not dissimilar from what you would deal with any other kind of virus or anything like that. So it's almost like the flu or as it's like a flu. Most people get over it fairly simply, but, yeah, he has dengue, so he's not answering his messages.
[00:05:48.410] – Allan
So I don't know exactly. But we do know that we got it somewhere where they can take care of it well. And it seems healthy. It just struggles a little bit with eating, but it can't eat. But it wouldn't be able to hunt for itself or do the things that it would need to in the wild. So it will have to be taken care of. But they told me it was a baby, but it was pretty much full grown. Now, when they're bringing you an animal you're like, well, I got to know what this is. So I started doing all the research on Tyra.
[00:06:18.650] – Rachel
How fun, man, that's so interesting. You guys have some really interesting wildlife there.
[00:06:24.430] – Allan
Yeah, Michigan has their fair share, too, but you've got snakes and turtles and frogs, and sometimes you don't have the frogs because there's a snake.
[00:06:36.830] – Rachel
Yes, we still have our snakes hanging around. Not too pleased.
[00:06:42.050] – Allan
Yeah, well, there's a cycle. There's a cycle.
[00:06:45.250] – Rachel
That is true.
[00:06:46.730] – Allan
So what's going on up there?
[00:06:48.650] – Rachel
Just enjoying the summer. It's going by way too fast. July went out, like, just too fast. So much going on, and I feel like August is going at the same rate. In a couple of weeks, we'll be on aisle royal, and then it will be September. So just trying to eat up as much as I can, just sunshine and get outside and do what I can when I can.
[00:07:10.530] – Allan
Yeah, well, good. All right. Are you ready to talk to Dr. Ramirez?
[00:07:14.660] – Rachel
[00:07:53.870] – Allan
Dr. Ramirez, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:07:57.170] – Dr. Ramirez
Allan, thank you for having me.
[00:07:58.660] – Allan
So today we're going to talk about your book, Simplify Your Health: A Doctor's Practical Guide to a Healthier Life. And I can say two things, really right off the start is I like simple. I think everybody likes simple. We're always looking for simple and then practical, and your book delivers on both of those.
[00:08:18.660] – Dr. Ramirez
Thank you. I appreciate that.
[00:08:20.160] – Allan
Now, you had a quote, or it's just not a quote as you said it, but I'm going to quote you in the book just to kind of put this together, because I think this is really the crux of someone must understand what this book is all about. And you said, “by targeting a few simple lifestyle choices, one can make a world of difference in overall health by decreasing the risks of stroke, heart attacks, cancers, and more.” I think this is an approach that a lot of people are not familiar with. I mean, I think anyone that's listening to me is, but a lot of us wait until one of these things happens and then we get the care versus your book is saying, okay, we have an opportunity here to make sure these things actually don't ever happen.
[00:09:15.760] – Dr. Ramirez
Absolutely. I'm a stroke neurologist, and I can say first hand it's much better to prevent rather than to treat.
[00:09:22.510] – Allan
Yeah. Now, when we talk about staying healthy, because I think a lot of people look at their ancestors and they say, okay, well, my grandfather died of lung cancer, geo cancer kind of thing. My grandmother had a stroke when she was in her late 30s. This happened to that family. This happened to that family. Some of us just feel like our genetics are cursed. So how much control do we really have over these things?
[00:09:53.130] – Dr. Ramirez
Yeah, I'd say for the vast majority of us, we have a surprisingly a big amount of control. I mean, obviously, there's inevitability in life, at some point in life, we're going to get sick. That's life's journey, and like they say, there's only two guarantees, is taxes and death. But within that journey of life, there are some things we can definitely control. We can separate risk factors into two broad categories the non modifiable things we cannot control, and the modifiable the things we can control. Some examples of non modifiable are age. Obviously, somebody who's 90 is going to have more risks than somebody who's 30. And things like genetics are rare conditions that, unfortunately, is difficult to manage. For example, african americans have more chances of sickle cell disease. Caucasians have more chance of cystic fibrosis. These are realities of life. But outside of those small genetic variations, we have a lot of control over what we do in our lifestyle habits. For example, globally, 87% of strokes are due to modifiable risk factors. So these are things that we can change simply by adjusting our habits. And it's not just strokes. There's a lot of conditions that are due to modifiable risk factors.
