Author Archives: allan
Author Archives: allan
Allan: 01:12 Denise Austin. Denise, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Denise: 01:19 Yea, I'm so happy to be here! WOO!
Allan: 01:19 I am too, you know, um, when back in the…
Denise: 01:23 I'm happy to be over 40 too. I love it!
Allan: 01:23 You know it is a new day, you know, and I think you, people used to think, okay, you're just going to be on a standard aging curve. And I know, you know, when I was listening, watching your show back in the late eighties, early nineties, when I had days that I was at home and didn't have class, I would be doing homework or something. Uh, but I would always put it on TV and you know, there were the three or four workout shows, but you yours was always set in the Caribbean or in Arizona. It was just really some really nice scenery. And then you're just so just, you're just so up, up, up all the time. It's just something that I love tabbing in my room when I was, when I was studying or when I was, when I had the time.
Denise: 02:07 Yeah. Well thank you so much. I really appreciate it because you know, my TV show was on for 24 years. Can you believe that? Every weekday morning. So it's um, and now I got all my TV shows back, which I love.
Allan: 02:22 Oh you got the rights back to him. Okay, cool. That's totally cool.
Denise: 02:25 They're all on my website now, which is so cool. I picked my favorite 200 shows that I did and, and most of them of course are in the Caribbean cause the water's so turquoise so beautiful in the background.
Allan: 02:40 Oh yeah. And that must been hard picking your top 200 cause I know I just recently went through an exercise trying to pick 10 out to talk about on episode 400 of the show. And it was like, you know, choosing my favorite baby, its hard.
Denise: 02:56 I know, and it makes you look at your career too. It's like wow, I did this many shows.
Allan: 03:02 And helped and helped thousands and thousands and thousands of people. Maybe millions. I mean as like I said, your shows were at, your shows were totally awesome. And like I said, it was just one of those things where I knew that people of all ages would just feel really, really comfortable doing what you are asking them to do because of the approach you had. Uh, and then even now, today you still focus on helping everybody but a little bit more bent towards folks our age, the 50s and sixties range. Uh, but still it's over 40 is great. Um, and, and so, you know, in all this time, I mean, it's over 30 years. Uh, you've been in the fitness industry. Uh, things have changed from, you know, we're no longer were that girls are no longer wearing leg warmers and, uh, your, your videos are no longer on VHS. Um, but what else can health and fitness has been like what you'd say is the big changes over the course of the last 30 years.
Denise: 03:54 Well, the biggest change now is all about wellness and recovery and taking care of your body and really tuning into, um, being, you know, gentle like yoga, pilates and foam rolling and really, uh, you know, yoga, a little more meditation. That, to me has been the biggest change. But of course I'd been through all the different trends from high energy aerobics to step aerobics to, you know, all of the trends in the last 30 years. But the key thing is, you know, we have one body, we have to take good care of it. We have 640 muscles of the body to keep strong and tone and firm and um, to find something that you enjoy in exercise or it becomes part of your lifestyle. And to me, walking is one of the best and most easiest ways to really get in great shape. And you truly could get in wonderful shape if you walk fast for 30 minutes. So I'm really into walking and I come back into my house and I do some targeted exercises for my arms, my tummy, my legs, and then stretches too. So all three components are important. And throughout the years they've just changed up mainly through, you know, boxing was hot for awhile. So there's been so many forms of fitness, which are all great because they kind of keep you motivated.
Allan: 05:24 Yeah. You know, I actually miss a step aerobics. I, when I was in the army I would, I would take a step aerobics class. It's just a way to continue to improve my fitness beyond what we were doing as our normal training. Um, and I really miss, I kind of miss it cause I still see the steps sitting around as some of the gems but they're not being used for the same thing anymore.
Denise: 05:43 Yeah. Now it's more used for interval training, jump box. You know, you jump up on it and do lunges off it. It's not as choreographed, which is fine too cause you're still working your hips, thighs and butt step. So my daughter now is falling and my fitness footsteps and she uses my old step that I used to use in step aerobics. Now she uses it as a prop for, you know, some pushups, more targeted exercises but more like interval training.
Allan: 06:15 And I think you touched on something that was really, really important and that is finding something that you enjoy. You know, the variety that's been offered over the course the last 30 years from, you know, now there's the hit training or like you said, some of the box and the jumps in the pile of metrics to some of the old stuff like now that they can log onto your website and see some of those, those videos, uh, you know, they've got their 30 years worth of, uh, some really cool variety to keep themselves engaged. Plus, like you said, um, you're really big on the walking, and just the normal movement to keep yourself in shape.
Denise: 06:48 Yes. And also, um, I really think it's important that everyone knows that how important stretching is to keep our muscles and our tendons and the bones and the joints healthy and stretching and target toning, lightweights are so important. It really makes a difference, especially as we age to stay strong and keep our joints healthy and the muscles surrounding the joints are so important. So that's why I do, you know, all new workouts also for her, for women and guys after 50. And those are more straight training and more stretching. And then you could get your cardio from so many variety ways. And then long as you're getting two to three times a week, some type of targeting strength training for your muscles.
Allan: 07:39 And I think that's one thing I read as I was going through some of your stuff is that, uh, you're not, you're not one that says, okay, we need to spend two, three hours a day, uh, doing this to get fit.
Denise: 07:52 I only work out for 30 minutes a day, but I do it most every day and I'm very consistent. And consistency pays off, I promise. 30 minutes, that's all it takes in a, usually you're awake about 16 hours of a day. So what's 30 minutes for your health, your well-being, your mental, your emotional. It truly is a, one of the best ways to get rid of stress, to help fight heart disease, exercise every single day if you can, it is fabulous. I truly do try to get 10,000 steps in a day. And when I do, I feel so proud to go, you know, 12,000 steps. I'm like, yes. So it's also a great way to, you know, track yourself to see how well you're doing and keep, you know, challenging yourself.
Allan: 08:40 Yeah. Now you've, you've always generally taken care of yourself, that was your career. Uh, so you don't want to know first I guess you were an athlete, you're an athlete in college, and then it was your career. And what has changed the way that you train today versus when you were in your 20s and 30s?
Denise: 09:01 Well, you know, I pay attention to my body every day, more in a different way than I'm 62 now. And I feel fantastic. I can do everything. I still do cartwheels and hand stands and, but I, I truly do believe I, uh, I've changed just as simple things such as recovery, things like I do use a foam roller. I love to stretch. I use stretch bands. I do love a massage every month, I tried to get a massage. So self care is important and especially as you age and if you're exercising, you want to feel good. And these are some of the easier ways I take an Epsom salt bath. Never did before in my life. So there's these little things I do, but the main focus is the same that I continue working out most every day. And I honestly feel like I change a little that I do more yoga, I do more pilates for strengthening of the abs and the course as it is, you know, menopausal time for women is so important to keep our abdominals nice and strong, keep our tummy flat and it keeps your back healthy.
Allan: 10:16 Absolutely. Now let's talk about nutrition. What's, what's changed in your nutrition since you 20s and 30s had any major changes there?
Denise: 10:24 Yes, of course I eat differently in the way of, I made sure every day I have a little bit of either chia seeds or flax seeds cause it's Omega three that they're so good for us helping inflammation. I also make sure I have anything Omega threes in my diet. I'm really into salmon twice a week and I eat mostly in the certain, you know, top 10 organic fruits and vegetables. I make sure that I'm eating the good clean ones and I eat 80% very well and very healthy and then I still have 20% treats and that would be a glass of red wine. It would be a little bit of ice cream. So I do enjoy treats and I do, um, treat myself every day and little something and I don't overdo it though. Portion control as I age is very important and um, as we all know, you know, our metabolism slows down as our muscle tone slows down. So we need to up the muscle tone and you know, lessen the amount of calories you eat. So portions are very important to me now and I do watch them more than I ever did.
Allan: 11:41 Okay. Do you, do you track macros or anything like that?
Denise: 11:45 Yes, I eat healthy most of the time anyhow, so I'm very aware of um, the proteins I'm eating, how many grams of protein I eat. I try to eat 70 a day, um, and I'm trying to get more plant protein, but I do have once in a while. Um, you know, grass fed red meat once in awhile and I only buy organic chicken and grass fed chicken and grass fed eggs. And, um, I love avacado I love healthy fats and as you age, I believe in, you know, nuts. I do eat a lot of nuts and more plant based. I will, I have a uh, lettuce grow, which is like a farm stand at my house outside and I pick everyday basil and I'll just eat it right. Leaves the, uh, also parsley. So I make sure I you get a lot of greens and of course of a day more than I ever used to. So, you know, we know now through research how important eating and food is medicine and as we age it's even more so. So I've been very conscientious about that. And um, all my new eating plans on my website have included some new ideas. I have a whole eating plan. If you're a vegetarian, if you're gluten free, if you want to eat heart healthy. So I have seven different ways of an eating plan for 10 weeks to give it a try.
Denise: 13:18 Or you can eat just like me. Very portion control and eating many of the food groups, but everything in moderation.
Allan: 13:26 Yeah. I tell people, I'm basically food agnostic. As long as you're getting good quality whole foods, you can be vegan, you can be, you know, carnivore if you really want to. But just making sure you're getting good variety, making sure you're getting good quality. Um, and then, which recognizes food cause so much of what's available to us in the grocery stores. Um, it isn't, um, that's another big change in the last 30 years is you walk into a grocery store and I don't know that my great grandmother would recognize 90% of the grocery stores as actually food.
Denise: 14:01 Well, I know, and especially, I love it now because I tried different foods, you know, Swiss chard and I do, Oh, of course, kale. And I look at my older books that never had any of those types of vegetables as part of my meal menu plans. So, um, I have updated everything because it's so hard to find good foods, you know, years ago I never ate lentils. I love lentils and humbleness. So many, um, new foods that I enjoy more than I ever used to or more than I knew about. So that's the beautiful part about now.
Allan: 14:41 Yeah. So if you were going to outline like the perfect fitness nutrition week for someone over 40, what would that look like?
Denise: 14:50 Oh, Oh, okay. So exercise wise, Monday, Wednesday and Friday I would do something for 30 minutes cardio like either outside fast walking, it could be one of my workout videos that are on my website, which is 30 minute fat burning and I have over a hundred to choose from new and my TV shows. Oh. And then I would target Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays for concentrating on muscle conditioning, strength training and yoga. And then Sundays I would do a self care day, which would include a epson salt bath. I would do some foam rolling, even get some lacrosse balls or any kind of balls and you know, work out your muscles. If you can't get a massage and then eating. Eating in a course of a week, I would make sure you're getting, of course seven fruits and vegetables every day. I always strive for seven and then, um, protein, you know, in each meal and also try not to eat late at night because eating late at night is, um, I found through my own experiment and my own life, uh, that that's where I start to gain the weight is if I eat late at night. I tried to eat all my good healthy carbs in the course of a day and then in the evening slow those carbs down and make sure I'm just not eating late at night and I think it really helped.
Allan: 16:23 Good. Good. I like that. Uh, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Denise: 16:36 Well, the first I would say is change your mindset, get positive thinking, get rid of any negative self talk. Think about the first part is your, your mindset. How to kind of turn some of the negativity in your life into simple ways to be positive and be more optimistic. Then second of all, it comes with the food we eat because I believe in lots of water. I do drink eight, eight ounce glasses every single day. I really try to, you know, eat healthy foods, you know, lessen all the packaged process. And third is think good posture throughout the day. Posture is so important, especially as we age to really sit up and stand up tall, pull in those abs, retrain and educate the abdominal muscles to pull in like a tight corset. And the more you practice that it will be there naturally nice and flat. So I really believe good posture and everything you do when you're exercising, when you're sitting, you are your own architect by the way, you're moving and sitting in idle time. So make sure it's in a good position. Good body alignment is very important as we age. It's muscle conditioning without even picking up a weight.
Allan: 17:57 Yes. Now, anyone that's seen any of your videos knows that they can't watch one of your videos without leaving with a good, happy mindset for the day. Uh, if someone wanted to learn more about you and your programs, where would you like for me to send them?
Denise: 18:13 Oh, I love everyone to come to my website, Deniseaustin.com and there I do challenges all the time. I'm coming up with a new one next month. So go onto my website, follow me on Facebook at Denise Austin, Instagram, Denise Austin, and follow along. I do three challenges that get people started and it's a really great way, especially for men and women over 40. I really truly focus on our age group because this is the time we need to focus on. I always, I believe in good health, but now the most important time that we need, we have some time to dedicate to our bodies. And this is your time.
Allan: 18:59 Perfect. This is going to be episode 407 so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/407 and I'll be sure to have links there. So Denise, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Denise: 19:12 Oh, I love it. Thank you guys. Remember, sit up tall on the dummy and have a happy smile. Love it. Thank you. Thank you. Stay fit.
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When Lisa Boucher saw that she was following her mother's path into alcoholism and loss, she turned things around. Now she helps women break free from alcohol and live better lives for it. In this episode, we discuss her book, Raising the Bottom.
Allan: 01:03 Lisa, welcome to 40+ fitness.
Lisa: 01:06 Thank you Allan. Happy to be here.
Allan: 01:08 You know we're getting into that time of the year when there's you know, holidays and you know, we're going to have Thanksgiving coming up. And of course then after that there's all the Christmas parties. And then of course, New Year's. And you know, we associate all of these holidays, all of these events with alcohol.
Lisa: 01:27 Yeah. And you forgot Halloween because that's becoming a huge alcohol. Um, I know when I was raising my sons, my husband, we're still together and he's a drinker. And when they were taking the kids around when they were little, we had, um, I had a problem with the happy hour at every single house. So the parents would have their kids dressed up in their little costumes and each house would offer a cocktail. And I said, ah. So I ended up making my husband stay home and give out the candy. And I took the kids because by the time you get around, we had a, like a big circle. Half the parents could barely stand. So it starts, I mean there's, there's just no holiday. There's no event that doesn't say, hey, it's all about the parents. And we got to drink too. So what are we modeling?
Allan: 02:22 I moved to Bocas Del Toro and you know, there's an expat community here and uh, you know, we get together and we have dinners and go out and watch our friends, you know, perform and you know, but it's, it's kind of a cycle of things of it. All of this is always going to involve alcohol, you know, bring your own beer, bring your own wine kind of mindset to all of it.
Lisa: 02:44 We live in a boozy culture and you know, for your listeners, I'm not opposed to drinking moderately, but I think Allan, we have normalized alcoholism in a lot of ways. And what I mean by that is people, I quit drinking before I was a daily drinker and I'm around a lot of people that drink daily and I'm not talking just one drink a day. They're drinking four or five drinks a day. And they walk around saying, well, I'm a social drinker. Well, actually, yeah, that's more like getting into alcohol dependence, alcohol abuse. They may not be full blown alcoholics, but it can have a detrimental impact on a life when if you're going to work, they say 80% of alcoholics have families and have jobs. So if your life looks like something like you go to work and every night after work, especially when you live in, in the tropical place like you do, if every day your social life, your after work life is at a bar drinking for the rest of the evening, at some point, by making that choice, you're choosing not to do a whole lot of other things.
And so I just encourage people to say, is this really what I want to do or am I just going along with the flow? I know when I quit drinking, there's so many things that I have found to do. I just went to a bird lecture this morning. I mean it's kind of a nerdy thing to do, but I'm really interested in nature and the birds and things that when I was drinking, I didn't even see the blue sky or the birds, I didn't notice. I wasn't really present on a daily basis or a moment to moment in my life. So there's a lot of things that you miss too with, with the drinking. And it's just a matter of really rethinking all the drinks and saying, is this who I want to be? Is this how I want to spend my time? And I know with like the people that do get sober, there's a lot of deep heartfelt regret of the things that they missed or the things they didn't do with their family, with their children, with their spouse or significant other, because drinking can take up a lot of time.
And I sobered up in my late twenties and I literally just squandered that whole decade of my twenties when you're trying to set up your life. And I had a lot of regrets about that, but much less so than someone who waits till they're 45, 50, even 60 to get sober.
Allan: 05:40 Yeah, you had a statistic in the book kind of hit me in the face. Um, it was up 10% of the population is an addict or an Alcoholic.
Lisa: 05:51 Yeah. I mean that is true. So think about it. Here in the United States, we have about 320 million people, roughly. So there are truly about 32 million addicts and alcoholics. And that's probably, that's probably under-reported because there's a lot of people like me, I did not go to rehab. I did not go to the doctor. I knew about this disease by being raised by an alcoholic mother. So I've been entrenched in this whole thing from the time from birth my whole life.
And, and I've had siblings who are addicts and alcoholics. And now that I've been sober 30 years, I work with a lot of people in recovery. My first husband was a raging alcoholic, so I've just been around this and they say, and I'm also a registered nurse. So here's another scary stat, is 14% of doctors so I've noticed working in healthcare, there are so many doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, that end up in recovery. So that's a pretty high stat. 14% of doctors and 10% like I said, in the book of the general population. So these are people and the people that I focused on in my book are people that you would never suspect they had a drinking problem because I think that's, that's why more people aren't finding recovery. There's this stigma, there's this picture in our heads of an addict is, is the person, the homeless guy on the street, the people that are passing out in cars that we see on the six o'clock news and that is one face of addiction, but that is at the end-stage.
So I wanted to focus on the people again that were, that were more like myself or the 80% functional alcoholics. For instance, Caro, she's one of the, I have 10 stories in the back of the book of various women and, and out and a guide. Um, she was a surgeon. She was coming home every day making dinner, had two children that were well dressed, well fed in good schools, lives in a great neighborhood. All of these trappings that we look at from the outside facade and say, Oh, that's a great life. However, inside she's falling apart. Her kids are miserable. They can't stand her drinking. They are losing respect for her. And she finally one day just came home from work, started to open that bottle of wine and said, you know what, she went back, didn't drink that day, went back to the hospital, told her partners, Hey, I think I have a problem.
These are two other surgeons. And their response was, surely you jest, this can't be. So this is the attitudes of what we've got going out there and still working in healthcare a couple of days a week. I like to keep my foot in so I can tell you what's going on currently. And the attitudes are shameful. People come to the hospital, they are not getting the help they need. They get a lot of the times, all this anxiety, depression on happiness. The underlying issue is substance abuse, drinking too much, um, taking perhaps too many prescription medications like Xanax, volume, Adavan these benzos do not help a person's life go well. A lot of times they're meant to for anxiety. People get rebound anxiety, which is even worse than their original anxiety. So all of these medications are not helping. And what I'm still saying is the doctors are throwing medicine at these people.
They leave the hospital, their lives continue to spiral out of control. They're unhappy, they're gaining weight, they're losing their marriages, they're losing their children. It is a mess. And the doctors though still rarely address the underlying issue of substance abuse. And I'm saying, Allan, we need to get people clean and sober before we start labeling them with anxiety and depression diagnosis because that is what happened to my mother back in the 60s who was also an RN. She went and got on volume them, which was the pharmaceutical industry's first billion dollar drug that led into a 25-year addiction that escalated into alcohol to where she was nonfunctional. My mom was the woman laying on the floor like you would see in wine and roses, you know, she was a hot mess. So this is where it led for her. And so 10 years into my nursing career, I really started to wake up and I'm looking around and I said, my God, nothing has changed.
Nothing has changed. And let's not forget, there's children on the backside of all of these men and women who are caught up in addiction. So we are in essence cultivating a whole new generation of addicts and alcoholics because growing up in these environments with drug and alcohol fueled parents. I know as a child I was traumatized by it. My father was rather abusive. He's trying to control my mother's alcoholism, which is absolutely uncontrollable. She was incapable of parenting. So we basically raised ourselves. I have two older sisters and a younger brother and we've all been touched by addiction in our own lives. So this, you know, we're just perpetuating the mess. And so celebrating all these boozy outings and events, it's like what happens behind the scenes? Is anybody aware of that? Does anybody care?
Allan: 12:02 Yeah. And you know, from my perspective, you know the times that you know, where, where I would think, you know, I kind of get, for lack of a better word, dependent on the alcohol is I'm very much an introvert. And so if I'm going to go to a party or an event, which obviously here on the Island, just because all the time, you know, a couple of drinks makes me human. Um, from their perspective, um, when I'm not drinking and you know, there's always, my wife will get some questions. It's like, what's wrong with Allan? Just like, Oh this is, this is just half. He hasn't had a couple of drinks. I'll give them a couple of drinks and he'll be nice. There'll be a normal person in small groups, one or two, one on ones. I'm fine. But when I get into larger groups or you know, in places with people, it just, I shut down. And so the alcohol kind of just helps me loosen up a little bit.
Lisa: 12:51 Well, I get it. I think you're not alone. I think the majority, I know that I was very similar when I was drinking. It's like you have to have a few drinks before you get to the party. But when I got sober, I started to number one, be true to myself. So I'm not a big large gathering kind of person. I stopped going to a lot of them. My husband's more of an extrovert and I talked about this in the book. So how do you juggle a relationship, a marriage, whatever when one person drinks and one person's social and the other one is kind of how like you Allan. So I just told my husband there was, you know, pick a few parties that we are regularly invited to that you really want me to go to and I'll go. And the ones that are just, I don't feel the need to go anymore.
I prefer more meaningful activities, smaller intimate dinners or gatherings. Like I said, I've just had other things that I do with my time now then suffer through some huge event or gathering that I really don't want to be at to begin with. So it's, it's picking and choosing and being true to myself. And you know, I started to, when you work on your inner-self and some of the drinking was fueled by low self esteem. Some of my drinking was fueled by thinking, people are focused on me. This self-centeredness, that alcoholism breeds where we think people are going to notice us or look at us. And so we're self conscience. But the reality is is most people are in their own heads, focused on their own stuff and they're really not paying attention to us. I used to say that all the time, I have two grown sons now, but when they were in high school, my one son was always so worried what everybody else would think. And I used to say to him, they're not focused on you. Get out of yourself the, I mean, you're just another kid walking. They're not even paying attention to you. And I hope that that helped them get some of that spotlight off of thinking that people are focused on them when they're really not, when they're really not. So we can find other ways to love ourselves and just to say no, it's okay to say no and just not do certain things that I don't want to do anymore.
Allan: 15:15 Yes. Now in the book, um, you're coming from a woman's perspective, but that is in this book was somewhat written more for women and their perspective. Why, why is alcohol more of an issue for women, uh, than it might be for men?
Lisa: 15:29 Well, I don't know that, that it is actually in Raising the Bottom. I focus more on women only because I am a woman and I can intimately relate it to. But I will tell you before I scare off the guys, there's men love the book. Men love Raising the Bottom. In fact, there was a guy who founded in Seattle, he's a merchant Marine. He took it out to sea with him. He found me on Twitter months later and said it was life changing for him. And he's still sober by the way. So I think men really like it because they can read it and almost say like, wow, I can relate to all of this without feeling threatened at all. So I don't want to scare men off by reading the book, but I can relate to more of the women's issues and how we're responsible a lot of times for family and we get a lot of things dumped on our shoulders.
And I know men have stressors as much too, but I will say this, it seems like men do better at saying, Hey buddy, I quit drinking and their friends kind of respect that boundary I think better than women because I have a lot of women that tell me they really struggle with their so called friend groups who don't really want to be friends with them once they quit drinking and all this. And I find that so disheartening for many reasons. Number one, if your friend group is of that mentality, they're probably super heavy drinkers and they probably, I know when I was drinking, I hung out with people who drank like me. I was not hanging out with normal drinkers. And so I didn't realize there were people who didn't drink like I did that there were people who might have drinks a couple of times a month and then that was it.
And they were the true social drinkers who had a big life and were involved in many other things and their life did not revolve around alcohol. So the people that I socialize with were very much different and we drank every night and had parties and gatherings and we called ourselves social drinkers. So when you have that, like I said, want to boot people out or say they can't be friends or whatnot, and women seem to care about that and I tell them, well you don't need those people then find new friends. And I don't know why that's so threatening to some. And I think in order to change your life, to get sober, to maybe drink less, whatever it is that you decide you want to do, you have to be willing to face a little bit of pushback, which leads me to, as adults, why are we pushing back?
Why do we have to have this peer pressure, this adult peer pressure? When I used to go to gatherings early in my recovery and you're, I'm so uncomfortable anyway cause you feel this shame cause you're like quitting drinking and I don't, now I look back and go, Oh my goodness, what was I thinking? Um, but it's like we feel shame for doing something good for ourselves. If you go to a party and they have all these sweets and you refuse a sweet, nobody questions you. But if you go and you refuse to joy a drink, you get the 20 questions. If you're a young woman, Oh, are you pregnant? Oh, why aren't you drinking? Oh, are you on medication? I mean, it's ridiculous. And so I tell people, men and women, no, is a complete sentence, no thank you. We don't need to explain ourselves. And if somebody has a problem with me not drinking, it's usually because they have a drinking problem and they're very uncomfortable with that mirror of someone not drinking to kind of almost co-sign on their BS. So we can navigate these drinking. I go wherever I want, I do what I want. I have a very big life, but I just don't drink. And for the most part, nobody really cares. Like I said, the only people who I've ever really cared that I'm not drinking are people that ended up having their own problems with alcohol.
Allan: 19:51 Yeah. Now, this last month, uh, we ran a challenge, um, and I included an alcohol piece to it and I didn't say completely abstain from alcohol, but we're going to cut it back and continue to kind of regrets it and cut it back. I've had no alcohol challenges in the past and the turn around was relatively small. Um, so it'll be interesting as people get into, you know, the results of going through the challenge. People are improving their health there, they're losing weight. Uh, you know, that's part of the, the gist of the whole thing. Uh, so alcohol, you know, I think we all know alcohol can lead to weight gain, uh, and stopping drinking can actually help you in your weight loss journey. But there are other health things that we should consider with regards to alcohol. Could you kind of get into some of that?
Well, I mean, Oh my gosh, alcohol impacts really every organ in our body. So let's quit diluting ourselves and say, Oh, it's not that bad. It caused the seven types of cancer that's been proven definitively. Alcohol is a class one carcinogenic. So it is in the same class as asbestos. Now nobody is going to tell you that. And the research on that is when you, if you Google it, you're gonna have to dig a little bit. Cause that's not something that pops up immediately. But Oh, believe me, it's there. So in addition to like for men, there's a lot of throat cancers, esophageal cancers, stomach cancers, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and women with breast cancer. I know when I got into recovery here again, I started paying attention and I'm like, Oh my God, so much breast cancer in these women. And then years later I'm researching, doing all this research for Raising the Bottom.
And the light bulb went out and I went, well my God, no wonder all these alcoholic women have breast cancer. It's the booze. I mean we can't say for sure that it's the sole cause, I'm sure there's environmental factors. Stress is a huge one, but a lot of people drink because they can't handle their stress because they don't have good coping skills. So it all ties in together. Um, you've got people, when I was working in the ER, people who are diabetic drinking heavily, their blood sugars are all over the place. They're coming into the hospital because now they're having kidney failure from their unchecked diabetes because they were drinking too much. They're getting coronary artery disease from their unchecked diabetes because they couldn't stop drinking so much. So there are so many ways that alcohol and the alcohol turns to sugar in our body.
So you're just getting this bombardment of sugar, which causes inflammation. Let's move on to the brain. The extended care facilities. Nursing homes are filled with people who have a long history of drinking. Lot of alcoholics end up in the nursing homes. Lot of people with longterm benzo abuse or I don't even want to say abuse, people tend to get on those benzos and they stay on them for the next 30 years because the withdrawal to get off is so awful. They just stay on them. And I think that's how they were designed by the pharmaceutical companies. So they give you this benzo when you're 25 to help you not feel anxious and when you're 60, you're still taking it and pretty soon the mind just goes to mush. So these are things that people don't really understand about how and what it can do.
In the last five years I've seen a big uptick in women that are yellow because women do not have, we lack the chemical that helps to break down alcohol. Men have more of the, Oh, I was, that's a tongue twister for me to say. It's ADH is the, the short, but we women lack ADH. Men have more of it. So that's why men can kind of skate along and drink maybe a little longer and a little harder without it totally impacting them physically. Like at, well a woman, um, women go downhill much faster. And that's, I talk a lot about that Raising the Bottom because that was instrumental for me. Why I got sober when I did, because I saw how quickly once my mother crossed that line from drinking martinis at lunch to becoming a full blown alcoholic. Her demise was Swift.
Her, she ended up looking like she was nine months pregnant, her skin was yellow, she was dying, she was, she was dying. And that happened in a span of five years. So I'm seeing a lot more of that that I didn't see 10 or 15 years ago. I've been in health care for 25 years now. So that is new and it's all attributed, I believe, to the pharmaceutical, or I'm sorry, the alcohol, big alcohol is doing a very, very good job of spending their billions of dollars in ad budgets to target women. And so the new alcoholic often is well educated. She makes a good living. She wears designer pumps and she carries a diaper bag. And this is the new alcoholic of what we're facing. So now let me ask you this, Allan, what happens to those children on the backside in this boozy mom? Well, they end up like me probably will land in their own addiction later on because when you have a mother who's all about the party time, you're not present. You're missing a lot of the nuances that I know with my twins I was able to pick up on, I was two weeks sober when I found out I was pregnant with twins and I'm so grateful that I was a sober mom who was fully present. Both my sons went on to become division one athletes. Both of my sons went to college, they graduated college playing football. And I can just assure you it would've been a very, very different picture had I not been sober. Our family would've been very different.
Allan: 26:32 Now there are a lot of people that will say, okay, you know, and I don't drink that much. You know, I just have a couple drinks here and there and like you said, social drinkers. Um, I was actually reading a study the other day or there's actually several studies out there that show that we're, we're really not good at self-reporting what we eat, what we drink. Uh, so you know, if they ask you what you had for dinner last week and in general, um, you are going to under-report your calories, um, you're gonna report more healthy food than you actually ate. Um, and if you drank alcohol, you're probably gonna report less drinks than you probably drank. But you know, this is an alcoholism is actually something that unless you self-diagnose, nothing's going to change for you.
Lisa: 27:15 And you're absolutely right. So what changed my life was getting honest with myself because the standard alcoholic answer is I had two, Oh, I only had two beers. I only had two drinks. They always only have two. Yeah. So you're right, people lie. And so that's why doctors that are tuned in, most doctors are clueless about alcoholism. Some of the stuff that comes out of the psychiatrist's mouth that I hear like, Oh, it just drives me crazy. They'll say things like, Oh, they used to be an alcoholic, but now they just, they're using meth or something crazy like that. So like they just switched addictions is what they did. But back to your point. Yeah. So we lie, alcoholics lie, we all know that. Um, if you want to change your life, be honest. Nobody can, you know, I knew two years before I quit drinking that I was drinking too much, that I was crossing a line.
I had a home bar that I loved and I knew everybody kinda like on cheers. Everyone knew my name. And when I go, we used to go in there and start asking the person sitting on my right and left, who, or by the way, drinking right along with me and say, do you think I drink too much? And of course they're like, ah, I have no, you're fine. You know, what are they going to say? Yeah, you're drinking. So, but, but that was already, that was those early warning signs. Something was not resonating within my soul. And I knew, I knew that it was not, um, I don't even want to say abnormal, but it was abnormal for me because it's like people get so caught up on quantity. Like I said, I was not a daily drinker. I did not drink a fifth a day.
However, when I drank, I get a few drinks in me. There were times I absolutely could stop and I would be your designated driver. And there were other times I could not stop. So there was that unpredictability factor, which is indicative of potential alcoholism. There was the fact of how it affected my personality. I'm a pretty even keeled person. I'm not a drama queen by any stretch. Give me a few drinks. I know we're going to have drama. It's either going to be, I'm going to create something, I'm going to start a fight. I'm going to shoot my mouth off inappropriately pick, pick anything I would just do and things that I'd never would do and say sober. So that was another clue to me. I was losing my moral compass. That was another tip off where you start to rationalize and justify lying.
You know, I don't know, it was never really a thief, but I'm sure that could have come where, you know, you take 20 bucks out of your husband's wallet, don't bother to tell him, Hey, I took 20 bucks and you start, you know, I didn't do that then, but I could see where I could have maybe segwayed into that kind of behavior. And we tend to rationalize things like, Oh, that's fine, that's fine. Well now actually in sobriety it's about getting rigorously honest, living right, doing the right thing. And so I was really losing my way that way. And I don't know that I would have saw it as early as I did had. Again. My mother was instrumental in my recovery because she sobered up when I was in my early twenties, and I saw her change dramatically. So by the time I got sober, my mother had seven years sobriety under her belt, and she had morphed into this amazing mom that I think I wished I always had.
But it can impact us in so many ways. And I just really want people to understand you've got to throw out all these old ideas that an alcoholic has to look a certain way because no, there are no demographics, there are no boundaries. And I'll tell you the worst nightmare for an alcoholic is money. There's a lot of alcoholism. My father goes to Benito Springs in the winter and I go down there. So you've got a lot of affluent people in the Naples, Sarasota area. And as a nurse I see the loose blouses and the big livers and the guys in their golf shirts with their big livers sticking out. And it's just, Oh my God, I almost can't stand it because there's just so much. Their lives are golfing and drinking and eating and there's going to be a lot of, you know, earlier deaths because this is what they do and they, this is their social life, which is fine, but it's, um, it's scary and a lot of ways to me when I see how sick some of these people look and they don't even see it.
Allan: 32:01 Yeah. Now in your recovery and in your mother's recovery, you utilize the 12 step.
Lisa: 32:07 I did. Yes.
Allan: 32:09 So even that wasn't on your plan. Can you kind of just quickly kind of go through, cause I think you kind of hit on some of those points of getting honest with yourself. Um, and, and I think the 12 steps is actually kind of that approach to actually making that happen and making it real in your life. Not just an exercise you do over the course of a weekend, uh, at a seminar. But this is something that you have to live and do over course of quite a long time,
It becomes a way of life. Allan, I know people go to rehab and I just need to throw this out there. So many people go to rehab in their families think, Oh, they're cured. No, Nope. That is just the tip of the iceberg because a lot of people go to rehab just to get people off their back and they have no intention of really doing the hard work. It takes working on the core insight issues. However you choose to do that. I like the 12 step because it gives you a roadmap to do that. And really the first step is we have to admit we have a problem. So I don't care what recovery method you're going to use, smart recovery, whatever. Um, you have to admit you have a problem because you can't, I mean, it's almost like if someone who's overweight, you have to admit, okay, I decide I need to lose weight.
Until you're ready to accept that about yourself, you're not going to change it. And then the 12 steps really help a person look at their issues. I can. So what were some of mine? I was a very fear based person, which I didn't realize that. Um, so I had to look at how as a child my predominant emotion was fear. And I covered up with that fear with a lot of false bravado. A big mouth, that kind of thing. So I had to look at that. I had to forgive my parents. They did the best they could. I didn't think they did a great job raising me. Um, since I did kind of raise myself along with my siblings. Now I have a sister who stayed in addiction 40 years because she couldn't, she liked to blame my parents as opposed to taking responsibility as an adult.
Okay. Our childhood wasn't great, but it, it could have been worse. And I'm an adult now and I'm going to make the choice to make my life better and be a different parent to my children. And, and my sister couldn't do that. So yeah, you have to. And then it's about, it really focuses too on getting out of yourself. I mean, alcoholism is, We have to get humble. It's that I'm going to do it my way disease. It's a disease that is riddled with pride. People can be almost homeless and they still think they know what they're doing. They're unwilling to listen. They've lost four jobs, they're on their third marriage and they still swear they don't have a problem that you see over and over again. Anybody who's been married more than well, even three times, it's usually alcohol is in the picture there somewhere.
One of the persons involved was drinking and my older sister, she's on her third marriage. Yep. Alcohol has been involved in each one of those marriages, so we have to get honest about, we can't blame everybody else. It comes back to what are we covering up inside of us and dealing with that and working on the issues. Having that humility to say, I can't do this. Making amends to the people that we have harmed people. Moms especially, they say, Oh, I'm not harming anyone. Well, yes you are, because your kids may be well fed and you might get them to their soccer practices. But when you're standing on the sidelines with a cocktail in your hand, you're not really focused on the present moment. You're focused on, Oh, when this cocktail is empty, I got a hall over to my friend's cooler and get a refill.
