Category Archives for "guest/interview"

April 9, 2024

How to get and stay health with Dr. Sharon Malone

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On episode 637 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we meet Dr. Sharon Malone and discuss her book, Grown Woman Talk: Your Guide to Getting and Staying Healthy.


Topics covered on this episode

1. The impact of family history on health and obesity: Listeners will learn from Dr. Sharon Malone's family history how lifestyle and eating habits can significantly influence obesity, despite a history of active lifestyles in previous generations.

2. Strategies for wellness and mental health: Dr. Malone and Coach Allan discuss the importance of being physically and mentally healthy while maintaining a strong community, emphasizing the need for intergenerational conversations among women about health.

3. Taking control of healthcare and medication management: The episode covers polypharmacy, the importance of understanding and managing medications, being proactive in discussing potential side effects, and ways to ensure better comprehension of medical instructions, such as bringing a companion to appointments or recording conversations.

4. Factors to consider in choosing a healthcare provider: Dr. Malone provides valuable insights into researching and selecting a doctor, including evaluating a doctor's background, interaction during inquiries, office logistics, and follow-up procedures for emergencies. She also emphasizes the importance of creating a medical family tree to understand family health history.

5. Understanding weight gain after 40 and managing menopausal weight changes: Listeners will gain insight into the combination of aging and menopause as factors contributing to weight gain for women, including the impact of fat accumulation and changes in body composition. The episode also provides strategies for managing weight through lifestyle changes, exercise, and prioritizing metabolic health.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Leigh Tanner
– Eliza Lamb– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


March 28, 2024

Using food to improve your mental health with Dr. Georgia Ede

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On episode 635 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we meet Dr. Georgia Ede and discuss her book, Change Your Diet, Change Your Mind and how food can be used to help with mental health issues. 


Let's Say Hello

Rachel Discussion


Text – https://amzn.to/3xivF9q

Post Show/Recap

Post show with Rachel.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Leigh Tanner
– Eliza Lamb– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


March 19, 2024

How to get lifelong health and vitality with Brian Gryn

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On episode 634 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we bring back Brian Gryn and discuss his book, The Stepladder System.


Let's Say Hello

Rachel Discussion


Text – https://amzn.to/4a2eJSZ

Post Show/Recap

Post show with Rachel.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Leigh Tanner
– Eliza Lamb– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


Recovering for setbacks and overcoming obstacles with Lyn Lindbergh

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On episode 631 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we bring back Lyn Lindbergh to discuss setbacks and obstacles. 


Let's Say Hello

Rachel Discussion



Post Show/Recap

Post show with Rachel.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Leigh Tanner
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


February 13, 2024

How to rewire your brain and body for more resilience with Dr. Aditi Nerukar

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On episode 629 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we meet Dr. Aditi Nerukar and discuss her book, The 5 Resets: Rewire Your Brain and Body for Less Stress and More Resiliance.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:25.960] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:01:27.340] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:28.990] – Allan

I'm doing all right. Back in January, I started talking about having some big dreams and big audacious goals. I've been talking about this on the Facebook group. If you haven't been a part of this, you should join our Facebook group at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group. But I set a goal for myself this year, an objective. Again, big dreams don't have to necessarily be actionable things, but it's something I want to accomplish this year. That was to help people lose A grand sum total of 10,000 pounds. We're starting to make that happen. People are getting involved, and we're starting to see it happen. I want you to be a part. I'm part of it. I realized coming into the new year that I was a little heavier than I needed to be. Someone takes a picture and you're looking at it, it's like, Oh, okay. Because sometimes you just don't see it when you're looking at yourself. But I was like, Okay, I could use to lean up a bit. And so I started doing some things to lean myself up. So I'm a part of that 10,000, and I want you to be a part of the 10,000.

[00:02:38.810] – Allan

So it's like, Yeah, get out here, join our group, message me directly if you just don't want to be a part of Facebook. So you can email me. Go to the website. You'll find my email address there. But message me and let me know you're interested in this. It's not that you have to be a client. I'm opening it up to anybody that's basically taking what we do here at 40 plus fitness and using it as a lifestyle driver. And with that lifestyle, if you're losing weight, I'd like to add you in and have you as a part of the 10,000. So that's what I've been up to.

[00:03:10.940] – Rachel

That sounds like a lot, Allan. That's wonderful.

[00:03:15.110] – Allan

So how are you doing?

[00:03:16.750] – Rachel

Good. My New Year's resolutions this year were to spend more time in the gym, and I'm working on my plan and lifting more than I'm running, which is a really big mindset shift for me I really love running. It's what I do. It's what I love. And so changing up my attitude and working in the gym a little bit more, it's been a little tricky, but I'm really enjoying what I'm doing now.

[00:03:42.170] – Allan

Yeah. Well, what I think the key is To look at the reasons why you really enjoyed running. I know for you, it was very much a social thing. It was a personal push. So you're looking for PRs and you're doing some different things, different distances. You turned some of it into travel destination stuff.

[00:04:01.260] – Rachel

Always fun.

[00:04:02.730] – Allan

So I think the more you can incorporate what you liked about running into these other activities, like lifting or whatnot, I think there's an opportunity there for you to find your way.

[00:04:13.890] – Rachel

Yeah. You know what's really fun is I've got a really nice home gym. My husband lifts as well. So we have a lot of really fun equipment. And so I'm making a point to use all the equipment that I have in the gym. I have different bars, different kettlebells, smash balls, medicine balls. I can't do everything all in one day, so I make it a point to pick a piece of equipment and use it. To me, it's like playing with it. It's playing with the kettlebell. It's something different. That's what's keeping it interesting. The more I dive online to different lifts and different ways to move weight, there's so much out there, and it is fun to learn something new. I'm pretty excited by that.

[00:04:53.600] – Allan

Well, good. That's what will keep you motivated is making it fresh, making it exciting, and seeing progress.

[00:05:00.840] – Rachel

Yes. We did one rep maxes at the beginning of the year. And so from that, I'm building different lifts, different ways to enhance that. So by the end of the year, we'll see how much stronger I could hit.

[00:05:15.620] – Allan

There you go.

[00:05:16.660] – Rachel

Sat down on my calendar. It's my goal.

[00:05:18.720] – Allan

Excellent. So are you ready to talk to Dr. Nerurkar?

[00:05:22.740] – Rachel



[00:05:56.320] – Allan

Dr. Nerurkar, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:00.490] – Dr. Nerurkar

Thanks so much for having me, Allan. Such a pleasure to be here.

[00:06:04.210] – Allan

Now, your book is called The Five Resets: Rewire your Brain and Body for Less Stress and More Resilience. And this time, we're actually recording this early. This is going to come out in February. But we've just gone through the holiday season. There's all kinds of things going on in the world that just really fire us up all the time if we let it. I know I've personally gone through a significant amount of stress in my life, and that's part of the reason why I live where I live now is to try to have less stress. But even then, sometimes I just find it a little difficult. And so I like what you've done in the book here, giving us really 15 different ways that we can go about working on improving our resilience and/or letting some of that stress go.

[00:06:47.200] – Dr. Nerurkar

Yeah, the Five Resets offers five small but mighty mindset shifts that are science-backed, along with 15 strategies. And really, the key of each of those strategies for me was that they are cost-free so that they have zero dollars associated with them. Because as a clinical physician for over 20 years, it was really important to me. I saw lots of patients from all walks of life with all varied amount of resources. So having something free and accessible was really important. Secondly, low time cost. So not something that's going to take an hour of every day to do, because again, that feels very unattainable and it's not accessible to everyone. And of course, practical and actionable to build into your messy, overscheduled life. When you are feeling stressed, the last thing you need is to add something to your life that is going to cause more stress.

[00:07:42.400] – Allan

Yeah, that was the thing is you tell someone, Okay, well, you could do this breathing practice, or you go take this yoga class, or you go do this thing, and they're like, That's just more stuff. At that point in your life, you feel like you just need less. You talked in the book about resilience, and then another word that you used was toxic resilience. And I think the reason that resonated with me was as I went through my career, and I went through a lot of really stressful times in my career and in my life, with a lot of change, divorces, the whole bear, all that stuff. I just feel like as I've gotten a little older, that my resilience has weakened. And as I got to reading in the book, I was like, Okay, we need to define terms because what I think of as resilience was actually toxic resilience. Could you talk a little bit about those two terms and how they apply?

[00:08:34.280] – Dr. Nerurkar

I would argue, Allan, that because of your life experience, your resilience, your innate and true resilience isn't weakened at all. And likely, it's been strengthened by the many things that you've gone through and come through and come out of, but simply that you have increased your awareness for what toxic resilience is. And so toxic resilience is essentially what our modern society is built on. It's hustle culture. It's really propagated by hustle culture. Many years ago, 5, 10 years ago, you would hear the word resilience, and it had a positive connotation. The true definition of resilience, the scientific definition, it is our innate biological ability to recover, adapt, and grow in the face of life's challenges. For resilience to itself, you need a little bit of stress. Not too much stress, just right stress. However, in recent years, particularly with the global pandemic, let's say, that word has been overused. Now that we're in this post-pandemic era, it continues to be overused, and it's almost morphed into this dark connotation of what true resilience biologically is. Now, we're seeing much more a manifestation of toxic resilience. Toxic resilience is when it's a mind over matter mindset, when you push past human limitations, when you don't give yourself clear boundaries, and when you have a sense of needing to have productivity at all costs.

[00:10:11.170] – Dr. Nerurkar

You've heard this term many times. You're maybe a demanding boss has said to you, Oh, you can take on a project, an additional project. You're resilient. Or someone has said to you, You need to meet this deadline. Oh, come on, you could do it. You're resilient. Even in parenting, for those of us who are parents, you might say, Oh, there's lots of messaging. Someone might say to you, Of course, you can handle all of the work demands and parenting. Come on, you're resilient. So you've heard these toxic messages over and over and over again. So it's not your fault if you think that's true resilience. That is not. That is toxic resilience. Really differentiating the two is important because resilience, true resilience, is your innate biological ability. It is defined not by those things I mentioned that mind over matter, mind mindset and productivity at all costs and not understanding our human limitations. It is true resilience is defined by understanding our human limitations, creating strong boundaries, celebrating when to say no, and most importantly, leaning forward through the lens of self-compassion, giving yourself grace through difficult times, understanding that your brain and your body is particularly during times of high stress need space, rest, and recovery to function optimally.

[00:11:36.660] – Dr. Nerurkar

Only then can your true resilience shine through. And the Five Resets was developed, the book, the approach, simply because I would see these patterns over and over again. So your story really resonates with me because so many of my patients would say, I just don't feel resilient, Doc. I don't know what's going on. And in fact, they were plenty resilient, true resilience. They were just in that hustle culture mentality of toxic resilience. And the first step is to dismantle that and debunk that idea of toxic resilience. It's like the energizer bunny. We all know what that analogy is like. It's like the person who just keeps going and going and going. But the energizer bunny is a fictional character. It is not a human being with need for rest and recovery. And these are biological needs. No one is bionic. We are just mere mortals. And really honoring that part of us and really creating boundaries and limitations through a lens of self-compassion is what true resilience is all about.

[00:12:40.600] – Allan

Yeah, that was what was so hard, is learning that sometimes you just have to say no, and you don't want to say no because you're driven to perform. And so it really was difficult for me. And it still is. I still find these from time to time. Even what feels like smaller stresses will pop up, and I'll be like, Why am I so freaked out about this little thing? But I do. That's why I like this. Can we briefly go through the five resets, what they are and how they work together?

[00:13:07.820] – Dr. Nerurkar

Sure. So the five resets are five small but mighty mindset shifts, and they've been developed by me over decades of clinical work. Initially, when you're a doctor, pattern recognition is how we diagnose conditions. So if someone comes to see me and they're having abdominal pain or they're having chest pain or headaches, these are vague non specific symptoms. But when you dig deeper and ask many questions, you figure out that there's a pattern. So not all headaches are created equal, not all chest pain is created equal, not all abdominal pain is created equal. And when you ask the right questions, you get to the bottom of what that issue and that diagnosis is. Pattern recognition. So you might ask about lots of different clinical things. When patients go to see their doctor, there's lots of questions that doctors are asking because we're trying to create a sense of pattern. We're trying to see, okay, Does this person exhibit the pattern of this? And therefore, it would be that diagnosis. The five resets were developed because I had a clinical practice in Boston at a Harvard hospital. I was the medical director, and I taught people, patients, stress management techniques.

[00:14:17.940] – Dr. Nerurkar

Patients would come to see me, specifically asking for help with their stress. What I started to see over and over and over is that there was a pattern to stress. Stress wasn't just this vague, mythical, magical thing out there. It was quantifiable and it was concrete to me because I had seen hundreds and hundreds and thousands of patients, and I was able to have that sense of pattern recognition. The five resets are five simple small mindset shifts that anyone can make when they are feeling a sense of stress. The first reset is get clear on what matters most, M-O-S-T. It's an acronym for one of the strategies in the book in that reset. And that is essentially laying the groundwork and helping you figure out where you are and where you'd like to go. Because once we have that destination, we can close that gap. You know, many of us, with every single one of my patients, they all knew what they wanted to achieve, whether it was decrease stress, they want to stop smoking, lose weight, get healthier, gain mobility, sleep better, eat better, The list goes on and on. But from where they were to where they wanted to go, it seemed like there was a big gap.

[00:15:36.720] – Dr. Nerurkar

Because there is really… People know what they need to do, right? So there's no lack of information or knowledge. The gap is between having that information and knowledge and taking action. And the five resets helps to close that gap. So the information and knowledge you have, taking that action to get there, that is what the first reset is all about, creating a roadmap. And that is what helps you get there. The second reset is to find quiet in a noisy world. This reset has several science-back strategies. The purpose of this reset is what we talked about earlier, creating a sense of spaciousness in your brain so that you have the ability for your brain and body to create a little space and reset and recharge. From the minute we're awake till the time we go to bed, and sometimes all night, we have lots of things competing for our time and mental bandwidth. And this second reset is really about how to manage your mental bandwidth. And there's several strategies there, focused on many things, including sleep and the digital space and social media and scrolling, and we can talk about that.

[00:16:48.170] – Dr. Nerurkar

The third reset is to sync your brain to your body. The foundation of this reset is the mind-body connection. And that might sound like a very woo- woo term to those who haven't heard that term before. But in fact, it is scientifically sound, and there is plenty of research to support, robust research, in fact, to support this idea that your mind communicates with your body, and your body communicates with your mind, and vice versa. We've used the mind-body connection our whole lives, like butterflies at falling in love, or before a meeting, your heart starts racing, or an embarrassing moment and your face gets flushed. All of these are the mind-body connection and action. The good news about this is that you can learn to sink your brain to your body and tap into that mind-body connection to help you overcome your stress and increase your resilience.