[00:11:40.770] – Dr. Ramirez
Eight out of ten COPD deaths are due to smoking. About 90% of lung cancer deaths are due to smoking. About 30% to 50% of cancers can be prevented by lifestyle changes, including not smoking, managing weight, and doing screenings. And in terms of accidental trauma, car accidents are major portions of accidental trauma, and about 40% are due to alcohol. So we can see that of these five top causes of death in the US. Many of them are preventable by lifestyle changes. And in terms of stroke, 80% can be prevented by targeting just five specific habits, and they are not smoking, managing high blood pressure, managing your weight, so avoiding obesity, eating well and exercising. And there's some data that these five underlying causes are actually, quote, the true causes of death in the US. It's pretty hard to find up to date data looking at the specific topic, but in 2005, there was a paper that looked at the, quote, true causes of death in the united states, and the leader was smoking, followed by high blood pressure, followed by overweight/obesity, then physical inactivity, and a combination of poor diet. So these are true causes, and they are modifiable causes that we can really adjust.
[00:13:10.890] – Dr. Ramirez
And I look at these things as the big five, the foundational principles of health. Everybody's house of health will be different, but you want to build a good foundation and then you can put your modify your own house on top of that.
[00:13:25.560] – Allan
Yeah. Now, you mention smoking a lot and if anybody's missed that memo, I mean, in the UK, they actually stayed on the side of the pack. Smoking kills. They don't play around with it. In Malaysia, they actually have pictures of babies, like black tar babies that have died in childbirth because of smoking. So it's pretty clear. And if you're smoking, that's the first thing. Just quit. Whatever you got to do to quit, make it happen, because this is probably the big one, smoking. The cancers associated with smoking kill almost half a million people a year in the United States alone. So this is a big one. But I think a lot of people will then say, well, these E-cigarettes, they have to be safer for me because there's not the tar and the chemicals, it's not burning something. And you talk about that a little bit in the book. Can you talk about why E-cigarettes might not be the savior we're looking for?
[00:14:24.610] – Dr. Ramirez
So it's a great discussion. Just like you said, it's a little different because you're not burning, you're lacking that combustion that we have with smoking and other forms of inhaled smoke. Now, despite lacking combustion, there are some negative effects that we're starting to see. Now, this is a relatively new product, so we don't have all the information, and it's going to take some time to see all the long term effects. We didn't see, or at least we didn't clarify the severe negative effects of smoking until the 1960s with the Surgeon General report. So it's going to take a while. But what we do know so far is that there are higher odds of strokes and heart attacks with Ecigarettes. Maybe it's related to impaired endothelial function, but we do know there are higher odds of strokes and heart attacks. There is an association with seizures and other neurological problems, and this I've seen personally in the ER. There is associations with chronic cough, phlegm, bronchitis, possible increased risk of some cancers like bladder and lung, but again, these are not completely solidified. For sure there is a really bad entity called Evaly the Ecigarette or vaping associated lung injury.
[00:15:38.290] – Dr. Ramirez
Now, the more robust data I've seen was back in 2020, where at that time, it was over 2700 people hospitalized and 60 confirmed deaths. And this was just as the pandemic was starting. So COVID, I think, kind of put this on the back burner. We do see in related to COVID, there's worse culvert outcomes than people who use e-cigarettes. And a lot of it may be related to nicotine itself in terms of some of these overall poor outcomes because of the association with nicotine and the potential promotion of cancer, metastases of plaque progression, some adverse effects of reproductive health, and of course, acute toxic effects and high amounts of nicotine, in severe cases, seizures, which again, with e cigarettes. I've personally seen this as well, but some of the substances within the e cigarette liquids, some of the vitamin E, and other things were thought to be the causative factors of this Evaly entity. And of course, it's addictive. That was the main reason on the explosion of ecigarettes, particularly amongst the youth. But thankfully, it seemed that after 2019, some of the rates of ecigarette use in the youth have decreased. But even in 2021, still 2 million high schoolers and middle schoolers were using e cigarettes.
[00:16:57.160] – Dr. Ramirez
And the problem there is that you're more likely if you use ecigarettes to smoke traditional cigarettes, seven times as likely to try cigarettes, and eight times as likely to be current cigarette smokers if you have a history of vaping. And the problem with that is, if you smoke as a teen, three out of four times, you're going to also smoke into adulthood. So that's just increasing the risk there, and so much so that in June of just this past year, FDA banned Jewel products, one of the big makers of ecigarettes.
[00:17:26.770] – Allan
Yeah, they have a big portion of that market. And I guess the thing is, the base point of this to take away is that e cigarettes are not necessarily safe. But you talk in the book about how and I know this is a strategy one of my friends used about how you can use these cigarettes as a kind of a bridge along with maybe gum and patches to get off of cigarettes.
[00:17:50.410] – Dr. Ramirez
So there's definitely some evidence that e cigarettes can increase the rate of smoking cessation, but there's also evidence that the majority who tried to quit using ecigarettes end up using both. So it's a little bit difficult. But what I can say is, if you have nicotine gum, nicotine patches, if you have other medications, probably better to do that rather than using e cigarettes, because it seems like e cigarettes are going to have some other potential side effects. But others will say if you had to choose e cigarettes or smoking, probably ecigarettes is safer, though ideally we would use alternative products.