And it's just a very selfish, myopic way of life, the drinking life. And most people don't really see it until they do get sober. And then the last factor is it's about helping others and doing it freely and willingly and giving of, you know, I do, I work with a lot of women. Recovery coaching is like really big now. I don't charge because it was freely given to me. And so it's an honor and a privilege to help a woman who is struggling, who says they want to change their life and then to give them some simple directions that they follow and their lives begin to change in amazing ways. So that is a gift. So it's, it's really a way of life and it's part of my life that I've just incorporated into my life and it's just who I am and what I do.
I go to meetings three a week, I work with others and I write books and I'm still in there sometimes.
Allan: 37:17 Lisa, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get that stay well.
Lisa: 37:22 The obvious Allen exercise, eat right, but here are, here are the three that I think are really helpful. Number one, stop people pleasing because that a lot of times people, people please. Then they have resentments which fuels eating and drinking and anger. So people are very angry, so stop people pleasing. If you really don't want to do something, I mean other than things that like we have to do, like go to work or whatever, but stop people pleasing so that you're not resentful. Number two, get engaged in something outside of yourself. As I said, help others. People are depressed, they're anxious.
Well, when you're only focused on your own depression and anxiety, it almost fuels it. Whereas if you're focused on helping somebody else, getting out of yourself, the anxiety and depression is cut in half. So I would suggest find something, find a hobby, find a way to help others. And you will watch happiness. Um, quotion expand exponentially. And number three, which is no problem for you down there in Panama, get out in nature people, 89% of adults spend 15 minutes or less a day in nature. Oh my gosh, no wonder we're drinking, right? Because you're around, you're in these sterile environments, be it an office or whatever. And then you go from that to your car, to your house. And I don't think, I mean, well, let's go back to hunters and gatherers. We're meant to be outdoors. You know, the trees, the greenery. There is a chemical in this greenery called Fido signs, and it is proven in Japan.
They call it shouldn't ring Yoku. They don't give out a lot of antidepressants in Japan, they prescribed nature walks and force bathing. So this fight assigns in the trees, helps to increase your immunity, decrease depression, decrease anxiety. So why are we not doing more of these sorts of things and forth? The drinkers know this does not mean you go sit under a Palm tree and have five drains that doesn't count, but maybe go walk amongst the butterflies or I think you mentioned early, maybe before we started taking that you'd have a rain forest nearby. I mean, what a gift. I can't imagine how amazing that would be to walk through this rain for some of this nature. Chirping and chattering above your head. These are things that really can make you feel so much better. And I wonder if people just, if they decided to do something like that every day as opposed to drink five drinks, maybe have one drink after you go on a nature walk and maybe that had be enough and you just had a drink. Your life could be really different in just something as small as those sorts of little changes can have huge impacts when you realize like, wow, I took that walk and I was fully present and engaged in my surroundings. I mean, I can't tell you how many people get sober and say, Oh my God, for the first time I like, I smelled winter or I saw spring. This is what taking alcohol out of a life can do. It's like ripping off the veil or the scales. It's like you see things just totally different.
Allan: 41:06 Lisa, thank you so much. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book (Raising the Bottom), learn more about what you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?
Lisa: 41:15 They can go to my website raisingthebottom.com. I'm on Facebook under Lisa Boucher award-winning author. I'm also on Twitter and Instagram at raising the bottom.
Allan: 41:26 Okay, well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/406 and I'll be sure to have them there. So Lisa, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Lisa: 41:15 Thank you, Allan. This was a pleasure. I enjoyed talking with you.
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Dr. Denis Wilson believes he's locked the key to getting fit in just minutes a day with Fastercise. On episode 405 he and his daughter Allison Roberts discuss how we can signal our body to shed weight and get fit.
Allan: 01:08 Dr. Wilson, Alison, welcome to 40 plus fitness.
Dr. Wilson: 01:12 Thanks so much, Allan. It's great to be with you.
Allison: 01:15 Thank you.
Allan: 01:16 Now, the book we're going to talk about today is called The Power of Fastercise. And I thought, you know, sometimes people come up with these ideas of, you know, how we can get more done in less time and, and how we can, we can fit a workout into something. And a lot of times what it basically is is just kind of another regurgitation of the things that were already there. And they're not, you know, necessarily based on anything other than an author saying you can get fit really fast and I know how to do it here's a hit training program and there's their book. But this is very, very different because I mean you've actually based everything in your fastercizing book and this and yeah, all of that's been based on actual science, actual knowledge of hormones. Can you, can you kind of tell me a little about how you kind of stumbled across this, this concept?
Dr. Wilson: 02:06 So I've been working with people with slow metabolisms for about 30 years and I have seen over and over again where people are trying to lose weight and they still have trouble losing weight even though they're doing quote unquote everything that the experts tell them to do. And it's really frustrating because here's a person who's doing what their quote-unquote supposed to do and they're still not getting any results. And a lot of people will accuse them of not following the program correctly. You know, they don't want to be, take the blame for this person's poor results. So they blame the person's a lack of compliance. But anyway, I've seen these people struggle sometimes on 600 calories a day, sometimes on 1,012 hundred calories a day, and they're still not able to lose weight. So I went back to, I was trying to figure out a way to help these people and I've been trying to do that for a long time now, but there some research available now in the last 10 years that wasn't available 30 years ago.
And it's just fantastic because I call it, um, there's a lot of research done on, on hormones and signaling and messengers and, uh, so there's a lot of things talk in the literature, uh, known as signaling and chemical signals. And so I call Fastercise basically signaling exercise because it takes advantage of the signaling processes that already occur in the body. But if you understand these processes, which we haven't for many years and we're starting to understand it much better now, but if you understand those processes correctly, then you can send just the right signal at just the right time to make just the right difference to unlock the key to actually getting the results you're looking for.
Allan: 04:05 Yeah, I think that was part of what was fascinating about this is because, you know, I think most of us already know when the hormones are signaling to our body what to do. So, you know, um, testosterone is making us want to build some muscle and be more masculine. Uh, cortisol is a catabolic and actually wants to start breaking things down because we're in stress mode. But your approach is actually saying, well what are the, what are the things we can do ourselves that will cause that hormone to be in the right place at the right time.
Dr. Wilson: 04:36 Exactly.
Allan: 04:37 So as a, as a part of all this, I guess the base goal is, you know, we're, we're going to want to try to a loose fat you can gain muscle. And so as we, as we get into that, one of the concepts that you get into the book is this concept called the unfed state. And can you tell me a little bit about that and how that's going to affect our hormones?
Dr. Wilson: 05:00 Absolutely. And um, there's really, as opposed to the unfed state or non-fed state, there is the fed state. And so an easy way to conceptualize that is, it's like a charge. It's like a cell phone having two States. Number one, you can charge the cell phone and then it's in the charging state or you can unplug the cell phone and start using it. And then you, it's in the using state. And that's the way it is in the fed state. We're like charging up our energy stores and in the non-fed state we're using those energy stores. And so since the goal of weight loss or fat loss is to use up those stored energy reserves of fat, that's why the non-fed state is so critically important because that's the time that your body is uncharging or using up those to power your body.
Allan: 05:59 Okay. And so it's effectively, I mean, I guess in the book you kinda got into it from the perspective of says if we keep eating all the time and we stay in the fed state, we're kind of putting ourselves in one role of body, in one role of always charging. And we're never discharging or able to get rid of the energy that we have now stored.
Dr. Wilson: 06:25 Exactly. And it doesn't take a lot of food either. So if somebody is snacking just a little bit, let's say every couple of hours they have, even though their calories don't add up to a lot of calories in the day, if they're eating every three hours, that's enough eating just a little bit of food is enough to drive up your insulin levels or in other words puts you in the charging mode or the storage mode. And so when your insulin levels are up, you're not going to be burning stored fat and because insulin will shut that down immediately. So you do need to let those insulin levels come down. You need to be in the non-fed state so that you can encourage the burning of those fat stores.
Allan: 07:15 Now I think when, when people kind of go into, or they hear about intermittent fasting or maybe even longer extended fasting, so we're trying to get into an unfed state, although you know, they're like, well, I'm going to get hungry, but Fastercise is built and designed to help fight that hunger. Right?
Dr. Wilson: 07:33 That's right. And it takes advantage of the survival mechanisms that are normally built in the body and the body. There's two ways that the body has of surviving. One is to run off of the stored energy that you already have stored and I call that storage mode. And the other way of approaching it is foraged mode. In other words, going out and getting new food. So when a person eats, then the food that they eat, will stop, will fill their body with nutrients so that it stops their hunger and they go into storage mode. But the other option, the other way of doing it is by doing a special kind of exercise and to direct your body or to signal your body that you're actually going out and foraging for your food. And they actually go into obtain food. And when your body sees that you're in the business of obtaining more food, it stops, it mobilizes stored energy in your body. And that stored energy that floods into your system provides the energy you need to get more food and also to get rid of your hunger.
Allison: 08:49 So if I can just jump in here really quickly, just going along with what my dad was Dr. Wilson. It's amazing how when you tell your body, Hey, we're trying to get some food here. Yes, you're going without eating anything, but you have the ability to stay quote-unquote fed because you're not hungry. You feel quite satisfied. At least that's been my experience. And so it's not a chore. It's not challenging, honestly. It's invigorating and it's saves you a lot of time in the kitchen because you can spend your time doing other things.
Allan: 09:20 Okay. So Allison, yeah, take just a moment because you did this predominantly lose some baby weight. Um, you'd put on some weight when you had your baby and you took your father's program fast for size and you executed on it and was able to do that. Can you kind of talk us through that? How, how this would in a normal day or a normal approach that you went through as you were getting yourself Fastercised.
Allison: 09:45 Yeah, absolutely. Like you said, I, I gained some baby weight when I had my son Titus and I was probably sitting at about 35 pounds beyond where I wanted to be a thought. You know, I've got nothing to lose. Let's see how this goes. And so primarily my dad told me when you get hungry, push it off with shiver size, which is the shivering exercise for Fastercise. Push your hunger away with shivering, uh, once or twice before you eat and then after you eat, do around of tightening your muscles as hard as you can so your body knows how to develop the muscles. So which ones are most important on how is this going to help you? So I started a shivering before I was hungry and then I also incorporated a lower carb diet. You don't have to have a low carb diet with Fastercise.
Allison: 10:31 But I found that that worked well for me and I was able to lose about 30 pounds in three months, which completely blew my mind, especially considering that I was working a full time job, 40 hours a week. I was taking care of my baby, we had just moved across country and we were buying a house. So my life was kind of kind of all over the place and I really didn't have any hope of being able to lose the weight. Um, but you know, in the morning I woke up, I would shiver sized and then when I get hungry again I do it maybe once more. And then I would eat my lunch because usually I wouldn't be hungry until then. And then after ate my lunch I would do about you know, two minutes of tightening my muscles as hard as I could just going through each muscle group. And then I would wait until I got hungry again and the cycle repeat itself. So I did that about two or three times a day. And just those small changes, I was able to lose weight very quickly and then I ended up entering a bodybuilding competition eight months after delivery just with doing Fastercise.
Allan: 11:32 Wow. That's, that's pretty impressive. Now. So, just to kind of recap a little bit there, there are basically two variations or two things that you would incorporate as a part of Fastercise. One is the shiver size, which is effectively moving alternating muscles very quickly. And then the, the tighter size basically just as tight, tighter, tighter size is just basically where you, you, you contract the muscle in an isometric way to just really get an intense muscular burn. Right?
Allison: 12:02 Right.
Allan: 12:04 Okay, and it's, it's two minutes, or less typically. Right?
Allison: 12:09 Right. Yeah, so I clenched my muscles as hard as I can want like one muscle group at a time for about two or three seconds a piece. So clench my biceps as hard as I can and then move on until deltoids or whatever the case may be. It really doesn't take much time at all.
Allan: 12:25 Okay. Um, you know, Dr. Wilson I've, you know, obviously I'm in this space, I do a lot of reading and I really appreciate all the studies and the, and the links you had, uh, to, for me to go out and actually look at some of these studies because they were fascinating and I love this stuff, but I'd read a study not too, too long ago, uh, that, uh, said, you know, if you, if you walked after you ate, just go for a five, 10 minute walk. It keeps your blood sugar from going up. So I think there's, you know, there's some of that, but you know, most people will say, you know, if you want to lose weight, you got to do this, this cardio thing and you need to do it for at least 30 minutes and get your heart rate up to a certain point. Uh, but what's you're doing with this as just a very short but very intense period of time. Can you kind of compare and contrast them of why this, the shorter version is better then maybe the longer, slower cardio?
Dr. Wilson: 13:21 I think the human body is miraculous. And I think there's a lot of, a lot of things work really well for a lot of people, so I know that you know, it just depends on what you're wanting to do and what signals that you're sending the body. For example, if you think about a long walk, let's say a 45-minute walk, in a way you're, again, I'm going to go back, my point of view is that it's all about survival. You know, a lot of people talk about the balance between calories in and calories out and I talk about a survival balance between storage mode and forge mode. And I think, I think our bodies, from what I gather from reading, reading, studying, all the physiology and all the research and studies on this, if you kind of look at all of them and put them all together, to me, it leaves me with a feeling that all of these mechanisms are about survival.
And so and I like to call one, one mode of survival as storage mode and the other is forge mode. And that has all to do, that has everything to do with us preserving enough or obtaining enough energy to function correctly. So if you think about the storage mode is going to be important if there's a famine in the land and if it's hard to obtain food. Or let's say you had to walk 45 minutes to find something to eat, let's say you had to, let's say you had to run four miles a day to cover enough territory to find something to eat. So in a way you're by doing that kind of exercise, you're almost sending your body the signal that food isn't that easy to come by. But on the other hand, if you can go outside and run around for a few minutes or run out, run around for a few seconds, or tighten your muscles and contract your muscles and climb up a tree just in a few seconds, you can obtain food, then that sends the signal that that food is plentiful and it's a lot easier to come by.
So, and that foraging is working for you. And so basically you're telling your body there's no reason to store fat. And if you, if you do something different, like, um, these, these long cardio exercises, in a way, you might actually be extending your body, there's a thing that happens when you do that kind of cardio exercise. You actually, instead of your appetite going away, you can actually build your appetite because your body, you, you build your appetite and your body says, Oh, well, you know, we need to conserve energy and we need to burn some muscle and we need to store some fat and so it can be counterproductive. I mean, it's great if you're gonna if you're, if you're training four or five K or if you're training for an ultra marathon, you know, then of course, that kind of training is fantastic. But if you're trying to lose fat and build muscle in just a few minutes a day, then a cause that, that's one of the huge advantages of the Fastercise is that it doesn't take all day. It doesn't, you don't have to go to the gym any, you know, if you're standing in line at the, at the grocery store, if you're driving, if you're in a meeting, uh, no matter where you are or what you're doing, you can do this.
Allan: 16:46 Yeah. I think if I started flexing muscles and posing in a meeting, um, I get a lot of weird looks, but, uh, you know, um, you know, and I think that's just one of this, I mean, from my practical experience, you know, I know that if I, if I do that, the basic hit training and by hit training, I mean really intense and actually really short because you can't, you just can't keep doing it. If it's really high intensity, high-intensity workout after that workout, I'm, I'm definitely not hungry for an hour or two. But when I was training for marathons, I would always put on weight because I was always hungry. And then of course, because I was training, I justified that I could eat what I wanted to eat. Uh, but almost invariably, every time I did the training for a marathon, I would start putting on weight.
Dr. Wilson: 17:31 Interesting. Yeah.
Allison: 17:33 I'm just, you know, you were commenting about flexing in a meeting. Just wanted to share that. I have done that multiple times, but trick is to clench your muscles in the position that you're already seated in so you can like clench your abs or maintaining eye contact with someone and they would have no idea that you're building your muscles.
Allan: 17:55 Yeah, yeah. I'm, I'm just thinking about, you know, bicep pose tricep, but now there's a concept in the book and I actually love this concept because I tell my clients this and I, and I've actually experienced it myself. Uh, but have you talked to the calorie in, calorie out folks? They're going to tell you that you have to cut and then you have to, you know, bulk. And then so you can build muscle, which is, you know, antibiotic to add the muscle, but you're probably going to add a little bit of fat when you do that. And then you can cut and you're probably gonna lose a little bit of muscle when you do that. But by going backwards and forwards on this, you can inch yourself up to more muscle. But in the book you propose that we can do both at the same time.
Dr. Wilson: 18:39 Yes. And I think, I think there's a lot of instances, I think a lot of people, well there are studies that show the results in a number of patients who go through different programs and they'll show that as a group they've lost this much fat and they've lost and they've gained this much muscle so they can, you can see that this happens as a group over let's say an eight week period of time they have lost fat and gained muscle at the same time. So that, so we know that can happen over a period of, of, of weeks or months. But I believe it can actually happen at the very same moment. Not just the same month, not to same week, not the same day and not the same hour, but at the same moment. That you can get your, because when you have, he things that stimulate muscle growth include concentration or availability of amino acids and, and energy.
So if you have, if you have stimulation or the exercise stimulation number one, and then you have amino acids number two, and you have energy number three, then then you can build muscle. And um, the interesting thing is that we have plenty of muscles stored in fat. And one thing that I think is fascinating is to give you an example is that a lot of times one of the things we use for quick energy is glycogen. And glycogen is a stored carbohydrate that's stored in the muscles and in the liver. And when our energy supply is low, typically that's a sign that our glycogen storage is low. But they found that people, uh, when you, and then when you burn up all your glycogen and then you have to rely more on fat. But they've, they've found in research that certain, um, long distance athletes, they will, they are able to replenish their glycogen stores even when they're on a low carbohydrate diet. So even though they're not eating carbohydrate and they're eating mostly fat and protein, they're still able to replenish their, their glycogen stores. And that's largely due to something called docgluconeogenesis where the body just, uh, uses raw materials, I guess to begin to remanufacture or recycle, recycle. It's, um, blood sugar back into glycogen for energy stores.
Allan: 21:12 And, and that's typically once they're fat-adapted cause it experience, it doesn't work that way when you first start a low carb diet at all. So once you do get to that point, yes, you have the energy that you need and your body actually gets really, really efficient at using fat. So, depending on the intensity of the work that you're doing, um, you, you have the stamina to continue to use body fat and your body's going to restore that glycogen even if you're not eating significant carbs.
Dr. Wilson: 21:42 So, yeah, exactly. And so in a way, this, you know, because of this mechanism, there's a way that you can get fat adapted or you can be breaking down your muscle. I mean, I'm sorry, breaking down your fat stores and losing fat, but at the same time providing enough energy as long as you have enough of amino acids available that not only can you rebuild your glycogen at a point like that, but you can also, you can also rebuild your muscles as well.
Allan: 22:13 Yeah, and I think one key point of this that, that I think's important is that this doesn't just, this doesn't mean that you, you're always eating protein to get those amino acids. In many cases your, your body through a tophi G can actually recycle cells and pull amino acids. We always have amino acids running through our system. Um, it's just a function of making sure that everything else is working the way it's supposed to. So our hormones and everything else is in line to allow us to build that muscle.
Dr. Wilson: 22:40 Right.
Allan: 22:41 Okay, cool. So Allison, um, you guys are developing an app for this. Can you, can you tell us a little bit about that?
Allison: 22:47 Yeah, so this app is available right now with Android and Apple and we just called it Fastercise. So it's easy to find. Uh, basically it tells you everything that you need to know to successfully accomplish your Fastercised program. So we have what we like to call the laws of Fastercise, which basically tells you exactly what you need to do every day. But then we also have lots of content to show you how to Fastercise, maintain a diet management. So lots of recipes and sparking inspiration for, for your foods. We also have a journal section and a social media and resources. So with this, we are pretty sure that you could do this on your own. But then we also have the availability to have personal one on one coaching, uh, with our staff. So you can get not only the help from the app, but then on top of that help from an actual person if you have more specific questions and would like a little bit more specialized attention.
Allan: 23:47 Yeah. I liked that you, you had the videos in there so they can, they can literally look and, because sometimes you're trying to visualize. I'll work with my clients and I'm like trying to explain an exercise to them and it's just, it's, it's sometimes it's very difficult for them to get the concept of exactly what you're doing. So I like that the videos are there, uh, the support, the journaling, all of that, um, and the meal plans and the recipes. I think you've put together a really, really cool app.
Allison: 24:12 Thank you. We, we, we'd like to think so. We hope everyone else does too.
Allan: 24:17 Cool. Now I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well, and I guess that we'll start with you, Allison.
Allison: 24:30 Yeah, so for me, I think my top three strategies are first, find a way to spark joy in your life every day. I think when you can give yourself something to look forward to, it just makes your whole outlook on life so much better. Um, my second recommendation is to be intention focused, not feeling focused. So if you have a goal, make sure that you make your actions line up with achieving that goal rather than own. You know, I'm tired right now. I don't want to do that. Make sure that, that your actions are fulfilling your goals. And then lastly, stay as close to what nature has provided or intended for us as possible. One of the things that I like most about Fastercise is it lets me tap into what my body does naturally and what the world around me has provided by eating natural foods and doing natural exercises. I think that, you know, nature and the earth have done a lot to help us through the thousands and thousands of years that humans I've been hearing. And I think that it knows what it's doing. So those are my top three.
Allan: 25:34 Cool. Dr. Wilson.
Dr. Wilson: 25:36 Thanks Allan. So my first strategy would be, uh, increasing the size and number of our mitochondria and what that the mitochondria are in ourselves. And that's basically the power plan of ourselves. And one thing we haven't talked about that I actually think is, is really huge. It touches on what you were saying about autophagy and rebuilding and refreshing, refreshing your body, uh, Fastercises is a simple way that people can refresh their fitness in just a few minutes a day. And one of the ways that we do that is by doing this kind of Fastercise, what we can do is we can use up energy faster than our mitochondria can produce it at least for a short time. And you mentioned with that high-intensity interval training exercise that you do is that you can only do that for a certain amount of time. You can't keep doing it. And the reason why we can't keep doing it is because our energy will, the reason why we can't keep doing it as that we use up ATP or energy faster than our mitochondria can, can produce it.
And that actually has a really great stimulatory effect because your body says, wow, he used up or she used up energy faster than we could make it today. So we're going to have to generate more power plants for tomorrow. And those power plants are fantastic because those are the ones that, that do refresh your body or do rebuild your body. When we sleep at night, all the chemical reactions that we build and refresh our body are using energy produced by the mitochondria. So to have to feel energetic during the day, to feel refreshed, to be rebuilding, to have your skin tightening up and for you be able to move and function and everything.
But mitochondria are, are really important for that. And this Fastercise is a fantastic way of doing it. And you know, that you've sent your body that signal quite strong is when you get winded enough from Fastercise that you have to take a deep breath if you actually can catch a deep breath that's your signal that you Fastercised enough for that day to expect tomorrow to be better. Uh, I totally agree with Allison as far as the next, my next recommendation as far as the natural foods go and natural foods and natural activities and to stay true to the design of our bodies or how they're built or the blueprint as it were. So it's so, it's so critical to try to just like, just like you want to drive a screw with the correct end of a screwdriver so you know, we want to use our bodies the way they are built to be used.
And if we go contrary to that, putting in there things that aren't found in nature and, uh, it's, it's not gonna work out as well. My third recommendation is to, uh, the adaptations that, that people go through, like whether it's diet or exercise or fitness program, when those work, as long as you're doing them. But it might take four to six weeks or more actually months and even years of training for your body, to build up all the adaptations and, and, and to develop all the, to develop all the benefits from the exercise you're doing. But when you stop that training, you can lose those adaptations or that, that progress if you will. You can lose that and as short as two weeks. So my recommendation isn't the diet and exercise that you can do that makes a difference.
It's the diet and exercise that you can keep doing. Cause you, you've mentioned like you're, you're looking for a strategy where someone can be healthy for life. So really what they need to do, I think what people need to do is they need to find a lifestyle that they can do for life, uh, health, promoting lifestyle that they can do for life. And, and I love Fastercise for that because it's simple time efficient and it can easily be done by pretty much anybody in the world. Even people who are disabled, people who are uh, elderly people who are obese, uh, just about anybody in any circumstance can, can get a lot of benefit from this approach.
Allan: 30:19 Well cool. I appreciate you sharing both of you sharing that. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book and the things that you're doing in the app, where would you like for me to send them?
Dr. Wilson: 30:31 So our book, uh, The Power of Fastercise is available in bookstores right now and it's also available on Amazon. Listeners can also get it direct from our firstname.lastname@example.org and they can also go to our Fastercise website. It's fastercise.com
Allison: 30:52 Yeah. So I recommend going and checking out our website at fastercise.com. And you can order the book there. You could also go on Amazon and look up The Power of Fastercize and then you could also go to Chelsea green publishing to get the power of fast your size. If you'd like to download our app, it's available in both Apple and Android and just search Fastercize.
Dr. Wilson: 31:22 Allan, I just wanted to say one more thing about the app does that, what we had in mind when we designed the app was so that one person can tell another person so that one friend could tell another friend, Hey, just go and download the app and follow the instructions or all you have to do is download the app and follow what it says.
Allan: 31:47 Cool. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/405 four zero five and I'll be sure to have the links there. So Dr. Wilson, Alison, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Wilson: 31:59 Thank you so much for having us.
Allison: 32:01 Thank you. This was great.
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At the age of 35, Moira Berman decided to use weight lifting to change the way her body looked and felt. Despite the late start, she went on to compete in bodybuilding competitions and to work as a trainer. She is producing an online video summit called Fit Beyond Fifty set to release later this month.
Allan: 01:18 Moira, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Moira: 01:21 Thank you so much, Allan. This is really exciting to be on your show.
Allan: 01:25 Thank you. And I was very proud when you invited me to be a part of your summit, the Fit Beyond Fifty. I really enjoyed our interview. And so I know, if, if you liked the podcast and you'd like today's showing that resonates with you, you're definitely going to like that conversation with Moira and me because it was a really good interview and, I really enjoyed it. So thank you for letting me be a part of the summit.
Moira: 01:48 Oh, sure. And I think the best part was maybe when you knocked over the mic.
Allan: 01:57 The summit is video. So you know, this is, this is an audio podcast, so you don't see me moving my arms around and you know, just doing all the things that I do while I'm articulating and talking. But yeah, had my computer propped up so I had good angle and better lighting in the house we have here in the jungle and boom, I knocked the computer over. It was, it was a moment.
Moira: 02:22 It was pretty good though.
Allan: 02:26 One of the things I like about your story that, and I really wanted to kind of get into is that like a lot of folks, you knew that eating well was, was something that you needed to do to kind of maintain your weight. So you would, you would go on a diet, lose a little bit of weight, put on a little bit of weight, and finally you kinda heard someone or resonated with you at least a little bit better. That maybe weightlifting resistance training was, it was something you needed to do.
Moira: 02:57 Yes, I had, I said being dieting, you know, you sort of do the yoyo. I was doing writing, I took exercise classes, but someone said to me, you know, if you used weights, if would change your body shape. And that was all I had to here, body shape will change. Okay, I'm in. So that's how I got started. But I didn't really know what I was doing. I had a friend show me how to use the weights and one of the small YMCA gyms that is now near us. And then when I got hooked on that cause it, it seems like fun. I was being, I was able to push a little bit more and more weight and I thought I was just really terrific. So I joined a gym and there weren't many, they weren't many gyms. There was, there were women gyms that were purely women and they had a few machines or some they aerobics and there were men's gyms.
Moira: 03:56 You know, this was going back a while, but one enterprising gym owner had opened up a women's gym above his men's gym because the men wouldn't let us work out with them, obviously. They were hardcore. So we had our own gym above there's, but we had access to the men who would show us things and, and they had some trainers who would show us. So that was really the start. And it absolutely did as I went forward because I was hooked, it did change the way my body looked, so I was really happy.
Allan: 04:34 Yeah, it is hard to explain to somebody that once you start lifting and you start getting stronger and you kind of get that rush of the pump of moving weight and feeling it, it, that it is something much like running, much like most other exercise programs, it's easy to get addicted to.
Moira: 04:56 It really is. And I was definitely, I was definitely addicted to it that I moved forward and got so involved that I did a contest. Luckily I was so naive. I had no idea what I was really doing or what I was in for that. I just followed the directions of some of the guys in the gym and just went for it, lost some weight. Put on a little bit of muscle and entered. I think that's probably the best way to do these things when you don't know too much.
Allan: 05:26 Yeah. Because there's, there's less opportunity for you to overthink it.
Moira: 05:31 That's right. Or get or find stumbling blocks because, you know, once you have a lot of information, then your mind starts telling you, Oh, but you can't do this. Oh, but you don't compare with the others or you know, Oh, but. But I just thought, I'm gonna get, you know, 90 seconds on stage. Wow. That's more than I'm gonna get for anything else. So yeah, I'm going for it.
Allan: 05:56 We did about something, and I, and I want to kind of get into this because this is one of the major objections. I'll, I'll have a conversation with a woman and invariably she'll tell me, well, you know, I don't want to get huge. I don't want to get bulky. If I lift weights, my legs are going to get just bigger and I don't need them to get bigger. I want them to get smaller. When you talk about changing body shape, you're not talking about turning into a man?
Moira: 06:20 Oh no, definitely. When I was talking about body shape, for me it was losing kind of what I thought was excess fat on my thighs, my legs, toning my arms, you know? That's what I thought about body changing. It was clear to me from an early age for some reason that women had a lot more trouble building muscle and this is borne out. We don't build muscle as readily as men. And when you do see, bulking of sorts, usually it's a little bit of muscle that's developing and women are still carrying the fat over the muscle. But once you lose that fat, you can, you get these long lean muscles. So it's hard to bulk up with a lot of muscle for women. And this you really go out and try, you know your genetics are right. You might get some help with some pharmaceuticals.
Allan: 07:19 That's where I wanted you to go with this because I think that's what they say, that there's two. I think there's two real huge misconceptions when they look in the magazines or they see one of these huge muscular girls that's a bodybuilder. There's two things that that woman's doing that you're not going to do. One is she's going to take steroids and a lot of times you can see it in their face because they're faced with structure changes. The other thing that you'll often see is, is the fact that they're in the gym six hours a day and sleeping the rest of the time. Because the sessional bodybuilders, that's, that's their job is to lift weights and exercise and get big. So they're in the gym. If they're not lifting, they're working on their posing. If they're not working on their posing, they're working on their tan, and they're trying to cut the body fat down to just is really unreasonable number that you can't sustain for a long period of time. And so they're doing these things that you just, you wouldn't do, you just wouldn't spend the time to do this because it's not your priority in your life. If you're looking to get healthy, you do need to do resistance training because you are losing muscle mass and you're losing bone density pretty much every day.
Moira: 08:31 Yes, that's right. And you know, I heard those same stories when I was, body building. You know, I was influencing friends or they were asking me and invariably the questions came about, aren't you worried about getting too big? And my answer was, I wish if I could, if I could get some more muscle, that would be absolutely wonderful because it does take, and I was already thirty-five, thirty-six. So I had age against me in terms of rarely getting a lot of muscle. So yet we don't as women, unless you get some outside assistance like pharmaceuticals as we said, you know, steroids and it's really important too. And what I found then was, okay, now I have being doing the body building. I'm not competing anymore, but I still need to maintain working out with weights. And then the motivation was because I realized that it was going to help keep my bones strong. Just keep my muscles from atrophying, my muscles strong, keep me healthy, I'm going to look more vibrant. And just the hormones that you release from lifting weights, especially if you work out, you know, reasonably hard, the hormones are going to release, they're going to just have a bearing on keeping you younger. That's definitely important
Allan: 10:03 Heavy lifting, and this as something, women do have testosterone, they don't have as much as men. That's why they can't get as muscular as men. Um, unless they, they use steroids then then anything's possible. But lifting heavy weights helps men and women release a little bit more testosterone and a little bit more testosterone is just kind of one of those chemicals in our bodies that just make us feel a lot better, look a lot better. And our muscle tone and quality of our movement is just better.
Moira: 10:34 That's right. And I, I learned recently that women actually produce more HGH, the growth hormone when they work out than men do. Men produce more testosterone but women produce more HGH, which is the hormone to keep us younger. So we've got an advantage when we workout. We may not get the testosterone, but we're gonna look younger.
Allan: 11:01 Now you said something and I, and I think this has changed quite a bit, but, um, I do want to talk about this cause I had lots of clients and lots of people I've talked to over the years and it's, you walk into the gym. And most gyms, you see the treadmills and then after the treadmills, then they have some of the machines and then after the machines over in that little corner over there and sometimes a whole section in the gym. Now you see all the free weights and yes, the big guys are back there lifting probably grunting and doing their thing. And there's now whole series is of chains and whatnot that are trying to get away from that so people feel less intimidated about the gym back, you know, 20, 30, 40 years ago, it was all guys in the gym for the most part. Then they started coming out with women's gyms and most of those were like you said, not so much designed for muscle building, resistance training, strength training, those types of things. But things have changed a lot. You know, the advent of CrossFit, other things, people, we're more used to having women come back into the freeway section and lift heavy. We're seeing it more and more so it's not as different or, you know, I guess unusual, as it was 30, 40, 50 years ago.
Moira: 12:20 That's so true. I think there's still an intimidation factor for someone going in for the first time, but it's not the same as it was. It isn't just because there are men there. I think it's because the thing, all these fit people, and as you said, CrossFit, that can be intimidating for anyone walking into that kind of place.
Allan: 12:44 Yeah, I agree. I think the, you know, but what I mean by this is, and this is the point, okay, yeah. You see this, this big hunky guy, you know, he's, he's lifting heavy weights. He's grunting, he's there with maybe two or three of his buddies. You know, they're doing their thing. And I can tell you straight away they're not interested in you. They're, they're happy you're there cause you're helping to support their gym. You know, their gym membership. If it was just the three of them paying for this gym, it'd be a lot more expensive. The fact that there's 200 people that have signed up for the gym means a gym membership is affordable for everybody, and they're not all having to buy their own equipment and they can come work out. They're happy to see you in the gym. They're happy to see you do things for your health. They're not staring you down. They're not watching you. And I'll tell you just from my experience, okay, the only time I notice anyone in the gym is when they're doing something that could hurt themselves.
Moira: 13:38 Yes.
Allan: 13:38 But I, I reserve and I stay back. Now I'm, I own a gym. So if I were to see someone doing something, I thought that hurt them, I'm going to step up and say something. But those individuals are there for a particular purpose. They didn't get big and strong by sitting around watching other people are playing on their phone. They come in the gym, they do their workout. Yes, they may have longer rest because they are lifting heavier weights, but they're not really there too to watch you. They're there to get their workout done and you're just as welcome to that equipment just as welcome to being in the gym as anyone.
Moira: 14:12 That's true. In fact, I was kind of hit, you know, going to hit there that we were intimidated at one time by seeing those men in the gym. I think, I think that most people are less intimidated, especially if you, if as you said, you just realize that they are only too happy that you are joining so that they don't have to pay the full cost of keeping a gym open. But I think that there are some of us just as people were intimidated going into a new situation. Yeah. I think for, for women in particular, if it is the time, I'd suggest that you go with a friend to a gym. And especially if you're going into one of the chains, they're immediately going to offer to show you around because they don't want you doing something. It might hurt yourself and they'll offer you one or two days, maybe have some free advice, free training just to get you going. And so that's really good. It is good too. If you are going into a gym for the first time to get a trainer, to get someone to show you how to use the equipment to find out what you should be doing for your body. You know, the kind of work that you do, Allan is just perfect because you actually analyze what the person needs and then give them a program. So anyone who got that advice from you would feel quite comfortable going into a gym
Allan: 15:45 And you've hit on something that's really important there. You know the gym thrives on, on people not hurting themselves for the millennial coming in there and continuing their membership, and for them to get stronger and show improvement. And they're going to probably, when you get in there, they're going to probably ask you if it's particularly, it's a big box, you know, franchise style gym. They're going to introduce you to their staff. They're going to introduce you to the gym. They're going to, you know, probably do some general assessment work with you and that may or may not be free, but they're going to make sure that you have a, an opportunity to start and access to support of a trainer to help you do that. Now, most gyms will also do this. They will have their personal trainers walking the floor when they're not training someone.
Allan: 16:34 And it's their job to help you if you have a question now that, yeah, not going to train you for free, but if you walk up and you say, look, I want to move from the barbell over here for the bench press or want to move away from this press machine and I want to do the same exercise with free weights, with the dumbbells. Could you show me how to do this properly? And they will be glad to do so. So if you feel uncomfortable, ask a trainer that's there, asked the person at the desk if someone can come show you how to do an exercise properly because it's, that's very, very important that you not hurt yourself. Particularly when we're over 40, over 50. Those injuries don't heal nearly as quickly as they did when we were in our twenties.