[00:17:41.520] – Dr. Nerurkar

The fourth reset is come up for air. In it, there are several science-back strategies to help you learn some relaxation techniques, breathing techniques and other techniques to help you tap into that mind-body connection so you can apply it to your everyday life. It has, particularly with the breath, we talked about this, Allen, earlier. You know your breath is the only thing, the only physiological process in the body that is governed voluntarily and involuntarily.

[00:18:15.190] – Dr. Nerurkar

Our hearts don't do that. Our digestion doesn't do that. Even our brain waves don't do that. The only thing in your body that has voluntary and involuntary control is your breath. So we can sit here and just talk and breathe. We're not We're focusing on our breath and our bodies are still breathing because of our brain and body connection. And then we can influence our breath. So that is also really part of that reset.

[00:18:39.240] – Dr. Nerurkar

And then the fifth reset, the final one, is to bring your best self forward. What that means is it's a culmination of all of the resets. It's how do you bring all of this science into your everyday life? What can you expect with the timeline of less stress and more resilience? I typically say it takes eight weeks to build a habit. So as you move through these resets, this whole book is designed to be a roadmap. And so starting with the first reset, building upon that to the second, third, and fourth, and then the fifth is really the culmination. And most importantly, to celebrate your wins. That's a huge part of the fifth reset. Similar to what we were talking about, about toxic resilience, true resilience is understanding your boundaries and limitations, the very real human limitations we have, and celebrating every single win, both big and small.

[00:19:30.540] – Dr. Nerurkar

Because human beings, typically, as I've noticed with many of my patients, we are bad historians when it comes to ourselves and our own victories. We are great cheerleaders for others, but we don't give ourselves the same sense of self-compassion. Those are the five resets in a nutshell.

[00:19:47.060] – Allan

Now, I want to dive into the first one because I think you talked about setting as a foundation, and I think that's important. But it was Uncover your Most goal, M-O-S-T, and it's an acronym. Can you go through that acronym and and what that means?

[00:20:02.390] – Dr. Nerurkar

Yes. The reason that is the very first strategy of the very first reset is because of what we talked about. There is this wide gap between knowing and having information and taking action. It is not your fault if you feel like the gap is wide. It's a schism for many people. My job as a clinician and as a doctor with all of my patients has always been to help close that gap. Having a most goal can get you there. In the five resets, in this particular strategy, I offer lots of examples of how do you figure out what your most goal is. Patients have said, I want to learn how to throw a baseball with my grandson this summer. Someone else said, I want to go to my reunion and feel really good and confident. I want to… One of my patients, one of my most favorite most goals was a patient who was going through cancer therapy. And when I asked her what her most goal was, she said, I want to write children's books. I've always wanted to do that, and that's something that's really important to me. So having that most goal, it's your North Star and your why.

[00:21:08.730] – Dr. Nerurkar

When you create your most goal, it's a very step-by-step process written out very concretely in the five resets. And the reason it's concrete is because when you are under stress, your brain is governed by the amygdala, which is a small, almond-shaped structure deep in your brain. That amygdala is focused on survival and self-preservation. It can't think ahead. That part of your brain that's thinking ahead, strategic planning, organization, memory, all of these things that are needed for you to get out of your stress struggle, it's governed by the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of your brain right here behind your forehead. The most goal in all of the strategy in the first reset, get you out of that amygdala mode and into that prefrontal cortex mode. You can't do it on your own because when you're under stress, your brain is just governed by the amygdala. But with this reset, you can slowly get get out. You'll just feel yourself getting out of that mode simply by doing the exercises. So the key question when you're developing your most goal and figuring out, what is my most goal? It's not so much, what's the matter with me?

[00:22:14.900] – Dr. Nerurkar

It's what matters to me most. And so M stands for motivating. What is something that you would like to do? I've given you several examples: writing children's books, playing baseball with your grandson, or going to a reunion. I've had many patients say that they want to go on a hiking trip or a biking trip or go on a cruise or something to look forward to that is motivating. O is objective. Can you concretely measure progress towards that goal? There are many strategies on how to do that, but is it objective or is it something out there vague? It has to be objective and concrete. S is small. Is it something that is manageable for you? We talked about this gap between knowledge and information to action. If it feels too big and unwieldy and aspirational and out there, it's not going to feel within reach for you to accomplish it, which then doesn't make it very motivating. So is it small? Is it something concrete and small that you can do? And finally, the T is for timely. Can you achieve your most goal within three months? I mentioned this before, it takes about eight weeks to build a habit.

[00:23:30.390] – Dr. Nerurkar

So give yourself three months because you want to include some of the other strategies to get to that most goal. We're going to talk, hopefully, about the rule of two and other ways that our brains respond to change. But as you build in these 15 strategies, you don't have to build in all 15, certainly. But as you build in one, two, or three strategies, it takes eight weeks to build a habit. So you want to give yourself enough time to be able to build in and incorporate into your life one, or two, or three strategies so that they stick. So is it timely? Can you achieve this within three months? Typically, with my clinical experience, three months is about that sweet spot of what I've seen for my patients who are able to decrease their stress and resilience. So this most goal is a way for you If you are feeling that sense of overwhelmed, anxiousness, lethargy, hypervigilance, or many other ways that stress manifestsends for yourself. If you are feeling that right now, just know that you're not alone and it's not your fault. It's just your brain responding heading to current events and the way of…

[00:24:32.360] – Dr. Nerurkar

And we can talk a little bit about why we're all feeling this way right now, including you and me, Allen. No one is immune to this sense of stress and burnout right now. But the Most Goal can help you get clear. It can help you figure out where you need to go. It's like a Waze Map or Google Maps. You need to see that destination, and then you can map out the plan. And then the rest of the strategies within that first reset help you make that map. So creating that roadmap to get to your most goal, because from where you are now to where you'd like to be is actually a much smaller distance than you think.

[00:25:09.030] – Allan

Yeah. I'm such a fan of action. It's feeling like you're moving towards something versus away from something. And that's why I really like that concept of setting a goal for the different strategies that you're going to implement and what that's going to mean for you. It wasn't in a way that I would have thought about stress before I read your book. I The other thing that I was really glad you had in the book, because I think it's overlooked a lot, is using gratitude. Can you talk a little bit about gratitude and how that's going to help us deal with stress?

[00:25:42.400] – Dr. Nerurkar

Gratitude, often when people hear the word gratitude. If people are data-driven, I speak to audiences all around the world, and when I talk to audiences who are data-driven in their scientific or they're action-oriented, they hear the word gratitude and they think, Oh, no, this is like a teenage girl's journal. I'm a grown adult. I'm a grown woman or a grown man. I'm not going to sit and write in a journal everything that I'm thankful for. Like, not for me, thanks. Gratitude, in fact, scientifically, it's cognitive reframing. Essentially, what happens when you focus on gratitude, and I'm going to talk about the difference with the five resets and gratitude versus out there in the world when you hear, Oh, just be thankful. Just be thankful. What does that even really mean? So gratitude in scientific terms, is cognitive reframing. Essentially, what you focus on grows. The same amount of negative and positive things are likely happening to you throughout a day, any given day, an average day. But when you are under that stress mode governed by your amygdala, your focus is on survival and self-preservation. So negative experiences are heightened and you are just more…

[00:26:57.440] – Dr. Nerurkar

There's a sense of red alert and hypervigilance for negative experiences. Positive experiences are happening, too, but they're just flying by the radar, not really getting tracked. The reason gratitude is so vital for brain processing and creating neural connections, so connections in the brain, is because it makes you, quite concretely, focus on these good events as well. Rick Hansen is a psychologist, and he calls it moving from Velcro to Teflon. So negative experiences become less sticky in the brain, away from Velcro, and they become like Teflon. But the alternate thing is that positive experiences go the other way. Because when you're under periods of stress, you're not really focused on the positive experiences. It's not you, it's your biology, it's not your fault. It's just how the brain works. And so when you actively start focusing on the positive and with the gratitude practice that I teach patients, it's to write down five things every day that you're grateful for. And why? It's a 60 second exercise. This is not a deep thoughts journal entry. Keep a pad of paper and a pencil or pen next to your bed. Do it first thing in the morning or at night.

[00:28:09.110] – Dr. Nerurkar

And it's only five things. Some days you'll be able to think of three things. You have to write five. Some days they'll be 15 things. You can only focus on five. And when you write quickly, put the date, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, write down those five things, call it a day, 60 seconds. Over time, this gratitude practice, this written gratitude practice, has found demonstrated benefit in mood, energy, stress, and resilience. This is just a few of the ways that it has been found to be beneficial because of what I talked about, cognitive reframing. So why do you have to write this down? That's often a question I get. We live in the digital world. Why can't I just use my iPhone and type it in? Because our brains use a different neural circuitry to type versus writing. So think about a grocery store list. You write it on a Post-it, you go to When you're in the grocery store, you lose the Post-it. But you still remember everything you've written down on that list. Contrary to typing up something, and let's say you're supposed to present or you type up your grocery list, and then you leave your phone at home.

[00:29:13.680] – Dr. Nerurkar

You're more likely to forget what It's on that list. Writing that gratitude practice down every single day does something different to your neural processes and to your circuits in your brain to help you remember the good. When you start focusing on the good through this very simple exercise, this is not like this aspirational, just be thankful, just be grateful. Because often when you're feeling a sense of stress, you don't feel very grateful. It doesn't feel authentic. It feels disingenuous to feel grateful because you're undergoing a period of stress. And often that leads to more stress if someone says to you, just be thankful, just be grateful. You should feel so lucky. Look at people who are not eating in certain parts of the world or who don't have a roof over your head. That doesn't feel very good when you're feeling stressed because it defeats the purpose. Instead, a concrete gratitude journal where you have to write it down every day. And some days, I've had patients who said, Well, I couldn't think of anything to write today, so I wrote, I have two arms and two legs. I can breathe. I sleep in a bed because I think there are people who might not sleep in a bed.

[00:30:25.850] – Dr. Nerurkar

You know, like very concrete things. I was able to have access to clean water today, and I got a little bit of food today. And that's all I'm grateful for, and that's enough. It's not huge aspirational things that you have to be grateful for. It's simple everyday things. The more simple, the more concrete, the more mundane, the better. And over time, at 30, 60, and 90 days, you'll notice that your stress gets decreased because it's simply a brain process that's happening.

[00:30:57.470] – Allan

And they can't occupy the same space at the same time. You can't be grateful and stressed at the same time. You forget the stress for even just those few moments. And if that just shifts that off for a little bit of time, I think that's just tremendous. So I was glad you put that in there because I think that is a really important step in understanding how well off we actually are in the grand scheme of things and how our brain, the way it's wired, is making something seem worse than it actually is. And so I think that's just a good practice.

[00:31:28.880] – Allan

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

[00:31:37.740] – Dr. Nerurkar

What a great question, Allan. One of the first things I would say is to get enough rest. So prioritize your sleep like the vital resource it is. It actually has a clear correlation to fitness over 40 or at any age, but particularly as we age. Sleep is one one of the hallmarks and foundations of everything because it's truly a therapeutic intervention. It helps every cell, tissue, and muscle in the body, including the brain. It helps your brain process difficult emotions. Our immune system is the most active when you're sleeping. And so there are many strategies in the five resets to help you get the sleep you deserve. So sleep is something that is a non-negotiable. And often the first sign of something, awry, when you're feeling a sense of stress or mental health issues, sleep is often the first thing to go. And so getting yourself back on track, lots of strategies in the book to help you do that. I think the second really important piece in your equation is some form of daily movement every day. So it doesn't have to be something big. Even five minutes of stretching or walking can make all of the difference.

[00:32:53.980] – Dr. Nerurkar

But a little bit every single day can go a long way. And lots of data in the five resets, but also you can do your own research to learn that it's not about one hour gym sessions at all in terms of mental health and fitness. It's not about weight loss. Our culture is obsessed with weight loss, but in fact, taught bellies and muscles never inspire people to lose weight. That's all cosmetic. That's like a cosmetic promise. What actually inspires people to get fit is doing something that can give you more energy to get to that most goal, for example, all of those things that you want to do. So it's never about weight loss or I want a six-pack or I want this or that. It's never motivated, even one of my patients. What has motivated patients to get out and start walking 5, 10 minutes a day is like, Oh, I'm going to sleep better. I'm going to be less stressed. I'm going to feel a little bit more energetic. I'm going to be productive. I'm going to be able to have good relationships because I'll be more present. Okay, I'll do it for for those reasons.

[00:34:01.340] – Dr. Nerurkar

Then finally, I think the third really important thing is to feel a sense of community. We know that there is a loneliness epidemic. The surgeon general has talked about this, a US surgeon general. He happens to be one of my childhood friends, but he's really focused on the public health crisis that is loneliness. Loneliness isn't just a nice to have. It can actually have impacts, not just on our mental health, but physical health. Being lonely increases your risk of stroke and heart disease by 30%, and it can shorten your lifespan. It's equal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day for non-smokers. It has that same impact in health risk and risk of death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. So creating that sense of community, even if you are an introvert. This is not about being a social butterfly. This is simply about feeling that sense of connection and tribe with a few people. So I like to say anywhere from two to five people, feeling that sense of connection that you're 4:00 AM friend. So if something were to happen to you at 4:00 AM, are there a few people in your life that you could turn to to help you?

[00:35:06.570] – Dr. Nerurkar

And vice versa. So feeling that connectedness, social connectedness, has huge benefits on mental and physical health and fitness. Those are my top three. And then if you were to give me a fourth, if you would be so kind to give me a fourth, it would be to decrease our reliance on… It would be to decrease your reliance on this little device, your phone and screens and social media, because that is doing lots of things to your brain to worsen stress and health and a lot of the Five Resets, an entire half of a chapter focuses on the importance of creating a digital boundary. We have boundaries in every other relationship in our life with our spouses, with our children, friends, coworkers, but we do not have a boundary when it comes to the relationship we have with our phones. It's a porous boundary. And so this is not about renouncing your phone and becoming a digital monk. Of course not. There's actually no health benefit to that. What has been shown to be beneficial for health and well-being is to decrease your reliance on these devices simply because it has an impact on your brain and body and stress and resilience in the long run.

[00:36:27.700] – Dr. Nerurkar

Thank you. Dr. Nerurkar, someone wanted wanted to learn more about you or your book, The Five Resets, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:36:35.410] – Dr. Nerurkar

You can go to 5resets.com, that's number 5resets.com, to order the book, learn more. There's videos, there's lots of tools there for people to really dive into the meat of what The Five Resets is. And you can follow me on social media at draditinerurkar. That's at D-R-A-D-I-T-I-N-E-R-U-R-K-A-R.