[00:18:35.760] – Allan
Okay, now the other one that comes up a lot, and it's more and more because it's becoming legalized in a lot of our states, in the United States is marijuana. And it's interesting to me how many people think that marijuana is just completely safe. No one's ever died of it. No one's ever. And obviously, because it's been illegal for so long in the United States, this isn't something doctors could go out and just study. Well, let's study how safe it is. And look at people who are traditionally long term marijuana smokers. It's not like someone can show up for that study, because if they did, the DEA would be sitting right there around you up. So can you talk a little bit about marijuana and some of the data we have on how safe that might be.
[00:19:24.660] – Dr. Ramirez
Yeah, so I'll connected to a prior comment about lighting. So the combustion, combustion occurs anytime you kind of like a carbon containing product. It could be a tree part of forest fires, it can be coal when you barbecue, it can be tobacco with cigarettes, or it could be marijuana. And when you look at combustion, the smoke byproducts of combustion have toxic effects. And two specific chemicals within it are free radicals and particulate matter. I saw a piece of data that I really liked to bring to light. And in terms of particulate matter, when we look at air quality, the WHO rates good as less than 25 micrograms per meters cubed. So that's good air quality and hazardous is greater than 250. Now, if somebody is smoking and you are the back seat or a backseat passenger within the car, the particulate matter will exceed hazardous levels by 100 times. That's 2500 particular matter per micrograms per meter cube. That's 100 times hazardous levels. And that's if you're a passenger of somebody who is smoking in the car. So imagine if you're directly smoking, that's just a lot of particular matter. And free oxygen radicals, one could look at it as oxygen that we breathe is in o2.
[00:20:53.140] – Dr. Ramirez
You have protons, neutrons, and you have electrons that are typically paired. When they become unpaired, they become highly reactive. They are damaging, they are damaging to fat, to proteins, to DNA, and more. So, the combination of having free radicals and particular matter are damaging to arterial walls. They modify cholesterol, they cause secondary inflammation. And all this can lead to plaque build up. And if you have plaque build up in the heart, that's heart disease. Plaque build up in the neck or the brain, you can get elevated risk of strokes. Obviously, if you have damage to DNA, you have risks of cancer. And is there a great connection long term or early studies that correlate marijuana to these risks? As of now, there is nothing great to say with a guarantee. But similar to Ecigarettes, it's going to take time to see some of this data. But this is what we can say for now. One, marijuana in and of itself smoked is not healthy. That's just a misconception. But chemicals within it, if they're purified concentrated, can have beneficial effects. We do know that it helps for certain types of seizures. We know for Dravet syndrome, for Lennox Gaston syndrome, FDA has approved CBD specific CBD for the treatment of that.
[00:22:20.980] – Dr. Ramirez
It seems to have beneficial effects in pain management, for nausea and vomiting, especially if chemotherapy related, for spasms, for appetite and weight gain. And there's some interest in Parkinson's, interest in migraines that they're studying. But the delivery method is not smoked in these. They can be in pills, they can be vaporized, they can be powder, they can be nebulizers, but they're not smoked because you don't want that combustion by product. Now, clearly there's negative effects. There's emerging evidence of increased heart disease and stroke potentially related to inflammation of the blood vessels, which makes sense because of combustion. There's some association with chronic bronchitis respiratory symptoms unclear of asthma or lung cancer, but again, this may take time to solidify. Now, most profoundly, there are clear cognitive and psychological effects, and there's substantial data with temporal association between cannabis use and future psychosis. In general, roughly, we can say you have more than two times the risk of future psychotic disorder with use. It's worse when you're younger and worse with more frequent use. For example, daily use in general has a three times increased risk of psychotic disorders in the future. And higher potency THC increases it five times.
[00:23:42.120] – Dr. Ramirez
And there's other mood consequences such as depression, anxiety, and cognitive consequences. And there's even MRI evidence of atrophy in the hippocampus. And the hippocampus is the center of learning and memory of the brain. Now, with all this said, the reality is most adults are not going to develop these conditions with occasional use. But one thing I do clarify and reiterate is occasional and adults. Now, schizophrenia affects only about 1% of the population. So I would say only adults who are psychiatrically healthy, who use it occasionally and who use lower THC content unlikely to develop any of these side effects. But for somebody who has smoked before and they've had the effect of some type of psychotic issue thinking that cops were after them, or if they have a family member with schizophrenia or anybody who is young, I absolutely would worry about continuing to use. And obviously I would choose forms that are not smoking gummies, cookies, other type of forms.