Moira: 17:21 That's right. You know, things have changed a little bit. Um, I worked in a gym at the time that I was training for, or sorry, after I had completed the competitions, the gym kind of offered me a free membership. If I would work in the gym, you know, a couple of days a week or a few hours a day. So I would, I would be one of those trainers. I would train people if we had a meeting set up or my job was to walk around the gym. I find it much less so today that they actually walk around helping people. They use the up back at their stations looking at, you know, who else is signing up. So that is a shame. I just have to mention now that isn't every gym, every, you know, all gyms are different, but no one should feel intimidated to go up and find a trainer or find one, you know, one of the staff and ask them to help you with something even if they're not walking the floor because that's what they are really there for. And they will, you're right there. They will be absolutely helpful once you ask them because they don't want anyone to be hurting themselves. So don't feel shy about walking up to someone who happens to be sitting at one of the desks and ask them for advice. Just show you how, how maybe there's a machine that you don't know that you haven't used before. Ask them to show you how it works.
Allan: 18:43 Yeah, it's, it's, it's just, it's funny, you know, because to me, the, that's part of the lifeblood of any gym is their willingness to help, help people without having to make an extra buck, you know, on the side. I actually, you know, with the gym now, one of the things that I've done at my gym is I actually will throw free weight lifting clinics for beginners. And I'm like, okay, come in on a Saturday, I'll come in for an hour, I'll show you how to use all the equipment in the gym absolutely free and you'll leave here with a workout program, the basic workout program to get you started. And so, you know, I did one of those and it went over pretty good. The people that came really enjoyed it. I'm going to host another one here soon at the gym. Gut I also do the online training.
Allan: 19:30 So you know, there are other options out there if the gym is not supporting you by, having the support there with people walking around or you know, you're able to afford to have personal training sessions because if you're having them all the time, which is actually really good for accountability, for doing the exercises properly and, and just, you know, somebody that is going to be there to kind of push you a little bit harder. If they're not doing that, you know, give me a call. I'll be glad to help you out.
Moira: 19:57 Yes, that's true. And I agree with you that having a train particularly when you starting out is absolutely worth the money because you want to learn how to do things properly. You want to get a program and you want that accountability. And then when you feel comfortable to workout on your own that you're motivated to go into the gym without having to, you know, show up for an appointment, then it's great. You've got your program and you can continue. I think I once wrote an article in a blog going back a while, so it's probably out of date was how to hire a trainer.
Allan: 20:35 I've actually done an episode on what to what, what to look for in a trainer. And when to fire a trainer (https://40plusfitnesspodcast.com/fire-personal-trainer/). A trainer should be listening more than they're talking. A trainer should be paying attention to what's going on with you? Um, you know, I have some clients, they're not always happy with what I tell them to do. Sometimes I'm actually asking them to do more and there's times I'm actually asking them to do less. And they don't always understand the do less part, but it's when I see a client can't handle the exercises they're doing or the form is just not right there. I'm not going to put load on them. And I think what a lot of people forget, it's like, well, I can lift more weight. And I'm like, not the way you're doing it. You're going to break and I don't want to break you. You and I have something very well in common. We both tore our rotator cuffs.
Moira: 21:25 Yes, we did. I think we we empathize with each other, but we didn't approach it the same.
Allan: 21:33 We approached it very differently. I went through the surgery and when the doctor got in there, he was like, this was a bad one. Uh, but I went through the surgery, went through the therapy and I'm in pretty good shape. All things considered. I lost a lot of strength as a result. I have a little divot in my shoulder as a result. But you know, I have full range of motion with my shoulder, and I'm able to do most of the things I was able to do just not quite as strong. But that was my path. You chose a different path.
Moira: 22:04 Yes. I think when I had, when I tore mine, I was a little older than you were when you tore yours. We won't go into detail, but the doctor I went to, you looked at me very, I thought very honestly, he spoke to me very honestly and he said that I had an 80% chance of recovery. And I know that you said that would have been a plus for you. For me, that was a minus. And I was very fortunate that I found a functional rehab trainer, online actually. He lives in Australia, but he did marvelous for me because he said to me, he looks at the MRI size and said, I can help you get your full strength back in a different way and not have this pain and not have the surgery. So it wasn't that if you decide to have the surgery, I'll help you recover.
Moira: 23:01 But he said, I would recommend that you don't. So I decided to trust him and I'm very pleased that I did because I do. I have full range of motion. I have a lot of the strength back. I won't say it's exactly the same as it was, but I just am using the muscles differently and using different muscles to compensate, and I don't even notice it anymore because I've trained my brain, I guess, to just do things in a different way. So yeah, we chose different paths. Both had success, which is, which just I think shows there's no one way, and I think whatever you believe is going to work for you is the thing that's going to work
Allan: 23:41 As long as you're willing to dedicate the time and the effort to do what's necessary. So the one thing we did have in common was I was in therapy, physical therapy. I had the surgery on Thursday, I was in physical therapy Monday. And you listened to your therapist and you did exactly as he instructed you to do and you built compensating muscles to allow you to move and do the things you needed to do. So we chose different paths for different reasons and different ways that we look at things. So I agree with you. There's a, you have to look at this and say, but the injury is not a give up. The injury is actually a flag for me, do more, but do it differently or do something different to, to fix this, to solve this, to work around this. But, so many people will injure themselves and decide, okay, this hurts. Therefore I'm going to stop.
Moira: 24:41 Exactly. It's so tempting to do that. I have to say that I have a functional trainer that regardless of what I say I've heard, he will give me an exercise to fix it so that I don't slow down. It's a, it doesn't mean I go, okay, I can't go running, you know. No, no, you can just use your leg this way. Not that way. You know, he said he does not believe in stopping for a second. And if you have someone that you trust like that, and if you're the kind of person, as you said, who is motivated to continue around, over or through what might be a challenge, then you definitely come out stronger and better on the other side.
Allan: 25:26 Yeah. I, I have a client and, um, he right now and he's, he's done so good. He works so hard and he's addicted to it, for lack of a better word. He's having issues with his elbow. So when we do any kind of pull movement, we have to be very careful, with his elbow. And he has now some arthritis in his shoulder. And so when we're doing push movements, particularly overhead, we to be very careful about those push movements and he's, you know, he's making some decisions on how he wants to deal or if he wants to deal with those medically, but there is pain involved. So we're, we're trying to modify the movements, we're trying to do all of those things that you said functionally allow him to do the things, because I told him it's basically tendonitis in the elbow.
Allan: 26:13 Rest is the primary prescription, but we've tried three weeks of rest and then the pain comes back. So it's like, you know, that this is something more than just what rest might do. He still wants to pull. So I'm like, okay, let's talk about where the pain starts, where it finishes, let's figure out ways to modify the work so that you're still able to build muscle and build strength, without putting yourself in a compromised or painful position. And he's working with me. We're diligently through that process. And it's, it is a process. And it's, it means he's actually had to work harder to get past this. And I'm so proud of him for doing it because a lot of folks would sit there and say, I don't like the pain and I'm quitting, but the pain is actually probably a signal that you need to change something and you probably need to work a little harder to make sure you're doing the right things.
Moira: 27:06 It's actually fascinating because usually we're working with clients who are putting up their own blocks, you know, missing a session, going off exercise for awhile, giving up. But you also have to be careful of clients who are the act the opposite who maybe want to push too hard, push through the pain. You have to slow them down just slightly,
Allan: 27:28 Just slightly. Yeah. Yeah. Because when he told me, I had to do a back workout. I'm like, okay, well let's talk about how you did it, what you felt, where were we, you know? And then we get into the actual exercises and I'm like, okay, let's change this exercise and do this this way. Let's change that exercise and do it that way, and then let me know, report back how that felt. And so each, each week we get on our calls and you know, where we're going through this stuff. And yeah, I've got other clients that if something goes wrong in their day, they're gonna, completely just miss a workout miss, scheduling a call with me. Something like that. And I'm like, no. So I have, I have both sides. You're right. I do have clients that, that required both and I understand both. I've been in that situation where, you know, you can't work out and you really want to, or you just, a time when you, you feel a lot of something going on or DOMS or something like that I really don't want to waddle into the gym today.
Moira: 28:27 That's right. I actually found that happening after I'd been competing, that I was kind of burned out. I would drive to the gym because it was habit, you know, the car just went there and I would sit outside and I remember there were one or two times when I never actually went in. I just thought, no, I'm going home. It was very strange. It was a very strange, I, that's why I remember it so clearly because I just couldn't get myself to go in. So I do understand people who do that.
Allan: 28:58 I've actually had that happen myself. I was working a very stressful job, at a very stressful point in time at that job. And I just like you did, I remember the alarm going off in the morning. This is back when I actually used alarm clocks and the alarm went off in the morning for me to go to the gym and I hit the alarm and I was thinking to myself, I am either going to the gym or I'm going to work because I can't do both.
Moira: 29:27 Yes.
Allan: 29:28 And it was just that understanding that, working out is a stressor. If you're already chronically stressed, sometimes the workout, you do better to spend that 40 minutes meditating or are soaking in an Epson Salt bath or something that's going to distress you, than actually getting in the gym and pushing yourself really hard. So yeah, I think there is an aspect where you do, you do listen to your body, uh, but, but, but don't let that body just to eventually talk you into, uh, well let's, let's drop by Dunkin Donuts and do those types of things. It's more of a conversation of saying, okay, I understand, you know, very stressful week. I'm fatigued, I'm not sleeping well. I would do better with an extra hour of sleep than I would by spending that hour in the gym and gave yourself that permission.
Moira: 30:25 Right, exactly. As long as it doesn't become the habit, it's a very good thing to do. I know you probably had this too. I have friends who will not miss a day. And I keep saying to them, you don't understand that rest is actually good for building muscle and rest is good for the rest of your workout. And you can miss a day. Their habit is to go in every single day and it's almost like an addiction.
Allan: 30:54 Yeah. I just tell him this, professional athletes have de-load periods. A bodybuilder will work hard for, eight weeks and then they'll take a de-load week where they don't lift. The other thing they are doing that a lot of us are not doing is most professional athletes will sleep for eight or nine hours every single night.
Allan: 31:23 And that's because they understand the value of recovery. So you need those de-load weeks. professional athletes that put like the football players. I can tell you as soon as they finish their football season, they take three or four weeks off and unless they need to go in for some form of surgery to rehabilitate for the next season, they just take an act like normal people for three weeks. And they don't go to the gym and they don't exercise and they don't train and then they let their body recover and with that recovery they go to the gym hungry because they didn't feed that desire, that work, you know, that, that, that thing for three weeks. And when they went back in the gym, it was, you know, they were ready to go. But you need that. You need that recovery time.
Moira: 32:09 Absolutely. I'm glad you mentioned that because we are, we are discussing here how to encourage people to get into the gym. But you also say everything in moderation, especially when you start out.
Allan: 32:21 Oh yeah. The way I like to put it, I put it in the book is what you need is you need gentle nudging your body, your body will change. You just have to give it these gentle nudges, the progression to make that happen.
Moira: 32:34 That sounds like a good description. Very good description. I like the gentle nudging. It sounds so much better than get in there and push.
Allan: 32:42 There's little bit pushing in there, too. You want to find that line and, and you know a lot of people you'll hear this term when we talk about resistance training of failure, pushing yourself to failure. You don't have to get to failure for your muscles to grow. You just need an adequate stimulus. Now failure is a is typically a good indication that you definitely have that stimulus. DOMS can be an indicator that you have affected that stimulus, but they should not be the objective. The objective should be where, you know, the muscle was worked, it was worked through the full range of motion and you can feel that you worked at, now you may wake up the next morning and feel just as capable of, go in and do that workout again. Most cases probably not. But as long as you're giving your body that stimulus and then you're giving it the food and the nutrition it needs and then you're giving it the rest, then you're giving full cycle for your body to grow and to get better.
Moira: 33:43 Yes. Exactly, that full cycle. And I like what you said about the sleep because when I, when I was seriously into it, during the competition, I would be in bed by nine o'clock every night getting up at five or six to go train. But I, nothing stopped me from going to bed and getting the full eight to ten hours sleep. I wouldn't, I won't say ten but definitely eight, eight or nine. I get out of that habit
Allan: 34:15 I'm in bed at eight 30 and nine o'clock almost every single night. I have not used an alarm clock in four years unless I have to catch an early morning flight and I'm just don't want to make sure that extra sleep cycle happen. I sleep until I know my body's gotten at least five sleep cycles, which is seven and a half hours. And occasionally my body will want a sixth one, which will put me up to about nine hours. But I just let my body sleep until I wake up and say, okay, I'm good to go. And where I am here in Panama's actually really nice because the days and the nights are relatively the same.
Moira: 34:50 Same, right.
Allan: 34:51 Gets dark around seven o'clock. So by 8:30 it's, it's been dark for a little while. I'm able to just go ahead and go to sleep very easily. And then it gets light around 5:30. So you know, right now pretty much it just the, just that Twilight morning stuff, you know, it's like can see it coming through the window. That's usually my spur to get up. And if I feel it, I do, if not, I'll, I'll go back to sleep and sleep for about another hour and a half, a good sleep cycle. And then I'm up really good at seven o'clock so I know every morning I'm going to be up by seven o'clock for sure. And I plan to start my days usually at nine o'clock. So no problem. I have time to shower and do all the things I want to do, but I don't use alarm clocks and I try to keep my evening activities to a minimum.
Moira: 35:38 I think that's excellent. Um, I think I got into, you know, working full time in corporate field. I got into some bad habits of working late. It was almost expected really. You just had things you did at night. And so I'm slowly getting back into the longer sleep cycles and switching earlier nights and then earlier mornings.
Allan: 36:00 Yeah, I guess I just got, when I got towards the end of my corporate I was like, you know, I've worked my way up to this point. I deserve to rest when I want to rest. And so I would sit down, I'd pull up my phone and I would check email at about seven o'clock at night and after I checked that email at seven o'clock, I'd set my phone in the, in the living room and I'd grab the bedroom and go to sleep. I don't even have the cell phone in my bedroom and so I was out of sight, out of mind. I'd go to sleep when I woke up, like I said, 5:30 in the morning, I would go in there and check my work email because I figure if they stayed up till 11 o'clock working and they sent that email and went to bed, wake up in the morning, and my email response would be there and then I didn't have to be up at 12 o'clock to answer that email if I answer it at five o'clock in the morning. So, I had my own system.
Moira: 36:47 Good habits.
Allan: 36:47 Still stress was a big problem for me and it caused me some issues and so I've, I'm still working on that whole thing, but you know, just say, listen to your body and give it the rest of needs, push it a little bit. It'll grow and it'll get better. And then it just the patients and persistence of keeping at it,
Moira: 37:05 Definitely. It's a keeping at it. That's it. To be consistent. Yeah.
Moira: 37:10 I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well,
Moira: 37:19 And of course this would be personal. You know, everyone has a different approach. So yeah, here's what I thought about this for quite a while actually. And I decided one is to do something active every day, whether it's going to the gym, taking a long walk, going for a jog, taking a hike, but do something active every day.
Moira: 37:41 Have a morning routine. And I've really gotten into my morning routine, which includes the meditation, some deep breathing, perhaps a 10 minute yoga or some exercise just for 10 minutes or something to wake me up. And then some abs. I want always do some abs in the morning, just do it then. Okay. So that's my, my morning routine and that seems to be good for what I do. And I think whatever you choose to do your morning routine should be consistent because it sets you up for the day.
Moira: 38:18 And then the third thing would be to connect with friends as often as you can because that's really one of the things that gives us the internal hormone boost that keeps us happy, content and feeling connected
Allan: 38:34 I really liked those. Thank you for that. Moira, If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the fit beyond 50 you haven't set up the website yet so I'm going to, I'm going to tell them the link actually summer [inaudible] break in and say, okay, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/fit50. Again that's 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/fit50 and that's going to take you to the signup page for the Fit Beyond Fifty Summit. But Moira if there's any other address, is there anything else that you want them to know about? Feel free to let us know.
Moira: 39:10 No, I think that that's great. Signing up there is the best strategy because they could email you or me, but I'm having, I have a feeling they're just signing up. There is going to be the easiest. And the, the, the summit is going to air on the 28th of October. I have a variety of speakers including a special speaker, Allan Misner.
Allan: 39:40 Yeah. I don't know if you cut it out, you probably said you said you might be cutting it out. But yeah, I didn't knock over my computer while we were talking. So it was a very fun conversation. Much like this one was some way. Right. Thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Moira: 39:56 Thank you so much for having me as a guest. I really enjoyed the conversation.
You can learn more about the Fit Beyond Fifty summit at https://40plusfitnesspodcast.com/fbf.
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Adaptogens and nootropics are becoming much more popular as the flaws in Western medicine become more and more apparent. David Winston has spent over 50 years studying herbal medicine. Today we discuss his book, Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief.
Allan: 01:02 David, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
David: 01:05 Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here.
Allan: 01:07 You know, more and more, in the last 10 years. It just seems like it's a, it's kind of a building thing, which I think is really good, there's more discussion about some of the natural healing properties of plants and herbs. Looking back at some of the Eastern medicine, Chinese medicine, Ayurveda from India, and actually adopting some of those now as treatments and protocols and not going with the chemicals. So your book Adaptogens really kind of gets into the history of this and to what they are and how we can use them. It's fascinating to me how much as out there and we're just still just kinda scratching the surface.
David: 01:56 Well, that's true. You know, it's interesting. This year is the 50th year since I started studying herbal medicine. And I joke a bit, but I'm not entirely joking when I tell people after 50 years, I now consider myself to be an advanced beginner. There is endless amount to learn whether we are talking about traditional Chinese medicine aryuveda, the middle Eastern Teb Al Nabawi, Kampo from Japan, et cetera, Tibet Medicine, American eclectic medicine, physio medicalism, all these traditions are rich in the use of plants for medicine. So these traditions in some cases go back at least 3000 years. Plus you then combine that with the vast amount of plant, medicinal plant research that is occurring throughout the world.
Very little unfortunately in the United States, but extensive amounts in China, India, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, France, Germany. So all around the world there is a tremendous amount of plant research and in many cases, this plant research, this modern plant research is confirming, although sometimes going well beyond the understanding that people have had for thousands of years of how these substances can help us to live healthier, better lives.
And one of the things that's really important to understand, a lot of people have this idea that it's sort of an either or situation. It's either Orthodox Western medicine or it's complimentary alternative medicine, herbal medicine, natural medicine. And honestly, nothing could be further from the truth. Where Orthodox medicine is strong tends to be where things like herbal medicine aren't that effective and vice versa. Where herbal medicine is really strong, tends to be in areas, especially dealing with things like chronic degenerative disease where Orthodox medicine often has little to offer.
So when it comes to the individual, the patient, the client, the real win-win is understanding which is appropriate in a given situation. Herbs are not the answer to everything. Adaptogens are not the answer to everything, but then nor does Orthodox medicine have the answer to everything. So understanding which therapy, which treatments are most effective, most appropriate for a given situation, for a given person is essential.
Allan: 04:36 Now an adaptogen is not just a chemical compound they're pulling out of a plant to, to make a new medicine with its, it's actually using the whole plant. Right? Can, you can talk about adaptogens, what they are and what they do?
David: 04:50 Absolutely. And this is going to get slightly complex. Um, but I will do my absolute best to keep it as simple as possible. So initially, you know, in all these ancient systems of medicine, there are tonic herbs. So in Ayurveda they're called Rasanayas, in TCM, in traditional Chinese medicine, they're known as Chi Tonics or kidney youn tonics or blood tonics. But these traditional definitions of a tonic remedy do not necessarily equate to what we today call an adaptogen.
An adaptogen is a modern scientific concept developed initially in the Soviet Union. The initial research was done by Professor Lazaroff starting in the late 1940s. If you think, wow, they must've been very, you know, forward-thinking to do this kind of research. The reality was this was initially military research and the Russians were, the Soviets were trying to do what cruise chefs said, and that was to bury the West. They were trying to find ways to make better soldiers, better cosmonauts workers so that they could outdo us and literally win the cold war.
Basically what happens is the research eventually goes from the initially started looking at chemical substances and with Dr. Breckman who is considered the father of adaptogenic research. He switches over to looking at plants and they eventually settle on a plant called, at the time in the United States, we learned about it known as a Siberian ginseng, but the proper name for it is Eleutherococcus senticosus and that's where the initial research starts. And what they did is they first promoted a definition of an adaptogen using a very simplistic three parameters.
Number one, the plant was nontoxic in a normal therapeutic dose. Alright, so that's, that's fine. The problem with that is that describes almost every herb in the material Medica. I mean they ask, there are some toxic herbs, but most herbs are relatively benign in a normal therapeutic dose.
Secondly, they decided that these herbs would create what was called a nonspecific state of resistance to stress. So that means they help you to resist stress, whether that stress is psychological, physiological, or environmental. But the problem there is that other categories of herbs including nervines, which we think of as nerve tonics, things that are common also help you to deal with stress more effectively. So that doesn't really mean that is absolutely an adaptogen.
And thirdly that they would have what is called an amphoteric effect on the body, helping to normalize function of multiple systems, especially the endocrine system, nervous system, immune system as well as the cardiovascular and digestive systems. So that was the initial definition. And that last started, I think that was, that definition came out around 1969 so after that and the intervening where now 50 years later, the definition has changed.
Now those first three parameters are all still true, but they have added to the definition. So in the 1990s they determined that adaptogens work primarily through two master control systems in the body. One is called the HPA axis, that's the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. This is the master control system of almost all endocrine function, much nervous system function, immune function and what also what deals with chronic stress in our lives. And then the second system is called the SAS, the Sympathoadrenal System. And this is your fight or flight mechanism, which deals acute stress. So in order for an adaptogen to be an adaptogen, there has to be evidence that it is primarily working through one or both of these two master control systems. Further research showed us that adaptogens also work on a cellular level.
So what does this mean? It means that they do several things.
Number one, they help reduce stress hormone production. So that's especially cortisol, norepinephrine, and they help prevent cortisol induced mitochondrial dysfunction. So for instance, some of the conditions associated with stress induced mitochondrial dysfunction include things like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome, which is one of the reasons adaptogens can be so useful as part of a protocol for treating those conditions because underlying those conditions is basically elevated levels of stress hormones, specifically cortisol, which shuts down the mitochondria, which are the engines of yourselves. So if your mitochondria are not working, you are going to have all sorts of problems with fatigue, with muscle weakness, with muscle pain, uh, with cardiovascular issues and et cetera, et cetera.
And they do this, not only do they shut down the excessive production of cortisol, but they do it by up-regulating certain stress modulators in the body. These are noticing heat shock proteins, fork head proteins and something known as neuropeptide Y.
So in order for an herb to be an adaptogen, it has to do every single one of these things. Of course the ancients had no idea about any of these things. So when they are talking about a Rasanayas or a Chi tonic, you know, those things, some of them actually turn out to be adaptogens, but of course, many of them do not because they don't meet the parameters of today what we know is an adaptogen.
Allan: 11:02 Okay. So kind of my key takeaways from this is that that one, adaptogens don't just address one part of the body. Like I think in the book you talked about how tumeric actually supports the liver, a single organ versus actually supporting the whole body through the, you know, HPA and through the SAS Yes. Right. And then the other piece of it is it doesn't just push us in one direction. It's sort of a balancing, getting us more towards homeostasis than pushing us in one direction just because we're stressed trying to push us unstressed. It's literally just kind of trying to find that balance.
David: 11:42 Correct. Now I will say that turmeric by the way of course is not in adaptogens. The turmeric, it just doesn't work on the liver. A tumor has much broader implications. In fact, the majority of herbs have a wider sphere than just working on a single organ. But adaptogens you could, yes, I think your, your definition, think of them as almost systemic remedies, but they're primary effects are on endocrine nervous system and immune function. That is where, because that's of course what the HPA axis and the SAS, those are the things that they are affecting. Now of course the reality is is that the SAS also and the HPA axis also affect skin function. They also affect circulation. They also affect reproductive function, both male and female. So again, very wide ranging effects.
And at the same time you'd mentioned homeostasis. Adaptogens work in a really interesting way. So think of it this way. We, we, anybody who has had anatomy and physiology learned about homeostasis, where the body tries to maintain its normal balance. So some things are maintained in very, very tight, like your serum sodium levels, your blood serum, serum levels of sodium have to be maintained with a very, very narrow range. And so the body will work exceedingly hard to make sure that it stays there. And the idea of homeostasis is everything's tries to stay the same. Well, in reality, there is a second process known as allostasis that the body uses to maintain homeostasis and adaptogens also enhanced allostasis.
What is allostasis? So any of your listeners who have ever gone surfing, and you don't even have to be a surfer, you could go skiing, you could go ice skating, skateboarding, anything where you need really good balance. So if you got up on a surfboard and you stand absolutely still, as those waves are moving you in every direction, you're gonna stay on that board for about a second. In order to stay on the board, you start moving and shifting your body weight to compensate for changes. That is allostasis. Allostasis is the body's ability to change in order to maintain balance and adaptogens help in that process.
Allan: 14:16 Okay. So most of the book we're talking about stress, so we're talking about our body is going through, it'll can go through acute stress, which just basically means, you know, I see a bear and Oh, I've got run, versus chronic stress where my CFO is the bear and he's on me every single day. And so that stress just sticks with me and my fight or flight is basically every waking moment. Adaptogens can kind of help us with that. Right. So can you kind of talk through the stress reaction process and then how adaptogens can support us as we deal with chronic stress.
David: 14:53 They're working on multiple levels and that's where it gets a bit complicated because, just to give you an example: I mentioned earlier that among these sort of molecular chaperones or stress chaperones that adaptogens affect, we have what are called heat shock proteins. These are molecular chaperones. And so these molecular chaperones heat shock proteins protect, mitochondria from stress induced damage. Then they also regulate a chemical called FOXO. It's a fork head protein and basically FOXO basically is a neuro. FOXO is upregulated and it promotes the synthesis of proteins that inhibit the effects of stress. It helps detoxify cells. It also has been shown to enhance longevity. I also mentioned it basically up-regulates in neuropeptide Y, which is a neurotransmitter which has been shown to relieve anxiety.
It's been shown to inhibit pain perception. It lowers blood pressure, it inhibits addiction, it inhibits cortisol release. So those are just some of the compounds that it is affecting and having a broad ranging effect on the body. So when we are under stress, there is a whole cascade of cellular and organ response in the body. And adaptogens are saying to the body, think of adaptogens as sort of like a stress vaccine. Some people call it a stress memetic. In fact, what adaptogens do is they say to your body, stress is coming. So let's get ready for stress. In that sense, it's a little bit like going to the gym. So many of your listeners probably work out, maybe some of them are runners. You did the first time you ran, you didn't run a marathon, at least not if you were smart the first time you start running a short distance and then the next day you run again and again, or you go to the gym and you start off with a low amount of weights and a small amount of repetitions and you gradually work your way up to where your muscles become stronger. We are more stamina, more strength and the ability to do more
Adaptogens work very similar to this. They basically say to your body, stress is coming yet ready. And so the body builds up so that it is more prepared to deal with stress when the actual stress comes, whether that is an acute stress or a chronic stress. The one difference between adaptogens and say going to gym is that if you go to the gym and you don't go to the gym for two weeks, you may lose a little bit of strength and stamina, but you still have a significant long-term effect adaptogens to be taken regularly because the effect doesn't have a long term effect. So these are things you would take on a regular basis. And of course, which adaptogens and individual takes are going to depend on the specifics of that person because it's important to note that adaptogens are not a one size fits all phenomenon.
A lot of people think, Oh, you need an adaptogens, just take any one. Well, that's not true. There are stimulating adaptogens. There are calming adaptogens. There are heating adaptogens, cooling adaptogens, drawing adaptogens, moistening, adaptogens, nourishing adaptogens. And so the key is, and that's more of course, one of the reasons I wrote my book, is that I wanted people to understand what I would call the personality of each of these adaptogenic herbs so that you can figure out which one or ones, because remember, traditionally in all of the great systems of verbal medicine, herbs are never taken as simple as meaning one herb at a time. They're taking in complex formulas.
Why? Because we are dealing with complex people with complex problems. And so the idea is which adaptogens or adaptogens and the sort of supportive herbs or companion herbs for adaptogens such as nervines Nootropics, we'll talk about this more later, or restorative tonics that you take with them to help create something that is actually going to be beneficial and work for the individual. Great herbalists don't treat diseases. We treat people.
Allan: 19:17 Let's go ahead and jump ahead then and let's have that conversation about the nervines and the supporting components and, and, and the Nootropics. Let's get into those. Just a little bit so they know what we're talking about.
David: 19:29 Okay. So we just, we've defined what an adaptogen is and we'll talk more about them. But there are other, and I include this in my book, there are other herbs that I would call companion herbs to adaptogens. They work really well with adaptogens.
And so the three categories of these, and the first is nervines are nerve vines in England and these are calming herbs. I mentioned that briefly before and they basically helped restore the emotional foundation. So for people who are especially type A personality, for people who are emotionally labile, for people who have number ten reactions to number one problems. Nervines can be really useful along with perhaps calming adaptogens. For a person like that.
Then we have water known as no a tropics. Now I have to define this because nootropics, some people call them smart drugs.There are three different categories.
There are the chemical smart drugs, which are often designer drugs created in the laboratory with no history of previous use and no record of safety. Uh, I am very leery about these substances.
Then there are the supplement, nootropics and these include things like L-carnitine and things like that which have a very good safety.
And then there are our herbal Nootropics and there are a wide variety of herbal nootropics. These herbs tend to be neuro-protective. They are anti-inflammatory on neuro anti-inflammatories. They enhance cerebral circulation, they enhance memory, focus, concentration. And there is some evidence that at least some of them may help at least slow, if not possibly help prevent something like dementia or Alzheimer's. But that is a very, very preliminary.
Then we have what I would call restorative tonics. And these are basically herbs that are nutritive. They help to enhance overall function, but they do not meet the definition of an adaptogen. So now I'll mention a couple specifically.
We have herbs like the goji berry. Very, very popular herb. And the Chinese herb astragalus. Herbs like this are wonderful nutritive herbs, but they are not adaptogens, even though a lot of people tend to throw them in that category, unfortunately, they just don't meet those definitions.
Allan: 21:58 Okay. If I came to you as a client and generally, okay, you're just a general description, over 40 and high chronic stress and you were going to kind of put together a general protocol, what are some of the things that would be included in that protocol?
David: 19:17 Well, unfortunately, that's not enough of a definition, a description that I could come up with something because I need to know everything about you.
You know, as is somebody who is a patient of mine. I need to know not only their age and their weight and their blood pressure. I need to know their medical history. I need to know, I need to know everything I can about them, you know, and they would bring in their blood work from their physician and their diagnosis is that they have from their doctor. And you put together a protocol that is specific to the patient.
Because remember as I said, great herbalists don't treat diseases. Medical men, Western medicine focuses in on disease. We don't focus in on disease. We focus on creating protocols to help people be well, to help people prevent disease. To help people to gain maximal health, strength, longevity, et cetera. So, but what I would look at is, for instance, if you were somebody who was deficient and depleted, I might include some stimulating adaptogens and stimulating adaptogens would include things like, perhaps, Asian Ginseng or Rhodiola.
On the other hand, if you were really depleted, deficient, exhausted all the time, then I want to make sure I include some of the nourishing adaptogens. So there may be something like American Ginseng. If you were a type A personality, you know, you can't shut your mind off, then we might consider some of your calming adaptogens such as Ashwagandha or Schisandra. And so there are different ones that we would use.
And by the way, not every single person gets an adaptogen. And I don't want people to think that adaptogens are panaceas. Adaptogens are incredibly useful. Don't get me wrong, I do use them a lot, but I'm using a broad spectrum of herbs. Adaptogens are just one part of that. And I need your listeners to understand. Adaptogens are not a replacement for the foundations of health.
Foundations of health are adequate, good quality sleep, a good diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle choices. So if you are eating fast food three meals a day, only getting six hours sleep, running yourself ragged, training for a marathon, working in incredibly stressful job, and smoking, I don't care how many adaptogens you take, it is not going to make up for the fact that you are abusing yourself. And in fact at best it's going to simply allow you to abuse yourself a little bit longer until you finally collapse.
It's kind of the whipping the exhausted horse. You can make it go a little further, but it's going to collapse. So adaptogens are not a replacement for the foundations of health, but for the average American who is overfed under-exercised, not getting enough sleep, especially when it's a situation where, for instance, you're actually trying to take care of yourself, but maybe there's a new baby in the house.
You're not getting enough sleep. Or maybe you just graduated from a law school, passed your boards and you just hired on to a new law firm and they're expecting you to work 70 hour weeks. Or maybe you are in college and you're having to pull all-nighters and study, which I do not recommend as it reduces comprehension dramatically.
But you know, adaptogens under those circumstances where you mentioned the example earlier where your boss is on your case all the time and it's incredibly stressful and maybe you don't have the option to change. Maybe you're in a situation where you live in a small town where there's only one employer and you don't have a lot of options. Adaptogens can be incredibly useful. Again, helping to prevent stress-induced cortisol elevation, helping to reduce the stress-induced anxiety, helping to reduce the stress-induced elevation of blood pressure and the resultant of course, mitochondrial dysfunction that comes with elevated cortisol levels.
And I will point out that elevation of cortisol can come from lack of sleep, obesity or stress And chronically elevated cortisol levels not only basically shut down the mitochondria in the cells. Chronic elevation of cortisol is proinflammatory and of course all of our chronic degenerative disease is inflammatory in nature. It raises blood pressure, it interferes with sleep, it interferes with digestion, it decreases the immune response, and increases the growth of tissue including skin tags, benign prostatic hyperplasia in men, fibroids, uterine fibroids in women cancer, chronically elevated cortisol is really not good. And so anything we can do to help our body to reset and be at a, you know, a healthier baseline on a regular basis is going to a long term have profound positive implications for our health.
Allan: 27:31 So I guess the way I kind of take this, as you know, you can't just say, okay, I need ashwagandha. I need a Chinese Ginseng or Asian Ginseng root. I need American ginseng root and everybody needs that. The reality is you're going to have to kind of put together a protocol for yourself based on your own personal needs.
David: 27:51 That's actually true. You know, they're there. First of all, as I said, not everybody needs adaptogens, period. But if you do feel you need adaptogens, and again, that's one of the reasons I wrote the book is so that each herb has its own monographs. You can read about it and say, wow, does this make sense for me? And I often mentioned like, I often use it with this or that so that people can kind of get a sense if they don't have access to a clinical herbalist or a naturopathic physician who's trained in botanical medicine or a medical doctor who knows herbs. If they don't have access to someone like that. They can at least educate themselves so they can decide which of these things may, would be most appropriate for them. And again, not everybody needs them, but I would say that, you know, discounting cultures where they're either people are actively starving, suppressed or at war, Americans are some of the most stressed out people in the world.
Allan: 28:51 Absolutely. That's why I moved to Panama.
I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are the three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
David: 29:07 Well, three, let's go back to the foundations of health that I just mentioned. In 1910, the average American slept slightly over nine hours per night. Now, the average American sleeps less than seven hours per night. In the intervening 100 plus years, we have not evolved to need less sleep. We're just chronically sleep deprived.
So number one, make sure that you get minimum seven hours sleep at night. Eight is definitely better. If you're sleeping more than nine hours a night, that suggests some issues. So somewhere between seven and nine hours is probably ideal. But the key important thing is when you wake up in the morning, do you feel refreshed? Do you feel rested? Because even if you're getting 12 hours sleep at night and you wake up in the morning and you feel tired, you're exhausted, then you have some type of sleep issue. And so it is absolutely essential that you figure out what that is.
Because, no matter what you have, if you have sleep issues, your chances of having a heart attack increase. If you have sleep issues, your chances of dying from cancer increase. If you have sleep issues, your blood pressure's going to increase. It gives sleep issues, your cortisol levels are going to increase. So sleep is foundational.