[00:36:59.480] – Allan

All right. Thank you very much. And thank you for being a part of 40 plus fitness.

[00:37:04.670] – Dr. Nerurkar

Thank you so much. I love what you're doing and really think it's so important.

[00:37:10.070] – Allan

Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:37:12.150] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:37:13.690] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. Again, another fun interview about mindset. It's like my favorite topic of discussion. Her five resets are really basic, but actually really easily implemented in your daily life. I really like those tips.

[00:37:30.160] – Allan

Yeah, I think one of the course for this for me was that when I was younger, you just grin and bear it. My upbringing was just, Suck it up, buttercup, and keep moving on. I don't care that you're upset. I don't care that you're stressed out. Just keep going. Yeah, that's good. And then because that was my behavior pattern, pretty much I would be stressed out. I would do other stressful things.

[00:37:58.590] – Rachel

Oh, no.

[00:37:59.970] – Allan

You know, like going in the gym and having a really hard workout that just wore me out was a way for me to deal with stress. And going through this book, it has me rethinking, was that just a distraction? And and not actually a cure? Because sometimes you put yourself out there and you're doing something, so you're not thinking about something else. Some people will turn to alcohol for stress, and some people will turn to drugs for stress or sex or whatever. And it's really just a function of covering up for a short period of time the stress they're feeling. Now, like some of those things, a heavy hard exercise is stressful, and you're adding stress, even though it could be a hormetic effect stress, a good stress, where they define it. What I basically was doing was just creating too much stress and not having that willingness to step back and say, whoa, that might have been too much. And I think that's the other thing of it. I was trying to do, we're going into the holidays. There's the shutdown in this country. So really struggling to try to keep our business afloat and thinking, okay, great.

[00:39:12.620] – Allan

I don't want to go through having to close down another business, especially when this big… Like I did the gym almost exactly a year earlier. I was like, Is this going to happen again? And so I was going through a lot of stress, and I was trying to do the crush the holidays challenge, which was daily videos. And I was like, if I'm not feeling well, I don't like recording, I don't like getting on camera. I don't like doing a lot of things because it really takes a lot of energy. So I kept waiting, when am I going to find a time when I feel good? And they weren't. So that just added more stress to it, which is why I wasn't good at it. It's why I wasn't doing my job on that challenge. And the other side of it is with that, I was filming videos, but I wasn't seeing the faces or the people. So it wasn't like that. When I do an interview for a podcast or like this part, we see each other. We're on Zoom, but we see each other. So there's a social interaction there. When I'm coaching a client, I see the client.

[00:40:17.250] – Allan

We're talking or messaging, that thing. With this challenge, I wasn't getting any of that. This was just me putting out without any feedback, hardly any feedback of interaction. And so it just felt hard. And that's why I kept putting it off. And I put it off and get late and be like, Okay, now is not a time either. My energy is low. And a couple of times I did. I got on the video, my energy was really low, and I was like, Okay, I hate that. So that's why I quit it. That's why I dropped it and did the refunds, because if I can't do it right, I'm not going to do it at all. That's how I feel about it. So it's a shame, but it was just one of those realizations that when I feel stressed, I need to recognize it. And then beyond that, then I need to, instead of just trying to cover it up with another activity or alcohol or anything else, is just to step back and say, breathe, work through some of these five resets, show gratitude, and move on. And that's one of the things. I didn't do it exactly like this, but a lot of the things that were in this book were things that I was considering as I went through that process.

[00:41:29.870] – Rachel

Oh, for sure. Well, and breathing is one of the things that she was saying. Come up for air and take that minute to reset your system, and maybe you can think more clearly. It's a similar concept in the running world, too, Allan, is that a lot of people run to escape their problems. We're technically running away from our problems. But I guess I think of it more like if you in the gym or me on a run, burn off that level of energy and then come back to the problem and you've got a better mindset, a better attitude towards tackling whatever is ahead of you. But I mean, sometimes you just have to say no. Sometimes you just got to take some things off your plate, especially if your cortisol is very high. Like at the end of the year, I say this every year, December is the most stressful month of the year. There's just too many obligations, too much going on. You're not taking the time for yourself, and something's going to give, and it might be your attitude. I think we need to go back, circle back to ourselves with some of these mindset tips and just calm, take a minute.

[00:42:35.100] – Rachel

At this age, Allan, like you were saying, when we were younger, we would just grind through, push. You've got a job, you've got young kids. What is your option? You have no other option. You've got to be successful at the job. You got to be successful and take good care of your kids. But now that we're a little bit older, I think in the 50 above bracket for me, we've got a little bit of breathing space to better organize our lives and the time that we need. One of her other mindset tips was to find quiet in a noisy world. When you're overwhelmed and stressed, sometimes you just need to get away from it. Take a break, go somewhere where it's nice and quiet and just take a minute to breathe. And to think.

[00:43:17.030] – Allan

Absolutely. All right. Well, I'll talk to you next week then.

[00:43:21.460] – Rachel

Great, Allan. Take care. 

[00:43:22.960] – Allan

You too. Bye.

[00:43:23.930] – Rachel


Music by Dave Gerhart


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Leigh Tanner
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


February 6, 2024

Understanding the science and politics of diabetes treatment with Gary Taubes

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On episode 628 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we bring back Gary Taubes to discuss his new book, Rethinking Diabetes: What Science Reveals About Diet, Insulin, and Successful Treatments.


Let's Say Hello

[00:01:25.040] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:01:27.310] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:28.930] – Allan

I'm doing all right. I'm doing all right. Things are busy at Lula's. We're getting into February here, and we're doing well now. But there's this couple of months where we weren't. It has its toll. You're running a business, and you're like, okay, what we would have had for a year would have been an awesome year. It turned out to not be such an awesome year. But that's fine. It's fine. It is what it is. We're running a business. We're going to keep running it the best we can. And my hopes are now we've got a good January, a good February going. So 2024, It looks like it's going to be a much better year.

[00:02:02.340] – Rachel

Awesome. That sounds great.

[00:02:04.490] – Allan

How are things for you?

[00:02:05.910] – Rachel

Good. Still cold up here in Michigan. Yeah. But we're doing well. I mentioned earlier, my daughter is engaged to be married, and we're making some good plans. We've got a date. It'll be in June. She's got her dress, and we're just ticking off all the boxes, getting stuff done. So that's pretty exciting.

[00:02:22.430] – Allan

Well, good. Good. Now, so you're going to hit this transition in life where you're not only an empty nester, but your daughter doesn't have the same last name anymore.

[00:02:29.880] – Rachel

That's right. I got to learn how to spell the boy's last name. It shouldn't be too hard, but it's different.

[00:02:35.150] – Allan

I'll tell this story. My daughter was getting married, and I had met her, her boyfriend, her fiance at the time. And so I go into the place. She wants all the guys in the wedding had to wear the same suit. This was the place that sold the suit. I'm going in to get the suit sized because it just happened to timing. So I think she was going to get married in. I think she got married in November, and this was August. And so I walk in and I go in and I say, okay, I'm here to buy a suit. And they're like, Okay, who's the wedding? I said, It's Becker. And she's, What's the groom's last name?

[00:03:04.180] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh. Did it take a minute?

[00:03:06.950] – Allan

Yeah, I was like, Oh, my God. I don't even know the guy's last… I knew his first name, but I didn't even know his last name. So I'm sitting there going back and forth. I'm like, It's Jay and Becker, Jay and Becker. And they were flipping through their papers, and they found it. Unfortunately, it was one of the largest orders because he had, I don't know, 13 groomsmen or something like that. That's a big order. And because of that, then because of that, Then she had to at least try to even it up so it didn't look like this weird flock of geese flying north.

[00:03:36.160] – Rachel

Oh, boy. That's awesome.

[00:03:38.340] – Allan

Anyway, so, yeah, I had to learn his name. And even today, I was sending something to her, and I had to write her name. I was like, Okay, this is the first time I've actually written that last name. The new last name. They've been married now for over a year. Oh, boy, oh, boy. But it's the first time I've had to physically write it down, which was interesting.

[00:03:54.460] – Rachel

Oh, my goodness. That is funny. Yeah, got to get used to that. Changes.

[00:03:57.900] – Allan

There's some new things coming on, but All right. So you're ready to talk to Dr. Ta… I mean, Mr. Taubes. I always want to call him a doctor because he is so smart. He does so much research that I just think of him as a doctor because- For sure. Of all the things he does. For sure. But no, it's Gary Taubes. You ready to have that conversation?

[00:04:18.450] – Rachel



[00:04:48.730] – Allan

Gary, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:51.040] – Gary

Thank you for having me, Allan.

[00:04:52.750] – Allan

So your next book has to be on Stress Management now, right? We had so much trouble getting on this call. But today, the book we want to talk about is Rethinking Diabetes: What Science Reveals About Diet, Insulin, and Successful Treatments. When you started laying this out and saying this was a history book, I was a little like, okay, I just want Gary to tell me how to eat because I know he does his research. But I'm really glad that you did take the time to lay that out because there were so many layers to this that I went through a lot. I went through moments where I was just, okay, if I had I met that guy in person, I'd choke him out. And then there were moments where I want to shake someone's hand, and then it would flip. And then the person I wanted to shake their hand, now I want to choke them out. This whole convoluted story of science and medicine, food, diabetes, and treatment, it's a can of worms.

[00:05:51.310] – Gary

Yeah, that's a good way to put it. Let's talk about why I wrote a history of medicine book, basically on diabetes therapy. And how diabetes researchers… I'm going to refer to anyone who studies diabetes or medical practice specializes in diabetes as diabetologist, since that'll simplify everything. But one of The issue is with being a journalist and writing books challenge conventional thinking in medicine and nutrition is you have to establish on what basis you think you have a right to do that, that you think you know better. So my expertise throughout my career has always been the one subject I've studied, I've written multiple books on, and I think I know better than probably anyone else alive is good science and bad science. I mean, good scientists know that implicitly, but I have studied it explicitly. And when you look into the history of these fields, you could see why people came to believe certain assumptions were true. You could see whether or not they tested their assumptions to see if they were true, whether they adjusted their thinking when their assumptions failed the test, and whether assumptions were grandfathered into how we think about this disease and therapy without ever being tested.

[00:07:13.630] – Gary

And so when you do that, when you go back in time to look at the evidence base for what we believe about ideal therapies for diabetes, you end up telling a history. You say, look, this is what we believe that this point in time. This is why we changed our beliefs. This was the actual evidence on which the beliefs were changed. This was what happened when we tested them. So I end up in writing, rethinking diabetes with not just the history of the relevant diet, drug, disease relationship. But coming to conclusions about what perhaps these people should have concluded had they known then what we know now. We have the benefit of hindsight. And the benefit of doing this in the 2020s is that because of all these Internet repositories, you can basically get all this research, either downloaded or delivered to your doorstep, say, 90% of what should have been known about the science back when people were making decisions on 5 or 10 or 15%. The doctors would make decisions about diabetes therapy based on what they read in the journals that they got subscriptions to, in the languages that they could read, maybe what their local libraries had.

[00:08:38.630] – Gary

And now we can see almost all of it. And it's as though we have a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, and physicians and diabetologists were making decisions based on 50 to 100 pieces that they could access. And we can now see 950 pieces. We can and have a very solid idea about what image is on this puzzle when they were in effect guessing and then locking in their guesses over time.

[00:09:10.680] – Allan

Yeah. And then that's where personality gets involved and science can go out the door.

[00:09:17.010] – Gary

Yeah. One of the fundamental issues here is doctors are not trained to be scientists. They're trained to be doctors. They often look down on people with PhDs as FUDs. That's how they were called by my doctor friends when I was young. Being a scientist requires this very delicate balance between believing a hypothesis to be true or likely to be true and then being rigorously, extravagantly skeptical of your own thinking so that you can abandon that hypothesis if it's not true, even if you've built your career on it. And then doctors just say, you're confronted with Patients. Doctors are confronted with patients. They have to make decisions in the moment about what they think the best evidence shows. And the problem is, based on their decisions, they also come to conclusions about what they think the disease is, what it's telling them. Then, like I said, once you've made a decision, you've decided this is likely to be true, you lock yourself in after that, especially if you've acted on it, into believing it was true because you don't want to believe that you actually did people harm or that you made mistakes mistakes along the way.

[00:10:31.100] – Gary

And it becomes a can of worms, would be the phrase you use, the kind way to put it. So, yeah, the book is as much about the conflict between medicine and science and how doctors think versus how they should think to establish reliable knowledge and what happens when these assumptions are established as truth, as dogma, without really being rigorously tested. Not just being rigorously tested, surviving the tests.

[00:11:01.470] – Allan

Yeah. Well, and some of them were. I think that's one of the good takeaways here, where there were some really good doctors in this history. Diabetes started really hitting the scene around 100 years ago. And they were seeing a lot of type 1 diabetes, then type 2 was starting to come around. And so there was this, okay, what's going on here? This is different. And they didn't have exogenous insulin to shoot the folks up. They didn't really know insulin existed. And so they were, like you said, they were, I would say, practicing because they do call it a medical practice. But they would practice on a few patients and see what was happening and then adjust and adapt and come up with another way. They were sharing information with other doctors, which I was actually glad to see because I think that's how you learn how many cases you're going to see, how many they're going to see. And over time, you can build a body of experience that one doctor could never, never have experienced himself. So can we talk a little bit about treatments and things people were doing before exogenous insulin existed.

[00:12:06.250] – Gary

Okay. So apparently the first example, the first case in which a physician seemed to put a case of diabetes into remission was 1797. It was a British doctor named John Rallo. He's got a patient. He's in the military. He's got a patient in the military, Colonel Meredith. Meredith has recently lost a lot of weight. He's showing all the symptoms of diabetes, which are this extravagant hunger, thirsty all the time. He's peeing constantly. He goes to Rauh, Rauh. Back then, this is 1797, it was common for a physician to taste the urine, to make diagnosis. He tastes the urine, the urine's sweet, so he can diagnose his diabetes. And he decides that since the urine's sweet, it's got too much carbohydrates in it, too much that it shouldn't be there that's making it sweet. So carbohydrates from plants. And so he decides he's going to basically feed him a diet without a lot of plant matter. And he prescribes this diet, which is fatty, rancid meat, blood, sausages, and some green vegetables. And he's also giving him drugs. He's giving him… Morphine was a common treatment back then. And Meredith does better. His thirst goes away, his hunger goes away.