[00:24:49.890] – Allan
Okay? Now, I want to shift focus to food because I actually think this is even though, again, we look at the data and we see, okay, it's smoking that's killing us the most from a practical perspective of what we can measure. Were you a smoker or not? Food is a little harder because we all have to eat, we can't cessate food. And you had a quote in the book that I think it's probably my favorite food quote ever because it's perfect. I couldn't even think of a way to improve this, but it's by Michael Poland and it says eat food, not too much, mostly plants. And that's kind of the approach you're taking in the book as you're talking about how we should eat and again, to avoid some of these diseases.
[00:25:36.010] – Dr. Ramirez
I love that quote as well. I read Michael Poland or two of Michael Poland's book, the Omnivore's Dilemma and the In Defense of Food, and I love this approach. It was simplified in an era where there are so many different diets and things can be confusing. And I think just simplifying it to build a foundation that again, one could build upon is the best way to approach it. So that quote has seven words and those seven words, I think, can really guide somebody in terms of how to eat. And just like you said, eat food. Not too much, mostly plants. And that translates to eat less processed foods, portion control, more fruits than vegetables. So we can talk about processing of foods. In general, highly processed foods have more calories, more sugars, more sodium, less protein, less fiber, less vitamins, less minerals. And aside from having the actual nutritional products that are less healthy, there is data correlating more highly processed foods to health outcomes. Eating more and high amounts of highly processed foods does increase your risk of heart disease or stroke and just higher risk of overall mortality. The second part of that is portion control.
[00:26:56.170] – Dr. Ramirez
The average daily calorie intake in the US in the year 2000 was about 300 calories higher than in the year 1985. And just mathematically, that's the equivalent of 31 lbs of excess calories. In general, just food portions have gone up. Plate sizes are bigger. The actual area of plate sizes are 44% bigger now. So Portion control is just one of the underlying recommendations. And lastly in that part is eat more fruits and vegetables, and only one in ten US. Adults get enough vegetables, two in ten adults get enough fruits. And both vegetables and fruits are filled with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, flavonoids, which there's over 5000 bioactive compounds there. They're nutrient dense. They have less calories, they're low in fat, they're high in fiber, and they're just products that are just extremely good for us, and we don't get enough of it. So rather than trying to get specific diets, just this overall concept of portion control, eat more fruits and vegetables and trying to have less processed foods is the underlying message of how one can kind of adjust their habits rather than dieting. And we can go into more data if we wish there too.
[00:28:14.420] – Allan
Yes. The core of it is this. You want to eat nutritionally dense food versus calorie dense food. And this succinctly puts you on that trail to avoid the diet traps and everything else. You just know, okay, is this real food? Do I know what a portion is? And am I not overeating it so I know I'm full? And then finally, yeah, just plants and some proteins. And what I found is that I can tell someone is you can't overeat fruits and vegetables. It's physically impossible. Try to eat 5oz of spinach. Just try make a salad with 5oz of spinach and try to eat it.
[00:29:00.400] – Dr. Ramirez
[00:29:01.020] – Allan
Sweating. You'll be sweating. I promise I do it. I do it all the time, but you'll be sweating. You can blend it and process it again. And then, yes, drink it down with other stuff, and it just seems to go really easy. And you can cook it down and eat it, and it seems to go really easy. But eating whole foods and paying attention to what you're putting in your mouth is really important. So I do appreciate this opportunity. And you went into the book. I don't really want to go deep into it because it's an important issue. And that's why I encourage people to get the book, is you do also talk about obesity, the connections to some of these diseases. And then, of course, we have the whole concept of how people feel about this word and the way things are. And I appreciate that discussion in the book. And so I encourage someone to get the book to go through that because I think it's really important. But I want to step out for just a minute because there's one area that you highlight in the book is maybe beyond the other things that we can control, that maybe is one of the more important ones that gets ignored because it has no outward symptoms until it does.
[00:30:08.450] – Allan
And that's our blood pressure.
[00:30:11.090] – Dr. Ramirez
Yes, for me, blood pressure is probably the easiest thing you can do and the most impactful thing you can do because it doesn't really require, let's say, running 5 miles a day. It requires sitting down, putting a cuff on your arm, noting if it's elevated or not and seeing your physician. And this is something that could completely change somebody's life. It's the leading contributor to preventable death in the world. In the US, it contributes to 500,000 deaths per year. It's the leading cause of stroke in the world. And it's not just stroke. It's the leading cause of brain bleeds. It's a leader and burst aneurysms of heart disease, of chronic kidney disease, of a subtype of dementia called vascular dementia, of heart failure, of atrial fibrillation, of much more. And the higher the blood pressure, the higher the risk. And it causes all these things because it has such potent effects on both the large and the small arteries. And the large arteries, it can lead to plaque formation. And in the small arteries of the body, it can lead to thickening of the small arteries. And in the large arteries, again, if it's in the heart, there's heart disease.