Number two, move and move a lot. We sit too much. We are not active. And of course some people are not as capable as you know, heavy exercise. I'm not talking about you have to run marathons, do what you can, whether it is swim, whether it is dance, whether it is practice yoga, move
Number three (I'm going to go beyond three). Eat a healthy diet and I'm astonished at what people think is a healthy diet. I have my patients fill out a three-day diet diary and I'll just sit there and scratch my head sometimes. Because people tell me, I think I eat pretty well. And so of course, food is foundational.
You know, they say as computers, garbage in, garbage out. Well, the diet is the same way. Garbage in, garbage out. You are dependent on your food for what Chinese medicines called the Gushi, the Gransha, the nutrients of that food to feed every cell in your body. And so eat healthy.
I am not a big fan of fad diets. I think that you need to figure out what works for you. And some people can be very healthy vegetarians and I've met people who just can't do that diet. So it's not like there's one diet that is good for everybody. You have to figure out what works for you. But what I can tell you very clearly is fast food, for instance, fried foods, a heavy, heavy meat diet, things like that are generally not good for almost anybody.
Then number four, emotional health. Emotional and spiritual health are, in my opinion, again, foundational. Having loved ones, whether it is anything from a companion animal to friends, to a life partner, to community, social networks. these are incredibly important. And I am a big believer in the power of a higher power, of having some type of spirituality in your life. I am not necessarily talking about a specific religion, but having something that you realize that you are a small part of something greater than ourselves. So having a meaningful ceremony, whether you think of it as the Gaia, the power of nature, God, or Allah, that to me is not as important. Of course for individuals I'm sure it is very important. Their spiritual and religious beliefs and that's great, but find something that works for you and works within your life.
And so for me, those sorts of things are absolutely foundational to health. And then we have other things that can add to that. And some of them, like nutritional supplements can be useful. Although I am much more interested in using herbs because I think they are more, much more bioavailable. And in a form that people can actually utilize more effectively. Those kinds of things. Stress reduction techniques are sort of built based on that foundation.
Allan: 33:49 Well thank you David. You know, one thing I'll say about the book is if anything and everything that you want to know about adaptogens, this is the book, that's called Adaptogens, but it literally you, you covered the history, you cover what they are, how they work. You know, all the different types. Cause there's, there's lots of them. You said there was 250,000 plant species that we've identified and we're just starting to learn how those can help us. But this book really, I think you could have called it the encyclopedia of adaptogens or the complete book with androgens. It really is comprehensive. And so if you're interested in adaptogens, I strongly suggest you check out David's book.
David, if someone want to get in touch with you, learn more about the book or things you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?
David: 34:33 Well, couple things. Number one, if anybody is interested in the book, they can get it. You know, simply from Amazon, if they like or their local bookstore. It's widely available. You can also contact me or reach me through to websites. There is my school, I have a two year urge studies program for people who want to train to be clinical herbalists and that is herbalstudies.net and then I also have a website which is an educational website where people can download free articles, information articles from my library, which is one of the largest private herbal research libraries in North America. Information on my classes where I'll be teaching around the world. I teach all over the US, Canada, Europe, occasionally central America, and that a website is herbaltherapeutics.net and those are the two are places that people can get additional information or contact.
I also have through, I believe it's herbal therapeutics website. I have a Facebook page where I do posts about every two weeks so people can tune into those posts and read the old posts every on thing. I'm mostly on the topic of herbal medicine and my travels and things like that. And so hopefully people will avail themselves. The book, Adaptogens, herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief. This is the second edition and I think anybody interested in the topic will hopefully learn quite a bit and be able to make better choices for themselves in their use of adaptogens, nervines, nootropics, and restorative tonics.
Allan: 36:27 All right, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/403 and I'll have the links there for the book for David's sites and all that.
David, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
David: 36:39 Thank you Allan. It's been a pleasure. Thank you for having me.
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Rajshree Patel is a mind and meditation expert and an international self-awareness coach, trainer, and speaker. Over the last 30 years, she has taught hundreds of thousands of people in more than 35 countries the power of meditation, mindfulness, breath work, and other ancient tools for assessing the innate sources of energy, creativity, and fulfillment within. Today we discuss her book, The Power of Vital Force.
Allan: 02:06 Rajshree, welcome to 40 plus fitness.
Rajshree: 02:09 Thank you Allan. Happy to be here with you.
Allan: 02:11 You know, I was traveling back from the United States. I'd gone back to do a few things, work on my education is a personal trainer and then tried to get my house a little bit further shaped up so someone will actually buy it from me. And so it's been go, go, go, go, go. And then I had to drive cause I was trying to save a little bit of money on fly spirit, drive from Pensacola down to Fort Lauderdale. It's nine and a half hour drive. I do that drive and then I get on an airplane. I fly overnight, I arrive into Panama city at 1:30 in the morning, get to my hotel, go to sleep, wake up early. Cause you know, it's just normal wake up time. Uh, go ahead and do what work I can get to the airport, fly over to Bocas. And I got here last night and was just like, I just, I'm just drained, you know, all the, all of this is on me and I think we use that word a lot. Drains, you know?
Rajshree: 03:06 Yes, we do.
Allan: 03:07 And I think, you know, and when you, when you really kind of start putting that together and you say, well, okay, why is my back starting to hurt? Why is my posture suffering? Why do I, and why is my head kind of hurting? And it's that draining and so it is really, you know, we, we use that in the Western vernacular of, of force of energy, but we don't really break that down to think of it in terms of all the other aspects of our health and wellness.
Rajshree: 03:35 No, no, I don't think we do. To your point, I mean I was going through a similar thing at some point before I got exposed to what we're going to talk about it a little bit, this idea of a force or energy. I was a lawyer in LA doing all this stuff that anybody has to do. Going to court, managing my files, you know, family, friends. I had just moved from New York to LA, so I was isolated doing my own thing on my own and trying to find a place to sort of fit in, connect, so emotionally there were things going on. It was a lot of stress going on mentally in terms of a brand new job. It was actually my first job as an attorney and a new city and so on. I was somehow getting through things. I knew I was tired. Obviously I was waking up in the morning not bouncing out of bed and dragging myself and kind of wishing no, what the heck happened? How did this night go by so fast and to your point, I hadn't really connected the dots. When I say I'm drained or I'm wiped out or I'm exhausted, I was really talking about not being charged or fueled enough and your basic food or gym.
If I happen to have done it that day or that week just wasn't getting me through the day until by chance. In 1989 I discovered this whole notion of vital force and how really we have too fuel all the levels, you know, of our life in order to do what we have to and then some of the things we want to do.
Allan: 05:10 Yeah. You know, as I was kind of looking at myself and trying to, you know, kind of build a better me because I knew I kind of, same thing, I went the public accounting route and then into internal audit and worked my way up C suite and all of that. And when they finally let me go, uh, it was kinda like this gush of pressure of everything. It's like, Oh, and when I took some time kind of sit back, that's when it has kind of really dawned on me that I had never really gotten completely there because I had not really ever paid enough attention to the things that were going to bring me what I needed. So like I defined fitness as being the healthiest fittest, happiest person you can be. And, and even though I was doing things in my life, that brought me some happiness and some joy, I really wasn't getting all the way there all the time. And it was too many things pulling me, pulling me back into the abyss. Now in the book you talk about the three main pathways to happiness. Could you take a few minutes to talk about those? Cause I think this is, this is critical if we're really going to get to wellness that we address this, this first, you know, happiness. I actually did them in reverse order. I should uh, dealt with the happiness first and then started with the, the fitness and the health cause I think it would've been a lot easier.
Rajshree: 06:29 Oh sure. I mean, so I think everybody knows, you know, what it means to be happy at whatever level. But we never really break it down. There's this sense of happiness that we get. Just a quick thing, a momentary thing like you show up to play or watch soccer and you enjoy it. You want something, you get it and you enjoy it and you're happy about it. But the moment it's over, it's over. And that has its own impact in terms of how it wipes us out. Because if it's just that level, what I find is I need more and more of it, you know? Uh, I entertain myself with one thing and then the next weekend I want a little bit more. So yeah.
Allan: 07:08 I get depressed when football season ends.
Rajshree: 07:11 Yeah. Because it's, it's over like you need the next thing. And even in football you notice you want like the next game, the match has to be a certain way. And who the, who's really, you know, with each other, which player against what player, what coach with what team. So we want a little more of it. But then there's this other layer of happiness where you don't just watch, it's not momentary. A metaphor would be you actually go and play soccer so you engage, you participate. And that brings another level of joy or happiness. It stays with us longer. It has comradery too. More meaning, more engagement, you know, a sense of, Oh wow, I did something cause we kind of tapped into some part of ourself that we hadn't really expected. Perhaps we played well or something.
Allan: 08:01 To me, I actually do that now through tailgating. I, you know, obviously the college football team's not going to let me on the field. So I go to a tailgate beforehand and hang out with my friends and have conversations and all that. So that's, that's where that engagement comes in for me.
Rajshree: 08:16 Exactly. And it stays with you in a very different way because even when you go home, you're talking about the game and what you saw. But somehow that, that sense of belonging in this in a way is part of the whole picture. And then beyond that is this notion of coaching the game of soccer. You know, really getting involved in another level yet that's even more meaningful, more lasting. Where you contribute to somebody else's life as much as you contribute to your own joy. And I think that joy, that kind of happiness gives us, in my opinion, the resilience to get through a difficult time. It kind of boosts us from the inside out. It gives us a lot of energy and then we deal with the ups or the downs that are coming, you know, in the day.
Allan: 09:08 And I think that's why I so much more enjoy being a personal trainer and a coach then I did being an internal auditor. Yeah. I mean I'd go off for my weekend, you know, and I would, I would go to a college football game and I would engage with my friends. So I had the pleasure of being at the game. I had the pleasure of just the all of game time experience and then the time with my friends. And then yeah, there's the Facebook message group where we're all gonna be either really happy about the game or be really upset about the game or either side and everybody's arguing. And even that I like just kind of sitting back and watching all that, but then I, I kind of go to work and it's audit, you know?
Rajshree: 09:46 Yeah, yeah, exactly. But you know, there's another level to all this, which most people don't really connect the dots to. And that is like when we feel our best, when we feel like we have the most amount of life energy and doesn't matter what's going on outside, we feel really charged up. Like you come back from vacation, you know everything's still the same. You come home and all the things you have to do are still there. But somehow your outlook Monday is much more optimistic, much more positive, and you're ready to jump into the day knowing that it's going to be a lot of work cause you're out for a week or 10 days. And that kind of happiness, it's what I would call more innate. And it's directly, what I've discovered is related to how rested your mind is how much energy you really have. And I don't mean the caloric energy, you know, the food and, and the sort of your daily maybe green juice that somebody might do or coffee or sugar. I'm really talking about this thing called vital force, which you're sort of born with. Like if you look at kids, you know, they're not playing soccer, they're not watching and they're not hanging out. But there's a lot of joy and strength and stamina. And that's really what we're talking about when I say vital force.
Allan: 11:08 Yes. Now you got into a part in the book and as I went through it, I think I had to read it twice to kind of really walk myself down the line of, you know, the past, the present and the future. And how so many of us kind of get stuck in this loop and it prevents us from really kind of experiencing the joy the way that we could because of the things in the past that you know and, and the things we think are going to be in the future. And you kind of talk through that line because it, it's not a straight line. Like you would think like we had our past, is over. We have our presences now and then the future is there. But we don't live that way.
Rajshree: 11:51 No, no we don't. Um, so obviously depending on the event and how intense it was, you know, somewhere we store it in our system, our brain, our body, our mind, ourselves. Hold on. Two pleasant or unpleasant events and situations, you know, and we clearly know that if I bring up an unpleasant thing, depending on to what degree you've let go of it, you can have a reaction in this moment. And if we look when we're holding on to things, it brings with it a certain spectrum of emotions and we don't really realize it. But impatience, agitation, frustration, anger, regret, guilt, blame these emotions which are clearly not serving us, they're negative. That's what takes away our happiness are related to something that's already happened. It's done and gone. And if I asked someone, can you be angry about something that hasn't yet happened? Our general tendency is to say yes, of course.
But really if we examine it's not possible. If it's about something that hasn't happened, we're going to be afraid. We're going to be worried, we're going to be anxious, we're going to have doubts, insecurity. That's about something that may or may not happen. And I often like to use this, um, analogy of a, a computer. See a lot of times we're working on a file and in the background we have a lot of files open because we worked on something a week ago, 10 days ago, a month ago, and we kind of forget about it. But those files are still open in the background. They're doing something to our hard drive, our brain in the computer, the hard drive and what it's doing is everything from slowing it down, creating glitches, draining energy, taking the life away from the file, the moment that's in front of us. And a lot of times, you know, Allan, if you go to search something on a computer, you anticipate based on history, the computer anticipates based on your prior search and opens more options.
And I think that's really what's going on in our life. Our mind, our brain or body is filled with stuff that happened yesterday, year ago, 10 years ago in the moment we come in front of something. This moment, it anticipates all of that. We start hitting on those emotions and we're not conscious of it. And similarly the future, you know? I love to think that we have a future, but honestly we're so hardwired, we're kind of conditioned by the time we're 10 years old with through osmosis taken all kinds of things on with our friends and family and parents and school system that our future's really, us being anxious about, Oh my God, I hope what happened yesterday, last week or in my last job, it doesn't happen again. So it's really an anticipation of the past. Everybody talks about, Oh, live in the present moment and all of that. But we've never really broken it down to what it's doing when we are in the past or when we are caught in the future.
Allan: 15:09 Yeah, I, I was, as I was reading that, I was, I was kinda thinking back to like the last three years when I was, when I was doing the internal audit stuff and kind of the first year we came across like a downturn in the market and we got into November and the talks about layoffs started happening and then in December there was the layoff. And so I was like, okay. And it was, and that's horrible. If you've ever experienced that, I can tell you it's just as hard from the manager's perspective as it is from the employee's perspective because you're having these conversations that don't necessarily deserve to leave.
And then what happens is I got into football season and as we got closer and closer to November, which means, you know, September, October, when we're at prime of our football season, I just started getting this, this anxiety. As soon as football game was over and I'm driving back home, back to go to work on Monday, you know, my head's already into this funk. And so I didn't have that energy in that balance to go back to work. I had this dread and then you know, we got into November and these conversations started again. And then in December there was a layoff. And I can tell you kind the final year I was there, that dread started in July. And you know, I can't tell you how many wonderful things I did during that period of time that I couldn't be fully present for because of the anxiety I had for what my November and December were probably going to look like. There were no conversations about head count at that point in time. Everything was positive at the company. You know, we're going to do this, we're going to grow that. We're going to, you know, we've done this. All, all that was there. All those conversations were positive at work. I just had this looming dread that something bad was going to happen in November and I couldn't enjoy myself. Now what I had a dread for actually did happen. Um, so, you know, I'm not, you know, but, but there was nothing I could do to stop it from happening. It was completely outside my control. And rather than kind of be rational about it and say, I can't stop this from happening, this is not my call, not my thing. All I can do is, but I missed for the better part of two years. I miss a lot of joy because I just kept letting that cycle play out in my, in my mind.
Rajshree: 17:41 To add to a little bit of what you're saying, it's true. You had no control over it. You know, you lost two years at whatever with all the other beautiful things that may have been going on in front of your life. I also believe if we have so much attention on something, we invite it at some level, you know, if we really have a lot of attention on something being positive and uplifting and it's going to be great, then somehow I feel like the universe smiles back at us and we invite at least the positive vibe of the moment. And if we're really anxious and were concerned, Oh my God, this is going to happen, this is going to happen, this is going to happen. Just our vibe sometimes invites that. And so we lose on on multiple levels. We're just not aware of it. Um, the time now, the two years that you mentioned and who knows, perhaps if the outlook could have been different, maybe a different kind of result could have happened. We just don't know because life is so much more than just what we see, touch and feel and, and I think it's important to see that we can't change our future and we can't change our paths.
But nobody really not at home or in school has ever taught us how to get the heck out of there and say, okay, what's in front of me and how do I reboot myself to look at this moment fresh and new.
Allan: 19:04 Yeah. And I think that's, that's where I struggled with it as I just, I kind of just put that all on my shoulders and carried it. Yeah. And it just got heavier and heavier and heavier until it was lifted off my shoulders by the layoff. And then I was like, okay, now I have a wide open future. And I can just figure out how to make this the best I can make it.
Rajshree: 19:27 Sorry, I was just going to say I'm in, I'm in the middle of a, uh, sort of a big personal challenge at the moment. Yes. This book is coming out, but going through a lot of family things and I see that my mind wants to lock into that, you know, and not the joy of whatever's going to happen as a result of this book. And I have to consciously bring myself back. I need to take a short pause to say that's there and your worst imagination doesn't mean that's what's going to happen. Let's see what you can do about it now and get busy and get active in trying to address it. So it is a matter of being conscious and inviting a pause into my life to say, what can I do about it rather than how does it help me to sit here and worry.
Allan: 20:16 Yeah. In the book you put together an actual exercise where someone can go through and methodically put together these things and walk through the positive, negative, the emotion, the past future, the now can you kind of just briefly talk about how that exercise works?
Rajshree: 20:34 Yeah, absolutely. And I really invite people to sort of take inventory. Um, I do it for myself, you know, every three months or so. What I'm asking myself to do is to say, okay, what's keeping me up at night? What is the thing that lifts for me in my head? And I, you know, just make a list of it. And I always invite myself to make a list of 10 things that are going on. So like before I woke up, I saw my mind was running on, Oh yeah, I have to connect with Allan and how's he going to go and where's it going to go? And it's just a recognition that's not something that's happening now. It's about the future. I'm concerned about my mom's health. So that would go on the list, you know. My niece going away to college and the struggles that she's having as she's leaving home for the first time. So I make a list about 10 things that are either keeping me awake or I find myself talking about or thinking about, you know, or continuously somehow coming back to, and the moment I do that, first of all I've put light on it. It's not going on unconsciously in the background. Like those open files and then the exercise, ask the reader to look and see is it generating a positive emotion, feeling or experience or a negative feeling or experience. So I'm planning my vacation and that's positive. And at the same time somebody could have in the background, yes it's great, but Oh my God, so much work is going to pile up, or how am I actually gonna end up paying for this because things are more expensive than I had hoped for.
So just asking the reader to put a plus sign or a negative sign next to it to realize how much of our mind our time, our brain is caught up in positive or negative. And then to kind of label it, you know, there's a lot of talk on emotional intelligence, but we don't really know how to get cognizant of it. And if you'll look, um, not just positive or negative, but to say, wow, this is something that's already happened. It's about the past. And, and putting that down next to it or this isn't going on now. It may never happen. It's really about the future. It's a year away, 10 years away or I don't even know if it's going to happen. Okay. It's about the future and just making a list, taking an inventory about what is it positive or negative. And then if you add it up to see out of 10, is 50% of your life for time positive or 50% negative or is it more 60, 70, 80%.
And the unfortunate thing is we as human beings are hard wired towards a negative bias. Meaning if someone gives us 10 compliments and one insult, we really remember the insult more, it kind of sticks to us more. It's just how we are hardwired. So similarly, if we look at that list, I find that most people, we'll discover that 80%, eight out of 10 things are not working for them. It's not positive and they weren't cognizant of it. And the moment they notice it, they see it's a, a sort of a rude wake up call, you know, to do something about it and make a shift.
Allan: 23:55 Yeah. I um, you know, I was kind of looking at things right now that just weren't positive in my life that I had some control over. Uh, you know what, I had control over what I didn't and, and I just started saying, you know, I've got it all this negative on my Facebook feed for all this political stuff, you know, and so I said, you know, they have this pause feature on Facebook. What if I just pause this person for the 30 days? What will that do? And I did that for, you know, probably about, I'd say about six or seven people on my feed and my feet got nicer. It got more positive. I started seeing, you know, positive affirmations. I started seeing joy in people's lives. I started seeing birthdays and all these things that were good. And so I kinda got a little addicted to pausing people, sorry, friends.
But all you're gonna do is talk about politics and how terrible life is on earth. Uh, I need to take a break from you. And I did that as a kind of an experiment about a month ago. And my feet just kind of really got nice and I enjoyed the interaction with the people, enjoyed seeing positive things in their lives. You know, grandchildren and births and marriages. And there was some sad, you know, a friend of mine lost his wife and things like that. But all in all, I saw a real life and, and not that. So I, you know, I think you're right with those 10 things, I realized one of my 10 things was this, this negative Facebook feed and you know, rather than just walking away with it from it because that's, you know, next to impossible. I just, well what if I just tried this tweak to it and it kind of gave me an opportunity to be more in the now with my friends and what's actually going on in their lives.
Rajshree: 25:43 Brought a lot of positivity to the other people who are in the feed. Right? It's not just you by that simple act of putting a pause for a few people, you uplifted and up-leveled you, your energy, your vibe, what's happening for you and enjoying that. But at the same time it brought more of that for other people and, and it kind of becomes a conversation we spoke about earlier in terms of happiness. You know, it's, it's going to the football game and having the barbecue outside first and engaging with it and then driving home and going home and saying, okay let's guys stop over and get a beer here and see what happens. So you in a sense became contagious. The happiness became contagious. And so I love that. You know, why not spread something more positive and why not become more conscious about how do I want this to look for me in my life?
Allan: 26:35 Absolutely. Now I've always been a big fan. Well once I, once I figured it out, a big fan of breath and breath work you the meditation cause that's what a lot of us in the Western world as we start kind of getting into this whole, how do we deal with stress? How do we take care of ourselves? It kind of always comes back to, well you know, meditation and that starts with breathwork for most of us. As I got deeper into the thought about breath, it kind of has the two things. One, one that you've kind of bring up in the book, but the other is the energy processes. In our bodies require oxygen. So if we're not bringing in the breath, if we're just, you know, because when we're stressed, there's little short little breaths and we're not really giving our body the energy, the force that it needs to be successful. But it does also give us this opportunity to be right here right now.
Rajshree: 27:24 And both are valuable, right? They're actually synonymous. If you have a lot of energy, that's what allows you to be right here and right now. And the more you are in the right here, in the right now, the more energy you have. So it's a virtuous cycle. And to your point, when we're under stress, if we are caught in the fear, worry or anxiety or the anger or the regret, we notice that our breath gets shorter and shorter. The more stressed we are, the more we kind of hold onto our stomach muscles in a way we hold onto our breath and we naturally tell people, come on man, just breathe. Okay? Just breathe. You know, because we notice that physiologically the innate response to stress is to sort of shut everything down. What we call fear or freeze or flight, you know, and just that tiny awareness, Oh my God, I'm getting stressed.
Let me make my breath longer. Does exactly what you said. Both those things. I notice if I elongate my breath, I calm down, but then I feel refreshed again. If nothing else, you're dumping out the CO2 that's just sitting in the lungs, which makes you tired. You know, in a closed room, you go to a doctor's office or you're, you're sitting on that flight. This happens to me all the time. As soon as they close that door, there's not enough fresh air in the flight. I start to get drowsy, groggy, and I crash until they actually open up the vent and allow fresh air to come in. I don't know if people know that they kind of don't let enough air in until they reach a cruising altitude. You know, everything is is just the bare minimums. So fresh air has a lot to do with our perception our outlook. It kind of gives us a fresh way to look at things. So more energy, more present, more present, more energy.
Allan: 29:22 Yeah. I still tell you they don't, they don't have enough fresh air on that airplane.
Rajshree: 29:25 No they don't.
Allan: 29:26 I don't want to touch anything. I don't want to breathe, I breathe really shallow on a plane. Cause I just, I just know I'm going to get sick. I'm just like, I gotta be positive about it. But yeah. So, you know, I guess this was a disconnect I always had because did you get into the concept of breathing, meditation and mindfulness? That, in my head it's always been one thing. But in the book you kind of say, no, isn't it? Meditation and mindfulness are not actually the same thing.
Rajshree: 30:02 No. At least not the way we understand mindfulness today in the Western world. You know, it's, it's more of a noun rather than a state of mind. Mindfulness is become a name and the way we practice it here is really using more mental stuff, more monitoring, more, you know, labeling more attention to what's happening in the mind. And well, it's just really hard to do. If we could do it, we wouldn't need mindfulness in the first place. And unfortunately, or fortunately, of course there's a lot of value to it, but 60 years ago when it first came into the West, people went, you know, to the far East and went into monasteries, spent some amount of time there and they took a single thread of an entire system, which was to label and to monitor physical activity and what's going on in our head. And that had its value in that it gave us the ability to have more, what I call frontal cortex, meaning greater rational, logical decision making aspect to us.
And it was really necessary in those days because times were different. But today we're so hardwired with our computers in our cell phones, they're kind of like an extension of us, we are always on. So our thinking brain is always on, it's always processing. And so meditation, the way I'm using it is really letting all of that mental brain stuff to settle down, to get quiet, to shut it off somehow or another. And you'll see when I say we're always on, you see the sleeping industry is growing like crazy, meaning the pills and the pharmaceutical world. Because what was once natural isn't happening anymore. We're not sleeping. I know so many, many people, every course I do, students show up and if I ask how many of you feel like you go to sleep and wake up more tired in the morning, 60% of the room will raise their hand.
How many of you people feel like you had eight hours in bed but you're not sure it was I thinking all night or sleeping? 70/80% of the room will raise their hand feeling like, yeah, I just feel like I'm processing or thinking all night. And that means we're keeping that thinking brain on. And so what we really need to do now is to click off, not just close the file we're working on in front of us in this moment, but close the tabs in the back. So we conserve energy so that we give a rest to the whole computer. You know, the hard drive. And so mindfulness is good for something specific, but meditation is a conscious pause, a willingness to let the mind drift, not hold on, not be aware, not lock it into something, allowing it to drift, let it be as it is.
And that unwinding actually gives us deeper layers of rest. When we go to sleep, we kind of connect better with people in front of us cause where are we listening in instead of our own stuff that's going on in our head that's constantly on, you know, it gives us more energy of course, and so on and makes us happier.
Allan: 33:27 Yeah. I, you know, that was one of the challenges that I've, I had when I was, you know, kind of in my hyper stress state of how do I, how do I actually get my brain to stop this stuff? You know, I'm drinking out of a fire hose every day. How do I shut it off, you know? And that made sleep very, very difficult. And so I worked on things that, it started with breath work. It started with taking just short pauses during the day, uh, where I would sit down in a quiet office and say, okay, you know, and I had the Headspace app on and I'm kind of going through this process of, of getting mindful or at least, you know, being aware that all these thoughts were actually out there all at the same time.
And then I was jumping from one to the others before I even got to play out. One idea, one thought, one fear, one anxiety. I was onto the next one. So they were, they were just constantly looping in my head and I had never really figured out how to get somewhere else other than in those stress loops.
Rajshree: 34:28 But, but what if we didn't even have to figure out or even notice those thoughts? What if we had an on off switch to all this thinking, you know, that's really what I'm kind of talking about. Let's go past that. Having to be aware because the truth is, look, if you see parents tell their kids at a dinner table or while they're studying focus, you know, be here, be present. Come on, stop thinking about all those other things in focus. If that kid turns around and says, okay, mom, okay dad, how?
They really wouldn't have an answer to that question. If you ask adults to sit still for a few minutes, it's not easy. If you ask them to close their eyes, they're like, no, I can't do that. Right? Eight out of 10 adults will say to me, I don't know if I can sit that long. I don't if I can sit still, I don't know if I can close my eyes and so what I say is, okay, don't worry about it. Use the breath like an exercise. You don't have to close your eyes. You don't have to find, you know all the paraphernalia of sit well in, in a proper place, in a quiet place or anything. I just say three times a day create a pause. Any way you have to breathe. I'm just asking you to breathe consciously as an exercise, not as something that you focus or have to pay attention to.
And so first thing in the morning, as soon as you wake up, I tell people just lay in bed, doesn't matter or sit up and lean against your headboard and do 10 long breaths in and out. You're just consciously breathing. I don't care if your mind is focused or not focused thinking or not thinking. And you know, looping from one thought to another, just 10 long breath thing, it'll do exactly what you said earlier. Number one, it brings in more oxygen. We've been, you know, laying still, we haven't been active. Our lung and our breathing capacity has reduced. So number one, it brings in more oxygen. For number two are out-breath is an off switch to thinking. And a lot of times we wake up in the morning processing stuff that we were entering into sleep with. So 10 long breath, first thing. Second thing is I always say before lunch, if nothing else, you've ordered your food.
Maybe you're sitting down in your office cafeteria just before you eat or as you're walking to the cafeteria, nobody knows you're doing it. You don't need to close your eyes, do 10 long breath in and out because you're breathing. Number one energizes. It's going to bring in more oxygen, but number two on the out-breath, you're going to empty something from your head. You're going to lower the number of thoughts that are going on in your head and that's going to change how you digest food, how fit and well you feel around what eat. It's important that we absorb, we assimilate, we digest with a calm state of mind because we're not just our body. We are what we eat and yes, we eat carbohydrates and protein and all of that, but if we're sitting there stressed out, you're kind of chewing that stuff back in and in an old traditions, you know, there was a time when we sat quietly to eat, not just because, Oh, it was some ritual, but it did a lot.
And today we know about gut health, we know about biome, we know that friendly bacterias thrive when we're not under stress and when we're under stress there's too much acid. So we don't thrive. So again, if not every meal, at least before lunch, 10 breaths, then go ahead and eat. And the most necessary if you do it nowhere else is before bed because how you enter sleep is really gonna determine the quality of sleep. I just know that I could be so wired with so many things when I get into bed, say, okay, a day in a life is over. I did the best I could and then I start to take long breath in and out. By the time I get to my fourth or fifth breath, I'm asleep, I'm out. And what I'm doing is shutting off the would of could of should of, you know, the yada yada files that go on.
And if we enter sleep like that, our emotional brain, our unconscious or subconscious is going to be processing that. That is a computer that's getting drained and then we wake up feeling like somehow I just feel like I got up on the wrong side of the bed or I'm not so rested and I wish I had more time. So just these three pauses, nobody needs to know you're doing it. It doesn't matter if you've got your eyes closed or not. Honestly, if the listeners out there, you know, if they just do it, they'll say, wow, okay, this is something I'll not let go of anyway. I have to breathe. I'm going to do it consciously three times a day.
Allan: 39:40 If they listen to last week's episode, when I had Amy Serin on and I and Dr. Serin, We actually talked about this specific thing with the parasympathic nerve, that nervous system and the, and the stress switch and, and everything there. And so you're, you're, you're, you're talking right up my, I'll have, you know, we've got to turn this thing off. We've got to get our brain to think, okay, we're safe. We don't have no fight or flight to go on right now. We can go to sleep and actually get good rest.
Rajshree: 40:08 Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And, and I don't think that, I mean when unfortunately we've never taught that. Like your breathing is connected between these two, right? The sympathetic stress response, as we say, fear, freeze or flight, which was meant for emergencies in life and it's connected to the parasympathetic meaning the rest, the calm, the happy, the loving state, the easy-going state. Internally body can be dynamic. But internally calm, I mean if you see any, you know, professional, any athlete, their mind has to be calm but their body is in high gear, high-performance mode and your breathing is connected in such a way that if you elongate your breath, if you make it longer, you move from, Oh my God, Oh my God to I'm going to do it. Your mind naturally shifts in attitude and so anybody can do it.
The kid or the adult, you know, as busy as we might be, you do it while you're moving in a board meeting. I often tell people, because by the time you leave an hour of a board meeting or any meeting for that matter, you just kind of sat there, wiring yourself up with, Oh my God, one more meeting. Why is this happening? Why do we need to listen to this? Oh, it's the same old stuff. All that's happening is we're getting wound up and then you gotta go sit at your desk and do all that work. And so I just say to them, just sit in the board meeting any, anyway, listening isn't gonna get taken away because you're breathing. So do both of those activities. Let the listening be there, but breathe a little bit long in and out. And you'll walk out of that meeting and say, okay, well that's that. Let me get back to what I have to do.
Allan: 41:56 Absolutely. I wish I'd had that advice three years ago. Um, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Rajshree: 42:13 So for me, uh, again, I say, you know, no matter what breath is your number one tactic to stay well physically, your body needs the oxygen mentally, it brings your mind in there, present in the here and now. To some degree it lowers thoughts depending on how well and how long you breathe. Number two, I always invite people and I do it every day when I go to bed, I really tell myself, you know, sometimes out loud, even my hand sort of lands on my chest and I say, this day is over.
It's like a life over. However it's been, tomorrow I invite new possibilities. I really consciously let the day go even if it's in words and a concept only. That's the second thing that I will always do. And the third thing is I invite people to say, no matter what, you're the driver behind your life. You got to take five minutes a day, morning or evening too, just quiet down and reflect. To be grateful to recognize that everything that we think isn't as bad as we think that you know, the universe is behind me. Just five minutes, maybe as you enter your, your bed, maybe as you get up in the morning after the 10 breaths, just to say, I'm going to make it a great day. It's a type of meditation. It's self-connection self-awareness saying I matter because I'm the driver of my life, I have to take a break. Five minutes.
Allan: 43:52 Rashree great. Thank you for those. If someone wanted to connect with you, learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?
Rajshree: 44:00 So certainly for the book they could just go to Amazon. The Power of Vital Force. Actually, I don't know how to make this available to your readers, but if they just go to my website, Rajshreepatel.com and put down that you came from your show. There is an online course with a lot of tools and tips available to people. It's 11 sessions. The last session is a live webinar. That could be a big bonus gift in terms of the book and how to use it. So the Power of Vital Force on Amazon or Barnes and Nobles or rajshreepatel.com.
Allan: 44:40 Great. Uh, well I'll definitely have links so let's stay in connection at that. Thank you so much for that gift. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/402 and, and I'll make sure to have those links in the show notes. So Rajshree, thank you so much for being a part of 40 plus fitness.
Rajshree: 44:59 Thank you so much for having me. Happy to share my morning with you. Absolutely.
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Our guest today is a world-renowned neuropsychologist and stress expert. She's literally written the book on how to turn off your stress.
Allan: 01:50 Dr Serin, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Serin: 01:54 Thank you so much for having me. Allan.
Allan: 01:56 You know there was a quote in the book and sometimes I get stuck on numbers. I'm an accountant by trade before I got into fitness. So I get stuck on numbers. So you're hearing me talk about numbers and lists all the time, but every once in awhile I run into a quote and I'm like, okay, I need that quote in my life. This was, this was exactly what I needed to hear today. And this was one that was in the book.
“When you resolve trauma, reduce stress and heal, what lies beneath the layers of soot of suffering is pure beauty. When a person on covers this love and kindness towards the self and towards others is the only thing left.”
Dr. Serin: 02:37 Yup. That's the truth.
Allan: 02:39 You know, and it's funny because I sit back and I've said it many, many times, I wrote it in my own book is, you know, our journey to health, our journey to wellness, it has to include self-love. It has to start with self-love. And I think I struggled with stress so much I never really got where I to be because of the layers of soot.
Dr. Serin: 03:03 Well. Yeah, you know, and I think I, I think that we need to get to self-love in order to get to other things, but we cannot access self-love when we're stressed out. And this is, I think the big, you hit really the nail on the head. The big thing that we're missing and the big way that our thoughts about stress and our thoughts about our lives and who we are are misguided, is that when you are in a state of stress, I call it the stress, which when you're stressed, which is medium or high, you can not access self-love. You can not access love for other people, you cannot be your best self. And we, we think we are what we do on a daily basis. But if we have a lot of stress [inaudible] in our lives and I'm not talking about we have a crazy mother-in-law and we have a stressful job. If our nervous systems in too many moments or putting our stress, which is on high right? We cannot access the deeper parts of ourselves. We cannot access the goodness. And it doesn't have to do with who we are as much as it has to do with how much we're stress. And this is why, you know, this is the stress is the main thing that we need to look at and we need to reduce in order to have a better life.
Allan: 04:11 Now, I've had other authors on because uh, and you don't know a lot about my story, but I was, I was in corporate in the last three years of my corporate career was just a series of merry Christmas layoffs. And so I just was constantly going through this cycle. And so I actually, at that point I had started doing the podcast and I'm like, well, I have access to all of these authors and I would bring them on, granted, they all had value. They all brought value to me as I listened to what they had to say. Most of them though. What I found was that they, okay, kind of focus more on tactics and less on, you know, what are the things that are inside of us that we just need to know to actually resolve stress rather than cope with it.