[00:13:26.810] – Gary

He gained some more weight back. And Raleigh writes a pamphlet about this. He also treats a general with the same diet, and the general seems to do better, but the general goes home, falls off the diet, and dies. So Rala decides if you stay in the diet, it'll probably cure diabetes. He writes a pamphlet, distributes it throughout the England, the United Kingdom, to physicians to suggest they try it on their diabetic patients, and it seems to work. And through the 19th century, the standard of care is what's called the animal diet. They drop the rancid meat, French doctor, Baudenaire, gets involved, and the Pollinaire, I forget his name at the moment, then brings a little French cuisine into it. By the end of the 19th century, they're realizing that they want to give their patients who tend to be losing a lot of weight, or if they have what we today would call type 1 diabetes, they're emaciated. And young, you want to build up their bodies. You want to give them as much calories as possible. So by the early 20th century, the idea of 1900, 1905. It's like, feed them as much fat as you can.

[00:14:34.470] – Gary

And Elliot Jocelyn, who starts the first diabetes clinic in the United States. He's a Harvard trained doctor. He specializes in diabetes in Boston. His clinic eventually becomes a Jocelyn Diabetes Center at Harvard, says, look, the secret to keeping these people alive is getting them to eat as much fat as they can. He actually learns that from the German diabetologist who have the most clinical experience in the world at that point. That's the diet. It's today we would call it keto. Back then, it was the high fat animal diet. Jocelyn is actually one of the reasons he's so interested. His mother has diabetes. And again, probably a type 2 diabetic whose pancreas eventually fails her, so she loses a lot of weight and is diagnosed. And she stays alive longer than any of her other family by rigid adherence to this high fat animal product-rich diet. And there's a brief interlude from 1914 to 1921, where another Harvard doctor, Fred Allen, decides the best way to treat patients is to semi-starve them. And you have this starvation therapy that takes patients who are… One of the diagnostic criteria of diabetes is ravenous hunger at the time, and then you starve them further.

[00:15:57.490] – Gary

And again, with patients with type 1, these young kids, you could keep them alive longer by doing so. And then 1921, insulin is discovered. And insulin is the hormone that the pancreas should be producing. And University of Toronto researchers Discover it, purify it, use it as therapy, and find that they could basically bring these kids at the brink of death, emaciated 15-year-olds who weigh 50 pounds and could restore them to life. They would talk about it as almost literally a resurrection, like a biblical experience. And as soon as you start giving patients insulin, you create the disease of low blood sugar, hypoglycemia. And that can be deadly. That can be fatal, very quickly fatal. So you have to get the patients to eat carbohydrates so that they don't die of low blood sugar. So your cure creates a new disease. And simultaneously, you go from diets that basically had the patient abstaining entirely from carbohydrates to telling them to eat carbs, and telling them to eat carbs at regular intervals, and they should have them at breakfast, and they should have them at snacks, and they should have them at lunches. And that way, when the insulin covers them, you won't kill them with low blood sugar.

[00:17:25.830] – Gary

And as this is happening, physicians are making decisions visions about what this says about the diet. And the one thing they don't know is what the long term consequences of any of this are. So you imagine they created a drug like an anti-cancer drug that could cure some horrible cancer. And in the short run, it works tremendously. It keeps people alive, but you have no idea what the long term benefits of this diet is. And by the time those… Excuse me, not just the long term benefits, the long term risks. And by the time those risks and benefits start to wash over these patients, this wave of diabetic complications that we're so familiar with today, which are heart failure, atherosclerosis, nerve damage, amputations, and gangrene, and retinopathies, damage to the eyes, and blindness, kidney failure. You're so far along in treatment, 10, 15 years, that you don't know what's causing it. And that's what we've been living with ever since. These decisions made in the 1920s and '30s about how to treat the disease with no real understanding of how they affect these long term complications.

[00:18:44.690] – Allan

I've talked on here a lot about homeostasis and how our body likes to stay in balance. And it has all these, in some places, very complex relationships between things to help make that happen. And I think insulin Insulin and glucagon is maybe one of the easier ones to understand, but it is extremely complex when you get down to the true science of how it happens in the body. Could you just give us a little bit of a primer on insulin and glucagon and how the two of them, both coming from the pancreas, work together to keep us in a good place or should keep us in a good place?

[00:19:22.850] – Gary

Okay. There's, again, a lot to unpack and what you just said. So homeostasis is one of the most important Certain concepts ever discovered in medicine. Dates to, again, 1865, a French physiologist, very famous, named Claude Bernard. The idea is basically that everything our bodies do is to try to keep relatively constant. The conditions, he called it the milieu interior, the interior milieu, but the conditions right outside the cell walls because your cells are basically living in that environment. They have to stay alive. And all they're seeing are the the nutrients in that environment, the vitamins and minerals right outside the cell walls and the cellular fluids and the fluid circulating through the bloodstream. And they're seeing hormones and signaling molecules and inflammatory molecules. Our body is working through this system of hormones and the nervous system to keep that constant. One more message, and then I'm done. The hormone that's in diabetes in 1889, a German physician, a researcher named Minkowski realizes that the pancreus is a problem in diabetes, because when you remove the pancreas from dogs, if you keep them alive, they become diabetic. 1921, as we said, these University of Toronto researchers led by Banting and Best, realized that the hormone that's missing is insulin.

[00:20:51.760] – Gary

So the idea is that insulin controls blood sugar, and without it, you have high blood sugar and all the symptoms of diabetes. You give insulin, you lower blood sugar, as we discussed. And forever after, effectively diabetes is seen as a disorder, or at least for the next 40 years of insulin deficiency. While researchers are studying insulin and focusing on its effect on blood sugar. Other researchers have established that the pancreas actually seems to secrete two hormones that work together. And one of the messages was how our endocrine system, our system of hormones, controls homeostasis, keeps us in homeostasis equilibrium, is it does it by not just secreting hormones that have certain effects, but having those hormones in turn react with counter regulatory hormones that have the opposite effects. Anything that's working to do one thing, there's guaranteed to be another hormone that's working to do the opposite. And these hormones are going to be linked. And the idea was that as these researchers began to realize that blood sugar is controlled not just by insulin telling cells to take up blood sugar and use it for fuel. So insulin lowers blood sugar, and you get to utilize, but also this hormone glucagon, which is secreted by neighboring cells in the pancreas, that actually tells the liver to create and effect glucose, blood sugar, and secrete that glucose into the bloodstream to keep blood sugar up.

[00:22:30.710] – Gary

So we have this dual hormone system, insulin being secreted by cells called beta cells, glucagon being secreted by cells called alpha cells, which are right next to the beta cells. The mechanisms in the cells are very similar. Glucose stimulates insulin secretion and inhibits glucagon secretion. So glucose is blood sugar in effect. Insulin itself inhibits glucagon secretion, and glucagon inhibits insulin secretion. And these have to work perfectly. But diabetes researchers and physicians are so focused on insulin that they pay virtually no attention to glucagon. And glucagon, while secreted from the pancreas, is doing the bulk of its work in the liver, which is the organ that's secreting glucose into the circulation and working to rise blood sugar. So in an ideal world, glucagon and insulin are working together, and they're working to keep blood sugar stable, which is what is relatively stable in those of us who don't have diabetes. And if you don't have enough insulin, you're going to have too much glucagon. If you have too much glucagon, you're not going to have enough insulin. And if you have too much insulin, you're not going to have enough. It's hopelessly connected. And vitally important to this is that the insulin and the glucagon are both secreted by the pancreas.

[00:24:00.070] – Gary

So the highest doses in any cell's fee are in the pancreas, and the next highest doses are in the liver, down the portal vein. If you just inject insulin, as we do with insulin therapy, exogenous insulin, as you call it, you're putting insulin eventually into the circulation. So it has to, by the time it gets to the pancreas, it's seeing an entirely different dose. The pancreatic alpha cells are seeing a very different dose than they would if insulin was secreted from the pancreas. And these are all revelations that are made by really good researchers, physiologists studying these systems through the 20th century. And the implications are profound for how we treat the disease. And yet when you look back at this history, you see that the way we treat this disease never really changes in response to a changing understanding of the disease itself.

[00:24:52.150] – Allan

And even when it does, it's three decades later.

[00:24:55.490] – Gary

It's three decades later. But even today, we have these wonderful new drugs, GLP-1 agonists, Receptor agonists, that are used to treat both diabetes and are considered wonder drugs for obesity. And the way the researchers think about those drugs working is purely through the insulin system because they think, Oh, these drugs reduce, they bring blood sugar under control. Therefore, they must be stimulating insulin secretion. And in cell cultures, they will indeed stimulate insulin secretion. But when you actually… They are called glucagon-like peptides for a reason, because they are very much like a glucagon, and they're the proteins in their shape and configuration, and they have an effect on glucagon as well. And what you could be seeing is a glucagon-related effect, not an insulin-related effect. But that's not how people think about it. One of the messages with the research I've done is that when you talk about all the mistakes that were made in medicine along the way, they don't tend to become trivial. They tend to become compounded with time. They pollute the science ever after because people just embrace these things as the correct way to think about it.

[00:26:19.680] – Allan

I want to jump ahead a little bit here. Now, obviously, okay, so a wonder drug, if you will, or basically a hormone, is starting to help people live a lot longer than they would lived otherwise. And so as a result, now they're actually starting to see some of the downstream effect of folks with diabetes that live a little bit longer and or maybe even the effect of insulin itself when it's injected this way. And that's heart disease, atherosclerosis, and some of the other diseases that are out there. Can you describe why there's such a huge correlation between diabetes and heart disease and the other metabolic diseases?

[00:26:57.500] – Gary

Well, again, it gets As soon as we get into it, it gets complicated. So it happened, like I said, once insulin is discovered and insulin therapy is initiated almost exactly 100 years ago, you can suddenly keep patients with diabetes a lot longer. And this alive a lot longer than otherwise. So this includes not just young kids who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes or at the brink of death, and now you can keep them alive indefinitely. But the folks with the chronic form of the disease that associates with obesity and aging, a type 2 diabetes who wouldn't show up into the doctor until they had lost a lot of weight and were clearly suffering insulin deficiency. So now you're giving them insulin, you're keeping them alive. And then by the late 19 '20s, early 1930s, you start seeing this wave of complications comes in the medical community. So all these… And kids who might have been diagnosed at age 12 and kept alive for 20 years by insulin, which is the miracle aspect of it, are now dying in their early, late '20s, early '30s of heart disease, kidney failure, blindness. They're getting all these awful complications.

[00:28:13.110] – Gary

It's still tragic. They're still dying way too young. It's as though they're aging too quickly because they're getting these diseases that strike the rest of us in our '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s. They're getting them in their '20s and '30s. And the physicians are confronted with this now. And I should say, as this has been happening, the physicians have been liberalizing the diet evermore because they think of insulin as a miracle drug. And they think rather than tell people to restrict the carbohydrates they eat, and minimize your doses of insulin, they're saying, Why don't we let people, particularly kids, eat whatever they want and cover it with insulin? So the insulin doses get higher and higher. The drugs do a very poor job of controlling insulin, but the physicians can't. Excuse me, controlling blood sugar, but the physicians can't really measure. They can't measure blood sugar in any meaningful way, so they don't know that. And when these diabetic wave of complications washes over their patients, they don't really know what to do about it. They assume it's because their blood sugar is poorly controlled. They never think that it might be related to the insulin they're giving them as well.

[00:29:30.070] – Gary

It's hard for physicians to think that the drugs they're giving them are also creating complications. And by the time the medical community starts using randomized control trials to test drugs and diets to see what works and the long term risks and benefits. That's 1950s, 1960s. This belief system that we should let patients eat carbohydrate liberal diet. We should let them eat whatever everyone else eats. They have to count it. They have to count their carbs at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so they know how much they're eating, so they know how much insulin to take. They have to take specific doses of carbs at snacks, so they cover that insulin. And the insulin covers the carbs, but we're not going to tell them they can't eat pasta, bread, potatoes, because they're not going to listen to us anyway. So these are all assumptions that are embraced. And this diet never gets tested. And through the 1970s and onward, as a diabetes community starts doing ever larger and more rigorous tests to test their assumptions about keeping blood sugar under control by drugs. The assumptions almost invariably fail to be confirmed by the study. So they find it's just harder.

[00:30:48.990] – Gary

And no matter what they do, the complications from the disease seem to be inevitable. And they never test the idea that one of the problems is the diet, that as long as you let patients eat whatever carbohydrates they want, they are going to get complications and these long term chronic effects. And that the other problem might be the insulin and the drugs they're giving as well. And that's never really embraced. When it's tested, the tests seem to demonstrate that that's what's happening, but that's not how these physicians are thinking. So you've got a situation. In fact, there's two ways to think about treating this disease. And there were two ways to think about it back in the 1920s. One is the symptoms only appear when people eat carbohydrate-rich foods. So I'm not talking green leafy vegetables, but starches, potatoes, grains. And if they minimize consumption of those or abstain from those foods, they either won't manifest symptoms of the disease or the symptoms can be controlled with very low doses of drugs. Patients with type 1 diabetes will always need a little some insulin, but they'll need a lot less if they don't eat carbs.

[00:32:07.860] – Gary

Patients with type 2 diabetes might not need any drugs at all if they abstain from eating these foods. And then the other way to think about it is the way we did, which is you let them eat whatever they want. Although maybe you say you got to, again, rigorously count the calories, the carb calories in every meal so you know how much drugs you should be taking, and then you cover it with drugs. And we never actually… The point I'm making in this book is that when you look at these clinical trials and you look what was tested over the past 40 years, when we really started doing these tests, This is a degenerative chronic disease that requires more and more drug therapy as time goes on if you're eating a carbohydrate-rich diet. And it very likely is not, if you're not if you're abstaining from those carbs.

[00:33:02.310] – Allan

As you went through it in the book, it was one of those moments where I was like, there were doctors that got it with that minimum effective dose. Let's not give them more than they need. Let's put it together with eating That's a concept I haven't seen in medicine a lot at all. And particularly, start talking about heart disease, you start talking about other things. There really isn't enough conversation, at least in my opinion, about how food is medicine, even though that concept has been around for quite some time, it doesn't seem to be practiced as much. I saw a lot more of that in this book than I expected to see in the history. So let's say you happen to go to the doctor and they told you, Hey, Gary, your numbers are up. Your A1c is starting to hit that point. We're going to call this prediabetes. What are you going to eat from that point forward? You probably already eat that way.

[00:33:58.640] – Gary

I do already eat that way because one of the messages from all my books, and again, which is based on arguably doing more research in the literature than anyone alive up to a certain point in time.

[00:34:12.610] – Allan

I think you got the meta study down.