[00:31:24.920] – Dr. Ramirez
If it's in the neck and the brain, there's strokes in the small arteries. There's a lot of small arteries in the head that could also cause strokes and vascular dementia. But some of these small vessels are also present in the kidneys, and that leads to chronic kidney disease. You have increased resistance. So when the heart is pushing on the resistance, it can thicken, and you get left ventricular hypertrophy. You can get diastolic heart failure, you get remodeling of the heart, which could lead to atrial fibrillation. So it's just a lot of negative effects on it. But the good thing is that some of these effects in the arteries start really early in life. And one would say, why is that good? Well, if the fatty streaks start in our teens and we have an opportunity to prevent this very early on and try. To halt the progression early on before it causes damage. And the problem here is that about a third of young adults don't know they have high blood pressure. So by checking early, we can really prevent some of the devastating consequences that has long term. And just like you said, we don't have any external showing of high blood pressure.
[00:32:35.630] – Dr. Ramirez
It's silent because it has so many effects. It's deadly. And that's why the very famous kind of saying it's, the silent killer, exists. Now, if you have blood pressure, going to your physician treating you either medically or lifestyle changes drastically improves outcomes as well. By decreasing your pressures by five points, you decrease the risk of cardiovascular events by about 10%. So not just prevention, but treatment, if you have it, is paramount. And for anybody who may not know what's considered high, normal blood pressure is 120 over 80. Typically, they say high is 140 over 90. So target at 140 over 90. And below certain individuals, we aim for less than 130. But if you're seeing readings near the one forties or above, just reach out to your physician and see what plans you can make. I would emphasize I personally have a lot of patients who don't like medications despite having strokes. And I really try to tell them, don't fear medications if they are necessary. Yes, you want to change your lifestyle, and I would change your lifestyle while starting medications if that's what a physician recommends. And you can work your way off medications.
[00:33:53.170] – Dr. Ramirez
There's some data showing that with diet modification, like the Dash diet, managing weight and exercise, only about 15% of patients still need these blood pressure medications. So I would just think of it as the most important supplement you've ever had or needed in your life, and maybe you can come off of it.
[00:34:12.180] – Allan
Yeah. When I first started my reversal of my health, trying to get myself back together, yeah, I had high blood pressure, so my doctor put me on medication to get it down. You go into a doctor's office and they kind of expect an elevated blood pressure because you're in the doctor's office. So that's why they're going to say 140 over 90 is probably fine, because there's an expectation that when you go home and you're in a better environment, that your blood pressure drops. And what I can say is, if you're in a very stressful job and you have a very stressful life at home and other things are going on, it might not drop as much as you think it does. And so you're going to be happy to hear that I just put a blood pressure monitor in my Amazon cart, so the next time I check out, I'll have one of those. And you talk in the book, it's like, don't just wait till you do your annual check up. These are not expensive. I think my unit I went for a slightly higher price unit it was still, like, less than $60.
[00:35:13.250] – Allan
And it's there. Or you can walk into a drugstore or go over by the pharmacy. And Walmart, they typically have one of these little machines there. And I believe you said in the book that the differential of what they have is not significant. So you can kind of rely on that to see if there's at least a problem, if there's a trend, and know that you need to go talk to your doctor. But I completely agree with you. Take the medication until your lifestyle changes allow you to get off the medication, which is the path I took.
[00:35:43.250] – Dr. Ramirez
Good. And I'm thrilled to hear that you bought yourself one. That's the main thing. Just something so easy. We want to monitor themselves at home. So if I impacted one person, I'm happy.
[00:35:55.450] – Allan
Well, I'm 56 years old. So as you start looking at your health, you're like, I'm not invincible. I may have felt like I was invincible when I was in my 20s and maybe well into my 30s, but there's a point where you realize it's like, okay, data can be valuable. And this is a data point that, quite frankly, is easy to measure. It takes less than five minutes. You just sit down, you rest for about five minutes. You put the cuff on, it blows up, and then it shows you a number. If you don't like the number, sit there for another five minutes and do it again. But it's not like the scale. This is actually telling you how healthy you are.
[00:36:30.530] – Dr. Ramirez
Yeah. It's non invasive, it's quick, it's cheap. So I would tell everyone and anybody, get yourself a cuff or go to your local store and measure it there and just write down the trends and reach out to your physician if it's elevated. So this is extremely important. I would emphasize it to anybody. And I'm thrilled that you purchased one.
[00:36:52.210] – Allan
Yeah. And another thing that you had in the book that I think is really important is don't get the finger one or the wrist one is get the one that is a cuff and make sure that the cuff is the right size for your arm. I have a slightly larger arm, so the cuff I got goes up to 17 inches. So I'm safe for at least the next few months unless I decide to bulk up a little bit. And I'm not going to get my arm to 17 inches again. I'm pretty sure my age. But that said, make sure you're getting a good thing, and the book will give you some details on how to select. Make sure it's a cuff and make sure it's the right size. And there's a whole lot more in there.