Dr. Serin: 04:57 Right. And the tactics are great. You know, everybody wants recipes. Everyone, we're really hungry now for, okay, how do I follow this? The Paleo Diet. You know, how to like do this. The things we are culture of addition and we're a culture of doing. So we always want somebody to tell us, do this different, add this to your day, do all these things. And it's very easy to kind of bite off those pieces and think that you have something tangible that's worth doing. But honestly, we're completely misunderstanding stress. So while there are some tactics in my book, a lot of it is just I have to retrain you and understanding what this stress response really is and what it's doing. Because it's not what you think. You know, people are like, well I know it's you know about cortisol and it's about right hemisphere and left hemisphere and it's about debriefing and all these things.
And it's like, no you don't. There's a new neuroscience of stress that we've discovered. We have amazing brain imaging technology now and amazing the things that have just come on the horizon, the last three, five that people don't know about and we're still thinking about it in the old ways. And the result is, we're taking the tactics that people or telling us, and it's the same old stuff. Take deep breaths, meditate, exercise more, do yoga, but we're missing the point. And we're also giving people so much to add to their day that stress management becomes stressful. Because what that does is leave people feeling like, oh, I should have done all these 50 things today and I only did 20 of them and now I feel bad and now I'm more stressed out and I'm depleted. So we have to look at it a different way and we have to give people things to do in the moment to reduce their stress that are actually going to work. Because deep breathes are great, but they only work when you're mildly stressed. If you're moderately stressed out in the moment or higher than that, you cannot access the part of your brain and you cannot actually access deep breaths to override that system. It literally shuts down. So we're telling people in the moment that they need these techniques to use techniques that break down and then people are disappointed with themselves. It just doesn't make sense.
Allan: 07:00 Yeah. It's like you rush up to a 10 and you're, you're peaking at a 10, you know, red line all day, and then you say, okay, I'm to do this deep breathing and it gets you down to a nine, which is 10% better, which is, you know, in the moment it feels good. Uh, but you're still at a nine and you, you know, ratchet, right back up to 10 within a limited amount of time. Now in the book. And I like this, you kinda like walk us through, I guess for lack of it, the process of what stress is and you know, focus and core of our central nervous system. Could you take just a moment because I don't, I think I've ever really sat down with anyone and just talk through the central nervous system and how stress manifests there.
Dr. Serin: 07:44 Right? So stress is your body's in the moment reaction to a trigger. And so you have a network in the brain called the salience network. And what this network does is it's actually, it actually dictates what you get to pay attention to. So if you all, you know, whoever's listening, if you think about how you're feet feel right now, you were not paying attention to that a minute ago probably. And the reason why is because it's not salient. It's not important for what you're doing. If your salience network is working, you're mostly focused on this conversation with maybe distractions being woven in here or there, but if there's a loud sound, you will actually orient that loud sound as those and that becomes salient. And so the salients network is dictating how you pay attention to things because there's too many things going on in your environment versus how much you can consciously be aware of in the moment.
Okay, so it's funneling all the things that are getting processed and giving you a tiny little snippet to pay attention to. It's also turning up and down your stress, switch so you think about your stress switch like a dimmer is turning it up and down in the moment without your awareness based on what's coming in. So if you are listening to this conversation and you have a distract, a distracting thought gets automatically generated something like, oh no, I forgot to turn the oven off. Oops, I forgot to feed the dog. Your salience network is actually sending you that alert and it's also tacking up your stress switch so you will feel more stressed out than you did a moment ago because you had that automatic thought. Okay. Now this is being done for you in pre-conscience network. So we used to think, okay, I see a snake, I recognize the snake, and I go into fight or flight.
Nope, you see a snake, your salience network puts you into fight or flight, and then you recognize consciously after the fact what happened. It's two consciousnesses too slow of a process. That's why our bodies are biologically wired to go into fight or flight first. But what people don't realize is your body goes into moderate states of stress first without you even knowing why. And so then you have to go back and kind of explain why I think I'm stressed out because of this or that or this. You know, your heart's pounding and your stomach hurts and whatever else. And we're always trying to figure it out on the backend. But the reality is, is that these networks in the brain are automatically, and we call it the, that's why it's called the automatic system. It's automatic. It's doing it for us. And then we're trying to control it with the wrong networks.
And it doesn't work. So if your heart's pounding and you're in fight or flight and eat, you can even access the thought to breathe. You won't be able to breathe. So you can actually use breaths to bring your stress, which is from like a five down to a three but you really can't use that to bring yourself from a 10 down to a nine actually, because you can't access that you're hyperventilating at that point. And you're only all of your brain resources are focused at that moment is survival and sometimes it is a matter of survival. You know, I have snakes coming at me, right? And I have to run, but a lot of times it's my cell phone's ringing and I can't find it in my purse and I'm going into the state of fight or flight. That's not a matter of our survival.
But our nervous system is confused and it's turning on our stress, which too often, too much. And the result is poor quality of life, poor health outcomes, being irritable, lack of sleep, all these things that stress moderates.
Allan: 11:13 Now, in the book you talk about this, this concept called the pleasure principle. Could you take just a minute to go over. that?
Dr. Serin: 11:22 So when we're talking about pleasure, we're really talking about an in the moment. We are going to move towards things that have been pleasurable in the past or that are we think are going to be pleasurable,unconsciously. we're going to move away from, we're going to avoid things that are unpleasant. And again, these are choices that are being made for us. You think that your consciousness is doing all of the work, but it's not. So there's a lot of things people avoid and they don't even know why.Oor there's a lot of people, things that people do via the pleasure principle that they don't want to do. And this is where we get into addictive behavior. Um, you know, gambling, shopping, eating chocolate, you know, drinking, all these things. Anything that has brought us pleasure in the past and has regulated some of our neurochemistry, we are more likely to do in the future. So one of my biggest things when people say, well, if you know, let's say something terrible happens, like, um, your parent dies. Okay. What is your recommendation about behavior? And my recommendation is don't start any new bad habits because in those moments of despair, of grief, of stress, of whatever, if you start a new bad habit, then that is going to get locked into the, what we call the pleasure principle. And what it's gonna do is your brain is going to unconsciously signal you to keep doing that.
And so, and if you have an old addiction that's been dormant, let's say someone's been sober for 20 years and something really bad happens, they are way more likely at that point in their lives to go back into the addictive behavior. And this is why we get people relapsing after so many years, right? Because the need for regulation is so high. The need for relief, the need for feeling better because of the stress that people will look forward to in ways that are dictated by the pleasure of prince. So we want to understand that our behavior is not under as much conscious control as we think, but it's being controlled by the pleasure principle sometimes. And also distress, which and what it signals you to do. And when we understand that we can kind of do a better job of, staying away from some of those behaviors or regulating ourselves and also not beating ourselves up when we do do the things that don't make sense to us that have consequences.
Like, oh my gosh, I just, you know, went out and I'm on a diet and I just ate, you know, consumed a thousand calories of dinner and like, why did I do that? We have the answer. Well, you know, why you did that, you needed some regulation and your consciousness in that moment wasn't that powerful. But what we can do is we can hack into the stress system and lower the stress and then the cravings will go away. The likelihood of going into those behaviors go away. And even if you do the behaviors when you're not stressed out, you don't get that reward. Okay? So teachers know this, right? If teachers have a rough day with their class and they drink wine at the end of the day, it's really, really great. But if they have a fine day and they go home and drink wine, it's just like I could take it or leave it. So it's the in the moment reward that you're giving the brain. It dictates how good it feels, how likely you are to repeat that behavior.
Allan: 14:33 Okay. Now there's one final piece that I want to put together because what I'm kinda building a layer here, and you kind of did this in a book as well, which I really liked, was the 10 cognitive distortions. Can you kind of quickly go through those? Cause I think when you, when I put these three concepts together, you know, the central nervous system, particularly the salient network, a pleasure principles, and then these cognitive distortions. I think we kinda build a, the platform to understand why tactics alone really isn't enough when you're in that state.
Dr. Serin: 15:08 The cognitive distortions are basically ways of just thinking this is where we, we get consciousness in the mix. Now they said these other things we're talking about, well, very little to do with consciousness, but now we bring consciousness in and go, what is the quality of our thinking? Right? And if we can identify the cognitive distortions, we can lower stress through that and we can kind of put these all together. So an example of a cognitive distortion would be emotional reasoning. Well, and that's when you have a feeling and then you think it must be based on some kind of reality. And the reality is that we have feelings based on how much sleep we got that night or certain triggers.
I mean, we can show pictures of you, and or we can show pictures to people in psychological research. Let's say that they don't even encode visually. So you don't even know what you saw. But let's say if I flash really quickly a picture of an angry barking dog and a gun and something, you know, really like a, a terrible scene, you don't even know you've seen it. And then we start talking, you know, you'll have a more negative view of me. You'll have a different feeling about me than you would had I not done that or have you not seen those you know, preconscious pictures beforehand. So the brain isn't just this passive thing taking in information. We can prime the brain to go into all kinds of states. So if we think, oh, I have this feeling, therefore something horrible must have happened or this person might be bad or whatever.
We're using emotional reasoning and that can get us into trouble and increase our stress. The other thing we can do is, um, fortune-telling. We have no clue. Allan. No clue what is going to happen in five minutes tomorrow or the next day or in 10 years. We have no idea. And yet we all are making these predictions and depending on whether the prediction is negative or positive, we feel stressed in this moment. So we want to be mindful of, oh, that's me fortune telling again. And people with OCD and generalized anxiety, they have a really hard time with their brains automatically. Fortune-telling and also doing something called catastrophizing thinking that things are going to be horrible. Right.
So my mom has anxiety and my brother got laid off from a job a few months ago, he was a very high paid salesperson and she calls me going, oh, this is so he just, you know, his whole life is ruined. His wife's going to be so mad. He's not going to find a job… I said, stop, stop, stop. And I go, mom, go back to the book or put your touchpoints on because you have no clue how this is going pan out. And my brother's very intelligent, very resourceful, top in his field. Sure enough, within a week he had another job. He's doing great. Loves it. It's fine. Now, not everything works out fine. But the point is, is that in a moment you're making a prediction. You're fortunate telling you're catastrophizing. You're actually creating a tick up on the stress switch. So you may start off a three and then start to work yourself up and your thinking all the way up to a nine or a 10 or full-blown panic if you're not stopping yourself and realizing, oh, this is where my consciousness actually can help me when I'm a three, I can use my consciousness and this understanding to make it not go up to a seven or an eight at a level three you can take a deep breath and go, okay, I'm catastrophizing. I don't know how this is going to go. He's always had a job. He's resourceful. Things are okay, you know, and then your stress can stay at a low level. So sometimes our stress, which is our being turned up without our awareness and sometimes are conscious process is actually with our awareness, pushing our stress switch up. And that process is the one that we have the most control over. But all of the stress, which issues now can actually be hacked into with some new technology and some things that are not just thinking and paying attention and being mindful.
Allan: 19:17 Now, I had always, I, and I guess it's, you know what I've read what I've thought, how I've always viewed, stress is that it's, you know, it's just something you have to, you have to cope with it. Just something. But I guess recent research and particularly research that you've done, it's showing that, you know, we, we can actually flip that switch as you will, uh, the stress switch and cure stress from, from the perspective of putting ourselves in the position where we're in mildly stressful states that we can then through tactics deal with. Can you talk a little bit about that concept of curing stress?
Dr. Serin: 19:58 Right. So we need some stress. So, you know, when we're going to go perform, when we're giving a talk or if we're an athlete, we're going to, um, go into some states of stress. So we, this isn't to say that we're going to give people zero stress because zero stress means that you're dead, right? But we're talking about coping excess stress. I'm talking about that when your cell phone is in your purse and you cannot find it, you're not going into fight or flight because that's a waste of, that's a waste of stress, so to speak. Right? We shouldn't, you know, we should only be in the stress when we are in a life or death situation or when we're under, you know, extreme time pressure or things like that. And then we should go back to baseline. But that's not what's happening.
People's stress, which is are on, you know, maybe they're at a four or five pretty much day long, fluctuating up and down from that and their bodies are inflamed and they are, you know, their quality of their thoughts is automatically negative and those sorts of things. So what I'm talking about sharing, yeah, excess stress. I'm talking about a default level, a default stress, which motive of being pretty low. Okay. And then your stress will go up. If there's a really loud sound right now, Allan, or let's say a fire alarm went off and you and I both heard it, we would go into fight or flight. But we would go into fight or flight and our stress switches would be a 10 and then our bodies quickly lower it down to a default level, somewhere between zero and two that's what's ideal. This is what happens in nature.
You know, I'm a predator, starts chasing a zebra and the zebra runs away, goes into fight or flight and as soon as the Predator's gone, the zebra goes back to, well we call homeostasis low stress and then it starts grazing and hanging out and doing all that. The Zebra is not sitting there thinking, well what a lion that was, oh my God, I nearly escaped and I'm sure going to die tomorrow. These things. And so this is sort of the price we pay for consciousness. So we owe it to ourselves to create a low default stress switch, and depending on who you are and what you've been through, the prescription for that is different. But the technology that I talk about that I developed to prevent PTSD is one of the first steps. So you can actually have this technology on your body. It's noninvasive. It's just haptic micro vibrations that vibrate back and forth. And believe it or not, that adds an input into the salient network that's deciding what to do with your stress switch. And it lowers your stress switch. So the research is that it will lower your stress about 62% in 30 seconds. And that's with the sample of over a thousand people. And so if you have access to this, it can bring your stress, which down very, very quickly. And then people spot use it throughout the day to keep their stress low.
So we use that and then we also have people, the other, you know, cure part of this is a base of healthy behaviors and that's where you come in, right? A base of healthy exercise and diet and sleep regulation. And I don't mean when I say diet, I think people freak out. They're like, oh my gosh, I have to start counting macros and I need to, you know, go on the LCHFdiet, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about a reasonably well balanced diet where you're not drinking two sodas a day, right? You're never ingesting things that have a huge spike, create a huge spike in insulin. You're not binge eating. You're not only eating white and brown foods. I'm talking about very basic, healthy diet principles. Okay? So you don't have to add two hours of obsessiveness to your day trying to maintain a healthy diet. Right? But just the basics, okay. You have the basics of the exercise, the Diet and sleep regulation, and then you add the technology and then you add some of the knowledge in the book. And I think that is all the recipe that you need for success unless you've been extremely traumatized or have PTSD, had a terrible upbringing. If that's the case and there's a lot of trauma in your childhood, then we add to the prescription things like EMDR therapy and maybe neurofeedback in our clinics. And so, um, but whatever the reasons or the case or however bad it is, we can cure the excess stress.
Allan: 24:23 Yeah. And I think, you know, as, as you know, as I talk to a lot of people come to clients, you know, on online, uh, just the conversation. I'm actually, I mean, I used to have this mindset that, you know, there can't be that many people with, you know, PSTD but I guess I'm coming to understand that as the world and the technology and everything has, has moved forward at this pace, all that kind of piled on to potentially childhood trauma to you know, just major things that are going on in our lives right now. Um, we're just over, we're over done. And it's really pushed a lot of people over that line to a point where yes, you need proper nutrition. Just make sure you're getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs, the protein it needs to rebuild and do the things you're getting, the proper sleep, so that your body can heal and recover and you're moving, you know, you have a movement practice where you're building a fitness level to be the kind of person you want to be.
And do the things you want to do. If you, if you're doing all of those behavioral things right, you still might find yourself just not able to flip that switch. Um, so I do want to talk a little bit about the technologies. So let's start with the EMDR. What is that? What's that kind of therapy like? And um, you know, if someone really does, they've got, they know they've got trauma, they've tried all the tactics, they aren't, they're eating well, they're exercising, their sleep isdisrupted because of the stress more than likely and maybe haven't figured out the sleep part, but they just know they're not getting where they need to and it's time for them to consider some therapy. What is this like, what would that be like for them?
Dr. Serin: 26:08 Yeah, I get patients like this all the time and you know, some of them have been to therapy. Some of them have been to talk therapy and while it was moderately helpful and they liked their therapist, they're still having these responses and it's not getting resolved. We have to resolve it at the level of the nervous system. If we don't do that, every time you get a trigger that's associated with something, your stress, which is going to go up to what it's default is for that trigger. So I think about, you know, someone goes, well I think about my ex-husband and it goes up to an eight and then I, and, and we're not, again, consciously trying to think about it. It's just sometimes the thoughts happen automatically or sometimes we get an email from them and then boom, eight, eight, eight, right? We want to change that.
So the EMDR therapy incorporates a lot of the ingredient of some other therapies. So it's sort of like cognitive behavioral therapy plus the therapists will use eye movements and also similar technology or the technology in the touchpoints which you can now use at home. Um, and those are just the vibrations that bring down stress. And so you process the trauma or whatever happened and sometimes you didn't even know what it is. All you know is that when something happens in your life now it creates such a stress response or panic that we start there and then you will start processing everything in your memory networks associated with that, whether or not you think it makes sense and then that gets resolved in the nervous system and then it doesn't take your stress switch up anymore. So it's that simple.
But we are so obsessed with consciousness and convoluting things and thinking that, you know, defining ourselves as our anxiety or this or that, that that I just need to whittle it down for people and say if we were thinking of something, and while you're thinking of that, you can get your body calm instead of the stress that becomes your new normal for that thing and then that will generalize to other things. And that's how we heal trauma. And that's how we create a different default in the stress switch. And the EMDR therapy does a beautiful job of that. In fact, research shows that if someone's got post traumatic stress disorder from a single incident, like let's say a near death experience or one combat experience, then they actually only need about six sessions of EMDR to cure it.
Allan: 28:31 Okay. And then the blast technique, which is the bilateral alternating stimulation tat tie, which you kind of talked about the touch points, it's, it's Kinda tapping into the salient network. Can you talk a little bit about that and how that works? Cause that's something that someone can use at home as, as needed, right,
Dr. Serin: 28:50 right. So if you think about, you know, if you in a loud, if you're at a conference and or a restaurant even and it's really loud and there's all these jarring sounds, you're going to feel more stressed out because your salience network is ratcheting up your stress switch based on all of that sensory information. But if you are in a dimly lit room with music and with calming things, your stress switch is actually going to be turned down for you because of that sensory information. All the blast does. Bilateral alternating stimulation in tactile form. I know that's a mouthful. Nobody, nobody's going to be tested on that. So we just call it blast. All that is is it's a better sensory input that will lower stress faster than let's say listening to a calm song or in a bathtub or something like that.
We're using a sensory network to downgrade the stress response in real time and we can do it very quickly with these alternating vibrations. It's amazing. So people can use those in situations where they're normally stressed out. So we have people using them during tests for test anxiety. Or, um, parents often struggle with kids who are sitting down to do homework and they hate homework and you pop it on the kids for kids and Tantrum or for cravings. Remember, if you're stressed out, you're more likely to want to reach for a donut versus a salad. But if we lower your stress, those cravings, will go down because there's no stress to regulate in that moment with a donut or alcohol or something else. Um, so there's all kinds of applications at home that you can use this technology for. And what I like about it is you don't have to stop what you're doing.
People go, well, what do I have to do? Like leave my desk at work and you know, meditate for five minutes and then go back. And I'm like, no, you, you don't need to do that. Um, in fact, good luck leaving your desk and trying to meditate for five minutes. You're probably not going to be able to willfully get your stress down enough to get into a meditative state. If you can that's wonderful, but most of us can't. So at your work desk is something stressful. You just put them in your pockets because they just have to be on one side or the other side of the body. So you can put them in pockets, socks. You can hold on to them with your hands. They come with a wristband so you can wear them on your wrists, but a lot of times people want to hide them so they don't want them on their wrists. Anyway you want.
Allan: 31:19 Yeah, someone's going to ask, why do you have two watches on,
Dr. Serin: 31:22 right? What is going on? Right? And actually we're using these incorporate wellness. So in a, in some companies now it's just sort of like, you know, everybody just knows what they are. It just becomes part of the culture. Like, Oh, I'm using my touch points, you know? And, or if HR has to deliver some bad news to people, they put the touch points on to lower their stress. So there's becoming a part of some companies, cultures, and it's becoming kind of this normal thing that you would do. Um, but for most culture companies it would be like, what are these weird vibrating things that you have and you know, what's going on? But the cool thing is, is that I'd had some, you know, mavericks in their companies just go, hey, think of something stressful. And people are like, okay. And they go hold these. And then people are like, wow, you know, and then they get it. So it's so instantaneous. It's relief that people get from it, that it's very, very easily, um, demonstrated. It's harder to explain than it is to just get these in people's hands and they feel an immediate relief and then it's very easy to understand, you know, why the person next to you ask these on. So,
Allan: 32:26 Yeah, I think if I, when I was in corporate and you know, as I was reading through, I was thinking I would just need wear them 24, seven one I was when I was in corporate, but, uh, hopefully they would, they would act a little bit faster than that, but I would have no qualms telling them, okay, look, you guys stress me the heck out. So, uh, I'm gonna, I'm gonna wear these on, on both of my wrists and a pair, all my ankles if I had to. But it's very interesting in the technology. It's very interesting, you know, kind of where we're going with this and just to say, okay, if the tactics aren't working for you it's probably because your stress switch is just way too high and some of these therapies are just something that you're gonna need to consider as a means of getting their stress point down to a point where you can actually use the techniques and get some benefit from them.
Dr. Serin: 33:13 Right. And not procrastinate and not avoid them too, you know? I mean, how many workouts have we not done because we wake ups, we're stressed out and we're like, oh, I just can't handle it today. Those are all cognitive thoughts that aren't true. You know? Of course we can handle it because if somebody forced us to do it, we could absolutely do it. Right.
Allan: 33:34 If a bear showed up you'd start running.
Dr. Serin: 33:36 They would run right? Oh, I can't run today, right? No, you can run today. But this is what you're telling yourself and what you're telling yourself is exactly correlated with where your stressed switches and that moment. So again, a lot of people think, oh well I think something and then I get stressed. It's not true. Your body is stressed. And so then you think something. So a lot of times with just the technology, you know, in touchpoints and certainly with things like EMDR therapy, positive, spontaneous spots are increased. just from that, so we know that it's not a one-way street where we're, it's not a top-down process of, Oh, I'm either going to choose to think positively or negatively. If you're stressed out, you can not, a lot of times you can choose to think positively. You don't have access to that level of thinking, but as you lower the stress switch, the positive thoughts suddenly emerge.
Things like, well, I guess I could handle that. I can do that. You know, I'm, wow, that's interesting. I had that thought that I couldn't run today, but I absolutely can and I know I'm going to feel better if I do it. So I'm going to do it. You know those things spontaneously re-emerge it's just way too hard to try to white knuckle this from a top-down perspective all the time. And just try to use consciousness, consciousness, consciousness to produce what we want. Um, we have to kind of fight ourselves to create these new habits. And it's really hard. We know it's really hard to tell people to change their behavior without some other kind of intervention.
Allan: 35:06 Dr Serin, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Dr. Serin: 35:15 So the, the overarching principle is do things with high impact, right? So the first strategy I would say is to look at, um, the top three things, sleep, diet and exercise. And what would create the biggest boom, you know, what create the biggest impact you, if you were to shift. So a lot of people are only getting five or six hours of sleep a night. And if that's the case, the no brainer in that is seven to nine hours of sleep every night. And you know, make that a goal. So that's the first strategy I would use is to kind of tackle the big things, the big things that have the highest impact. Um, switch those up. Okay. And if your sleep is off, that's the absolute number one thing as you get your sleep back on track, if you can't get yourself sleep by on track, just by putting down your cell phone or know turning off the TV at a decent time.
There's other things you can do like ad orange glasses that will block out the artificial light and things like that. But you know, we don't need to get too detailed with it. So slay the major dragons is kind of the first thing. The second thing I would say is too, you asked me for three, right? Okay. So the second thing I would say is too pay attention. And this is in my book. Pay attention to how your choices perpetuate your own stress switch. So a lot of times, like I said, your stress, which is being turned up and down for you, that's not necessarily a choice. What is a choice is if someone does something that I don't like, it's a choice for whether or not I have three phone conversations that night to kind of complain about that to other people. That's me actually consciously ratcheting up my own stress switch.
Yeah. I want people to agree with me. Can you believe she said this and did that? Yeah, I know. That's terrible. Oh, you know, that's, those are the things that you can consciously cut out of your life. I'm not going to spend time complaining right, to other people. I'm not going to try to get other people upset about the things I'm upset about. I'm not gonna watch people fighting on the news. Right. That's a conscious choice. When you watch people fighting on the news back and forth, that's actually a conscious choice that you're making to be embroiled in upset. Okay. And anger and all these emotions while you're stress switch gets turned on. Okay. Why do you want to be in that state?
Right. You, I'm telling you right now you don't, it's terrible for your health. It's terrible for things that you have no control over. Like the political climate, unless you're in politics and all these things, why do you want to spend an hour or two a day surrounding yourself with people that are stressed out that don't need to be in your lives cause they're on TV. Right? And so paying attention to when am I choosing to engage and get other people riled up and what am I choosing to become riled up by things I can't control. And then you wipe that out and then you have energy to do things that are more positive. Right. Okay. So that's two. And you asked me for one more. I'm trying to think of one more. I think that my advice be if your default stress switch is high, if you're somebody that wakes up and it's high in the and you do have sleep disruptions and you can't seem to just choose all the healthy behaviors that you want to choose and maybe you had a traumatic childhood or you know, have had really traumatic things go on in your corporate life or whatever your family life, then I would consider therapies like EMDR, um, and really getting some professional help not because you're damaged but because you want to be well.
Allan: 39:07 Absolutely. So thank you so much for being a part of the 40+ Fitness Podcast. If someone wanted to learn more about you, your book and uh, touchpoints, where would you like for me to send them?
Dr. Serin: 39:19 So I have a website at amyserin.com that's amyserin.com and there's links to the book and or just touchpoints. Also, the book is available on Amazon. In fact, it hit number one for preventative medicine in kindle on Amazon a few months ago. Thank you. Yeah. And then I have clinics too. I'm at serincenter.com so if anybody's interested in working, you know with more of that cutting edge neuroscience and some of the treatments we talked about, then I do have clinics and um, would just love to help anybody that is seeking a more fulfilling, happier life.
Allan: 40:01 We'll have the full show notes 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/401 you can find all those links there. So Dr Serin, and again, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Serin: 40:13 Thank you so much Allan.
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
Links mentioned in the show:
|#||Guest||Book Title||Get Book|
|385||Dr. Marc Bubbs||Peak|
|242||Dr. Sara Gottfried||Younger|
|248||Jeff Galloway||The Run Walk Run Method|
|317||Dr. Adam Nally||Keto Cure|
|369||Kathleen Trotter||Your Fittest Future Self|
|256||Maria Emmerich||Keto Comfort Foods|
|338||Dr. Jonny Bowden||Smart Fat|
|275||Gretchen Rubin||The Four Tendencies|
|382||Michael Matthews||Bigger, Leaner, Stronger|
|331||Dr. David Friedman||Food Sanity|
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
Before we get into today's episode, I would like to ask you if you would take just a moment to vote for The Wellness Roadmap in the Author Academy Awards. We've made it as a top 10 finalist in the health category. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist, and that'll take you to their website. You'll find a little arrow down the page a little bit. You can scroll to page 7 of 16 that's the health category. Just click on the book title, you don't have to give them any information about yourself. Just click on the book title and that will secure your vote for The Wellness Roadmap. Again, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist. Thank you. This award means a lot to me and your vote means the world to me. Thank you.
So today's episode is the third part of a mindset series. On episode 397, we talked about prioritization and time management by utilizing a tool that I created called the identity grid. You probably do better to go back and listen to the last two episodes, but you don't have to. I'm gonna try to make each episode stand-alone, but if you want to get the whole picture, I will probably be flashing back to that grid.
Also on episode 398, I kinda got into the getting the wellness, the things that you'll need to do to make that happen that include pushing outside your comfort zone, uh, applying your energies the right way and not overstressing yourself. Um, and then just looking at it more like a program rather than a project. So I'd encourage you to go back and listen to 397 and 398 if you haven't already, but I will try to make this episode stand-alone.
Today we're going to talk about commitment. Are you committed?
I talked to my clients, fairly regularly about this topic. I've talked on the podcast about it a few times, uh, but I can't under stress or overstress that the importance of commitment. If you really want to accomplish major wellness changes in your life, it's really just not going to happen if you're not committed to change. Because change is probably the hardest thing for a human being to do. Our bodies are naturally designed to find balance, are naturally designed to get to a comfortable place under what stress and daily living requirements we have today. So if you can get away with being 200 pounds overweight, your body's gonna let you be 200 pounds overweight, uh, because you can, and you can get away with it. And we can work around all these different things that used to set us back, but we figure it out.
You know, um, if you're unable to get up from a toilet because you're older and your legs aren't strong enough, put rails in the bathroom now that's going to help you for a period of time and then eventually you'll probably lose that arm strength. I don't want that to be my future. So I've made a commitment to ensure that I keep myself healthy and strong. So that isn't my future. That isn't who I am. That isn't how I identify. So I've set up an identity for myself that includes doing regular fitness training. And so as you look at that though, showing up is hard. Our bodies naturally want to be in that balance. So what do we do to break that balance? To break what our body calls, what they call in our body homeostasis. While it takes stimulus, stimulus takes work. So if we want to improve our overall health, we improve the foods that we're eating.
If we want to improve our overall fitness, we have to push ourselves across the different modalities that we use to define fitness. If you've read the book of The Wellness Roadmap, uh, that's up for an Author Academy Award. I talk about that in the book. Fitness is basically fit for task. It means that you're capable of doing the things that you want to do in your life. So for me, at 105, I want to be able to wipe my own butt. I want to be able to get up off the toilet. So I'm going to need to be fit enough to make that happen. For some of us right now, fitness can be, I want to basically be able to go on hikes and spend time with my family and not be overly fatigued or down and out the next day. Um, I want to be able to lift things that need lifting around the house.
I want to be able to open jars for myself and my wife. I want to be able to do those basic things that as we get older, sarcopenia and Osteopenia kinda take away from us if we're not doing something about it. So how do we make this commitment and how do we make it a commitment that we're going to stick to? Because face it, all of us do resolutions. All of us do our diets, all of us have done fitness regimes before and failed. And the reason most of us fail is this lack of commitment, a resolution, a goal, a diet there. They're all words. We used to fail that because so many people do. There's no, there's no jeopardy to it. There is no disgrace to it. It just, yeah, I tried a new diet and I fell off the wagon. I'll get back on it on Monday.
Well, today's Tuesday a well, okay, well, yeah, Monday. Um, there's all these different reasons we don't do it. But a commitment is very, very different. When you make a commitment, you're starting from a point of self-love. You're starting from a point that's very, very deep and emotional. And if you've ever made that type of commitment before, you'll really begin to resonate and understand what I'm talking about when you say you're going to do something for someone you love, you do it. Um, if you say you're going to pick up your spouse at the airport at five o'clock, you're at the airport at five o'clock. So if you make the same kind of commitment to yourself with the same basis of self-love, that you're going to be at the gym at five o'clock, then you'll be at the gym at five o'clock and not at the drive-through at McDonald's.
So that's where this comes from. The commitment comes from this really, really deep, deep emotional well, it's gotta be something that really touches you. It has to be a part of, as I've said over the course of this last few weeks, it has to be a part of how you identify. If you don't identify yourself as someone who's getting fit, it's not going to happen. When you get married, you make the commitment. You go from being engaged to married. You go from saying fiance to spouse. Now, you might verbally trip that up a few times, but in your head you know that commitment's there, you feel that commitment, you've made that commitment and you made it in a rather public way. So I encourage you, if you're really looking to to make a commitment, start with something deep and emotional and then make it public.
Now I provide online personal training and you can come to me, go to the website, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com and you can find links there to look up our group training and you can make that commitment to us. We're on a Facebook group, we're on our regular weekly calls. You can email me, we can have regular conversations about this commitment you have and keeping you on track. So make it deep, make it public and then beyond all kind of know what this is going to look like. You know a lot of people get married young and they don't know that type of people they're going to be when they get older, they really haven't set that vision. That's why a lot of people will say, wait a little while before you get married, so you really know what you're getting into. So you really know the vision of the direction that your life is going to go and where you want it to go.
I got married when I was 21 now. Was that a mistake? I guess so because I'm not married to her anymore, but at the same time it was just a part of my life lessons and I learned from it. So I'm not going to call it a mistake, but I do know that if I had known my path a little bit better at that point in time and had a better vision and we shared that vision and it was the same deep and emotional thing, that commitment would have stood time. It just would have. But we didn't do that. So make a commitment. And again, I can't stress this enough, deep and emotional, make it public and know what it means. Have that vision. So you have the why and you have the vision and you put those together and you make it public. That's your commitment and it needs to be based on self-love.
It doesn't need to be based on fear. Fear will only get you so far before you forget the fear and you revert back to old activities, but love sticks with you. Fear is something you feel in a movie theater and then you walk out of the theater and you're not afraid anymore. Love is something that you just keep on feeling. It's deep. It's emotional, it's chemical. It's a part of who you identify as. So take the time to build a solid commitment so we can make this fitness and health thing happen for you. Like I said, if you need a coach, reach out to me. I'd be glad to get on a 15-minute call with you just to kind of fare at some of this stuff out so you can get a little, get to know me a little bit better so I can get to know you a little bit better.
Online personal training isn't for everybody, but if you want to just get on the phone, have a consult, absolutely free. Come check it out. 40plusfitnesspodcast.com and you're going to find a link right there on the sidebar. If it's, if you're on the phone, you may have to scroll down a little bit before you see it, but just get in there, get to know me and figure it out. We can help you set this commitment. We can get to your why, we can get to your vision. We can put that together into a very solid commitment that could change your life, so do check it out.
before you get too far away, please do take a moment to go over to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist scroll to page 7 of 16 find The Wellness Roadmap. It's actually the first book on the list for health category at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist and then you just click on the cover and it'll take just a couple minutes for you to get over there and find the page and and vote for the book. I really do appreciate it. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist and vote for The Wellness Roadmap today.
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Hello and thank you for being a part of the 40 + Fitness Podcast. Today we're going to talk about getting to wellness. This is going to be part two of what's basically now going to be a mindset series. I didn't originally plan it out to be a series but it looks like it's working out that way. If you didn't listen to last week, episode 397 where I introduced the identity grid, probably worth you taking an opportunity to go back and listen to it, either before you listen to this episode or after.
I'm going to try to make it make sense to you regardless of where you're coming into this series. But just know that episodes 397 through 399 are all a part of a three-part series where we're going to get into the mindset of getting well because most of the folks that will come into a gym or start a wellness program of some sort or another are really just feel kind of lost.
They're busy, they've got so much going on and they may not even know exactly what to do when they're getting started or they decide to try too many things and they fail from over fatigue. So getting yourself into the identity grid and looking at how that works. You could get a 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grid and having that in front of you might help you a little bit with this, but like I said, I'm going to do my best to make sure that this episode makes sense in and of itself. So when you get started on a wellness journey, there's often so much opportunity, so many things that you can change. So many different things that you can do that it becomes very, very difficult to know exactly what is the right thing. And when someone asks me that, I always have to go back to what's your vision?
What are your longterm goals? I asked that question a lot. As you might imagine, and many times people don't really have a clear vision. They, they know that wellness is something that they're not. They know that it's probably going to involve some weight loss. They know that it's probably going to involve building some strength, probably involves building some stamina, but exactly how to get there is often where the struggle comes in. So as you start this journey, I'll just reinforce that you need to really break down your long-term goal, get something in your head that you can feel that you can, you know, almost see, one of the things I did early on in my fitness endeavors was I pulled out a picture of myself when I was 29 years old. Now at the time I was well into my early forties so there was, there's not much chance that I was going to look like I did when I was 29, obviously had a lot more hair.
Uh, even though I didn't have as much as I wanted at the time. So looking like that really wasn't something that I was interested in. But it kinda gave me an idea of if this person aged much slower than I had, what would I look like today? And I was always able to kind of go back to that benchmark and think of it in those terms. But I couldn't go from where I was, like I said, in my late forties to looking like that unless I did something special. And I knew that my body was not going to be capable of putting in the level of effort to look like I did when I was 29 when I was 29. I put a lot more time into the gym, typically 10 hours or so a week. And I just didn't really have that luxury of time, uh, as I was getting in there.