[00:34:16.000] – Gary

Yeah, it's a cluster of chronic diseases that associate together. And by that, I mean, they associate together in populations. They appear in populations together. They become epidemic together. And And they appear in patients. If you have one, you're much more likely to have the others. And this is obesity and diabetes and gout and heart disease, and cancer is one of them, and dementia is one of them. Basically, all the chronic diseases that are likely to shorten our lives and kill us and make our old age, our oldest age, very uncomfortable are diseases that are associated with Western diets and lifestyles. And when you look into the history of this idea and the research, And the conventional thinking is it's caused by eating too much and maybe being sedentary and maybe the fat in the diet causes heart disease and the salt in the diet causes hypertension. And so strokes, cerebrovascular disease, and maybe the red meat and the alcohol cause gout, and every disease has a different trigger. And the other hypothesis that was always out there is these are caused basically by the refining of sugar and grains. Highly processed grains and sugars. And once you live in a population where that's a staple of your diet, these diseases are going to manifest themselves, they're going to be passed on from mother to child in the womb, so they're going to get worse with each generation.

[00:35:46.740] – Gary

And it seems to be what we're suffering from today. And the dietary therapy that that hypothesis implied, and that had been in many ways, conventional thinking for 200 years, is that if you avoid these carbohydrate-rich foods, you will be relatively healthy. This isn't really food as medicine, so much as some foods are simply toxic to some ever larger proportion of the population. And if we want to be healthy, we can't eat them. The Atkins diet, beginning in the 1960s, was a carbohydrate-restricted high fat diet. The animal diet for diabetes that was used from 1797 till insulin came in was a carbohydrate-restricted high fat diet. It was considered a very effective treatment for epilepsy beginning around 1920. And there was always significant evidence in the literature that people, some people just couldn't tolerate the carbs in the diet, that for whatever reasons, probably insulin-related and glucagon-related. These foods, when they're refined and they're digested quickly, today, we call them high glycemic index carbs. Again, sugars could be particularly bad for us, that if we don't eat those, we'll be healthy. And again, if you want to keep your calories up, then you have to replace those carbohydrate-rich foods with calories.

[00:37:23.450] – Gary

And inevitably, it's mostly fat. Even sources of protein come with attached unless there's skinless chicken breasts, which I don't think anyone should ever have to eat. So, yeah, all these lines of thinking lead you to believe that we should eat, in effect, if we want to be healthy, a very low carbohydrate diet, replace those calories with healthy fats. And now you're reading something that looks a lot like keto or Atkins or carnival even. And one of the subtexts of everything I write about, it's in the diabetes book as well, is as soon as the medical organizations like the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, and National Institutes of Health, and then the US Department of Agriculture get involved. Once they start taking the conventional wisdom and turning it into dietary guidelines that we should all follow, anything that is divergent from that is treated as a fad diet or a quackery. It's dismissed as dangerous or harmful or something that people won't adhere to because we know people won't stick to a diet. And so the medical community thinks of all ways to convince people not to eat a diet, that this alternative hypothesis, which is based on the literature and the history, says it's probably the healthiest way to eat. It's… And that's how I eat.

[00:38:51.720] – Allan

Okay. The sad story of all this as you go through is they come up with the concept with insulin that you can cover up the carbohydrates, the volume of carbohydrates, and particularly sugar, that the American or the Western diet starts taking on escalates. And so we're no longer covering up 30 pounds of sugar a year, 40, 45 pounds. We're talking over 100 pounds to 150 pounds of sugar that a lot of people are eating in a year. And if you're using insulin to cover that up, we're not talking about five units here, 10 units there. We're talking in terms of a couple of hundred units here and a couple of hundred units there. So I think that sometimes when we think we have a miracle drug that allows us to do things, then everything just flips the other way, which gets me concerned about this glucagon-like peptide stuff that's coming out is that a lot of people are looking at it and saying, oh, well, that's going to help me lose 30 pounds. I'm going to do that instead of eating a diet that's going to help my body naturally get rid of body fat and eat a little bit less, maybe.

[00:40:02.190] – Allan

They're looking to something like that to cover it off, if you will. What are your thoughts about these new wonder drugs? I got chewed a little bit by a doctor that prescribes these because he's like, These are peptides. These are not drugs. These are just natural occurring things, which is probably a little true, but not something you're going to inject. Yeah, not something you're just going to inject. Once you start injecting something, I'm going to call it a drug.

[00:40:27.020] – Gary

Yeah, I think that's it. These are pretty profound variations on the naturally occurring hormones. But I have the same worries. I mean, the good news would be that because one of the effects, whether it's direct or indirect, is to so powerfully inhibit appetite, people are going to be eating a lot less of the foods that I would argue they shouldn't eat anyway. And it may be that these particularly target sweets. So one thing that when they talk about cravings going away, the things we tend to crave are sweets. So I suspect that's a kind way of saying people aren't craving desserts all the time, and maybe they're drinking less sugar, sweetened beverages. So that could balance out. And it's one of the interesting benefits. I do think that the world is full of people who, even if they eat a carnivore diet, would still have considerably more excess fat than they prefer, and that if they want to take care of that, the drugs would be beneficial. But I do worry that insulin to me, reading the insulin story in the literature was horrifying because you see how it could take 10 to 15 years before you really understand the bad things that could happen.

[00:41:46.240] – Gary

And by that time, it's too late. And I keep hoping that maybe I'm just misunderstanding the level, the kinds of clinical studies that have been done today so that somebody could convince me that I shouldn't be anxious that as millions and tens of millions of individuals embrace these drugs, we're not going to see the tidal wave of complications that we couldn't imagine. There are all kinds of other issues, like With pregnancy, for instance, if a young woman goes on the drug like Wegovy and then loses 50 pounds and gets married and then wants to have children, does she stay on the drug while she's pregnant? If she does what happens to the fetus, to the child. And if she gets off the drug before she goes pregnant, she'll be gaining weight back at a very considerable speed while she's pregnant. And we don't know what will happen to the child. And it could take 20, 30, 40, 50 years before we actually know the long term consequences of what happened in the womb. And so there are situations that I don't think we're prepared to deal with. But again, I'm hoping that I'm just naive here, that this is an area I could find the authorities who could convince me that I don't know what I'm talking about.

[00:43:06.080] – Allan

I think just the lesson that I took away from insulin here was it's not a cover. It doesn't mean that you just go full bore and you're free. And you can do what you want to do and you just take more to cover off on it. I look at this the same way and say, what lifestyle changes can you be making to support a lower weight when you get there? And that this is just a helper to get you to a point, like the guy who comes in and he's going into a coma, and that kid's going to be dead in a couple hours if they don't get that shot of insulin. So you give them the shot of insulin, and it revives them, and now you can deal with it. But in this case, again, I hope there's some lifestyle changes that come along with these things.

[00:43:51.030] – Gary

That's a good man. And again, one of the reasons I write these books is history. I'm trying to reach the physicians and the researchers to say, look, I I think if you did what I did, you would come to some of the same conclusions. If you looked at these histories and you saw that when we think about obesity, it's not an over eating problem. It's an effect of carbohydrate and tolerance problem. So if you could use these drugs to lower your weight significantly, but if you have to go off them, you will be… You probably won't gain the weight back if you don't eat these foods that caused you to gain the weight to begin with. And the drug will probably work better. But we don't actually know because these drugs are not tested on those of us who eat low carb, high fat ketogenic diets or testing on people who eat the standard American crap. So we don't even really know if they're healthy for us or as healthy or maybe more healthy. We represent… Our metabolisms run different. We burn fat for fuel. Other people burn carbohydrates for fuel. So there's a whole world of problems that comes with relying on a drug when these chronic disorders might be solvable, might be able to be put into remission with dietary changes that we can be pretty confident, but not absolutely confident, do not have those long term effects because we're eating diets that basically we evolved as a species to eat.

[00:45:22.830] – Gary

Whatever you do once you start talking about long term, 10, 20, 30, 40 years on a drug or a diet, we don't really what's going to happen.

[00:45:31.560] – Allan

We'll get back together and we'll do that podcast episode, okay?

[00:45:34.100] – Gary

With luck. I think the odds are better for you than for me.

[00:45:39.410] – Allan

We'll see. You're going to write the book anyway. Gary, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:45:51.140] – Gary

Now you're asking a journalist to give advice, and that's never a good idea. Eat the diet that makes you feel healthiest in the short run. So by that, I mean, if you suffer from a chronic disorder, which can be obesity or diabetes or heart disease, a little tougher. But let's stick with obesity diabetes, where you can actually experience the symptoms in the short term. If you can find a diet that makes those symptoms go away, which includes excess weight and high blood sugar and high blood pressure, then that's how you should eat. And in that case, you have to do your research so that you understand what the arguments are for eating this way, this eating pattern, and how to follow it. So that would be the first thing. I believe there's some foods we just shouldn't eat because they're bad for us, and that we'll get over missing them as we get healthy. The others become trivial to me after that. I mean, getting enough sleep and physical activity because I don't know if they'll make us live longer, but they tend to make people happier and emotionally balanced in the short run. So that's true.

[00:47:04.950] – Gary

My expertise is purely diet, and even there as a journalist.

[00:47:09.440] – Allan

Well, thank you. And they say that the value of history is to learn so we don't repeat it. So I'm glad you did take the time to write this book the way you did, because I do think that a lot of doctors can look back and say, okay, here's what we know, and here's what we've learned, and here's what we know we should probably should be doing regardless. And so I think it's a valuable book for anybody, including medical professionals that want to just know why we think the way we think when they really haven't seen any literature that proves what we think. So thank you for that. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your book, Rethinking Diabetes, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:47:46.640] – Gary

Well, Amazon to purchase a book. I do think it's a typical author. I think it's very much worth reading.

[00:47:54.640] – Allan

I do, too.

[00:47:55.270] – Gary

I have a website, garytaubes.com. I am I have a sub stack now with the wonderful journalist Nina Tysholtz called Unsettled Science, in which we discuss these issues of nutrition and chronic disease and the various influences in the science that perhaps shouldn't be there. And I tweet @garytaubes, although not as often as I should.

[00:48:23.240] – Allan

Well, thank you. Gary, thank you so much for being a part of 40 plus fitness.

[00:48:27.180] – Gary

Thank you, Allan.

Post Show/Recap

[00:48:29.200] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:48:30.360] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was a really fascinating discussion. There's so much to talk about the history of diabetes. It's just one of those things that I've always just known existed. But I didn't realize that insulin was only invented in 1920 or 1921, I think.

[00:48:44.930] – Rachel

That feels so recent.

[00:48:46.860] – Allan

They found it in the early '20s, 1920s. So it's just a little over 100 years old. That's crazy. And then because they understood what was happening, particularly with, at that point in time, type 1 diabetics, because there weren't that many type 2 diabetics. It just didn't happen as often. It was a type 1. And that's why it's called type 1. It was the first one. They like, okay, they don't have insulin. So what happens is they end up in a coma, and they bring them into the hospital in a coma. And in the past, they pretty much said they're just going to die. And so now they're like, okay, we inject them with this insulin. They didn't know how much. They didn't know anything. They was like, just- Try this.inject them. Yeah. So they injected in and some of them were recovering. And so like, oh, so they need this insulin to do the process. So now they didn't fully understand what all was going on with the process, but they could see the relationship between insulin and blood sugar. And so that's what they started working with.

[00:49:45.490] – Rachel

And it's interesting that they had some dietary protocols until they figured out of what insulin was and how it works. But in the beginning, they did have some very interesting dietary protocol.

[00:49:55.730] – Allan

Well, they did because they understood it was the sugar and not having insulin. So it was like, well, some doctors were, well, if they don't eat, then they should be fine if you don't ever eat. Don't eat. So they were. Some of them were on… They were putting… People were going on starvation diets, realized that the medical system was very different back then. So they could do experimentation on their clients with the patients without really worrying about it. They were just doing everything they could think of to solve a problem. Sharing information with other doctors. Like, I tried this with this client and it worked. This client, it didn't. So this is something to think about because it had worked. But dietary was one of the core ones because there weren't a lot. Metformin didn't exist. Other drugs didn't exist. So really, they didn't have anything. So that's all they could really do was change your behavior or change the way you eat, change your movement, change your output. And so they had done this. There was one doctor that speculated that you could just feed people fat to replace the calories. So protein and fat instead of a more balanced meal.

[00:51:02.480] – Allan

And that was working for a lot of type 1 diabetics. They were staying alive longer. They still would, at some point in time, potentially go into a coma and die because you can't change what someone's eating when they're unconscious and can't eat. And so that would happen. What was so weird, in my opinion, was that the instant we had access to this, we call it a drug, but it's basically a hormone, but a drug, since we had this thing, everybody dropped every every other protocol out there and just move on. Now, that was fine for a while, but the thing was people started living longer. And the other diseases of lifestyle that are associated with diabetes, like heart disease and kidney issues, they still came on. But now you saw them because before, the first time you maybe knew they had a problem was when they showed up in a coma, and then they died shortly thereafter. Here, they're living into their 40s and having heart disease, which compared to a normal average person, might be 10 to 20 years earlier. They were thinking, oh, the high fat diets that these folks are eating are the problem.

[00:52:12.290] – Allan

So we need to make sure they're eating a carbohydrate rich diet. They've got insulin to cover off on it. So don't worry about that. So it's this… And they're trying to solve a problem. So it's hard to look at them and say, you didn't know what you were doing. True, because they didn't know what they didn't know. But we're at a point right now where I just, other than the fact that compliance would always be an issue, it just chaps me that we don't go with medicine as a food first, lifestyle first approach.

[00:52:43.710] – Rachel

For sure. Well, towards the end of the interview, he mentioned the term dietary therapy. I feel like that's a great term because if you have a condition, especially diabetes, if there are certain foods that make that condition worse, why would you want to take them? Even though you have the insulin to cover them up, why put that fuel on the fire if you don't need it?

[00:53:04.180] – Allan

I like that term, too, because at this point, yes, it is effectively acknowledging that food is medicine. Someone said that a long, long, long time ago. So we've known that for a long time. We just ignore it most of the time because it's not cool and you can't sell that diet necessarily. Doctors can't sell it. Pharmaco companies can't sell it. What they want is like, Here's your shot. Go have at it. Do what you want to do. Here's a pill. Go have at it. That's why I wanted to talk about, even though he didn't do a lot in his book about GLP-1s, those are coming out now and they're so popular and it's like, Oh, I'm not hungry, and I lose all this weight, 15% of my body weight is gone. As long as I keep taking these shots, which are like a thousand dollars each, I do that once a week. Chepers. Yeah. So think about that's okay. That's a new car every year.

[00:53:57.810] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh.