[00:37:27.240] – Allan
Dr. Ramirez, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:37:36.950] – Dr. Ramirez
So I think that's a great definition. I define it as kind of longevity, quality and the control of risk factors. If we just want to break it down to just solely three, obviously there's more. But three specific tactics, I would say one, nutritional changes. I don't endorse dieting, I endorse an overall change in how we look at what is on the plate in front of us. And like the quote we discussed, eat food, not too much, mostly plants that would go for smaller portions, eat more vegetables, less processing, water over other drinks, try to lessen the juices, soda, so water over drinks. Within the umbrella of nutrition, I would go for less alcohol. So alcohol in moderation if you already drank, but there's no need to drink if you don't do so already. And even within that we can say if financially one is able to try to add more organic products. There may be some benefit in organic products grown in better soil. So overall nutritional changes as one the second more physical activity. Find an activity you enjoy, one that you love, one that's not a job to try to do and build from there.
[00:38:56.500] – Dr. Ramirez
Even five minutes of moderate activity a day has health benefits. So just try to do it as much as you can, even if it's only a small amount, and work your way up to minimum goals. The minimum quote guidelines is 150 minutes a week. So 30 minutes, five times a week. Try to add some resistance, exercise at least two times a week, but find what you like. I like calisthetics, that's my base and then I build outside from there. For anybody who has some physical limitations, you can still be more active. Something as easy as walking as benefits. 6000 steps a day has been shown to have benefits, especially people over 65 years old. And even if Ambulation or walking is difficult on YouTube, there's plenty of exercise regimens for people who can't walk seated exercise regimen. So try to stay active as much as you can within your limitations. And I would try to add balance as well. That's something I included in the book since balance at training can reduce falls and falls as a leading cause of traumatic injuries in the elderly, leading cause of hip fractures leads to 800,000 hospitalizations a year.
[00:40:07.660] – Dr. Ramirez
So adding a little balance, especially as we age, can minimize the risks of falls and the health effects that come from it. So the first two nutritional changes, more activity. And the third, I would just use the broad saying of check your numbers. One, blood pressure. I think within that number, that's the key thing to know and two your BMI. So you're seeing where you land in the context of obesity. Are you healthy? Weight, are you overweight? Are you obese or above? I know BMI is not the perfect number, but it is one that does correlate well with adipose tissue and more importantly, with health outcomes. So check your numbers and within that discussion. Obesity is the second leading cause of stroke worldwide, one of the leading causes of preventable death. So it is a very important number to know right there with blood pressure.
[00:41:05.870] – Allan
Thank you for that. Now I want to close with one more thing. You said this is kind of your core message of the book, and I love this, “Longevity and quality can allow one to enjoy life and all the beautiful things it brings.”
So thank you for sharing that. Doctor, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book Simplify Your Health, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:41:29.740] – Dr. Ramirez
Again, thank you for having me. I would have anybody go to Simplifyyourhealth.Live. There's more information on the book, where to get it. There are other links to some of my social media pages. I have become more active on Instagram based on recommendations of others. It's Dr.RamirezMD for Instagram and Twitter, and I give some health facts, some health tips, some quotes, and other things for benefits. But it would be simplifyyourhealth.Live for more information on the book, okay.
[00:42:05.310] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/551, and I'll be sure to have the links there. Dr. Ramirez, thank you so much for being a part of 40 Plus Fitness.
[00:42:15.210] – Dr. Ramirez
Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.
[00:42:24.090] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:42:25.480] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, wow there's a lot of really great information in that interview, but let's start with the Simplify. Simplify Your Health. I love it. We make things so much harder than we really need to.
[00:42:37.230] – Allan
Yeah. That's why when I was looking at doing it, when I created the kind of a temperature check and I was looking for, okay, what are the things I know that work, and what are the things to try to put together something when you want to check in with yourself, what is the most valuable takeaway? And it isn't, okay, here's three areas your movement, your nutrition and your self care. And it's not sitting there saying, okay, what are five things I can do for all three of these to move the needle? It's like, what's one intention? Just one thing next week? And you kind of start with that. That's just the one thing. And what you find is once that one thing kind of becomes automatic for you, then yes, adding another one thing and then another one thing. And it's not just one plus one. I think that's what a lot of people think. That's just slow. No, each one of those is an exponential of the thing you did before. So if you've improved your nutrition this week and then next week you add additional movement, that's an exponential shift. That's not just a one plus one.
[00:43:43.170] – Allan
And so if we just realize that those simple one step, things that are the next big rock, then that's what's really going to move the needle for you. And it's going to get you where you want to go a lot faster than you thought you could.