So it was very important for me to prioritize, which is again, where that identity grid comes in because it's going to help you balance out the four key aspects of your life. And if you know where you need to apply your energy based on who you are, how you identify in your entire life, not just as a wellness effort. Because if you just think of it in terms of wellness will, life's going to get in the way. So you have to make sure you take all of those things into account before you set your path. And then you have to know exactly where you're starting from if you're going to get to that vision. So I knew I couldn't put that amount of time in the gym. So I needed to be very efficient and very effective with the work that I was going to do.
And so I needed to go out and do the work and I needed to do it in a methodical and patient way. Now where a lot of people lose their way on this is that they either push so far out of their comfort zone by trying way too many things or they don't push their comfort zone at all. So I want to kind of talk about comfort zone for a little while because it's a very important line for you to understand. A lot of people will start a diet, they'll start an exercise program and a whole lot of other things all at the same time. And so if you decide you're going to go from the standard American diet and your regular drinks and your regular things with your friends and your regular life to suddenly, you know, and getting up off the couch and going to the gym five days a week, well you're going to experience some pretty staggering, uh, jarring things.
DOMS is a real thing. And a lot of my clients, you know, when they first get into an exercise regime, uh, they're dealing with DOMS and that's something that's very tough and difficult for us to deal with. But it is something that we just, we need to kind of manage, we need to go through.
So I would encourage you to find one or two big rocks as I say in the book. What are those big things that are going to move the needle a little bit for you? Get you moving in the right direction.
For a lot of people it's just cutting out your sugar, cutting out the processed foods, making that your first step on your nutrition is going to be a lot easier than saying I'm going to go full Vegan or I'm going to just eat, you know, grass fed meats and pastured eggs and you know, organic produce.
You know, making that drastic of a change might just be too far outside your comfort zone and sets you up for failure because the first day you find yourself pulling into McDonald's, you're dying. You know you're probably going to quit. Most of us do when we get to that point where we make that mistake, we get off of the plan, we're too far beat, you know, we, so I would encourage you to find that little thing that, that one big rock thing says a little bit big rock that you can put out there and you know that it's going to be working towards your health. Let that get set as a habit. Let that get set as a part of who you are, a part of your identity. And then the next step becomes easier. The same thing with fitness. Um, you know, initially you may, you don't need to go out and try to run five miles a day if you've never been running.
If you've been kinda couch ridden and, and not doing things sedentary, getting out and trying to run five miles on your first day is risk gonna probably break you. So get out for a half an hour and do a walk if you find that comfortable, push a little harder. So the other side of the comfort zone is that knowing how to push, we, we can't get where we want to go by doing the things that we're currently doing. So if you're very comfortable in your life right now, to get well is going to put you in an uncomfortable position many, many times. As I mentioned earlier, you're probably gonna deal with some muscle soreness, some Dom's, uh, you're probably gonna deal with achiness you know, that sometimes might even disturb your sleep. And if you're trying to change your food, you're not going to be able to eat the foods, drink the drinks, do the things that you were doing if you want wellness.
So as you look at moving towards that vision, you need to find your comfort zone and you need to push it. And the way I like to term it is that gentle nudges we want to get just outside the comfort zone until we expand that comfort zone. Once the comfort zone has been expanded, it's time to push a little bit more. Just that gentle nudge to get that comfort zone to expand. That's gonna allow us to progress on our journey. And that's gonna allow us to get the results that we need. Now, so many times as people approach this wellness journey, they approach it like a project. They're like, oh, well I'll go on this diet. I'll change the way I'm going to eat. And then when I get to my goal weight or my goal size, uh, then I'll go back to what I was doing.
So the, it's a project, they manage it like a project. Okay, I'm on the Diet and then I'm off the Diet. The project is there, the project is either successful or not, and then I'm off. That's not gonna work in the long-term. Aging is a slow declining curve. It's gonna take us down over time. So this needs to be more of a program, something that you're going to put in place. Something that is like I said, going to become a part of your identity. I see it a lot, you know, particularly with things like runners. I see it in crossfit. I see it in some other places where people will begin to identify with the activity that they're doing. You ask someone that runs who they are, they're going to say, I'm a runner. Uh, someone that does crossfit, they're a crossfit athlete. Um, they don't make any qualms about it.
That's built into the fabric of who they are, becomes a part of their identity. You look at a gym rat, they're in the gym every day. They identify with being a gym rat. They identify with being there. And it's not that you have to identify with being a gym rat or identify with being a crossfit athlete or a runner. It just means that you need to put this in your head that this is just a part of who you are. And as I mentioned in the last episode, when I was in college, I was a college student. I was a husband, I was a full time manager and I was a gym rat. Um, so I had a set period of time, two hours each afternoon between classes and my time as a manager at a retail pharmacy where I was in the gym every single day.
And that was just a part of my identity. It was part of my natural path, getting off the school, getting into my car, driving over to the gym, spending the time there, driving home, showering, and going to work. That was my normal schedule every single day, every single weekday. Anyway. So what you'll want to do is really kind of build this in over time. Slowly pushing your comfort zone and then just making it a part of who you are, so you kind of have this program that's in place. You've reprogrammed your brain, you've reprogrammed your identity, and that's going to be what's going to get you the most juice that's going to make you successful in the long haul. So this is not a project that you do and then you're done. This is something that becomes a part of you and then you're in this new position where it's a part of your identity and you can make some basic decisions. And those decisions are going to be around improvement and preventing regression.
So a perfect example is me. I tore my rotator cuff and there was a bit of a regression because I wasn't able to do the things that I was doing. I was lifting, getting much stronger and I really enjoyed doing that. I identified with that. But once I tore my rotator cuff, that kind of went out the window for awhile. I wasn't able to lift until I was healed and it's taken me, even today, I still have some strength loss in that particular shoulder. Um, so it's now I'm on a continual improvement program for myself where I'm gonna work on getting better and better and stronger and stronger. And I'm also being very careful to make sure that the issue I had with my right shoulder is not something that I repeat with my left shoulder. So I'm also on a program to try to avoid regression, try to avoid injuries.
So I'm being much smarter, much more fastidious about how I do my lifts, the types of lifts I do and, and I'm working my way through, but I'm still working on getting stronger. I'm still lifting relatively heavy weights and that's how you'd go about this. So it's kind of a recap and this was a shorter lesson, but it's a part of the three part lesson and I'd really encourage you to go back to episode 397 and and listen to that episode. Download the identity grid at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grid and kind of just go through that exercise and then come to this exercise where you know now that you kind of have a general idea of where you need to focus your energy and the amount of time and effort you're going to have. Start pushing that comfort zone in the areas that are going to give you the improvements you want.
You want to get stronger, you want to get a little more stamina. You maybe want to lose some weight or at least lose some body fat so that your body composition is better. All of those are good things for you to focus on and you probably know if you've listened to any of these episodes, you probably know a lot of the things that you can be doing to make that happen. Pick your big ones and implement them. Make it a part of a program. Make it something that you're now trying to put into you to make you comfortable at a bigger and higher and stronger and faster rate. Slowly pushing that comfort zone, the gentle nudges, making a part of your identity with program management. And then once you kind of start seeing things happen, adding more of those things that you know are going to improve you or at least keep you from regressing. So I hope you've enjoyed this episode. I'll talk to you next week.
If you haven't had a chance, I would really appreciate if you would take just a moment to go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist. You get to that page, you're going to see that the author Academy Awards, we've been put as a finalist for the health category. So if you go to that page, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist, you'll find a page, go down a little bit. You'll see an arrow where you can scroll to the health category. It's on page 6 of 17. A little hard to find, but go to that page.
Find page 6 of 17 and you'll see the Wellness Roadmap is right there on the top. Just click on the book cover. They're not asking for your email, they're not asking for anything else. Just click that and that's your vote. Really appreciate the votes. I really do want to win this award. It means a lot that I was nominated as a finalist and a really would appreciate if you take just a moment, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist page seven of 16 and vote for the Wellness Roadmap.
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They tell you when you start any kind of speech and any kind of talk, never start with an apology, but I am actually going to start this with an apology. I'm going to break that rule for a couple of different reasons. One is I'm actually going to do the audio producing for this when I've waited longer to do this episode because I'm actually quite been very, very busy. The other reason that I feel need to apologize is I'm recording this episode in a very empty house and there is probably going to be some echos, not the sound quality that you're used to having for both reasons. One, I'm doing the audio producing and two there's an echo in the house as I talk. And so the probably not the best listening quality that you've had with podcasts that I've done for you over the years.
And I apologize for that. But I do think the concept of what I'm talking about today is very, very important. And I do want you to pay attention to that please. So today we're gonna talk about a topic that I think is really missing in the health and fitness field because, you know, whenever I talk to someone about why they're not successful, why they're not showing up to work out, why they're not doing the things that they know they need to do, I typically get one very clear answer. I'm just too busy. So that has me kind of hitting my head and saying, okay, well why? Why are we so busy that we can't actually focus on our health and fitness when they are clearly important to us? So I'm going to walk you through something right now that I want you to really take some time to think about.
And if you're doing something else while you're listening to this podcast, maybe not the best podcast to listen to that way. Go back and listen to us again because I think this is really, really valuable. Particularly if you find yourself substituting time for health, substituting time for fitness and saying you just don't have the time because this episode is going to give you that tool. It's going to help you understand how you can prioritize this in a way that makes sense. Because so many people do the prioritization wrong. And so many people tell you, you should do prioritization this way. And I'm going to tell you that I know that's not workable and you're going to hear more as we kind of got through this, this session. So I want to take you back. So I want you to think back to a time when you were your most productive, best self when you were actually kind of had the energy and the capacity and just seemed to be on board just as boom, boom, boom, everything seemed to be working and I know you have one of those. I know you have a time where you felt like, okay, I'm, I'm touching all the bases, I'm doing all the things, I'm spinning all the plates, everything is working the way I want it to work and I'll tell you about myself and that time I was a college student, going to southern miss, majoring in accounting. Not An easy major but not a hard major for me. It was a good major. I got it, I understood it. I worked hard and I was taking the full load.
Anna was married and I had a full time job, but every single afternoon I was in the gym Monday through Friday, pretty much from two o'clock to four o'clock every single day I was in my mid-twenties I was looking good, I was feeling good. I had all the energy in the world. I was working that full time job. I was going to school full time and I was paying for it while I was going through it with the help of people that helped me get scholarships and do some other things. But all that said, I was making this thing happen and everything was firing on all cylinders. So who was I then that if I'm giving myself excuses to not work out now that's different.
And it was really about my priorities. People don't go to the gym, not because they know they shouldn't or they don't want to. They just end up prioritizing something else over going to the gym. They don't take the time to cook good food because it's easier to stop off at the restaurant and pick it up or go into the restaurant and eat it or worse, go to a fast food drive up window and get what they think they need for food. So it really kind of comes down to a, do you have control of your own schedule? And I think most of us would say, well, no, I have to be at work at nine o'clock and then I have to be there till six or I have to be there at eight until five or maybe it's, I have to be there at, you know, eight until 10 whatever it is.
If you're telling yourself that health and fitness is a priority, then you're going to do some things to make that happen. So if I'm going to school full time and I'm going to work full time, where are those hours? And what I found was they were right in the middle there, right smack dab in the middle of my face. I went to school in the morning, I scheduled my classes from eight to 2:00 AM I work scheduled on most weeknights, started at five I had two solid hours that I could be in the gym. And that's exactly where I was. So this was not so much about me trying to do more to be more productive. This was just literally me saying, this is my fixed time. This is my time when I was working for a corporation. And I wanted to get fit and stay fit.
I put it on my calendar from two to three was my gym time. It was my lunch. I wrote lunch on my schedule so that anyone wanted to schedule a meeting during that two to three time saw that that was my lunch hour. I wasn't available. I was busy and I was typically in the gym. Now obviously sometimes my boss would call me and say, hey, come on up. And it messed up with my gym time. But in a general sense, anyone who wants to schedule time with me knew that was booked out, banked out time. It's not their, it's not their time. It's my time. So how do we get to this point where we're comfortable telling the world that we're not going to work on their time, we're going to work on our time. Cause that's a very hard conversation to have.
It comes down to a couple of different things and one I'll, I'll point back to a book I read a fairly on in my career early on in my career. I want to say right now, the book's probably about 10 years old. Maybe not that all, but it's been a while since this book came out. And the book is called Essentialism. That's a very good book that allows you to understand that if you say yes to everything, then you're saying no to some pretty important things because you're just not going to be able to do them. They're not going to come around. So you've got to really break things down and understand what's really important.
Now, there's a lot of people that will tell you you need to have one core focus, one thing you're working on. And there's a book, it's called The One Thing, and it's on my reading list. I think I downloaded it on audible. So I'll probably be listening to it while I fly home next week. But it's, it's, it goes than that. You know, our lives are so complex that there can't just be one thing. You know, if you're, if your kid's sick, you, that's your one thing. If work calls, that should one thing. But what if you work calls while your kid's sick? Okay. And so what I've come to realize is that we have these identities. We have this thing of who we want to be and where we really want to be, but we have so many competing things, so many things that are coming about and saying, go here, go there, get this, do that.
So there, there never really is just one thing. There's often multiple things. Are they all equally important? No. At any given time, they're not. Some of them are more important than others, but they're, your priorities is going to shift. Things are going to shift. But if health and fitness are two of your priorities and they're on your radar, they're on your sites, then it's easier for you to make some decisions and say, okay, I get it. This is important, but I'm not gonna let it derail me because as soon as I get this done, I shift over to this, this health and fitness priority or this health priority or this fitness priority. So what I've done is I've created this concept called the Identity Grid and shout out to Rob. He is one of my clients. We were having a conversation about this concept and he's the one who kind of brought identity to that, to math as I talk about it.
So again, thank you Rob. I really appreciate you. But here's what the I Identity Grid is. It's basically four things that make you who you are. And I will say as I look at the email addresses of people that take my challenges, there's so many moms out there that I can tell you your identity is very much surfaced around being mom or now grandma a, there are many of us, like myself, my identity was about my business, about my work and who I was as, you know, an accountant, an auditor, as a c suite executive. That was my, you know, that was my identity. Now, does that mean that there's not opportunities there for me to have relationships? No. There's great opportunities for me to have relationships if I'm willing to work on them. There's great opportunities for me to work on my health and there's great opportunities for me to work on my fitness.
But if I focus on just one thing, then I just go to work every day and I, and I kill that. But I die in the process because I don't have the relationships, I don't have the health and I don't have the fitness. So in the identity grid, what you want to do is you want to pick four channels. My four channels have been career, relationships, health and fitness. Have I nailed all four of those? Well, no, of course not. Never. But if I keep those top of mind, those four channels than each morning, I have the opportunity to set my intention. So the real question would be when I wake up tomorrow on Tuesday, cause this episode comes out on a Monday, when I wake up tomorrow on Tuesday, what's my action in each of those four quadrants?
What do I want to do for my health? What do I want to do for my fitness? What do I wanna do for relationships? What do I want to do for my career or in my case now my clients, I want to make them as healthy and fit as they can be. What can I do for my clients tomorrow? What's my one thing? What is the one thing that I can do for my relationships with my family, with my friends? What's the one thing that I can do tomorrow for my health and what's the one thing I can do for my fitness? So if I wake up each morning with a clear action, then I know I'm moving in the right direction now from the action,
we started establishing goals. So I want to work out three times per week. That's my fitness goal. That gives me an action that each day as I go forward, I have a specific workout that I'm going to be doing three times a week, five times a week, six times a week, whatever it is. That's my goal. So the goal is to complete the action on a consistent basis. I want to be reaching out and talking to my family members. I want to be out and doing things for my health, eating better, doing those types of things, with my career, my relationships with my clients. I want to make sure that I'm delivering results each and every day. So I have these goals. And then the goals, well, unfortunately goals are an approach where an obstacle can step in and actually kind of break you down.
An obstacle can come in and say, Hey, you wanted to do this fitness thing and go to the gym, you know, five days a week? Well guess what? You just tore a shoulder and there's your obstacle. Or a friend shows up in town and says, Hey, let's go out. Let's do this. And you're not at the, so there's going to be obstacles in against your goal, things that are going to keep you from being able to hit that goal. So what you then have to do is you have to build strategies. So as I kind of put these things together as you kind of, if you can to try to visualize this and I know it's very difficult, if you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grid, you're going to find a grid that actually puts all four of these together with each of the pieces that I'm discussing right now.
So I'd encourage you to go out there and check that out. Cause this is a great little tool that I just developed to help you work this through. So to work it backwards, think about this. You're going to have strategies in place to basically break down the obstacles. So if my obstacle is okay, my friends want to play poker on Friday, on Monday at two o'clock and I want to go play poker with them, I enjoy playing poker with them, but that's the best time for me to be at the gym because that's none of my clients schedule calls at two o'clock. I can go do what I want to do during that hour or two hours. And I wanna work on my fitness also. It's the best time for me to go to the gym because that's the slowest time at the gym, which means I'll be able to get to all the machines I want to.
I'll have very efficient and effective workout. So if my strategy is avoid the poker game until three o'clock go get your workout in. Yeah, I'm a be a little sweaty when I go play poker. But Hey, they, they, they can put up with it. If they're getting my money, I have an obstacle and I have a solution and if I wanna do something enough, I'll set a goal. I'll set a goal to be there and do it over and over and over. And the goal is to complete that action and that action is aligned with one of my channels. So I'm not just setting a goal for the sake of setting a goal. I have an intent. I have a purpose, I have something I want to accomplish. So if it's getting into the gym every single day, five days a week, I have an action of going and getting in the gym, doing my workout.
The goal of doing it five times per week. The obstacles are there. I just have to have the strategies in place to make it happen. Now the reason I really liked this model is it, it aligns with something that resonates with me, which is called the be do have. And this is a mindset where if you want to have something you can't just acquire with money, you have to make it happen. And the way you make it happen is you set your mind to that person who is the person that has that thing. So who is the fit person? Who is the person that people compliment because they'd taken care of themselves and they're in good shape. They're the person that that emanates that and they then do the work. So the B means believe in yourself. Believe in who you are, have the self love to go through this whole process.
Have the self-love to download this grid and to sit down and spend some time thinking about where are your failure points? Where are the points where you're not getting what you want? Where are the points where if you applied your energy in the right place, a k a time management, you would get exactly what you want. This grid will help you do that. So have the self-love to do that, to downgrade that, download this grid to spend some time thinking this through because I will tell you this, straight up, health and fitness is 90% mindset. It's, it's, it's nothing hard, but it's the hardest thing in the world if you don't have the right mindset. So I strongly encourage you to spend some time thinking about your mindset, thinking about your goals, thinking about whether your goals and everything you're doing, your, your identity, is it aligned with the person that you want to be? And if it's not, that's where we have to start. We've got to align ourselves with the mindset to be the person that we want to be. Because if we're not that person, we won't get what we want.
If today's episode resonated with you, I really do encourage you to go out and check out the Identity Grid. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grid and get that worksheet today. I really do believe it's a great tool to help you get to the fitness and the lifestyle and the things that you need and want in your life. So please go check it out. 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grid.
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Have you lost your edge and by edge I mean your ability to do the things, to have the energy to be as sharp as you used to be. For most of us over the age of 40 the answer is no and I want to help fix that for you. Please go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/edge. I have a short video there. Really do believe. I have some strategies that will help you regain your edge, regain your focus, and get back on top. 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/edge
On today's episode, I'm going to share the nine most common diet mistakes that I see out there.
The number one most common diet mistake I see is calling it a diet in the first place. The word diet now in our lexicon of language has become a temporary fix, a temporary thing. So I'm going to go on a diet, lose the weight I want to lose, and then I'll go back to being me again and eating the way I was eating before.
That's a recipe for disaster. I
f you want to lose weight and keep it off, you've got to come up with a plan that's sustainable in the long run. Now you can have some intensity at the beginning that then tails off into a maintenance, but in a general sense, the way you ate left you the way you were, and if you go back to eating that way, that's exactly what's going to happen to you.
So instead of thinking about dieting, think about ways of eating. Try to find something that's sustainable that helps you get to a healthy, happy weight that you can keep doing. And so it's a way of eating versus a diet. And if you have that mindset, it's going to make this a lot easier.
The second most common diet mistake that I see is not consulting with a doctor. If you're going to significantly change the way you eat, your body is going to start reacting differently.
And this is particularly important if you're on some forms of medication like Metformin or insulin. Changing the way you eat, sue significantly can really be devastating to your body and not being prepared can put you in a dire situation. So talk to your doctor, let them know what you want to do, and then get their guidance on maybe how you're going to change up your medications or other things that they know about your health history that they can bring forward to make sure that what you're doing is appropriate for your health and for yourself. So make sure you consult with your doctor before you start a diet or a way of eating rather.
The number three most common diet mistake that I see is not drinking enough water. Many times people will go to these meal replacement shakes and they feel like they're getting enough liquids because they're drinking, they're drinking some of their meals, but the reality is our body needs more water when we're losing weight for various reasons, and one of the core reasons is that when we're gaining weight, we're putting that fat on our liver does.
It's really kind of sneaky thing in this toxic world. It likes to store those toxins in the fat makes this job really, really easy to store these toxins in the in the body fat and we don't have to deal with them. Now that you're starting to lose that body fat, those toxins are getting freed up and your body needs the water to help wash those toxins down because the deliver and the kidneys now need to do double time. They've got more toxins coming into the system and they need that water to help process and get those toxins out of you. You may notice when you go on a diet, sometimes you get a headache that can sometimes just be of the release of those toxins and until you kind of get them flushed out of your system, you might not feel too good. So make sure you're getting plenty of water when you go into a new way of eating a diet.
The fourth most common diet mistake I see is not having an awareness that, or having too much of an awareness on your macros. Some people completely obsess about the amount of carbs they're eating, about the amount of protein they're eating, and that obsession is just not healthy.
It's good to be aware of how much you're eating so that you know you're getting the appropriate energy. You know that you're getting the appropriate protein, but just getting too deep into it or not paying attention to it at all is a recipe for disaster, is basically telling your body, I don't care how much food you want, you're only getting this many calories and that's it. And not getting the protein you need. Your body might start leeching your muscles to lose that weight. And while you see the scale go down, it's not a good, it's not a good movement of the scale.
It's not a good look either. So make sure you're getting enough of what you need. But once you're in it, typically we eat the same foods. We eat the same way on a regular basis. So at that point you're generally going to know what you're getting in your food and it'll make a lot easier to track and keep up with if you need to at all. But you do need to be aware that your giving you enough, your body, enough of what it needs to meet its basic requirements. So it's not all just calories in, calories out. You need to know that you're getting the other macronutrients that your body needs.
The fifth most common diet mistake I see is not having an awareness of the micronutrients. If you choose to eat vegetarian or Vegan, there's a high possibility that you're not getting enough B12 or any B12. That all comes from animal products and if you're not eating animal products, you might not be getting the B12. You need to monitor yourself because you may need to supplement.
Likewise, if you're doing a low carb diet like keto, you might not be getting the electrolytes, the magnesium, sodium and potassium that your body needs and therefore you're going to face some problems, cramping and other issues and just not really feeling good. So making sure that you know what's in your food that you're getting the micronutrients necessary will allow you to potentially do the appropriate supplementation for the things that you are not getting. It's not that your way of eating is completely wrong. Just need to make sure you're getting the micronutrients. And then two other micronutrients I wanted to mention while we're all on the topic is zinc and iron. There's specific foods that we get those from.
So monitoring those and making sure that you know you're getting the appropriate micronutrients and your food. Really, really important. Food should be about nutrition. So in talking about micronutrients and macronutrients, we want to make sure we're providing appropriate nutrition, but also meeting our goals with this new way of eating.
The sixth most common mistake I see is not preparing or planning for contingencies. If you decided you want to go vegan and you are going to be going over to a family member's house, now you may have told them a hundred times that you're Vegan, they might not have prepared something that's appropriate for you to eat and therefore you're going to go hungry. So be prepared. No, no what you're going know what's going on and and have those, those quick things, have the things available, eat before you go if you need to. But just recognize that your way of eating might not be supported in every situation where you're going to find yourself.
So you've got to have a plan B, you've got to know what's going to go on so you can make sure you stay true to your way of eating your diet.
The seventh most common diet mistake I see is people not mentally preparing for the transition. If you're really good about your diet and your eating and your way of eating, and you're doing the right things for your body, your body will start to change. And with that, the way certain people may treat you, the way your clothes fit, all of those different things have an emotional perspective to it. And if you haven't mentally set yourself up for what that's going to be like, it can be a little jarring. And if you're not the person that likes to be the center of attention and you're going to a party and everybody is asking about the 30 or 40 pounds that you lost, just be prepared.
You might have to explain this is keto, and they're like, well that's dangerous. You're now, now you're in a conversation. So just recognize that you need to mentally prepare yourself. You did your research, you know you're getting the nutrition that you need, you're giving your body what it needs, and as a result, it's rewarding you with this weight loss. Just be prepared that afterwards you might not feel the same way, be the same person and you might get treated differently. So being in a position to know that that's the case, we'll make that transition much, much easier.
Diet mistake number eight that I see the is not mentally preparing for a plateau. A lot of folks will drop six pounds the first week and then two or three pounds the second week and then maybe two more pounds. And so that's a good solid 10 pound loss.
But then it stops. Your body is adjusting to your new way of eating and you're not losing the weight nearly as fast. That can be very, very disarming. That can be, you know, very, very disappointing. And in many cases, a plateau of more than a couple of days can wreck somebody's diet. They can wreck their way of eating. So the core of this is to know that plateaus are going to happen. It's actually a healthy part of your body. Finding that equilibrium, finding that status of, of breakeven and, and adjusting to it. So you need to be prepared for plateaus, know that they're there. And then at that point you can put together strategies to try to get past it. But you've got to come from the perspective of, of having patience and persistence. To know that any changes that you do might not give you the same rate of loss that you were seeing before, but as long as you're moving in the right direction, it's a good thing.
But plateaus are always going to be a part of it. So just prepare for the plateau. It's going to happen. And if you've got the right mindset going into it, you'll recognize it. You'll be able to make adjustments and probably get through it a lot faster.
The ninth most common diet mistake I see is ignoring food quality. You know, the, the package companies out there, they, they love, love, love when a new way of eating comes about. So you know, when Atkins got big, now they have Atkins foods. When keto got big, they have keto food. You can go through any grocery store and just about any major way of eating, you're going to find boxes with that food in it. They're either going to be in a freezer section or they're going to be on the shelves, but every single way of eating comes up with a food product.
So rather it's nutrisystem or weight watchers or whatever. If there's a way to market that diet, they're going to do it. And in doing so, you are now moving to processed food. It might fit your macros and might fit your micros, but in a general sense, it's a process, food stuff and it's not what your body really needs for true nutrition. So don't be fooled into the shakes.
Don't be fooled into getting into the processed foods because they're convenient and easy. Yeah, nutrisystem will mail you those meals and you can, you know, put them in your cabinet and they last for years. If it lasts for years, it's not actually real food anymore. There's, there's a lot in there that your body doesn't need, won't process. Well, and while you might actually lose weight, you're putting more toxins in your body, you're making it more difficult on your body, and you're not necessarily improving your health with these processed foods.
And I'm going to go ahead and throw in a bonus mistake is I think too often people try to go into their diets by themselves. They do it in quiet, they do it in private often for good reason. If you try something and nobody knew you were trying it and you fail, did you really fail? As soon as the tree falls in the woods and nobody's there to hear it, did it really happen?
So if you're concerned that you're not going to be successful, that you're not going to tell anybody, well then there is no accountability and there's a higher probability that you're probably going to fail because you've set yourself up to fail. So I would strongly encourage you to find an accountability buddy, really someone that will step in and be there to help you.
Now I do online personal training and I would love to be that buddy for you if you want some supervision, if you want some accountability, if you want someone that's going to be in your corner through all of this, through the change and dealing with that through the plateau and dealing with that, talking about the quality of your food and talking about what kind of foods you're eating and your justification for your way of eating and kind of putting it all together with you.
I would love to be that person. Just email me, Allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com. I would love to sit down and have a conversation with you about the ways that we can work together to help you be successful in your weight loss efforts.
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One of the best ways to see a significant change in your health and fitness is by adopting healthy habits. Elizabeth Rider through her book, The Health Habit, helps you set those healthy habits and provides over 300 recipes to make it even better.
Allan: 01:10 Elizabeth, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Elizabeth: 01:13 Hey, thanks for having me.
Allan: 01:14 You know, I'm really excited to talk about your book, The Health Habit: 7 Easy Steps to Reach Your Goals and Dramatically Improve Your Life. And kind of the subtitle of that is actually what is so attractive to me because I know from experience and working myself and with my clients is once something becomes a habit, it's just this automatic thing that you do and it makes staying healthy so much easier. The more of these health-based type things that you stack on top of each other. So I really appreciate having the opportunity to talk to you about this book in particular and then about habits and kind of approaches here.
Elizabeth: 01:55 Yeah, I'm thrilled to be here, thanks. I love talking about habits, I'm all about habits that people enjoy. So this, the book was really a quest for me with my online audience and now my book to find a way to build habits that we truly enjoy and look forward to and not create something that feels too restrictive or like a prison every day. So this book is 10 years in the making and I'm really excited to share it with everyone.
Allan: 02:24 And yes, with 10 years in the making. Wow, it's very well put together. It's very well structured. It's a very easy read. I really enjoyed that part of it too. Like you're just kind of your common sense approach that if we go at this too restrictive, we're setting ourselves up.
Elizabeth: 02:43 Yeah. I mean, I've been a health coach for, oh gosh, seven or eight years now and I've been blogging for over 10. I started blogging before Instagram was even invented before influencers were a thing. I've just been blogging for a long time, which led me to do, um, to host online programs. And this book really came from pouring over the feedback forms of over 10,000 women who have done my online program and really trying to get at the root of, we know how to be healthy, right? We know that every woman on the planet knows that blueberries are better for you than snickers. We know how to be healthy, but why is it, why does it feel hard and why aren't we doing it? And really when I pour over the feedback forms, the overwhelming majority was that people, just women especially I think men too, but you know, I work mostly with women feel so restricted and that they know they can stick to a quote diet for a short period of time, but they always fall off. So what I, what my work has been is how do I help these women build habits into their daily life based on what they already enjoy instead of just prescribing a completely new way of living. Because that, you know, that's difficult for people. Again, we can, anybody can do anything for a week or even 28 days, you know, a certain period of time. But we eventually slide backwards into old habits. So instead of prescribing a completely new lifestyle, how can I help you look at your current lifestyle and just make tweaks to make it healthier.
Allan: 04:08 Yeah. Most people, you know when they're going to make a change. So there's, okay, I want to get healthy. Or the doctor tells them, you know, hey, you need to lose some weight, or there's a family member that that gets sick and has a chronic disease. And they're like, okay, I don't want that to happen to me. So they kind of have this immediate kind of wake up and then they're going to set goals for themselves, but we suck at getting to our goals. So in the book you talk about 4 reasons that we're not meeting our goals, do you mind going over those four reasons?
Elizabeth: 04:39 Yeah, no, I'm happy to. For me, what I've noticed with people with goals is, and I have a business background. I came from corporate America before I became a health coach. And what I started to notice, what I started to notice was, and I think this process works in all areas of life, but what I was noticing in health especially is a woman who would say like, I would say, well, what's your goal? And she would say, well, I want to lose 15 pounds, or I want to sleep better, or I want more energy. And those are great places to start. So it's not telling people no, you're wrong. But really at the root of it, those are desired outcomes and goals need to be daily and actionable. And we learned this in the context of business. Smart goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
Elizabeth: 05:22 And we don't need to get businessy, you know, in the context of our daily habits. But we do need to set daily, actionable goals. So you still want to have an outcome in mind. If it is, you know, you know you feel better at a certain weight and you want to achieve that. If you just need more energy during the day, if you want to sleep better, if you want to reverse symptoms of a condition that you have, those are all great places to start with their outcomes. And we need to work backwards and figure out what are the daily actionable goals that you can have to actually achieve that. So for instance, if somebody wanted to lose weight. A daily, an example of an a daily actionable goal would be no matter what the first thing you eat in the morning has to be low in sugar because if you spike your blood sugar in the morning, it's proven that you can eat up to two to three times more food during the day or engaging in time restricted eating, which is a horrible word.
Elizabeth: 06:10 It's a form of intermittent fasting. It's way easier than it sounds. Just reducing that window, not reducing the amount of food you eat, but reducing the window during the day in which you eat your food. For instance, you eat from like 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and then you're done eating at 6:00 PM and then you don't need to get until 9:00 AM the next day. So you're just giving a longer window for that fast that we do overnight. And in the book there's a ton of resources and ideas to meet a variety of different goals. But I want people to get out of the idea that a goal is this like big accomplishment that at the end of something, and we don't even know how to get there. The goals have to be daily and actual. So that's the first thing is just people confuse outcomes with daily actionable goals.
Allan: 06:53 Yeah, and I liked in the book you talked about, so basically we have, we have what we call I guess desires and then we take that over to actions and then we have outcomes. And so if your goal is desire bound or outcome bound, it makes it that much more nebulous and difficult for you to know that you're on track.
Elizabeth: 07:12 Absolutely. I think that's, you know, the second mistake I talk about with people is that they misunderstand the feeling that they desire. So any action we take is driven by desire. And I think sometimes on the surface, and I'll use, I don't, you know, I'll just tell you a side note real quick. I really did not want to write a weight loss book. And I intentionally wanted to keep this book out of the weight loss category because I think women are bombarded with this idea that we have to lose weight and it's generally not true. However, I think that we all know as individuals that potentially we feel better at a certain weight or there's been a time in our lives when we felt better at a certain weight and there's nothing wrong with that. So I'm kind of neutral to weight loss, it's not a good thing.
Elizabeth: 07:51 It's not a bad thing and you can have your own desires. But I intentionally wanted to keep this book out of the weight loss category and Amazon chooses the categories, the author and the publisher do not choose the categories that goes into. And of course the first category went into is the weight loss category. So, you know, we can't control everything and that's fine. But, um, so I'm using weight loss as an example here, but you could use these for, you know, energy or sleep or any of the other things that we talked about when it comes to weight loss specifically, I think a lot of women think that they desire weight loss because they'll feel better. You know, they'll, they'll have higher self confidence or something will happen and then we lose the weight or something happens and then we realize that it didn't meet any of the desire, that we don't feel the way we thought that we would.
Elizabeth: 08:35 And when it comes to weight loss specifically, I think focusing on vanity is not a bad thing. It might be like the first thing that you think of. Like I want to look a certain way in my clothes, which again, there's nothing wrong with that, but it has to be driven by a deeper desire to feel good. I know for myself, if I let vanity drive any of my goals, they all fizzle out. So really understanding what do you desire, how do you want to feel? Do you want to feel confident? Do you want to feel accomplished? And I go through a lot of different desired feelings in the books. You can really determine how you want to, how you desire to feel, because that will drive what your daily, actual habits are.
Allan: 09:11 Yeah. You know, I tried to tell my clients, so, you know, vanity vanity is not bad when you, it's based on work that you've done. So if you've gone out and spent 20 weeks of training your body of watching what you eat and you've gotten to, you know, body composition that you're just really, really proud of, be proud. Uh, but the, the vanity that you see a lot of times on, particularly on the social media where they're comparing themselves to someone else, you know, that's often kind of the struggle is, you know, I'm not going to look like, uh, you know, Dwayne Johnson, no matter how much training I do, uh, you know, but that said, I can be a better person myself and I can feel better about myself if I'm doing the right things for myself.
Elizabeth: 09:57 Absolutely. And Vanity. I'll just say I think women, women especially, I know I've had this internal struggle a lot and I've talked to a lot of women about this and it's taken me a while to overcome it, but you know, on the surface we start to feel like, oh, vanity is bad. So once we, once we kind of say, okay, I can't just be driven by vanity, then we start to, we swing the other way and we think the vanity is bad and really just like weight loss. It's, I hope that women can come to a more neutral, men to a more neutral position where vanity is part of your biology in the sense of not, you know, putting Mascara on and lipstick and that type of vanity. But all animals groom themselves. You know, when we look a certain, when we look healthy, when we look a certain way, it attracts a mate. And that's a biological process. It's ingrained in us to want to look good. And so I just want women to know like it's not, it's not bad to want to look good, it's just part of your biology. It's like you just said, it's not going down that comparison rabbit hole because, hey, look, I'm friends with a lot of Instagram influencers and I know that they take 500 shots to get the exact pose together to get it. Hey, you know, there's that too, but we can't compare ourselves to that.