[00:53:59.320] – Allan

You know? Yeah. And you're just doing that so that you can maintain a lifestyle that's not what it should be. And so that's where I really struggle with it. So I think you calling it a therapy is going to help some people probably turn on their brain. But then also the problem is, well, then after I'm cured, I stop the therapy, and that could fundamentally backfire as well. So yes, it's life-saving, and it's incredible that insulin was found and has saved lots of lives, extended lives a lot longer than they would have. But if you don't change your lifestyle, then all you've really done is just delayed it and changed the way you're going to die, what you may die of. So heart disease, kidney disease, gangrene, Alzheimer's, all of that. And you're not going to have it when most people would have it. So you're not like in your '70s or '80s or '90s dealing with this stuff. You're dealing with it in your '40s, '50s, and '60s. Too early. Yeah, way too early. So the instant you walk in and the doctor says your A1c is a little high, his next words that are going to come out of his mouth is, I'm not really worried about that.

[00:55:12.590] – Rachel


[00:55:13.380] – Allan

And the reason is, it's Because of all the patients that come in his office, the vast majority are. I read a survey this week, thing that said by 2030, now that date just sounds hugely far away, but it's seven years. I mean, it's not that far away anymore. Yeah, exactly. He'll be alive in 2030. I hope. But by that point in time, half of Americans will be obese.

[00:55:40.230] – Rachel

That's crazy.

[00:55:42.350] – Allan

Half of us.

[00:55:43.460] – Rachel

That's crazy.

[00:55:44.050] – Allan

Will be obese.

[00:55:45.990] – Rachel

Oh, my gosh.

[00:55:46.960] – Allan

At the current rate we're going. So if you're not going to change your lifestyle, if the doctor tells you, don't worry about it, you're close, you're borderline, it's time for you to implement dietary

[00:56:00.700] – Rachel

Well, that's the needle, okay?

[00:56:03.520] – Rachel

That's the needle. If your doctor says that you're looking at prediabetes, then you can either let that needle go forward straight into diabetes, or you can stop it there and go backwards and reclaim your health through all of the interventions that we talk about all the time. Better diet and exercise.

[00:56:21.180] – Allan

The cool thing about this is we're at a point in time with what they know about genetics and what they're learning and getting some of the judgment out of where things like AI will just go out there and say, if this, then that. And they'll do it at such a crazy level of what your gene expression is at any given point in time. Have these treatments that could extend life not just an extra few years, but like decades and decades. Sure. There's a theory that at some point we could basically almost become immortal. Anyone would want that, but basically that the medical establishment will get ahead of the curve. And with every year, they'll be able to add more than a year of life. So you start thinking about the ability of medical science to add to and extend life. The only reason that it's not going up drastically right now is because of the way we're living our lives with lifestyle things. So if we fixed our lifestyle, we would live much, much longer than our parents. Our kids will live a lot, lot longer than us.

[00:57:27.990] – Rachel

Longer is great, but I want to put in high quality. I don't want to just sit on the couch for decades. I want to be active and moving and being capable of living a high quality of life. I think with the metformin, which is often prescribed for prediabetics as well as insulin, when you get to that point of diabetes, if you're looking at type 2 and not born with type 1. But those are just the tools. That's not the answer. That is one thing that can help you live a healthier life. But I think we often We look at that as the answer, the end, the one thing to do to manage this illness. But it's not. We really need to go back, and like we say every week, Allan, get into an exercise program and eat way better foods to manage and be healthy.

[00:58:17.340] – Allan

And that's why there was the doctor, because so many people have high cholesterol, his solution was, just like we did with fluoride for dental cavities, was to put it in the water, put statins in the water.

[00:58:31.450] – Rachel

Oh, oh.

[00:58:34.110] – Allan

Okay. No, no. Because, again, they do not believe that you can do this. And what I can say is, even just the keto diet or people eating a lot more whole food. That is a fraction of the total way that people eat. But that's getting bigger every year. The number of people who try keto and are successful with it gets bigger every year. And so there is success here, but you have to make that choice. You have to make that effort to make that lifestyle change, or it won't happen.

[00:59:06.510] – Rachel

Yeah, that's absolutely it. Bottom line.

[00:59:09.170] – Allan

Yeah. All right. Well, I'll talk to you next week.

[00:59:11.560] – Rachel

Awesome. Take care, Allan.

[00:59:13.050] – Allan

You, too. Bye.

[00:59:13.940] – Rachel

Thanks. Bye, bye.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Leigh Tanner
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb

Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


December 19, 2023

How to push beyond the limits and build a stronger future you with Ben Alldis

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

On episode 621 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we meet Ben Alldis and discuss his book, Raise the Bar.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:34.870] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you?

[00:03:36.420] – Rachel

Good, Allan, how are you today?

[00:03:38.840] – Allan

I'm doing okay.

[00:03:40.790] – Allan

We're right on the verge. Well, if you've listened to this podcast before, we've talked about Panamanians and the way they like to protest. And they'll block roads, and they don't just block a road or a bridge for a day or two.

[00:03:54.890] – Allan

Sometimes when they get to these kind of things, they block them permanently for weeks. And what happens is that then things that would come to us over thenroad can't get here and so they can't deliver stuff. And then as the result, we run out and people scramble and figure a few things out. But as that goes on week after week, it gets worse and worse. So today I got up, I walked around just looking for things. There's no yogurt on this island at all, which is a staple for our breakfast. We've got eggs. So they figured out the egg problem.

[00:04:30.700] – Rachel


[00:04:31.220] – Allan

We're running out of bread. They've done something to get a different type of bread, but we're still running out of that now because again, weeks and weeks, there's no orange juice. So we're running out of things. And like gasoline, propane is also very short. And so that's where the struggle is. And it's just like, just sometimes it gets a little frustrating for sure because. It'D be so much nicer if I could just walk to one grocery store. And it have the things I need. And then I can just walk home. But as it stands now, I have to make a circuit of it and walk all over town. This place has milk, this place has eggs, this place has this. But then you get into a store, it's like everything else you wanted. And then that place doesn't have the bread and it doesn't have the coffee. So it's like, okay, now I got to find another place that has the coffee and maybe has bread or I might have to buy a different kind of bread or something else. And so, yeah, it's just this thing that's out there that you struggle through.

[00:05:30.800] – Allan

But we're in a third world country, and this is their country. It's not mine. I just wish it didn't have the downstream effects it has because tourism has completely dried up. And that means that most people send their workers home. When their workers don't work, they don't make any money and they can't feed their family. And this is not a savings type of people. They pretty much live paycheck to paycheck. Even if they had extra money, they would just go spend it.

[00:06:01.320] – Allan

They don't think in terms of the future the same way that a lot of us might think, oh, we just put that money aside. No, they're going to buy something that they needed or wanted for a while, but at the same time, because we're set that way. You can buy a slice of cheese, you can buy a single egg. Oh, gosh, you can buy a single piece of bread if you want. And so if you just have enough money to buy lunch, you can buy lunch. But when they do these blocks and there'S no money and no one's making that money, they're at home. Without the money, they can't necessarily feed their families. And so it's been going on for weeks, and I understand why they're doing it.

[00:06:39.550] – Allan

Hopefully, the government will come to resolve the issue that's going on. It has something to do with the mining contract and it's gone to the supreme court. But every day you just go in the grocery store and it's one more thing that they don't have. And so there's just going to be a point here where there's no gasoline. And there's no propane and people can't cook their food. And we're all just grabbing the last things that are in the grocery store because that's all they can get. That'll be a shame. But that's kind of where we're at right now, so it's a little frustrating.

[00:07:12.340] – Rachel

It is very. I really hope they resolve their stuff soon and realize how many people they're hurting in the process.

[00:07:19.850] – Allan

I don't even think it hits their mind. They just know this is how you get the government to respond. And they just block a road. They just flat out block a road and say, okay, no one's going through this road. No goods or services are going through here. So sometimes they'll let people through.

[00:07:36.210] – Allan

You can walk around the roadblock. If you get out of a car and walk to the other side, some taxis and whatnot, or busses, they can arrange for someone to be on the other side to bus you from there, take you from there so people can move that's not the easiest way, but, yeah goods are stuck and so they're blocking food, they're blocking gasoline, they're blocking propane. Eventually, here, grocery stores will run down on stuff, except just basic, basic stuff. Like, okay, here's a can of tuna, here'S some oil, here's some rice, here's some beans, but they're running out of the other stuff. And then when you don't have any propane, you don't have any gasoline. Everything else stops. Everything else.

[00:08:18.640] – Rachel

My goodness. My gosh. Well, I hope it resolves soon.

[00:08:21.970] – Allan

I do too. But. How are things up there?

[00:08:24.610] – Rachel


[00:08:27.250] – Rachel

As you can tell. We're in the middle of winter. It's snowing. It could be icy. At least we have blue sky days today. I mean, it could be worse, but.

[00:08:35.170] – Allan

It just makes it feel colder.

[00:08:38.320] – Allan

I can see the sun, but I can't even feel any heat off of it.

[00:08:41.690] – Rachel

Exactly. Well, it was 20 degrees earlier this morning, so, yeah, cold is cold, but

[00:08:47.740] – Allan

that nuclear. Shouldn't I feel a little.

[00:08:51.030] – Rachel

I wish. Yeah.

[00:08:53.770] – Rachel

But we're managing. Everything's fine up here. Getting ready for the holidays, getting ready for a vacation. Just getting ready to wrap up this year, actually.

[00:09:01.610] – Allan

Yeah. It's kind of fast, isn't it?

[00:09:03.390] – Rachel

It is

[00:09:04.750] – Allan

kind of crazy.

[00:09:05.920] – Rachel

Yep. It'll be New Year's before you know it.

[00:09:08.370] – Allan

All right, are you ready to talk to Peloton, Ben?

[00:09:11.620] – Rachel

Sure. All right.


[00:10:03.950] – Allan

Ben, welcome to 40+ fitness.

[00:10:06.280] – Ben

Thank you so much for having me on. I'm really excited to have a discussion with you today.

[00:10:10.580] – Allan

Yeah. So the title of your book is called Raise the Bar: How to Push Beyond Your Limits and Build a Strong Future You. And I think a lot of times we get older and we think, okay. Well, I have these limits. Oh, my knee, oh, my ankle, oh, my hip, I've got this job, I've got kids, I've got this, I've got to run. Do that. And as a result, we kind of pocket, if you will, or back of the stove. We push all this stuff that is important. We know it's important, but we just say, okay, I can't. And the word I can't becomes kind of the lexicon of our language.

[00:10:49.330] – Allan

Okay, well, I can't do that because of this. And there's always a because. There always will be a because. And so you had a quote in the book. You started out, this is actually, I think, the second sentence of the book. So I didn't get very far before I was like, okay, I'm going to like this guy Ben. And it was, “all too often, we grow up to define ourselves by our limitations.” I actually made that little quote thing, and I posted on my facebook right. After I read it. I liked it that much.

[00:11:17.380] – Allan

You know, because if we'Re going to talk about raising the bar, we're going to talk about doing anything hard in our lives, good in our lives, because everything that's good is actually kind of hard. We have to raise the bar. We have to raise our performance. We have to do a little better than we're probably doing right now. But if we let those limitations sit out there, they will eat us up.

[00:11:37.660] – Ben

Yeah, I think that's very true. I think every biggest growth opportunity in my life so far has always been through a moment of challenge or an opportunity where I've pushed myself out from a comfort zone or the outside forces have put something challenging in front of me. And I've learned and developed and grown through that process. And so I think as you go through life, as these external factors become probably more increased through kids and more responsibilities and priorities, we tend to, as you say, almost start to doubt ourselves or on a time basis, on an ability basis, on a confidence basis. And I think a big focus of my book is giving people structure to understand that they do have the capabilities to still be doing those things into their mid to late to longest years possible, and also to set them up for success. I used to work in finance, so my brain is very much logical and structured.

[00:12:42.630] – Ben

And so I think the combination of my background of ex finance guy or finance guy into a health and wellness expert means that my approach to fitness and wellness is very structured in the sense that I like to give people a toolkit to use to then tap into whenever they need it. And that's true at any point in someone's life. And a big emphasis of the book is around keeping yourself physically and mentally fit for whatever life throws your way. Because all of us are going to be going through challenges of some sort throughout our lives. Some people suffer grief or go through health challenges or there's lots of things that go on in our lives. I think, most importantly, if we can be ready physically and mentally to tackle those and navigate through those, we're going to navigate through them and come out the other side stronger. Whereas if we don't prepare ourselves physically and mentally for those, they could become an even heavier weight to carry around with you for the rest of your life.

[00:13:48.260] – Allan

Yeah. well, one of the things you got into the book, and as I was kind of, you were going through your story, which is actually kind of fascinating, you'd be surprised there's quite a few parallels in our past. I went through accounting and CPA in school, too, but that was not my first choice. Just like finance wasn't necessarily your first choice, but you talked about how, an I think our aspirations, we were younger, are kind of untainted because, well, of course I can be a professional football player and of course I can be an astronaut. That's what they told me. They told me if you work hard and you do the things and you're in the right place, right time, you can have those things.

[00:14:29.270] – Allan

So we aren't as tainted with our past setbacks as we are when we're older. But one of the tools that you did provide in the book that I thought was something we really need to think about. Because when you get older, I can tell you, you go to the gym. You got all the spunk in the world, I'm going to do the workouts. I'm going to do the thing, and then the knee starts hurting a little or you're ten times sore tomorrow. I actually have a story where I couldn'T get out of bed the next day. I did a workout, and it was really just a benchmark workout. It wasn't even the workout, it was just the benchmark workout. I couldn't get out of bed. I had to call in sick for work the next day.

[00:15:09.330] – Allan

So we have these setbacks, but your approach to setbacks, I think, is very fresh. And I would like for you to talk a little bit about how do we regroup and pivot and do what we've got to do when we face one of those big things.

[00:15:22.070] – Ben

Yeah, I think the first approach that I've always loved to take is really focused on having that growth mindset. I think it's a term or a concept that's been spoken about a lot but I think many of us slip into this world of having a fixed mindset where basically you don't really give anything a go because you're fearing failure before you even start. Whereas a growth mindset is focused all around. Every experience or opportunity is a learning opportunity. And so even if you, in your mind, fail at something across that process you'Re still going to be learning a hell of a lot, which could set you up for success for the next time you come around to it with regards to workouts. And as you get older, your body becoming just slowing down a little bit and it becoming a little bit more challenging mentally and physically.

[00:16:10.450] – Ben

I think what's most important for me and from a lot of the clients I've worked with across the years, is, again, going back to that toolkit of setting you up for success. Like, can you structure your day in a way which makes sure you, one, commit to the workout so you don't not do it in the first place, but two, you then have a recovery regime that's set up and ready for you, so you're making sure that you're putting that love back into your muscles after working them out, too. And so there's lots of different chapters within the book, but I think having an awareness of everything available to you is a really important factor to begin with. And I broke down in the book all the different areas of wellness, but also understanding when to tap into them. Is really important, too, because I think sometimes in wellness and fitness, there's a lot of noise and there's a lot of people telling you should be doing this, and this is the best way to do it.