[00:43:58.850] – Rachel
Oh, for sure. I also like too, for people to choose the thing that resonates the most with them. Some people can easily swap out a soda pop for water, and that could be their one thing. Or some people might be more comfortable going for a walk in the morning before work. You just need to choose the one thing that really resonates with you, something that you can stick with, something that you look forward to doing, and that would really give you the most traction to get that ball rolling.
[00:44:30.540] – Allan
Yeah, it will.
[00:44:33.510] – Rachel
And you guys spend some time talking about blood pressure. That's the one metric that I often overlook myself, because my blood pressure is always normal when I go to the doctor's office. But you're going to get yourself a blood pressure cuff?
[00:44:47.130] – Allan
Yeah, I've got it. It is actually on its way.
[00:44:51.700] – Rachel
[00:44:52.460] – Allan
Yeah. So I put it in my car, and it's kind of one of those things because I do live on an island, I try to order two or three or four things at one time, and then I do the Amazon ship it all together. So I'll wait an extra week kind of thing just to have less packing material, less weight as I pay by the pound for what they bring here. And so it's just trying to get them to put it all in one box and make it easy. So it shipped. And right now it's probably in Miami or somewhere in between. Here in Miami.
[00:45:25.320] – Rachel
Oh, good. Well, I'm glad you're getting that because I think that's probably one of the best metrics for heart health.
[00:45:31.950] – Allan
It is. Well, even brain health and all of it, because if your blood pressure and kidney, if your blood pressure is high, it's putting pressure on your kidneys, it's putting pressure on your brain, it's putting pressure on your heart. And so stroke and heart attack and kidney failure, they are directly related to you having high blood pressure. And as you said, it's the silent killer because you don't necessarily know when your blood pressure is elevated. And it's the one thing I can say that more than anything, walking away from my career lowered my blood pressure down to normal. I was having to take medication when I was working full time for a corporation, and the stress level, my blood pressure was always elevated, so I had to take medication to get it down to the normal range, and I could not get it down. Even after losing all the weight, even after getting myself really healthy and fit, my blood pressure was still elevated until I got laid off and I told my wife, I'm not going back. And my blood pressure dropped down to normal. And I've been to the doctor several times since then, and it's always normal when I walk into the doctor's office.
[00:46:49.910] – Rachel
Now, that's fantastic. I'm glad to hear that. I don't think that we really realize how detrimental stress can be on our bodies.
[00:46:59.970] – Allan
It can beat you up. And so just that self awareness. I had worked on nutrition, I had worked on movement, I had worked on sleep. I didn't set alarm. So I was getting plenty of sleep. I was eating well, I was moving well, but I couldn't get the stress done. And then I went through a period of time just before the layoff where I did like three or four episodes on stress because I wanted to read their books, my own stress.
[00:47:30.110] – Rachel
[00:47:31.580] – Allan
And they all had different spins on it. And yes, the breathing techniques helped a little, but that was a temporary fix, because as soon as the next fire, the next problem, the next phone call, even the next phone call, was enough to send my stress level up. And then, of course, I was laying people off and there was just all that turmoil of that. My stress levels were really high at that point for my health. The next big step, the next big rock. We talked about simplify, sounds like a big move, but that was figure out a way to not go back to corporate.
[00:48:12.660] – Rachel
[00:48:13.130] – Allan
And so, yeah, it was a big step, but it was the thing, it was the big rock. And until I could get the stress thing done and you know, some people have great resilience and they do great with stress, but I just found the older I got, the less resilient I was with stress. And that was just me. I'm fully put it out there. It's just stress beat me up more as I got older. And so I wasn't going to get healthier no matter what. No matter what.
[00:48:43.240] – Rachel
You checked all the other boxes, eating, exercise, sleep and all that, so I'm glad you were able to find a solution for that.
[00:48:50.390] – Allan
[00:48:51.870] – Rachel
And then you guys talked a lot about marijuana.
[00:48:54.930] – Allan
Yeah, I haven't covered that topic. And there have been some books that came out. I reached out to the authors, but I guess they were off getting high or something because they didn't respond because they're not really driven.
[00:49:12.370] – Rachel
They get back to you because I think it's in the emerging stages.
[00:49:17.230] – Allan
It is. I will say, based on the titles of the books that are out there, they're very pro marijuana. And I knew, of course, reading this book and he gets into it, that he was not going to be pro marijuana, and he's not there are uses for it, and they're studying for more uses for it. But he said the vast majority of people don't need to be smoking marijuana. It's not healthy. People say, well, it's healthier than I'm like, okay, so getting hit by a motorcycle is healthier than getting hit by a car. You can justify anything as healthier than because there's always something less healthy. And if you want to compare ourselves with something that's less healthy, same thing with e cigarettes. We know that they're not healthy, you know they're not healthy. And so maybe edibles are healthier than smoking it. And if that's the case, then tell the does not equate to healthy. And, you know, so that's just the takeaway from that. I have tried edibles and one of two things happens. I just go to sleep and then I feel like I wasted a whole lot of money on an end or I eat everything in the kitchen.