Allan: 11:02 Yeah, yeah. And then, then they, they dehydrate themselves and fast for three days before they do a photo shoot and then, you know, Yeah. So we've gotta we've gotta be realistic. Um, another area you went into the, in the book that I really enjoyed was you started talking about vision boards. Could you get a little into that?
Elizabeth: 11:20 Oh, yeah. I mean, visualization is a proven technique to help you achieve what those desired outcomes and goals are. It's what, you know, if we even at a higher level, like Olympic athletes are our coach to visualize themselves winning because it is proven that that can help accelerate their progress. So visualization is so important. When something is in our mind, we gravitate towards it. I mean, the most simple example, we know this if like if I tell you today or I'm really into red cars, now all of a sudden when you're on the road, you're gonna notice a lot of red cars, right? Because it becomes, it comes to the forefront of our mind. So anything that you look at all day, every day, and this is why your environment is so important. I talk about this, your environment in the book as well. If you are in an environment where there is a bowl of candy on the counter all day or at your desk or whatever it is you're looking at all day, of course it's going to be the only thing on your mind. You're looking at it all day. A Vision Board is a similar thing where when you can take what you want to achieve and actually physically put it in front of you, your mind will naturally gravitate towards whatever it is that you've put up there.
Allan: 12:29 Yeah. Like if you visualize yourself being able to scoop your grandchild up when they come to visit over the summer and be able to walk the zoo with them with no, you know, not without having too much fatigue where you're just pooped out and have to sit on the bench. You know, those are visions that you can have for yourself and then they're going to somewhat manifest in the activities that you start doing because that's what you're, that's what you're preparing yourself for. It's more like training than work.
Elizabeth: 12:56 Yeah, absolutely.
Allan: 12:57 Now you use a concept in the book that I just adore. It's called the qualitarian. And so it's effectively saying, you know, however you're choosing to eat or what, like as a way of eating via Keto or Vegan or some of the other things that you might use, like Mediterranean or dash or all those different titles or labels that we have for the different diets that are out there. Most of them diets are intended, okay, you're going to do this for awhile and then you're going to quit. But you're looking at it more from the lifestyle perspective and that leads us to qualitarian, what is it? And you have some commanding principles that I think are really crucial for us to know.
Elizabeth: 13:38 Yeah, the qualitarian weight is, you know, I've been, like I said, I've been a health coach for a long time. I've literally seen every diet and eating style available and something I'll talk about really quickly, I talk about this in the book and people can go through this to determine which one they are both before the qualitarian wayeEven just understanding are you an abstainer or a moderator? Because one of the biggest problems right now that I see in health and wellness is that coaches don't understand the difference between somebody who does well in an abstainer model and somebody who does well in a moderator model. And if somebody gets into a program that, like if you're a moderator and you are trying to follow an abstainer way, it's going to be very difficult and same the opposite way. If you're an abstainer and somebody is trying to tell you to moderate, it's going to feel difficult.
Elizabeth: 14:23 And really you just can determine that by which one makes you feel more free. So an abstainer would be somebody that follows something like the whole 30 or Vegan or some a very strict diet label that you feel more free with fewer choices and some people feel that way. And I'm sure there are people listening to this right now that are going, yeah, yeah, I do feel better when I have a very strict rules that feels good to me. I know exactly what I'm doing. I like that black and white structure.
Allan: 14:49 You actually described me, I'm an abstainer.
Elizabeth: 14:51 Okay, great. Yeah, that's awesome. And then there are people, I'm a moderator. There are people like me who that makes me feel so heavy and restricted and it makes me feel like I'm in prison. I hate that feeling. I do really well on a moderate or model where it makes me feel more free to know like I'm going to follow a certain way of eating a qualitarian and I'm going eat real food, high quality food. And occasionally if I want to have pizza, I'll still have really high quality pizza, you know, made from the best ingredients. But I don't, if I have one slice of pizza, I'm good. That makes me feel more free. I don't need to have more. Right. I don't, it doesn't, it's not the model of like, you can't just have one. I'm like, yeah, actually can just have one. Um, but everyone's different. So like you just said,
Allan: 15:37 I'm eating half or the whole pizza, just depending on how good it tastses.
Elizabeth: 15:40 yeah. Yeah. So really determining, you know, which, which model do you fall under? And because if you're a moderator, like I don't label my eating habits. I think if somebody hung out with me for the week, they would think I was Vegan because most of the food I eat is Vegan. I gravitate towards that. I really don't do dairy or animal products. However, I might be out at dinner with a girlfriend, um, you know, and have a glass of wine. We might share like a flatbread or something. And, and that feels good to me, but some people, like you just said, you're an abstainer, you know, that is you just like the black and white rules. That feels better too. So really we have to find which of those things work better for us. And then within that model, the qualitarian way means that no matter what, whatever food you decide to consume, whether it's, you know, your salad or your pizza or you know, your bowl, your smoothie, that you choose, the highest quality food that you have access to. Meaning, one thing that I see a lot, and I think you know this too, everybody's on the Gluten Free Bandwagon and hey, I don't eat a lot of gluten either. But what happens is people end up buying gluten free, junk food, right? And gluten-free junk food is still junk food, you know, packaged, processed. Just because it's gluten free doesn't mean it's not made with stabilizers and preservatives and denatured oil and high amounts of sugar.
Allan: 16:57 Yeah, I've watched this cycle so many times. You know, something will come out like gluten free or like keto. And so this idea comes out and everybody wants to try it and then all of a sudden you start seeing the freezer section in your grocery store has a little section of it now and then it gets bigger and bigger. And then there's a whole section over, you know, what they call the health foods section, where you're going to have all of these Keto friendly foods or these gluten free foods and you look at the label and it's not food anymore. It's, it's basically manufactured, um, calories.
Elizabeth: 17:34 Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, under the current qualitarian model, the qualotarian way, I think the most important question to ask, whether it's plant based or animal based, what's the quality of this food? Am I eating the highest quality food that I access to? And when I say that I have access to, you know, I've lived all over the world, um, and all over the US and right now I'm currently on the coast in Seattle. Big cities have access to more food. And I realized that I'm from a small town in Montana and I realized that not every single place in the world has access to, uh, you know, free range, uh, air chilled chicken, right. Or whatever it is that you want to eat. So, and budgets are also a concern. So whatever it is. Um, and I give a lot of tips for, you know, budgeting and eating well on budgets in the book, but just choosing the highest quality food you can.
Allan: 18:23 Yeah. I think that's critical. If it's not whole food, um, you have to, you know, you have to realize that it was manufactured to, uh, to make you want more.
Elizabeth: 18:33 Yeah, absolutely.
Allan: 18:35 Now you have a process, I guess a method that you've put in the book. And I really like this one. It's called the book end method.
Elizabeth: 18:44 Yes. I'm glad you liked that.
Allan: 18:46 I do like that.
Elizabeth: 18:48 Yeah, you know, I have an online membership for health and I was putting together, um, one of our monthly bundles and I was just thinking about morning and evening routines because I've been getting a lot of questions about this and I think there were some confusions, we all have heard probably by now that it's really great to have a morning routine and then an evening routine. But I think people were getting confused of what those things are. And I started talking about it's really important to book end your day with, even if it's 10 minutes, you know, five, 10 minutes, you know, maybe 30 minutes, whatever it is, Everyone's different of intentional self care because that sets you up to make better choices during the day. And what came out of that as the book end method.
Elizabeth: 19:29 And really what the book end method is is like I just said, you have something in the morning and morning routine or ritual, even if it's just five minutes. I know a lot of people have kids, they have jobs. There's so much happening. You don't have to spend two hours every morning in the morning ritual, 10 minutes, 15 minutes that you can in the morning, 10 or 15 minutes in the evening and they have different purposes. In the morning you want to choose things that increase your energy, that set you up to make great choices during the day and the evening you need to set yourself up for better sleep so they actually have different purposes and they're not interchangeable but in the morning, and there are some things that you can do in both of them, you know, journaling, some type of meditation, whether it's mantra based meditation or mindful mindfulness meditation, even just deep breathing, stretching.
Elizabeth: 20:15 There are some overlap, but really in the morning, how can you healthwise set yourself up to make better choices during the day? Because we know that how you start something affects every choice that you make. It's why if you look at, if anybody's ever done theater or you know something in a theater group, there's always a prayer circle before the big show. It's how you start something. It's why, uh, in sports teams there's always the big huddle before the show, right? How we start something dictates how it goes during the day. So if in the morning, if you can just commit to 10 to 15 to 30 minutes of very mindful intentional health practice, you will make better choices during the day. And that brings us to the evening. If you can dedicate five, 10, 15 minutes, whatever it is to setting yourself up to sleep better. Sleep is so critical to health. But I would even say sleep is as critical to health as what you eat. I think sleep is completely underrated and quality sleep, right? Not Junk sleep where you're tossing and turning. You can't sleep at night. Um, and there are things you can do to set yourself up to sleep much better. I've been on a quest for better sleep for the last 10 years and I'm finally sleeping really well. But yeah, just book ending your day with two practices can make a world of difference in your health.
Allan: 21:27 Right? So now someone gets your book cause yeah, there's lots of, there's a lot in here of different things that we can do different approaches and so someone starts setting goals and getting action and they're starting to develop these habits. In the book you go through a series of tools that we can use to help us stick to the habits. In other words, quite a bit there. So I, you know, I don't want to ask you to share all of it, can you go through just a few of whatever your favorite tools that would help us stick to the healthy habits that we're getting.
Elizabeth: 21:59 Yeah there are, there's quite a few in here. I think one of the biggest thing, just the mindset shift of the crowd out method. Meaning instead of, if you're on the quest for healthier habits and you want to start with food, think about adding things in, not taking things out. So again, that's kind of the moderator of sooner model where you know, people want to be gluten free or dairy free or Vegan or whatever it is, which is not a bad thing. But what that model does is it removes things where the credit method introduces things. So instead of telling yourself like, I can't have you know, Tacos or whatever it is that you want, add things in so you know, I'm going to eat a giant bowl of veggies or salad or whatever it is, something that you know is healthier. I'm going to eat this, I'm going to bring things in instead of taking things out and that will naturally crowd out the bad things.
Elizabeth: 22:45 I think that's one of the best places people can start for healthy eating. Instead of saying, I can't ever have something again. Say what will I have today and if I still want that other thing. Sure. And usually you know you're full by the time you have the thing that you said you were going to have, so you don't even want the other thing. I think the crowd out method is absolutely key to building healthier habits. I think something else that's really, really important. We alluded to social media a little bit. I love social media. I use it, don't bite the hand that feeds you. I think social media is a great way to connect. But I also, um, you know, throughout the book, something I'm really encouraging people to do is to understand that how you do one thing is how you do everything.
Elizabeth: 23:26 And that's why I talk about environment and I talk about, you know, detoxing your laundry and all these different things because how you do one thing ends up to be how you do everything. So if you want to change your food habits and you're having a difficult time making great choices, start in other areas of your life, right? Once you start to clean up other areas of your life, it's easier to clean your food. So one thing would be curating your social media feed. I, you know, have gone through periods of time where I'm following someone, even a friend, someone who I know and I just find myself comparing myself to that person a lot. You can curate your social media feed, unfollow accounts. You don't have to, unlike, or you know, it doesn't have to be with any haste, but you can mute accounts, you can unfollow accounts, don't let your social media feed be filled with things that make you feel less, because if you're allowing, it's that little tick and your mind every time you see that that brings you down. And of course the more you feel down, the worst choices you're going to make.
Allan: 24:23 Yeah. I took one my work, uh, related, uh, Twitter accounts and I just went through and I said, okay, if someone posts something political, I'm just going to unfollow them. And I did that for like three days and after about three days, there were, there was no political posts on my Twitter feed for, you know, when I was working during the day. So if I went to check Twitter, I wasn't getting bombarded by it, all the political conversations. So it became a very peaceful, zinful feed because it was filled with people who were positive and and talking about health and wellness and not going off on those daily Tangents of negativity that were starting to impact the way I felt about the world. I'm like, no, when I'm doing this, I want to think about health and fitness.
Allan: 25:14 I want to think about wellness. I want to think about joy and I'm not getting it from these people. Even though a lot of what they put out there was extremely valuable. It was just, there was just, I wanted, I needed to get rid of that other piece, and so when I did that, it's like that feed is my kind of my little goto zen place. Every once in a while I'll log in there and just read what people are saying there rather than other places because I know I'm just going to get hit and bombarded with things that are gonna just be negative.
Elizabeth: 25:40 Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, no one, no two people's social media feeds are identical because the algorithms know based on what, even if you slow down to scroll, even if you don't like something, they know what you like or that you're at. You think they know where your attention goes and then your work feed is filled with more of those things. So I've, I've hear from a lot of women who are like, Oh, have you seen this? It's all over Facebook. And I'm like, I haven't even seen that. And like you like it because you're going to websites that are talking about that and you're liking things. You're slowing down on those posts. So they're giving you more of that. So I really, you know, especially women who are newer to social media in the past like five or 10 years, the reason your, your feed looks like that, no one else's does. It's because you're gravitating towards that. And you can curate that. You can change that by unfollowing or unliking things. And then really making sure that you're liking or commenting on things that lift you up. You know, your social media feed really should be a place that gives you inspiration, lifts you up if you're ever feeling down after you look at your social media feed, you need to curate it.
Allan: 26:40 Yeah, absolutely.
Elizabeth: 26:42 Yeah. And then I think, you know, a big thing too is that I would leave people with is that good health is not all or nothing. And I think we are bombarded with the idea that if you do one thing that's not on your plan, it's all for not. And that's not true. Your health changes in cycles and seasons in life you'll change. You know, the average person eats around 2000 times a year. If you're eating like three to five times a day, let's say you're going to eat 1500 to 2000 times in a year. And I don't know a lot of people who can get something 1500 out of 1500 or 2000 out of 2000 right. That's you know, I know some pretty high performers. I don't know if I can find anybody that doesn't, there's not any error in that. So, you know, I think what we need to understand is that we constantly need to be moving the needle towards better health.
Elizabeth: 27:35 I do believe that we need to eat real food. We need to, we need to learn what it feels like to feel good. Because once you feel good, you don't slide back into unhealthy habits and recognize that we should be always searching for progress, not perfection. Because perfection is a complete illusion, it doesn't exist and it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Now I don't want that to be a get out of jail free card to just, you know, go eat fast food or something because we need to stay away from food that is harmful to us. But good health is not all or nothing. So if you are at, you know, your sister's house or your friend's house and they make this big feast and it's not necessarily within the way that you eat and you want to enjoy the party with people, go ahead and do it. It's what you do the next day and the next day and the next day. It's not one meal that's going to sabotage everything that you've done.
Allan: 28:25 Yeah, I completely agree with that. Um, you know, something I've been paying a lot more attention to really in about the last two years, particularly since I started writing my book, um, back aways it was that words have such a profound meaning beyond what you would just attribute to them if you were reading a book. You know, like if you're reading through a sentence and the word I can't comes up. Yeah. And it just seems like a simple word, but you know, for, for the person like you, that's a moderator and this is, this is one of your, your hints here, your, your tools is, is to replace I can't with, I don't.
Elizabeth: 29:05 Yes. Yes. This is another scientifically proven mindset trick that takes the pressure off the burden off or the heaviness off of, you know, oh, I can't have ice cream after dinner. Whenever you tell yourself you can't do something, it is going to be at the forefront of your mind with, I don't eat ice cream after dinner or I don't eat ice cream after dinner unless it's Friday. Sure. On Fridays, whatever, whatever day you pick. Maybe you like your ice from on Tuesdays, um, or maybe you make your own. There's a recipe on my blog for healthy homemade ice cream out of coconut milk that's really low in sugar and you want to some that every night after dinner, go for it. For me, I use time restricted eating. I generally don't eat after seven o'clock so for me it's not that I can't eat after seven o'clock sure.
Elizabeth: 29:51 If I'm hungry, I can eat. I just don't eat after seven o'clock and I don't do that. And again, as a moderator, intermittent fasting is proven to work if you do it at least five days per week. So on the weekends, sure, if I'm invited out, I'm not going to tell my friends I'm not gonna eat after seven. Right. So I, I still have that balance and that flexibility in my lifestyle. But in general, when I'm at home, I don't eat after seven. And just that simple trick of using, I don't, instead of, I can't put you back in the driver's seat and it gives you a position of power instead of a position of why can't have that.
Allan: 30:22 Yeah. And the mindset is so critical in us. That's why I really liked that tool was because I think a lot of folks just feel so restricted when they go in and say, okay, well I'm going to, you know, I'm going to go ahead and try this Vegan Diet and they're not thinking of it as a way of eating. They do see an end point there, but now they're like, well, I can't have a hamburger. And then, so now they're in the shop looking for fake Burgers, uh, you know, to kind of appease this thing. And so it Kinda sends them down the spiral path of I can't, and I can't and I can't. And they just want it that much more.
Elizabeth: 30:56 Right, right. Absolutely.
Allan: 30:58 Now, I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Elizabeth: 31:08 Oh Man, I think so much of it has to do with mindset. If I could pick three things, two of them would probably might be mindset based because if again, if we're just, if we're skipping the mindset piece and then we're just going straight into the food, we're always going to stop at some point. It has to be mindset based. I think the first thing for women that I've noticed that I would say is in getting your mindset right is realizing that you are constantly changing and evolving and nothing is ever set in stone. If you want to be thinking your whole life, great and that works, I think it's great, but what works more I think for a lot of women is that to understand, I mean women are cyclical by nature, right? We have our cycles by nature. You might want to eat different at different points in your cycle every month you might feel better vegan, meat free one week and you might realize that you need a little bit more protein and you gravitate towards animal protein another week.
Elizabeth: 32:02 Also the seasons change. The seasons are cyclical, right? Um, you might find that in the summer you like more raw and cooked food and in the winter you gravitate towards more, you know, heavier cooked food and then the cycles and seasons of your life change, right? You know, the teenagers, adolescents then we turn into uh, you know, young adulthood into this like more mature area of life. So the first thing for women, what I would say in order to be healthy and well is realize that you are free to change course at any point in your life. And that's a mindset trick. You are afraid to make a change. If you've been labeling your eating habits and that no longer feels good to you, you are completely free to change anything in your life. So I think that would be the first thing is just realizing that life is cyclical and you can make a change at any point.
Elizabeth: 32:49 Um, the second thing to be healthy and well I would say is to visualize it and that goes back to the vision board and create an environment. So this is mindset and you know, starting to get into like something physical you can do, you have to create an environment that supports your healthy lifestyle. And that has to do with how you, you know, whatever's in your home, whatever, how are you set up your day? You've got to create an environment for yourself that feels good to be healthy and well. Because if you don't have the environment to support your lifestyle, it's going to feel very, very difficult to be healthy and well. And I think the third thing is just really goes back to food. Understanding that there's one, not one right way for everyone to stop searching for silver bullet diet because it doesn't exist. Um, and really just follow the qualitarian way. Those would be the three things that I would tell people.
Allan: 33:39 I really appreciate those. Those were excellent. Thank you. So if someone wanted to learn more about you and the book, The Health Habit, where would you like for me to send them?
Elizabeth: 33:49 Oh yeah. Um, my website, Elizabethrider.com and there are over 300 recipes. There are, there are a ton of healthy living resources and with the book coming out we are giving away free downloadable book bonuses. I'm with checklists, downloads, cleanup items are so many fun things to download with the book and that's at Elizabethrider.com forward slash book or it's really easy to find on my website but I would love to send everyone there so they can grab those bonuses with the book
Allan: 34:14 Outstanding. This is going to be episode 395 so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/395 and I'll be sure to have the links right there. So Elizabeth, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Elizabeth: 34:28 Thanks for having me. I'm thrilled to be here. I appreciate it.
Let me ask you a question: Have you lost your edge? Do you just not feel as sharp as you used to and things aren't going your way at work or in life? Maybe you just lack the energy you once had that got you where you are and you want to get that back.
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Cancer is the scariest word for many of us. James Hill takes us through his journey with prostate cancer and by doing so gives us a solid approach for dealing with the disease and the thoughts and fears we'll face after diagnosis.
Allan: 02:28 Jim, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
James: 02:30 Thank you Allan. Glad to be here.
Allan: 02:33 Now your book, Midpoint, aptly named. You know, I'm sitting here at 53 and I'm thinking, okay all those things that I did as a kid, you talked about some of them in part of your book where you're riding your skateboard and then that happens and there's an accident and blood and scars and this happens in blood and scars. And I'm thinking, you know, when we get this age, blood and scars are actually really scary.
James: 02:59 Yeah. It's a remarkable a for me that this is the point in life for a lot of men, that really marks an inflection where we, where any kind of a, um, a brush with health can be more than just important, more than just a scar on your under elbow. It can be something a lot scarier. So, um, it is an important point for me to explore in the book.
Allan: 03:21 Yeah. But beyond the being scared part. I, you know, I think, I think what the purpose of this show and then when you're listening to this show, I want you to know why we're here. We're here because men tend to have this trait of pride and obstinance and wanting to be the provider, wanting to be that man that's out there doing these things. And many times, you know, we neglect those little things. We neglect doing the things that we shouldn't be doing to manage our health. Fortunately, even though you said you, you may have avoided screenings, not, not completely avoided them, but delayed them somewhat, you did make a point of making health screenings a part of your regimen.
James: 04:03 Very much so. Yeah. I mean I would describe myself overall as being a pretty earnest health care consumer. I always took my health pretty seriously. I work out, I've always been very focused on taking care of myself, but like, like so many guys there certain things I just don't want to be, you know, physical as being one of them. I talked about this in my book. I just never much cared for physicals cause I felt like they marked at least once I hit my forties and fifties, they started to mark a decline in my, in my physical strength and my, in my physical being. So I was probably not as earnest as I should have been on certain screenings. And then of course the PSA test, which my doctor eventually had me take, I should have taken more ownership and asking for it rather than just being a passive recipient of his recommendation to get it done. Because I was at an age where depending upon who you talk to, typically over 50 men should be getting their PSA.
Allan: 04:59 Yeah, it's part of my wellness testing, my, my PSA and so far I haven't had any, any issues, always less than that. And that's always been, that's been the case. It's always, it's always been below two well below two, well below one actually. So I feel pretty good there. But it was funny because for a long time as we looked at these tests, doctors were actually starting to pull away from them and saying, we don't need diagnostic tests because we get false positives and we ended up with people freaking out. We may even end up with procedures that we didn't need to do. But the thinking's turning around on that a little bit, isn't it?
James: 05:36 Yeah, it is. It's, you know, as I mentioned in the book, the, the subject of whether to get PSA testing is an enormous point of controversy in men's health. And it's one that I think has done men in general a disservice. You know when PSA testing kind of came on, the scenes became popular in the 90s. Everybody was recommending it to gives, it seemed like you're her first really reliable or, or reasonably reliable diagnostic for, um, screening methods available to men to catch, to catch a prostate cancer. And it does, it does. What a lot of people didn't come to terms with at the time is that there are multiple reasons why your PSA, your prostate specific antigen might be elevated if cancer is only one reason. And so what ended up happening is men who had BPH, benign prostate hyperplasia or prostititus, which is an infection of the prostate or other things that might cause their PSA to be elevated. They were rushing out and getting a, getting a biopsy which can, which can result in an infection and complications. And they had a lot of general adjuncts around the fear of cancer only to find out that they, they never had cancer in the first place.
So then the medical community pulled back from PSA testing and said, you know, if you look at it statistically, it's not saving enough lives. Well, I'm not a believer that any guy wants to be a statistic and I'm one of those people who had I not gotten my PSA tested, could have ended up very easily with metastatic prostate disease. So yes, the view has changed back and forth. I think that's why any man, I think over 50 and certainly over 55 needs to own that process, needs to understand what prostate screening or PSA screening is all about. Needs to consult with either his urologist or his physician about whether he thinks at a digital rectal exam is sufficient or whether he wants to get a baseline PSA and continue testing. But it's the one thing you shouldn't ever do is not have the discussion with your doctor needs to be something that you do in a methodical, calculated way. And at least if you make a decision not to be tested, at least you're owning the decision.
Allan: 07:54 Yeah. So for the first several years, you know, when your doctor was going through the standard of care, he was using the old rectal means of testing to see if there's any abnormal swelling or growths or anything like that. And you were checking out just fine.
James: 08:11 Yes. Every time. Yeah. We, we've been checking, I think since I was 50 and I was diagnosed when I was, I want to say 50, 56, almost 57 so yeah, the nature of that exam of course is that a digital rectal exam only has access to part of the prostate and it's a pretty good screening test if you have a capable physician or pa or nurse Practitioner who really understands what a prostate should feel like and can recognize a nodule or some irregularity. But again, if you've got a, if you've got a lesion on the, on the far side of the prostate that's not accessible through the rectum, that's not going to be detected through a DRE is as they're called. And that was the case with mind and why mine was, was had reached all the way to stage three before they ever found it.
And it also that very fact, even when I had my biopsy, they typically they take 12 cores, tissue cores in a biopsy, only two of mine, showed, showed cancer, which led them to a very reassuring diagnosis of stage one prostate cancer with a Gleason score of six, which is a, which is a very low grade cancer. Well, by the time we got through MRIs and everything else, we found out that I was actually stage three with a, with a high seven in which we can talk about it to like, but so I had to go all the way through MRI and eventually through the surgery to really understand the nature of the disease. So, you know, it's a process of understanding what you have is very much a process of choosing the right procedure and getting a more complete picture of what's going on down there.
Allan: 09:50 Yeah. Now as you went through the book and it was Kinda like you're walking us through some of the learnings that you had as you went through here, because prior to this you had no reason to know a PSA relative. You know, it just, if it's better or bigger than two or lighter than two, but you know what it means when it's excessively at higher than two. You learned what the Gleason score was and how almost somewhat, I'm not gonna say subjective, but there's a little bit of, we learn as we go because we, we probe further and you know, biopsies will do something MRI's will do something. But, even after the surgery, they're there, they're still coming back and trying to look at that data to say how aggressive was this? Do you mean because going to the Internet for some of this stuff, I guess you can be, should be scary as hell reading stories. But how does someone swim through all that information and get their head clear on, on the, the treatment that's right for them.
James: 10:47 That's a great question. And it's such a personal process, Allan. I mean, that's a remark. I get a lot from a lot of guys because maybe it was how I presented the process I went through in the book that made men thing. Geez, I don't know if I would have the desire or the or the staying power to do the kind of research I needed to do to make an intelligent decision. And a lot of guys don't. Honestly, you know, I've spoken to a lot of men who kind of went the, from the moment they met with their primary care physician, whatever that primary care physician recommended they did. And in some cases they have good outcomes. In some cases they don't. I'm a great believer in the whole model of the empowered healthcare consumer. I think it's critical that a man, as I said earlier, own his health and particularly in an area that is so fraught with controversy.
So what I did is I simply didn't believe everything I was told at first blush. Acknowledging that everybody in the healthcare system and all of the information on the Internet is to a certain sense. It's, you know, there's some subjectivity to it. There's certainly some controversy there. So I made it my job to talk to people. First of all, I knew who had been through prostate cancer themselves, what their processes were. I tried to find out where they went for information and what they had learned so I could kind of leapfrog or, or piggyback off of what they had they had done and if I could of saved myself some time by using their research I did. But I also, I very much guided myself by going to the best, the best resources online. So I was in my career, uh, prior to having cancer had been in content marketing where we published good clinical information on behalf of some major hospitals and hospital systems.
And so I knew who the, who the great cancer centers for example, were. So I tended to go either to.org or.edu sources online and you know, so names like Sloan Kettering or Mayo Clinic or Harvard health. And the more scientifically sound that information was, I found the more tended to align well. And the theme that I kept hearing over and over again is your situation's unique. You need to interact very proactively with your caregivers and be picky. And so I did a ton of research. I read up everything I could on PSA at Gleason scores, on staging, on radio radiation versus surgery versus what they call cocoa therapies, which are for early stage cancers. And I kept asking a lot of questions. I also happened to be very fortunate. My wife is a very smart and very capable partner and so she at the same time was challenging me and challenging doctors that I was meeting with and we just kept asking questions and challenging the kind of the prevailing wisdom until we felt like we had enough information to make a decision.
And I want to credit some of the doctors I met with for, for having said early on, look, because treatment plans and treatment decisions aren't always clear for a man because there are so many variables and there's so much unknown about prostate cancer. It's a, it has to be a collaborative process between the doctor and the patient. And I've even seen that taken to some ridiculous levels where some doctors will say, it's your decision, just tell me which one to do. The doctors that I dealt with were much more collaborative and said, look, here are your options. You know, here's what I would recommend, but you should go out and meet with people that you, uh, that you think and kind of eliminate the matter for you. So for example, I met both with a radiation oncologist and a surgeon and then of course a number of urologists and positions and PA's along the way. And my thought process eventually took me to surgery, but um, you know, for it, had I been 10 years older, I might've gone with radiation. It just depends on your, your particular situation. So it's, for me, it's all about ownership of the healthcare process and decision making process.
Allan: 14:49 Yeah. And, and beyond, you did something that I think a lot of us would actually find very difficult. You fired your first position effectively.
James: 14:58 I did, yeah.
Allan: 14:58 He wasn't supporting you in a way that, you know, we're not talking about a diagnosis or work. I mean, but the two of you just were not connecting on an emotional level where you felt comfortable with him. Can you talk about that a little bit? We're not going to name him cause he wasn't named in the book, but could you talk a little bit about that, that process of, okay, I've got a doctor that I'm asking him a question and he's sarcastic or belittling me in a way that I just don't feel like he has my best interest at heart.
James: 15:30 Yeah. And, and um, he, you know, he was, this doctor was, was honestly, I think a good guy and an excellent physician. But like anything in life, certainly in healthcare, which is such a, it's such a human interaction. I just believe that you need more than your expertise. You need somebody who respects you as a human being who understands that your approach to making decisions about your health care might be different from the other patient who doesn't. You know who, I don't care for sarcasm. You know, if somebody sitting with cancer, the last thing they need sarcasm. So this particular doctrine I simply weren't clicking. You know, as I mentioned earlier in the book, I had been advised early on to get an MRI before I had a biopsy and I push really hard with this doctor to do that because the idea is that an MRI gives you a visual picture of the entire prostate before you go in there and start poking needles because if you, if you don't have that visual picture of what you might end up getting is an incomplete diagnostic perspective, which is what in fact happened with me.
We only got two cores when in fact I had quite a large tumor. So I pressed this particular doctor for an MRI and he responded largely by saying he didn't think it was necessary, it wasn't the best practice and made me feel a little bit like a hypochondriac for asking. Well later when I was still considering using him as my surgeon, I subsequently went to Sloan Kettering and the first thing they asked me was, did you do an MRI before your biopsy? And I said, no, I, my doctor divided against you. They said, well here we wouldn't consider doing a biopsy or MRI. So you know, that entire view that I had taken was very much validated. And it was also just a manner in which he opposed me on that decision. It just felt like he was asserting his medical, I don't want to say supremacy but, superiority and I you're a patient, I'm a doctor. You need to listen to me and not acknowledging the fact that I had done my homework.
Allan: 17:39 Yeah. Well and, and realities, you know, are the generation before us and before that and then the white coat walked in and said, do this. We just did it. But now with the advancements in medicine and what's going on in the world, standard of care changes all the time and for the doctor gets you up to speed and say, no, this is, there is a standard of care. And if there's no reason to believe that doing an extra step is going to give you a better outcome. I was just surprised that when you said you were willing to pay out of pocket for this because you weren't, you know, you were told you would probably have to do that, that he just said no. Whereas it would just been a data point. And you know, again, I'm a big fan of the more data points you have, the clearer things can be as long as you just don't get overrun with it. But I think it would have been a point that you've obviously now hindsight definitely should've had.
James: 18:31 Absolutely. And the fact that it was validated the way it was and validated with really good information in the sense that the folks at Sloan Kettering explained that, you know, biopsies first of all, it not that you want to go back in and do, but also it causes bleeding because you're poking all these holes in the prostate. It causes bleeding, which obscures any subsequent MRI image for several weeks after that. So it actually impede the ability to get it to get a good perspective. So there's really a very practical reason to do an MRI beforehand. Now that you know, you mentioned standards of care. The problem with, I think with dealing with with prostate cancer is that standards of care are, they're changing, they're shifting back and forth as, as new data comes in and as doctors debate what to do. Another example of that would be the level of sedative or anesthesia they give you for biopsy and a biopsy is pretty painful. Either I'm a whimp or biopsys are pretty painful.
Allan: 19:30 No, I think 12 holes in the human body.
James: 19:37 Yeah, yeah. Particularly that area. Yeah. It's not, it doesn't feel good and the standard of care is to give you at most of a valium to calm you down and a local anesthetic. Well, when I asked the doctor after the biopsy was over, I said, wow, that really hurt. Has there been any discussion of putting guys under under general anesthesia? He said, yeah, I actually missed his credit. He said, I've been proposing that for a while, but it hasn't been adopted as a standard of care. And so that's one of those examples where it's an evolving thing and I think to a certain degree, medicine is always kinda catch up with what it's learning from patients. And frankly, part of my objective in writing the book was to educate doctors as much as patients about what the process is like so that when they realize, Oh gee, you know, these biopsies really hurt, or Oh gee, it makes it more complicated for a patient if we don't let them do an MRI beforehand. Maybe that's something we can revisit, whether it's on an individual level or on the standard of care level.
Allan: 20:36 Now you mentioned earlier three, three different approaches to treatment. You were passed one of those by already being a six, but do you mind going through those three and then in particular the surgery and the radiation. Spending a little bit of time talking about the pros and cons.
James: 20:53 Sure, absolutely. So the two most common forms of treatment for prostate cancer are either a prostatectomy, which is surgical removal of the prostate or, and by the way, it's always the entire prostate. There is no such thing as taking out part of our prostate, which was illuminating for me at the time. You had to take it all out or you're leave it in. The other option is is radiation therapy, which irradiates the prostate gland and potentially some of the areas around the prostate with radiation to destroy the the cancer cells. They've also developed for men who are very early in their, in it with a very localized cancer or small low grade cancer, have what they call a focal therapies, which are, they use all kinds of exotic things like cryoablation, where they go in and they actually freeze the cancer cell with a, with a needle.
Those focal therapies, as the name suggests, are very focused, therefore very well located small, early cancer. By the time they found my cancer, I was a stage three that the malignancy had moved out beyond what they call the prosthetic capsule or the envelope that is basically the membrane that whole step that surrounds the prostate. So I was by virtue of that the end, it was I think a two centimeter tumor. I was not a candidate for focal therapy. So for me it came down to either radiation or surgery. I should also add that for many men, particularly men who are potentially in their seventies or and who have a slow growing low grade cancer, they have what they call watchful waiting, which is simply to do nothing and to go and maybe every six months or so to get your PSA checked.
And if it's really not growing quickly, there's a great likelihood that men like that will die from some other natural causes before the cancer ever presents a real problem. And that is very much something that's being recommended for men who are older. I was not a candidate for that because I had a very high PSA and it was changing. In fact, it changed from about 15 to about almost 20 in the space of six weeks. So they immediately ruled out watchful waiting. And the fact that I was in my fifties so the decision for me came down to surgery or radiation. And surgery, I think I'd have to check this thing, but surgeries are more common. There's been a lot of push back among some doctors against surgery because they think it's too often proposed for people who could have avoided it.
And I think that probably was the case. It's less so now. But there are, there are various types of surgery that's performed. The most common now I think is a laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, which is the doctor uses a laparoscope that, that goes in basically through five small incisions in, in your abdomen. You know, they use laparoscopes on you know, for example, to repair damaged knees. It's a way of having a smaller incision and cutting less tissue to make repairs. So you get five small incisions into your abdomen. They go in with these kind of like robot arms and they with a doctor looking through, uh, through a video monitor, they removed the prostate that way and, and uh, fix things up and send you on your way. Radiation on the other hand is a process of going in I think typically for about six weeks, five times a day and lying under the beam and the pros and cons are with radiation.