[00:17:07.500] – Ben

In reality, we're all different. Right? So my approach is slightly different of here are all the options that I believe are a good tool to be using in your repertoire and test them. Do your due diligence on what works for you, what doesn't work for you, and then across the years, go on a journey of discovery with your health and fitness to find out what really is beneficial for you and your body and your mind. And most importantly, don't try and get it all done in one day. I think what's really, you listen to a lot of these fitness influencers and they're like, I get up go to my boss, I have this crazy breakfast, and then do this and do that. And I think anyone who just lives a life where you've got a lot of other things going on like that, is just straight away overwhelming. So my approach typically is try and at least tick off, like, one thing to begin with. And then as you start to build those habits, as you start to build your confidence, that one thing then will lead on to other positive habits in your day.

[00:18:09.370] – Ben

But I think if you can kick start your morning in particular, with at least either a healthy breakfast, which is going to feed your gut, make you feel good, or go and work out, get outside, get out in fresh air working out and moving your body is going to look different for everyone. But I think, importantly, finding what works for you, finding what feeds your soul, makes you feel good, is key in that.

[00:18:33.680] – Allan

Yeah, one of the core components of that, and it's what I noticed across your story, you got into this a little bit later in the book, was that you always kind of fell back on one core thing and that was the values, the values that you had for yourself. As I've kind of started looking at motivation and how that plays, I think that's the holy grail. I think when you actually put value in the health of your body. When you put value in the quality of your life, it made you make decisions and do things that were completely against the grain of what most people would do.

[00:19:12.690] – Allan

Like, particularly when you went from finance, well paid job, all the accolades, all the stuff to, okay, now I'm going to pedal on a bicycle, over a tv, on the Internet, that fell back on some pretty deep seated values for you that went beyond just winning, because that'S what finance was, was winning. This was something entirely different.

[00:19:38.800] – Ben

100%. I think you mentioned, I go into one of the chapters in the book about the importance of understanding your values. And I think the main thing that I like to say within this section is, like, the first step of self development is self awareness.

[00:19:54.230] – Ben

And so I think a lot of us go through life evolving our values by almost imitating other people or getting influenced by lots of people throughout our lives, which is one part of it. But I think what's most important is there's no truer happiness than if you can show up every single day as your true self. And so I think spending the time to sit down with yourself and think.

[00:20:16.660] – Ben

What is most important to me? How do I want to show up in the world? What do I believe in? And doing that consistently, it really gives you that confidence to then move into spaces that you may not think you could have done before. Like you mentioned, as I transitioned from finance to fitness, I'd been spending years testing whether this industry was right for me.

[00:20:40.250] – Ben

I've been surrounding myself with people within the industry. I've been coaching classes as a hobby. But I think most importantly, the things that really, truly mattered to me at that time were looking after my health, fostering strong relationships, helping other people, like having huge gratitude around that, and having an influence on other people, and building a legacy for myself and so I think that I went on a discovery during that period and a bit of a deeper dive into. Okay, so what really matters to me.

[00:21:12.230] – Ben

And what that ended up looking like was I wanted to join a business that was really helping people. I wanted to do a job that had a huge passion for through music and health and fitness. And what's really interesting, I was diagnosed with skin cancer during that period so I think that almost forced my hand a little bit into that space. But I think the takeaway from this chapter that I'd love for people to take away listen to this podcast is, I don't want anyone to have to go through a cancer diagnosis to be forced into assessing those values like I wish I had done it before. So then I was set up for success and didn't have to go through mental and physical challenges that I did. Yeah, I think ultimately, when it comes down to hard things or challenging moments, if you can truly stand up and just stay true to your values, stay true to who you are, you're going to go to sleep at night feeling a lot more in control.

[00:22:13.630] – Ben

And I also love to say we can only control the controllable. So if you can finish the day being like, I did everything I possibly could to be myself, I owned everything I said, all the actions that I did today, I believe and I trust in then in my eyes, that's one of the quickest ways to building confidence within yourself and building a healthy and happy life.

[00:22:36.610] – Allan

Now, in the book, you got into resilience and you took a pivot. And I'm glad you did because it wasn'T something that most people talk about when they think about resilience. And I think they think about resilience as they think about the kind of the phrases like grit and determination and just grinding it out.

[00:22:54.310] – Allan

So it's just this harsh, hard thing that we build over time. But you pointed to the fact that support is a key component of being truly resilient. Can you talk a little bit about that?

[00:23:09.710] – Ben

Yeah, I think it's vital to understand that we can't do things alone. Like everything that I've done in life that'S been a big success, I've always been supported by a team of people, or friends or family or I think to believe that you're going to go out there on your own and do whatever you want to do, whether it's like build a multimillion pound business or achieve great sporting success, or it'S very unlikely that you're going to be able to go there and just go solo.

[00:23:39.050] – Ben

And actually, what I found is that I've personally got to places quicker because there's normally people within the industry or that, you know, that know a little bit more about something so that you can learn quicker and get inspired by those that have been there before and learn from other people's mistakes. I think what's really interesting is I worked in private equity, which is a very fast moving business within finance. And I was very young, comparatively, to be in this industry. But it pushed me in a way to build such resilience, because I had to learn really fast. I had to learn how to be around CEOs of companies, I had to learn how to be at board meetings. And discuss things in financial details in depth. And I had to learn a hell of a lot around business strategy and financial modeling.

[00:24:34.670] – Ben

And if I hadn't pushed myself and moved into that space and surrounded myself by those people, I would never have had that opportunity. And if I'd just gone on my own mission to get to that spot, I never would have even got anywhere close. And so I think there's so much power in surrounding yourself by people who inspire you, people who challenge you, because I truly believe, and what I found throughout my life is that at any point in time, you are typically the average of the five people you spend the most time with or you're interacting with on the most regular basis.

[00:25:12.530] – Ben

And I think it's important to have a mixture of people. I don't think you need almost people that you can rely on to ask questions to and inspire you, but I really, truly believe you need people to lean on in times of need as well, who are maybe a bit more emotional. And it's good to have a bit of diversity within that solid group of people that are around you.

[00:25:33.820] – Allan

Yeah, you talked about your parents in there, but another one I'd like to bring up, that you had a coworker a female coworker, and her skill set was the analytics and the numbers, and your skill set was the smiling and talking to people and the two of you kind of put that together to form really a strong team that was capable of each of you filling up some of the things that you weren't as strong at while you built those. You didn't just say, okay, you do all the numbers, I'll do all the talking, and you just leave it there. You still kept working on learning how to do the numbers while you were doing it. This was just the bridge, just the support that you needed to push yourself through and be successful on the other side.

[00:26:17.850] – Ben

Yeah, definitely. And the first step with that was me admitting to myself that I needed to work this out. And I think I was speaking to someone the other day and they said, what'S the biggest myth that it's like shouldn't be believed? I think the term fake it until you make it. I just don't love that term at all because it's probably the worst bit of advice you can give anyone. Actually, I think my advice would be to be true to yourself, be honest to yourself, say, you know what? I actually don't know what I'm doing here, and work with the people that you trust to support you in that moment.

[00:26:55.380] – Ben

And then very quickly, most of us if we put the time and effort into something, we will learn and we'll grow and develop into the space. And that's what I ended up doing myself. But I'm still at a stage where my strengths lie in another area. So I truly believe that we should lean on our strengths. But don't forget about the weaknesses, because at some stage, you're going to get caught out if you just focus on your strengths. But, yeah, I think delegating and also understanding that there are people, we're all going to be slightly different and have different strengths and weaknesses is important.

[00:27:30.510] – Allan

Yeah. So one of my strengths is lifting. I can get really strong if I put my mind to it. I can have strong endurance, but it takes a lot more work. And so I could be an awesome grandfather. But if we go to the zoo, my grandkids might just run me to death if I don't train myself to be the grandfather that can keep up with the grandkids. When I did a tough mudder with my daughter, she was a level one crossfit coach, and I wanted to do a tough mudder with her. If I didn't work on my strength, endurance, grip strength, all of it, she would have left me in the dust.

[00:28:08.090] – Allan

And I would have respected it. I said, sure, you go on. I'm slowing you down. But I went into that race saying, no, I'm not going to have to say that. So I pushed through weaknesses I had. I had to lose weight, I had to get stronger. I had to improve my endurance. And all that was just knowing, okay, these are my weaknesses. My mental strength, my tenacity, my willingness to push myself was always there. I just had to apply it.

[00:28:33.750] – Allan

And so it was understanding your values. Understanding what you want to accomplish, and then just kind of like you did over and over in your life, just put your head down and say, this is where I'm going. I might be in last place right now, but I won't be when this race is over. And I think that's true resilience when you'Re asking for help, when you're true to yourself and you persevere because you don't see failure as a potential and you do what's necessary, even if it's asking for help to get there.

[00:29:05.220] – Ben

Yeah. And I think on top of that, I really, truly believe that as we go through life, if you stop learning your brain will just slowly slow down very similar to your body. There was a great analogy that I got told once where if someone breaks their arm, you have your arm in a car for, like, six weeks, and because you keep your arm in the same position for that long, the calcification of the bone, it never actually gets back to where it was before.

[00:29:31.640] – Ben

And so if you think about if that's just over six weeks, if we as individuals are not moving our bodies or sitting down too much, like slowly but surely, that's going to be our bodies and our mind. And it was an analogy that blew my mind because I thought with all the clients I work with it'S never too late to get started, but if we don't get started soon, then it's going to become even harder. And so I suppose to a lot of your listeners, what I'd say is, whatever age you are, today is the best day to get started with your health and fitness journey. Because for me, I'm inspired and my biggest motivation now is so I can move around with my grandkids when I'm in my 60s 70s 80s. That sounds quite strange because I am in my 30s, but that's my main driver, my main motivation. I don't even have kids right now.

[00:30:23.720] – Ben

But that's my main reason for still getting up and going to the gym and improving my mobility and flexibility and whatnot.

[00:30:34.080] – Allan

Yeah, well, I want to be able to wipe my own ass when I'm 105. So there's that.

[00:30:39.150] – Ben

That's the goal.

[00:30:42.190] – Allan

And it is you set a goal, you set who you want to be. You set your future, and you start working towards that, you're potentially going to have setbacks, you're going to have things that are going on, but you do the best with what you can, where you are, with what you have.

[00:30:55.240] – Allan

And one of the tools you put in the book that I think is really valuable for helping someone kind of put their starting point on paper, if you will, is to do an audit of your well being. Can you talk a little bit about that audit and how to go about that?

[00:31:10.870] – Ben

Yes, I think this is going back into the combination of my finance and fitness background. So for those that know, obviously, within a business, a business will have to audit their financials every quarter. So what they're doing within that process is they're submitting how their business is doing. What's the business health at the time. From a financial perspective, from a progress and growth perspective and essentially, they're providing figures to their shareholders to say, this is where we're at, this is where the business is moving forward. So I believe that we should be doing this on a regular basis for our health and wellness.

[00:31:51.150] – Ben

And so within the auditing or well being pillars, I try and break this down into movement, into nutrition, into rest. And also mental well being. And I think within the book, I break this down into lots of different categories and give people things that have really benefited me and also lots of the clients that I've worked with across the years. And I think essentially what this auditing and wellbeing is all about is having a check in with yourself, whether it's every quarter or every month, and just saying, all right, where am I at today?

[00:32:24.580] – Ben

Because what's gone on before, I can't change. But what is going to go on going forward, I can change. So let's have an understanding of where I'm at today. Which areas can I improve on, and what are the steps I can take to make an adjustment to these areas so I can support myself to live a happy and healthy life going forward? I think sometimes in life, we're on a train of just going through life and everything's moving super fast, and sometimes it'S really good to just have a moment to check in with yourself. And that's what this concept is all about. And then, obviously, providing them the toolkit to go out there and make the changes within their life.

[00:33:02.080] – Allan

Yeah, and some of the eye opening things that you might find from this audit is, okay, well, how well am I sleeping? And then you realize, well, it's crap. I'm not sleeping well at all. I'm staying up too late. I'm doing things that aren't helping me go to sleep and I don't feel rested in the morning but I just keep hit some coffee, hit a doughnut and go. And you know, that's not serving your health, but that's what you do because that's what you've always done. You look at your fitness and you may say, when was the last time I actually worked out?

[00:33:36.040] – Allan

And you're like, well, okay, I went for a walk, but really the last time I worked out, maybe that was last July. You're like, okay, I got some things to work on, so it'll help you see things that you can work on, but I think it'll also give you these opportunities to see your wins. And so, similar to the way your father was when you were playing football when you were younger, you were playing very well and you were scoring three goals in a game, but he always found something for you to focus on, to improve on. And you had the resilience and the strong mind to say, okay, well, the only way I can solve this problem is to score four goals next time. And it's not that we have to go that way with our health and fitness, but obviously I think all of us know that there's probably some low hanging fruit.

[00:34:19.260] – Allan

So the first few times you do this audit of your health, of your wellness, you're going to find things that you should be focusing your attention on and there is a finite amount of time and things like that that you can do. So this will also kind of help you prioritize where you should be spending the time so that you're getting the most out of it.

[00:34:38.250] – Ben

I totally agree with you. There is some easy hanging fruit there. And I think sometimes within health and wellness it's really difficult because like I mentioned before, there's a lot of noise. And so what I've tried really to do within this chapter is break down things in a really simple way and again, give people the awareness and not put the pressure on them to be like, right if you do all of these things but understand that it's accumulation of these things that's going to get you to living a healthy and happier life and says maybe one week you might work out three times and then the next week you won't only work out once.

[00:35:15.250] – Ben

But it might be getting better in other areas. And so a lot of our health and wellness comes down to stress on the body and within that, we have good stress and we have bad stress and so for me, it's about tapping into this toolkit to work more on the good stress and less on the bad stress and work on the energy givers in life and move away from what I call in the book, the energy takers. And so, yeah, I think it's important to have awareness of what's available to you and then start testing things for your body, because we're all slightly different.

[00:35:48.430] – Allan

Yeah, well, when you were going through your cancer treatments and getting yourself healthy again, you weren't killing it on the bike, you weren't doing all these hard workouts anymore. You struggled with that, obviously, because that was a part of your values, was someone who does these things and the people around you and everything, that was a core part of your life. But you knew, okay, until I solve this, this is number one. Till I solve this, then the rest of those things don't really matter. I could be the fittest corpse out there, but it's not going to do me any good. I got to heal. And then there were other times where. Yeah, you took a detour or went off path for the wrong reasons, and it took you a while to find your way back. So I think, again, this self awareness that you get from something like this audit lets you kind of put together. And help you redefine why you're doing what you're doing.