[00:50:45.070] – Allan
I mean everything. And so, yes, if I had cancer and needed something that would make me hungry, yeah, that would do it, because I'll eat everything in the kitchen and so it's not a substitute for anything and it wasn't enjoyable. And so from that perspective, I don't value it. And I know that some people use and they love it and they feel like it does the right things for them, but there's a health downside to it until you really acknowledge that you're fooling yourself.
[00:51:20.530] – Rachel
I think here in Michigan, it is legal both medicinally and recreationally. And I'm not sure how many states we have now that have approved it for either or. I'm not sure what the current state is.
[00:51:33.100] – Allan
It's a growing number, and I would say probably the majority of states now at least approve it for medical use. But let's just be honest. Doctors will write you prescription for anything you ask them for. So if you want medical marijuana recreationally, just get a doctor to write a script and you can go get it. So it's not like it's really controlled like that. Maybe in some states a little bit more so than others, but for the most part so the vast majority of people in the United States can either get marijuana legally as a recreational drug or as to a doctor. And then again, it's hard to get if you want it. You probably know the dealer guy down on the corner or wherever. It's not hard to find someone to give you this stuff if you want, but that's it. If you're looking at improving your health, yes, substitutions are a way, but not a permanent way to say I'm healthy because I do these things.
[00:52:38.390] – Rachel
Sure, I'd like to see more science come out on marijuana and the use. I'd actually like to see it be a good competitor to big pharma. I'd really like to see something different going on. We have some experience right now. My husband Mike has kidney cancer. He's taking some chemo drugs. And the side effects of these chemotherapies are just ridiculous. They're just ridiculous. If you've ever watched a commercial on TV for literally any medicine out there, the side effects are ridiculous. So I'd like to see if medical marijuana has a leg to stand on in alleviating some of these symptoms that people are experiencing as compared to the big pharma alternative?
[00:53:26.170] – Allan
Well, the odd thing is probably I remember this from when I was younger, is that they always called marijuana, like for glaucoma.
[00:53:33.170] – Rachel
[00:53:33.630] – Allan
And Dr. Ramirez says there's actually no evidence that it helps with glaucoma.
[00:53:39.610] – Rachel
I've not heard that. I don't know.
[00:53:41.680] – Allan
Yeah, but the whole point is they will, because more people are using it now and it's easier to get then scientists are more likely to study it. It is very hard to get a study approved when you're using a class one narcotic. It just is. They don't want this out there. They don't want people using it. And so getting it approved and getting it through the FDA, federal against the law, is just going to be really hard. And unless you have a really compelling hypothesis for it, it's just going to be hard. But that said, more people are going to be using it, there'll be more anecdotal evidence, and then with the anecdotal evidence, someone will say, okay, look, I run all these places here in California that sell this medical marijuana. I will fund the study for this and they fund the study. Now, will the FDA then approve it for that use? Maybe not. But if the study is done and it's done right, at least at that point, doctors have some form of evidence to know, okay, I can do a counter indication for the marijuana for this thing. And over time, the doctors will finally go to the FDA and say, hey, we're doing this because we legally can counter indicate a medication for somebody else.
[00:55:06.810] – Allan
And since this is medical marijuana in our state, we've been using it for this thing and it's working. And if the FDA does the right thing, but they're pretty close to pharma, but if they were to do the right thing, then they would say, okay, provide the evidence from the studies, do more studies, and we'll consider it. And at least at that point, you got a toe in the door.
[00:55:34.370] – Rachel
The one last thing I want to mention on marijuana is that I'm allergic to it. And I'm not the only one out there. And I see an allergist and we've talked about it. I have an EpiPen because I've had some really poor reactions being surrounded. I've never even used it outright. I've never smoked it or ate it. I don't even use hemp and I'm afraid to use CBD. I just don't want to be near it because I have such a terrible reaction. And I know I'm not the only person out there. So if anybody's going to use it, just be smart and keep it in your own home because I can't even smell it. I can't even walk by it.
[00:56:12.870] – Allan
Yeah, all right, well, Rachel, stay away from pot.
[00:56:19.010] – Rachel
You know I will. Yeah.
[00:56:21.870] – Allan
All right, well, you have a great week. We'll talk next week.
[00:56:24.700] – Rachel
Okay, take care. Thanks.
[00:56:26.340] – Allan
[00:56:27.360] – Rachel
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