They don't remove the prostate. So some of the side effects of not having a prostate are entirely avoided. So there typically is less with radiation, they are less issues with, with continents, less issues with, uh, post treatment potency. And a man still has his prostate. So physiologically he can still produce semen, which a man cannot live without his prostate. So for a lot of men who, who can, for whom radiation is an option, it's a good choice to give. They can, it has less of an impact on their sex lives. As an example, and my, my own brother-in-law went that route and was, was very pleased with it. The trick is, and this is what helped me form my decision with surgery, my, by the time we had my MRI results and they had, they kind of accurately stage my cancer.
They knew that I was stage three. They knew that it was aggressive and they knew that it had moved outside of the prosthetic capsule. It was likely, in fact, I was told I had about a 50/50 chance. My radiation oncologist explained I had a 50/50 chance of needing radiation after surgery as well. So if you have radiation as your first line of defense, the tissue is so substantially changed by the radiation that it really can't handle surgery Afterwards. Now Sloan Kettering is developing what they call a salvage radical prostatectomy where they will go in if necessary and remove the prostate. That's already gone through radiation, but it's very tricky and recovery is tough and there are a lot of side effects to it. So generally speaking, if you think you're going to need radiation later on as a followup, because maybe the surgery couldn't get all the cancer guys will go prostatectomy first radiation second. It's worth noting too that the cure rates are about the same for radiation and surgery. So making the final decision very much comes down to how bad is the cancer, how fast is it moving, how old are you, what's your life expectancy? All these variables that are unique from man to man. And it was that process for me that was really kind of essential kind of core to my experience with cancer, which was realizing that just because my brother-in-law got radiation and it worked for him and just because my best friend got surgery and I work for him, everybody's different and you cannot just make a decision based on kind of generalized views of these treatments. You really need to dig in deeply and understand your own cancer.
Allan: 27:10 Yeah. And I think that was, that was kind of the core because you had done some research and found surgery's gone really bad. And um, that like you said, the radiation could have done something and then it would've been much more difficult if there was a Reoccurrence. So it is something I strongly considered as far as you know, which you feel good about and you know, what the facts in your particular case are saying. I guess one of the parts of treatment that kind of, I guess I didn't really think a whole lot about, you know, I thought okay, well you have the surgery, they remove it, you know, you heal up from the sutures and you're on your way. That's not the case with prostate cancer. There's, there's a lot of uh, post treatment that needs to occur. Without going into all the gory details. I can kind of talk about cause you need, yeah, you need to buy this book if nothing else to read that story. But um, uh, can you go through some of the details, you know, some of the things that you have to do just to get yourself back to normal.
James: 28:07 Yeah, the main, and of course my experience is specific to the surgery. I can't speak to, to radiation, which does have it have its own side effects. What I didn't mention is that radiation can have side effects affecting potency. And, and I'm from continent, but they tend to be deferred by six months to a year. Whereas with surgery, those side effects of course are immediate coming out of surgery. But the typical things that, that a man needs to worry about coming out of surgery of course, is potency, which is, which requires obviously intact of nerves and in tact blood flow to that part of the body. And sometimes the two nerve bundles that make an erection possible are affected by the cancer and one or both have to be, have to be removed. Now you only need one, but if even one is removed, that's gonna require some post-surgery work, which we can talk about.
But under any circumstances, the trauma that's done to the body during the surgery, particularly the nerves and a man's groin send those nerves into what they call hibernation mode, which can last for one to two years where the nerves simply don't work properly, their healing and they just kind of let like a bear going into a cave. They just stop physiologically functioning during that time. The tissue down there that's required for an erection literally it needs to be regularly stretched in troll with blood. And if it's not, if that doesn't happen, there can be term long term effects on a man's potency. So, and then the other issue is incontinence, which is a very significant problem for man because during a prostatectomy, the urethra is surgically detached momentarily from the bladder to do the surgery.
Then it's reattached and that affects all the muscles down there and the ability to control urine flow. So the two things that are typically one thing certainly has done most commonly coming out of prostate surgery is they're going to recommend that men do with they call Kegel exercises. That's very well known to women who are advised to do with these after they have have a child because the muscles down, they're affected by childbirth. Same thing goes for men after a prostatectomy is literally just like clenching, clenching the muscles of the pelvic bed over and over again, like a workout. Honestly what it is. And in my case, I was advised to do these exercises before surgery and then to do them right after surgery to to just like anything else, you want to have strong muscles. So that's a big part of, of regaining continents.
And then in my case, Sloan Kettering has a group called the sexual health clinic, which is really pioneering ways to keep men functioning from a, from a, from a potency perspective, functioning well, while those nerves recover come out of hibernation mode and that's they, they have various ways of dealing with it. But the most, the way that they use most is an injection therapy where a man gives himself a shot that actually physiologically reproduces, creates an erection, which allows the tissue to be stretched and so forth and, and oxygenated until they heal on your own. So, unfortunately, that is not a therapy that is widely known about known by men, and it's not as widely recommended as, as it should be in the result of a lot of men. Too many men end up having potency issues when they didn't need to. They could have actually recovered normal, normal functioning.
Sloan Kettering is fabulous about that and I was actually part of a study, a 2-year study and following up with men on that and comparing the results of that therapy with men who didn't go through it. And the results are dramatic. I mean dramatic, the kind of improvement in that they see when you're on kind of therapy. And then of course the only other thing I would add, Allan, is that both going into a prostate surgery and coming out of it, the more you can be in good shape, eat well, not be carrying any extra weight, have good muscle tone, all of that prepares you for the what is a pretty significant assault on your body. I mean the prostatectomy takes four to six hours, it's a big deal and a lot of men don't realize it's one of the most complicated cancer surgeries out there.
It messes up the body in a pretty significant way for a while. And it takes a long time to do all the healing that's necessary. The more fit you are both before and after the surgery, you know the better you're going to handle it, the more quickly recover. Some of big proponent of be fit all the time, follow it, have a good diet so that you're not inadvertently helping the cancer or the cancer recur by eating the wrong kinds of foods. All those things. The same things that we're told anyway about being fit and healthy very much affect the outcomes of a prostate surgery.
Allan: 33:04 Yeah. And you know, as you were talking through that and you're getting yourself physically fit. I was, I was thinking about a quote that you had in the book, you talked a lot about how you didn't really see cancer as a battle or at least you didn't like that kind of that phrase of encouragement battles. But you did say this in the book. You said cancer cells are the terrorists of the human body, the weaponized bundles of angry, twisted cellular matter that have come unmoored in their restraints. And, and I thought about that in the basic ways of saying, you know, if we prepare ourselves generally for life, we're going to be strong, we're going to be generally healthy and that's going to put us in a better place. So it's not necessarily a battle so much as knowing, okay, we have this insurgency that uh, we now have to deal with and if we're physically fit and generally healthy, our bodies are going to be more resilient. And then there's always the mental side of this of, you know, terrorism is scary, not knowing when this could happen or if this will happen is scary. And in a sense it kinda changes the way we think about life when those scary moments happen.
James: 34:15 Yeah, yeah, very much so. I'm fortunate that I was always somebody who just was interested in staying healthy as much because I wanted to look good and feel good. But you know, it turns out that healthy has a lot of dimensions to it and you just don't want to go into a scary diagnosis like cancer with anything already compromising your health or that makes it just much more of an uphill battle. And I joked about it in the book about doing, you know, following that was so earnest about following the, the physician's advice for, or being prepared to physically put surgery. I followed advice they didn't even give me, but that's how seriously I took it. And you know, one of the things also that they push you to do, which I talked about quite a bit in the book, is walking right after surgery.
I mean they have you up walking down the hallway within four or five hours of the surgery and then walking subsequent to that while your catheters in and during that, that first 10 days or two weeks of recovery, physical activities so important and the more fit you are going into that process, the more quickly you're going to be able to resume that physical activity that is so central to your healing. The human body was made to move and we're not, certainly after a surgery like that, you might have fluid in your, in your lungs that you need to be able to call from. The stronger your body is, as soon as that can happen, the stronger your circulatory system, the more likely you are to replenish the blood flow to your groin. All of that benefits from being in a generally good state of health. I can't say enough about the importance of that and you know I honestly, I as hard as I've worked at it, there are even things I could have done a lot better. It's just a matter of doing everything you possibly can.
Allan: 36:03 Yeah. Now I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get in stay well?
James: 36:14 That's a great question. I would say from my perspective and within the very specific context of prostate cancer treatment, it's leading a fit lifestyle. Not when I say a lifestyle, it's not just, it's not just going to the gym, but it's maintaining good physical and mental health. So eating right, getting exercise, managing stress, making it an approach to life rather than something that you do when you're not stressed out about work. So I'm all about just making health and matter of lifestyle coming out of surgery also, I believe that the best thing you can do to, to regain that sense of wellness, just to be a model patient, doctors know what's required to, to return to a good state of health. And so I'm a big believer in follow exactly what they, don't be a c student, do everything they say you're supposed to do, ask questions and they know how to get you healthy.
And they're going to push you to do that and don't subvert that process and you know, something. The third thing I would say, Allan, is that a lot of men overlook, particularly in this context, the importance of psychological changes that happen during middle age and particularly during treatments for prostate cancer. It's a disease of the male reproductive system, which is central to our sense of wellbeing. And men need to, who go through this need to prepare themselves for those psychological shifts. How they see themselves, their relationships with the partners, uh, how they see the world around them now as they are some in some ways altered. So surrounding oneself with support, with loved ones who can, we can be there for you if you start to stumble or you feel down or if you're not pushing yourself as hard to recover. That's just as much about wellness as is staying physically healthy. And it's something I end on that point. Particularly think of the thing. It's something that too many men, particularly in the context of prostate cancer, come to, uh, not pay close enough attention to.
Allan: 38:12 Thank you for sharing those. Uh, I do want to kind of close this a little different because there was a quote, some advice that your father gave you that I want to share here because I think this is really important. And he basically told you, he said, make sure you live your life before the hard times come. And I think that's some advice we should take to heart and realize that you know, we should be living the fullest life we can possibly live because this type of stuff can to us. Stay healthy, stay fit and enjoy the life that we have while you can. And so I appreciated your father's advice and I appreciate you sharing that along with your entire story in this book, Midpoint. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book and the things that you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?
James: 38:57 Well thanks for asking. I have my website is www.jamesahill.com and that is both a place where there's more information on me, my book and I also blog regularly on issues related to this. And um, and also of course the book is, is uh, going to be released in a few days on July 30th on Amazon. Barnes and Noble is all the, uh, all the major booksellers online. So anybody who wants to reach me can certainly reach out to me through my, through my website contact page there.
Allan: 39:29 Cool. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/394 and I'll be sure to have links there to the book and to Jim's website and all of that. So Jim, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
James: 39:43 Thank you for having me on. I enjoyed the conversation.
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Our guest today not only walks the walk, he runs the run. He is a wonderful storyteller and I really enjoy my conversations with him. Even though his books are about running, I can tell you that you can get something out of this for pretty much any fitness endeavor that you want to take on and that was kind of my challenge in this episode was to make sure that that's exactly what happened. So even if you're not a runner, I think this is an episode well worth listening to. It's my pleasure to welcome back Gary Dudney, author of The Mindful Runner.
Allan: 01:14 Gary, welcome back to 40+ Fitness.
Gary: 01:17 I'm happy to be here, Allan.
Allan: 01:19 Yeah, it's been three years since we talked last. That was episode 131 this is episode 393 so I've gone through a lot of these, but I was really excited to see your book come out because I enjoyed the last book, the Tao of Running because you're such an excellent storyteller. I mean, you know, you're talking about a race and you're going through the details of it. You know the locations, you were the struggles and it's, you do a really good job of, even though I'm not doing ultras, putting me in the place, in the conditions and in your frame of mind, all in a really well told story.
Gary: 01:55 Well thank you. That's, that's really my goal was to bring, I was a writer before I was, I was running. So I'm not a runner who wrote a, wrote a book. I'm a writer who runs and, um, I thought getting the whole experience down on, on the page was the important part. And of course I, as you know, I use those stories to make my points about the mental side of running. You do. And so you know, this book is called the mindful runner and like I said, it sort of a,I guess I'd call it a second edition of the other book.
Allan: 02:31 It kind of takes it in a slightly different direction with I think a lot more of, you know, the other was about enjoy, I think more about enjoying running and then there are challenges and things like that, but that's part of the value of it. This talks about, I particularly like that you're talking more to the beginning runner or the person that's looking to try to start doing, performing a lot better. Maybe setting some higher expectations for themselves and the fact that they're going to have to push to make this happen. And that's all going to start with their, with their mindset rather than what their body's capable of doing.
Gary: 03:06 yeah. I had, I had a lot of material that I wanted to, um, include in a new book that I didn't get into the dow of running and a lot of stories and even some short fiction that I've published in the past that I wanted to put into a book for anybody who's interested in reading about running. And then my personal focus is of course on what's going on in your mind when you're running. And there's just so many different ways to be thinking about what to be thinking about while you're running and so many mental frameworks you can bring to it. And with each new mental framework you bring to it, you find a new richness and running and you get, you get more out of the experience. And so again, I wanted to capture all that in the new book.
Allan: 04:00 Yeah, I think so many beginners will go out there and you know, they're excited because they, you know, maybe this a new year's resolution or they get on the phone with someone, they get excited, they've signed up for a 5K and you know, they're all jittery and then they're going to go out and do their first training run. And once they start moving, their body just starts in the brain, start saying, stop this, this hurts.
Gary: 04:23 That's the first thing you discover is that it's pleasant for a little while. But then invariably if you push just well beyond your comfort zone, which you really need to do in order to improve then you get right into the mental struggle. You know, do I keep going? Is it worth all this effort? Surely it shouldn't hurt like this. Whereas it's very natural for things to hurt when you, when you're pushing yourself beyond your limits and improving. And it's actually a positive thing that you're feeling that way when you do because it means you're improving and that you're reaching your potential and you're reaching the goals that you're after. If it's coming easy, you're probably not pushing hard enough.
Allan: 05:11 Yeah. And you use, you used two words that I think are critical for any training. This is not just running, but anyone that wants to achieve a result from their body through physical training, resistance training, running, whatever it is that the words are patience and determination and they somewhat counterbalance each other, but they work very well synergistically if you know how to apply them, can you talk about how we can apply it patience and determination into our training to get the most out of it?
Gary: 05:44 Sure. Those are, those are two qualities that I've just found, you know, 30 years of running and, and 20 years of ultra running are just a critical component of succeeding at what you're doing. And it occurred to me that patience is starts right there with the beginner who is trying running out for the first time or going back to running. In variably it's not going to feel good at first. It takes, you know, it takes a couple of months of continued effort in order to start getting the benefits of being in good running shape. And I think a lot of people they read about how running is you know, such a pleasant experience and such a good way to stay healthy or their friends are telling them that and then they go out and they try it for a couple of weeks and you know, something, a lot of little pains will pop up and manifest themselves and then go away if you stay after it.
But I think a lot of people get discouraged right at right at the beginning when they've been working at it for two or three weeks and you know, they still feel awful at the end of their first mile. And so, You know, the beginner needs to show some patience in getting to that month mark or two month mark of regularly getting out there and running to get to the point where they start feeling the benefits and then they can expect to get that good feeling of getting out there and getting into a rhythm and being able to get through the middle miles without, without too much stress and discomfort and whatnot.
Allan: 07:37 Yeah, I think I've found that the folks that get really comfortable with running and enjoy it the most, they've reached a certain point of training where their bodies effectively trained and now they're not really pushing their comfort zone as much. They're just staying within their comfort zone because they're happy. You know, they may be a short distance runner or they may be at a middle distance runner, you know, they like half marathons or 10 ks and that's their happy place and they run it their comfortable training pace and then they race at a, maybe a little faster pace. But the folks that I, you know, hear the most or that I really enjoy in the running, they're not really pushing themselves to do something faster or harder. They're not that driven kind of person. They're more the, I just enjoy doing the run kind of thing. But it takes a while to get there.
Gary: 08:21 Yes it does. It takes a while to get there. Your body has to make a lot of adjustments. You have to build up your endurance and your stamina and that takes a while and if you can stay patient and, and realize that you have to stay patient, then it will eventually work out. But patience also plays into when you're racing or when you're doing a longer run, you get to a point where things are becoming uncomfortable and your first inclination is slow down or drop out of your race or whatnot. And at that point when your thinking is going negative, you want to try to use thoughts about being patient and determined sort of as a mantra. And you can just, if you're aware of the fact, Hey, I have to show patience here. I have to endure the way I'm feeling right now.
This is a normal thing that I'm feeling. And if I stay patient, I will be rewarded. You know, that's somewhere to go with your thinking instead of going into a negative frame of mind where you're thinking, wow, this is just too much for me. I should have trained harder. Maybe it's not my day. Maybe I could, you know, come back next year to this race and do better. All those are excuses for not reaching your goal. Whereas if you can block those thoughts and feelings, those negative thoughts and feelings and tell yourself, you know, patience will get me through this patience, the determination will keep me in this race and, and keep me after my goal. That's a nice positive thought. And then you can get back into your race and, um, and go from there.
Allan: 10:11 Yeah, the determination part I think is, is really, where the growth comes from, the patience is just kind of making sure that you're, you're there, you're showing up each day you're doing your training, you're in the race, you're going to stick with yourself and you're, you know, this, this is not just something that you're going to wax over. The determination is kind of that point where you're beginning to push yourself because you want to get done faster, you want to move further, whatever the, the goal is with this training or with the race. And so I do feel, and I actually, in my book, I use the word persistence, but I like your word better.
Gary: 10:45 Yeah. Determination is sort of the irrational part of your brain that is keeping you in there. When the rational part of your brain is telling you, you know, this is hurting too much, or I'm trying too hard. Or determination is if like ignore all the rational thinking that you're doing. You're going to stay in this and you're going to continue it and you're going to keep performing despite everything that you are, you know, your mind is telling you.
Yeah, it was, um, I was in the army and in basic training, they broke us up into platoons and they did it alphabetically. And so we were, you know, with the last name M I ended up in the third platoon and for one reason or another we were just, we were all just the worst. Every, every competition we went into, we came in last place and the fourth platoon, every competition they went into, they came in first place. And so we, by the end of basic had this chip on our shoulders. It's like, okay, who are these guys and why? You know, how, how did alphabetically, the top end of the, of the alphabet end up with so many, you know, somebody better soldiers or better athletes. And so we were going into the two-mile run and everybody was talking about, you know, one of the kids who he ran track in high school and was, so he's a track star.
And you know he had scholarships but decided to go into the Army instead. And so I'm like, okay, I want to see how fast this guy really runs. Cause they were telling me it was really fast. I'm like well I wasn't all that too shabby myself in the two mile when I was in high school. Probably not competing in his level but you know, I'll try this. And you know, you go through basic training, you're teaching your body in many cases to ignore the pain. You know, if you know it's not a pain that's going to kill you, do you tend to push through it? And so by this time I had done enough of this that I felt comfortable. At being uncomfortable now outside my comfort zone. So I was like, I wonder if I ran my quarter mile split at the start of the race, what I could do in two miles if I could actually hold that for all the two miles.
And so I did, I literally took off, you know, with about, I guess it's probably about a 1/15 split on the quarter and you know, the, a couple of guys in my unit are walking over cause they just seen you taken out there. So I finished like the second lap and they were like, what are you doing? You know? And I just was running as hard as I could run now because I was turning off all of the pain things and not thinking about it and trying to just really focus on my breathing and just continuing to go and not, not completely red line out. I actually pooped myself, running, he did actually beat me. But the thing I can say is coming off of that run, it was, it was the fastest two mile I'd ever run in my life. It was the first time, it was a first time I broke 11 minutes and, and so, you know, even though I came in second, I felt really good, at least personally, I had to keep running and go to the bathroom and cleaned myself up. But, uh, then that embarrassment, it was where I saw that kind of cutting out the pain of it and knowing that the pain was not something that was going to sideline me forever. I, you know, I knew I might be paying and paying for a couple of days, but I didn't have to worry about it. We were passing the PT tests. So at that point, running the, you know, running the two miles was the last athletic thing I had to worry about doing for awhile. Well I knew I had that in me. I wanted to see how hard I could push myself. I wanted to see how much I could push past. And that's when it Kinda hit me why a lot of the elite runners are who they are is because it's not because they don't feel the pain, it's that they ignore it. So how do we push past that pain when we're training and how do we recognize when it is that kind of pain that we should be pushing through?
Gary: 14:35 Yeah. Okay. I will address that. I just wanted to make a final point about patience and determination. And then, and then we'll, we'll talk about that. Allan, one of the things I focused on the book, the mindful runner in the title, mindful of is associated with mindfulness, but I also want you to take the title, literally the mindful runner in that it's a runner who is aware of what is going on in his mind, his or her mind. And I think that's what so many runners, they're always focused on the physical side of their workout, how far they're going, how fast they're going, that sort of thing. And when they think about, you know, what's going to happen in the race, they're just, they're thinking about, okay, I want to hold this, this pace, I'm going to do this particular distance, that, that sort of thing.
But they don't think about what's going to happen to me when things get really bad and my mental state starts to deteriorate. And my experience from all the running I've done in all the ultra running I've done, is that if you pay attention to the mental side of the equation and you practice the mental side of the equation then when you're in the, when you're in the race or you're deep into a long run or something like that, then you're much more adept at using mental strategies to keep yourself in the race and keep yourself reaching your goals. And so just having this understanding of what is the role of determination and what is the role that patience in what you're doing. If you're thinking about that and you're aware of it, then that's a very helpful tool that you have when you're in the race and things start start getting difficult for you.
And I think you're way ahead of the person who just thinks, okay, when things get hard, I'm just going to get it out. And that's the only strategy they have because when that strategy starts failing for them, then they have nowhere to go. But if you've got these mindsets and ideas in mind, when you hit that point then you have some, some resources to try out and you can cycle through different mental strategies for keeping yourself in the race. So I wanted to just say that being, you know, aware of these things are being aware of the importance of these things is very helpful. But one of those is pushing through the pain. And I think having one strategy or many strategies that you've practiced for that point of the race where things get really painful is really critical and really helpful.
And I say that from some experience because when I was, was working up through my ultra running career, I got to the a hundred mile race, which is sort of the holy grail of ultra running is to you know, do that a hundred mile race cause it's such an iconic distance and whatnot. And I started doing them and I had done eventually 26 of them. And if you look at my records for that first 2,600 mile runs that I did, I had sort of indifferent success. I was making it to the finish about two thirds of the time and about one third of the time I was dropping out. Then I did another 2,600 mile runs. So I had gotten up to 50 to a hundred mile runs. And in that second half, the second 2,600 mile runs, I never DNF, I never did not finish. I made it to the end of every single one of those runs and a lot of things happen in a hundred mile run that can knock you out of the race that are almost beyond your control.
So it's pretty amazing to have that consistent record of finishing. And I look back at that record of the 52 runs and the point where I started not ever DNF'ing was that point where in my career where I had really started focusing on the mental side of what I was doing and I started developing the mental strategies that would help me when things got, as they inevitably do, when they get painful in the race. So it convinced me that it was, you know, nothing else had changed. My training hadn't changed. My level of fitness hadn't changed. The types of races I was doing. Nothing had changed except that I had some mental strategies to rely on when things got very difficult out there.
Allan: 19:24 So let's, let's talk about a few of those.
Gary: 19:26 Okay. So pushing through the pain. The thing about when you start feeling stress or fatigue or you know, the aches and pains, especially in a long race, like an ultra, you know, your first inclination is to deny that it's happening to you or try to run away from it or escape from it or, or just not accept that it's going on. And that's usually not going to get you very far because you can put it out of your mind for a little while, but then it's gonna just reassert itself. And when you get to the point where you realize ignoring it is just making it worse, then you're in trouble.
So I think that the key to pushing through pain is to meet it head on. To acknowledge the fact that it's happening to you. I'm not as comfortable as I was before. I'm getting very tired. What objectively is happening to me here. You know, how exactly does this feel? How bad is it? And you sort of face up to it and in a way, just just that act of facing up to the fact that acknowledging that you know you're not feeling great anymore and you are feeling bad is going to take little bit out of this, of the sting out of it and take some of its control over you out of it.
And then you want to tell yourself, this is a normal way to be feeling at this point in this race. You know, I'm not, if I'm running a marathon and I'm at mile 20 you're not going to feel good. You're going to feel really bad and you're going to feel distressed that you have six more miles to run and that you're, it's very hard to hold the pace that you were hoping to keep. But that's a normal and a natural feeling. It's also a feeling that everybody else in the race is experiencing along with you. You are not alone in feeling badly. You can't train so hard that when you push yourself, you're not going to feel this pain. So again, accepting it as just a natural and normal part of what's happening to you. It's feedback to you that you are indeed pushing yourself hard and that you're getting to your goal and that you're doing what you're supposed to be doing.
So your job now is to find a way to accept what's happening to you. And like I said, you do that by, you can sort of sink down into it a little bit and just let it, how does this feel? How, how bad is this? And usually when you do that, it's not as bad as, oh, you know, you don't let the fear and the self doubt take over. Instead you let your sort of objective look at that pain be the what's uppermost in your mind. And then once you face that you try to get back into what are all the other experiences that I'm having here besides this pain. You know, what's, what's going on around me, what are there other people around me I might be talking to or you know, what is this part of the trail look like? What am I seeing? And hearing and smelling, I'm still, I could still be focusing on my breathing or on the rhythm of my arms swinging or there's a lot of sensations going on in addition to the pain.
And so you want to try to focus back on all the other things that are going on and try to let the pain recede into the background. And that's very helpful. You, you want to try to, you know, keep your thinking positive and not give into fear and self doubt about how the pain is going to get worse and worse and you're not going to be able to stand it. You want to go to a positive place. This is the normal thing to be happening to me and I need to accept it and then I need to move beyond it and think about what else is going on in the race and what else I might be doing that will help me stay in this race.
Allan: 23:42 Yeah. I think one of the things you said in the book that was, you know, that kind of helped me a little bit in this area was we're not going to see performance gains and we're not going to have our best race if we're staying inside our comfort zone. So the fact that you're feeling this discomfort is really just proof that you're right where you need to be.
Gary: 24:02 Exactly. Yeah. I mean, and that sort of mental Jujitsu on that pain has been for me, one of the really critical insights that I've had. Because now, I mean, it's hard to believe, but now when I'm in one of my a hundred mile runs for instance, and things start feeling really bad as they inevitably do, I sort of, it's not that I welcome it, but it's like, it's like it's an old friend. It's like, okay, I know this was coming and here it is. And uh, I've dealt with it many, many times before and so I know that now I'm engaged with the beast. I know that I'm getting the job done and I'm, I'm getting to that, I'm getting to the point where where the real meat of the run is. And, uh, I'm almost happy I'm there because it's, I'm getting to the, you know, I'm, I'm getting into the real contest now. And of course it's getting to the hard things that are so validating in the end. I mean, when you get to the end of the race, if you've gone through hell, then you're, you're really happy to be at the end of the race and you, you have the real set, you get real satisfaction out of it. Whereas if it, you know, if it was easy it wouldn't be as cherishable.
Allan: 25:24 Yeah, I have clients and I've had friends that, you know they'll set stretch goals, you know, and they'll want to get to those goals. Like I've, you know, my, my stretch goal for that two mile run was, was to beat the fastest runner. You train and you train and you train and maybe it doesn't happen exactly the way that you, you saw it in your mind's eye. So at one point you to it, well you told this story in the book at one point you were training to run a 40 minute 10k. Can you tell us about that experience?
Gary: 25:52 Yeah. I'm trying to remember the point I was making.
Allan: 25:56 Well I think the point being you trained hard for this, for this particular goal. It was it at the time it seemed very, very important to you and you didn't quite make it.
Gary: 26:04 No, I never did.
Allan: 26:05 The things you learned about yourself, things that you were then able to do physically, you did have some benefits coming out of that.
Gary: 26:13 Yes. That was, you know, having a goal is a, of course a great motivator and that was one for me to get under 40 minutes for a 10k and the journey that I went on in trying to do that was infinitely satisfying. Even if in the end I never got to the goal that I had set out. But working through the training, going to the races, giving it everything you had, all that was well worth the effort. Even if in the end I didn't make it.
Allan: 26:52 Yeah. And I think that's why it's, it is important for us as we're looking at our overall fitness to have that target that's maybe slightly above what we think we're capable of, that, that kind of scary thing we're after then we know it's going to take a lot of work, but if we dedicate ourselves to it, we use patience and determination and yeah, we push through and get outside of our comfort zones. The more and more we do that, the better we're going to improve our overall fitness. We're going to improve our mental toughness and that's going to help us in so many different ways.
Gary: 27:24 Yes. And I should say that quite a long while ago, I mean I'm getting up in age, I'm 66 now, but quite a long while ago I stopped running with so much intensity where, you know, I was trying to break old, um, 10k records and that sort of thing. And I shifted my focus, not so much on making a time goal for a particular race, but getting the most out of the experience of running. And the way I did that was I chose to run new distances so that, you know, it was a new kind of race that I would be running or I chose to move out of my neighborhood and you know, travel around the country and do runs that are exciting just because you know, you're there in a particular location like the New York marathon or the Chicago Marathon. And that's also, those goals are also a very rewarding goals and they don't necessarily require that you run with so much intensity that you are, you know, liable to hurt yourself.
Allan: 28:41 Yeah. Uh, you know, there, there are marathons, 10ks, 5ks all over the country. Uh, you know, I ran big Sur, I ran Washington DC, you know, I ran the blue angels down in Pensacola. So I mean, you know, there's tons of opportunities for you to make this more than just trying to complete a run. I mean, initially when you first start running that maybe it's a local 5k you want to finish, but you get online and you look for races and, and pretty much anywhere you want to go on any given Saturday, they're probably going to be a race somewhere nearby during the season.
Gary: 29:14 Yeah. I even have a chapter in the mindful runner, it's called Yo, I know you're in there, which is about, well, the, the first example I give is I was in Sacramento and I was doing a, I was doing a 50 mile there and the night before the race, I was in my hotel room all by myself. And suddenly I heard this pounding on the door next to mine and it was a drug dealer or something like that, who was a shouting at the person inside the room. And he was going, you know, Yo, I know you're in there. Get you, get Outta here, give me you giving my 20 bucks, you get the, you get the hell out here, give away 20 bucks. And it just went on and on and on. And this is in the middle of the night, about three o'clock in the morning.
And I called the front desk and they said, yeah, we're aware of the situation, but they weren't doing anything about it. And so the guy was at the door for about an hour shouting and screaming. So I wrote about that for a race report for Ultra Running Magazine. And I'm an editor of the magazine, wrote me a note back and said, I loved your race report, especially the part about the drug dealer. And it made me realize that the experience of running, it's not just the race itself, if you're going to travel to a race, it's everything that happens around, you know, preparing for the race and dreaming about the race and, and making arrangements to go there and then traveling there and the night before and trying to get to sleep and getting to the starting line and the race itself and then getting home and the satisfaction of having gone and done something like that. And the whole, it's an example of where running or whatever activity that you are using to get exercise is just, can be such a rewarding and rich experience for you if you think about all the things that go into it and not just the running itself.
Allan: 31:24 Yeah. I completely agree. You know this, the stories, the people you meet for the longer races that the pre-race meeting, you know, when you're just sitting around looking around at the other, the other athletes that are going to be doing this and you know, saying, okay, wow, you know, this guy's, this guy's 68 years old and he's going to be out on the same course I am. And I was when I was 29 and I'm like, this is, this is kind of amazing to see this breadth of people sitting in a room.
Gary: 31:48 Yeah. Now that guy is me.
Allan: 31:51 Well, you finished.
Gary: 31:51 I launched a goal several years ago to try to run a hundred mile race in every state in the union. And I'm up to 34 states now and hope to get to 50 in a maybe two years.
Allan: 32:12 Yeah. I guess the question is, does, does every state have a hundred mile race? Because I know Mississippi had a 50, the touchstone 50, but I don't even know if they have a hundred yet.
Gary: 32:24 Mississippi does.
Allan: 32:25 Okay, cool.
Gary: 32:26 There are a handful of states that don't have, you know, sanctioned 100 mile runs. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that. And maybe by the time I'm like you're going to be, there are so many runs popping up, who knows? Those states will come on board before I finish. But the point I wanted to make is that traveling to these races has, is so much fun and I've enjoyed so much seeing new places and meeting new people and getting to know the race director at every one of these events. It's been the most rewarding thing I've done in my life, I think.
Allan: 33:04 Yeah, absolutely. In the book he had a quote and I just have to share this. It's short, it's simple, but it's so right to the point that I just want to use this. “No one can do your running for you.” And I'm like, you know, that that's all you had to have. You know, it's like if for anyone that wants to go out and do something, they set a challenge for themselves. It's you, you know, and then the book is going to help you get in the right frame of mind to do this stuff. But in the end, when it comes to the training and it comes to the actual race day, it's you who puts one foot in front of the other.
Gary: 33:38 Yeah, exactly. And that was, I think I said that in the context of, um, there's a lot of ways to get help out there. When you're running, there's people who when you're sitting at an aid station and you're really discouraged and you want to quit, sometimes somebody can come along and say, just the right thing to you and get you up out of the chair and get you going on your way. Get your determination back. You can hook up with another runner and have a conversation and feel a lot better just because you're getting your mind off your own misery for a while. But in the end, it is all you that is going to get you to the finish line and nobody can do that for you. They can, you know, they can encourage you and help you along mentally, but they're not going to be the ones that get you there, which in the end is what makes running I think so wonderful and so satisfying is that it is very individual sport and it's something that you've accomplished and you know, once you've accomplished it, nothing can take it away from you.
Allan: 34:46 I agree. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
Gary: 34:55 You know, I think the key, it doesn't matter what discipline you're, you're doing triathlons, ultras, shorter races or whatnot. I think working towards some big goal is the thing that keeps you engaged in the activity and keeps you coming back over and over again. If you're only thinking, oh, I should, I should run every other day just to keep fit and you don't have anything in mind at the end of that, it's just, it's pretty easy to find yourself thinking, I, you know, not today. I don't really need to, you know, there's no reason why I need to go out today, but if you have a goal that you've set, there's a race, you want to do a half marathon, you've never gone that far before in the race or there's a marathon and in some distant city that you'd like to go to and you have that in mind.
Gary: 35:51 I think that's extremely helpful and extremely motivating to know that at some point the training that you're doing has a purpose and it's leading towards something and it doesn't matter if that goal is just you going off to have some experience. It's very helpful. And then I think it's helpful to have different goals that you, you know, if you've always been running marathons and that can get sort of stale after awhile if you decide, okay, well, you know, maybe I'll train for a 10K and see how I can do at this point in my life running a 10K or maybe I'll try a trail running instead of running on the road. Or I'll try, you know, a 50K ultra. Um, if you get off on some new quest, I think that's something that it's very helpful to reinvigorate what you're doing and you can find yourself more excited about the training that you're doing because you have this new goal.
Gary: 37:01 And then the new experience itself might be something that you know, you might, I know the first time I did any trail running, I was totally transformed from a road runner to a trail runner. Like the very first time I ran on a trail. Because I just found it so, such a wonderful experience to be out there in the woods jumping over streams and getting lost in the forest, you know.
Allan: 37:27 Yeah, that happens. A true story.
Gary: 37:29 That's a couple of things I'd suggest.
Allan: 37:31 Yeah. Thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?
Gary: 37:38 I have a website, it's called the taoofrunning.com and that's a tao, spelled t, a o and it's all one word, so the taoofrunning.com. And that's where I've gathered all my material that I've written for ultra running magazine over the years. All my race reports, all night articles with advice about running and the mental side of running and where I linked to my books and I linked to a lot of other running websites. The books you can get on on Amazon, The Mindful Runner or The Tao of Running. They're both available as paperback and Kindle and as audio books. And then also I write a regular column for Ultra Running Magazine and an online magazine called Endurance Sports and Fitness. I do a regular column for them as well. Those are all places you can find me.
Allan: 38:37 You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/393 and I'll be sure to have all of those links there. So again, Gary, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Gary: 38:48 Hey, I enjoyed it. Allan