[00:36:42.610] – Allan

And basically, yes, sometimes you're not doing the optimal thing because it's just not the right time to be doing that thing. You need to be doing something else.

[00:36:52.870] – Ben

I think what's really important to note there on my cancer journey was physically, I couldn't do what I'd always done. And throughout my life, I'd always relied on fitness as my go to for my mental health, my physical health. And when that got stripped away from me, it made me go a bit deeper into the other areas of wellness. So I start to focus a lot more on my nutrition and I start to focus on my sleep, hygiene and my rest and recovery.

[00:37:21.960] – Ben

And I think sometimes we get caught up in wellness being, you got to just go to the gym, but there's so much more to it and I think really what is at the top is sleep, hygiene and sleep quality, I really believe is one of the most important things to our health and well being. And so that is the first thing that you're not getting right or you're not trying to improve, then sometimes all this other stuff is almost not a priority.

[00:37:51.110] – Ben

And the same with nutrition. If you're working out five, six times a week, but then you're going and eating fast food every single day, it isn'T going to serve you. And I really believe that what we're putting inside our bodies, whether it's nutrition or whether it's like products that we're using or environments we're surrounding ourselves, it actually has a dramatic effect on our health and wellness. And so all of these things, let's say you're injured or fitness, is still new to you, or you haven't been in it for a long time. There's other areas within the wellness space that you can really tap into as your kickstart, into improving yourself, into building you into that stronger fit of you.

[00:38:31.990] – Ben

And hopefully, as you start to build those habits into your life, you're going to build the confidence to just start integrating more and more.

[00:38:38.790] – Allan

Yeah, well, the problem was we were able to get away with it when we were in our teens, and our body'S not quite as forgiving for us to not get the sleep, not get the right food. We're seeing the results of that over time, and as a result, we just have to be a little bit more diligent. There's a question that I ask every guest, and I think this question is going to probably resonate with you as well as anyone I've ever talked to based on your book.

[00:39:02.000] – Allan

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

[00:39:10.830] – Ben

Yeah, I think that it's difficult to nail down three, because like I said there'S a lot of things as option to us but I think just going simple terms like getting your body moving on the regular is going to be really important for both your mental and physical health. I mean, I've worked with millions of people over the years via the peloton platform, but also as like one on one clients.

[00:39:34.160] – Ben

And I've seen dramatic changes to people's mindset, people's physical look and also mental well being, just by moving their body on a regular basis. I think if you're not doing that right now, that's definitely something I'd encourage you to do. And it can literally start by, like we mentioned at the start of the podcast, just getting outside for a walk and then giving yourself a goal every single week, whether it's working out three times a week to start with, and then building that up into longer workouts. And then finding what works for you. I think number two is focusing on nutrition and focusing on feeding your body foods that are going to really benefit your gut health, foods that are going to be good back to you. And what I mean by that is foods that are nutritious for your body and that it isn't that hard for your body to break down. So for me, that is high quality proteins, carbs of some sort, but generally sort of like carbs are high in fiber and then lots of leafy greens and vegetables and fruits. And I think trying to move away from processed food is really key.

[00:40:46.740] – Ben

I think something that I've worked with a lot of clients on is we are influenced when we walk into a supermarket by so many things that it makes our brain just go wild. And I think sometimes we don't really know. And so a big tip for me when you're looking at food is understanding what is in our food. So taking an opportunity to start looking at labels doesn't need to be militantly. But just by understanding what you're putting into your body every single day from a calorific point of view, but also from a chemical point of view, is a big stepping stone to improving your health. There's a lot of, lot of ingredients in a lot of the products that we have in our supermarket. So the quicker you understand what they are and what they're doing to our body, probably the quicker you're going to stop eating them. And I know it's not easy, finances are challenging thing with regards to food.

[00:41:38.420] – Ben

And time, but I think we can sometimes coast through that space in our life. And really, you wouldn't put crappy fuel into a Ferrari or something that you really love, or you wouldn't water a plant with things that are going to kill it. So why are we feeding our bodies with things that are not making our body and mind function that well? And then thirdly, I think focus on rest. Rest is such an important part of our overall well being practice. And the first step of rest is sleep. If we can improve our sleep quality. Something that I discovered through working in finance was, doesn't matter how long you sleep necessarily, but it's actually about the quality of your sleep. And so I won't go into too much detail, but we have cycles in our sleep patterns. And so if you can get enough deep and rem sleep in within your night, that could be more beneficial than if you sleep 9 10 hours of not that good quality sleep.

[00:42:37.900] – Ben

And a big part of that is understanding how your practices before bed set you up for success, to make sure you'Re sleeping right, not being on your phone, not eating too late, not looking at screens too late or wearing blue blocking glasses or blue light blocking glasses. And just understanding like, how can I set myself up to success here to make sure that I get a solid amount of quality sleep that's going to regenerate my body for tomorrow, but also keep you mentally in a good place as you wake up tomorrow.

[00:43:10.250] – Allan

Thank you.

[00:43:11.000] – Allan

Ben, if someone wanted to learn more about you and learn more about the book, Raise the Bar, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:43:18.030] – Ben

So I have a website so my website, www.benaldis.com, spelled aldis.com. You can also find me on Instagram. So it's Benjamin Aldis on Instagram. And yeah, if anyone has any questions I'm hugely passionate about health and wellness. I've worked with, as I said, millions of people across the years. I currently work for a business called Peloton, who they have online fitness content. We do bike classes or spinning classes. We do tread classes. We do strength yoga, meditation. So the options are endless with regards to the fitness stuff.

[00:43:56.680] – Ben

If anyone has any questions at any point, I'm more than happy to answer them, help them along the way. This is my lifelong mission to try and help people. So thank you so much for having me on.

[00:44:07.950] – Allan

Thank you. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/621

[00:44:12.900] – Allan

And I'll be sure to have the links there. Ben, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:44:18.010] – Ben

Thank you so much for having me.

Post Show/Recap

[00:44:19.570] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:44:20.990] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What an interesting interview and what an interesting job he has writing for Peloton. But I do like a lot of what he and you discussed about mindset. I mean, it all starts with our self limiting beliefs and questioning what we think we can't do. It's a big thing.

[00:44:40.490] – Allan

Yeah. Well, again, his quote was, all too often we grow up to define ourselves by limitations.

[00:44:46.850] – Rachel

It's true.

[00:44:48.200] – Allan

Yeah. When I read that sentence, I'm like that'S every single person over the age of 40 who wants to lose weight or get more fit is that they start out with the things that they can't do. Well, I can't do this. I want to lose weight. I want to do that, but I can't do this.

[00:45:07.330] – Allan

I've been kind of fooling around on Facebook a little bit last month as you're listening to this, just posting things I call weight loss logic. And I posted one today, is I want to get rid of the fat on this butt, But.

[00:45:19.730] – Rachel

But yes.

[00:45:25.510] – Allan

And that's pretty much it. It's like you want something, but you put something in between you that you think, okay, well, this will stop me from doing it, and it may stop you from doing it the way that you thought you would. Okay, so this kid, Ben, and I'm going to call him a kid because he's just now getting into his 30s, but he wanted to be a professional football player.

[00:45:48.520] – Allan

Now, in his sense, football is soccer the way we do it in the United States. But basically he had every aspiration and from every indication, being younger, that he had the capacity to do this. So he was training and pushing himself, and that drove everything in his life. His aspirations, across everything. He put it all on the line for that thing and then he was notified. Basically, the way it works over there. Was that he wasn't going to get called back.

[00:46:18.810] – Allan

So he knew the writing was on the wall. You're not good enough to make it to the next level, and that's hard to hear.

[00:46:27.530] – Rachel

It is.

[00:46:28.330] – Allan

And so he could have quit. He could have just said, okay, fine. I'll just do something else and move on with his life, which he kind of did, but he got into finance and worked through. But when he got back into a situation where fitness was in his life again, he realized, I've got to keep this in my life. And there was some of it, a conflict of, okay, fitness was going to require him, finance was going to require him to travel eventually for what he was doing, what he was trained to do, but he loved doing these classes.

[00:47:06.080] – Allan

And he just the thought of, okay well, if I move on with this career, I won't be able to do this other thing. So he gave up a lot to get into this, and he went with a company. Granted, he did his due diligence on it. He was a finance guy, a low risk guy, but he did his things on, who are these peloton people and what is this going to mean? But it was a big bet because he was leaving that finance job to go take this other thing that could have amounted to nothing but being a nice looking guy with a british accent. It was kind of a no brainer. He was going to actually be good at this.

[00:47:49.110] – Rachel

For sure.

[00:47:50.200] – Allan

Tall, lean guy with a big smile. Yeah. Doing the class, I could see one or two women maybe being attracted to sitting at their screen, pedaling their bike just a little bit faster. But, yeah, I mean, we look at a limitation and then the question you have to ask yourself, and we've talked about this on the show before, when to quit.

[00:48:13.160] – Allan

And the point is, sometimes you do, sometimes you just say, okay, I'm not going to be an ultramarathon runner. I know that physically my body would just break eventually if I tried to do it consistently, if I tried to say, okay, this is just who I'm going to be. I'm going to be one of those weird guys that does 140 miles, 200 miles, crosses some part of the world nobody should actually be at for over a weekend just because I can. It's a limitation.

[00:48:40.410] – Allan

And my body physically won't be able to do that or isn't able to do that.

[00:48:43.720] – Allan

I'm not beat up by that. I'm just saying, okay, well, what can I do, right? I can be the most freaking grandfather you've ever seen. I'm going to be on the floor rolling around with the kids. I'm going to be out in the field kicking the ball. I'm going to be out there rolling around with them, playing with them.

[00:48:59.390] – Rachel


[00:48:59.760] – Allan

And when I take them to the zoo, I'm not sitting on a bench waiting for them to finish, and I'm able to pick them up and carry them around and wrestle with them and do all those things. That's my aspiration.

[00:49:12.290] – Rachel

That's important. Okay. It's important.

[00:49:14.450] – Allan

Now I could say, okay, well, I tore my rotator cuff, so I should probably be kind of careful and just get your body ready. Get yourself ready.

[00:49:23.270] – Rachel


[00:49:24.250] – Allan

Well, there's a pivot. Not a.

[00:49:26.620] – Rachel

Exactly. There's those physical things where I'm not going to be a pro baseball player or softball player. It's just not an aspiration. It's not something I'm built for. It's not something I'm interested in. But I've got other things I'd like to do. I'd like to grow old gracefully and like you, I'd like to be involved with grandkids and as well as friends of my peers and doing the things that they do. But kind of like what you guys had talked about towards the end of your discussion, taking an audit of your well being. I mean, where are you right now in your life? Are you interested in being a pro football player, Allan, at this point in your life?

[00:50:04.020] – Rachel

Probably not.

[00:50:06.130] – Allan

I wouldn't say no.

[00:50:10.450] – Rachel

Yeah, but you've got other priorities.

[00:50:14.450] – Allan

I wouldn't say no. So, yeah, if they came to me. And said, okay, look, it's probably not going to be the big contract, but here'S $500,000 a year to come out here and let us beat up on you for a year, I would probably take it.

[00:50:31.130] – Allan

I'd be a tackling dummy for half a million dollars. But I think a lot of times we get in there and the journey feels hard.

[00:50:39.390] – Rachel


[00:50:39.980] – Allan

It feels hard.

[00:50:41.200] – Rachel


[00:50:42.000] – Allan

And that's a time when people start to waver.

[00:50:46.680] – Rachel


[00:50:47.260] – Allan

And they start looking for the comfortable way. Okay, I have limitations. My knee hurts, my ankle hurts, my shoulder hurts. Or I would, but I've got to cook for the family and this is what the kids eat. So, yes, my staple is Mac and cheese. Well, you're not going to lose the weight you want to lose. If you're eating Mac and cheese three or four times a week or fast food three or four times a week. It's too hard. You've stopped yourself. So you've taken what you perceive as a limitation and you've stopped and you can'T blame anybody else. You have to take responsibility. That that's you. You limited yourself.

[00:51:32.490] – Rachel

Yes. I think that there's almost two concepts here, Allan, in that self limiting, like what I hear in the running world, well, I got bad knees, so I can't run. Well, do you really have bad knees? Did your doctor say your knees are so bad you can never run? Maybe there's something you can do to be able to run healthily and safely. But I also want to add, just toss in there self sabotage because we're talking about losing weight here. If you say, well, I want to lose x amount of pounds, but I can't give up alcohol or I can't give up Mac and cheese, then that's just self sabotage. Right there.

[00:52:06.090] – Allan

It is. But it is coming from that perspective of limitations. It'S just too much. It's too hard. I don't like to do it. I don't want to do it. I want to keep eating out every night. And so they're like, how do I lose weight? And I would be like, very carefully. You can, but you've basically put yourself in a roped in course that is going to make this very difficult to do and it's not going to fit the norms of when people walk into a restaurant and they put a plate of food in front of you and you eat it.

[00:52:43.640] – Allan

Your life's not going to be like that. If you want to lose weight and eat out all the time, you're going to have to set some rules, set some standards and do things a little bit different. Meaning asking for the to go box before you even get your food so you can put half or two thirds of it in that box to take home with you because you have no business eating 1200 calories for that meal when 600 is enough.

[00:53:08.320] – Rachel


[00:53:10.170] – Allan

And so if we set a limitation for ourselves, or there is an actual because sometimes people do go, the doctors love to say it, you stop running. Don'T walk on the sand, don't do what doctors get paid to do. They get paid to stop the pain. They get paid to help you feel like you're getting better. They don't actually get paid to get you better. They give you a solution. You don't want to run, don't run. Don't walk on the beach. That's going to hurt your knee. It might, but I was like. Okay, doc, what do I got to do so I can walk on the beach? I did not come all the way down here to live here, to not walk on a beach.

[00:53:52.540] – Allan

So don't tell me not to walk on a beach. Tell me what I got to do so I can, that's a different, you see that click there? That click is okay, you can tell me. And there could physically be a limitation. So I know, okay, first, six weeks after surgery, probably walking on the beach.

[00:54:09.050] – Rachel

That's right.

[00:54:09.740] – Allan

Okay. he might have a point.

[00:54:12.750] – Allan

But at the same time, I would never accept that I could never walk on the beach again.

[00:54:19.200] – Rachel

And like Ben said, with his experience with cancer, he had to take some time off. He had to reevaluate what he was capable of doing during the time he was dealing with his cancer treatments. And we all go through these phases in life too, where you need to take an audit, you need to say, well, what can I do today in order to achieve my goals in the future?

[00:54:38.920] – Allan

Yeah, and that's the other value of the audit is because you can sit down and say, okay, granted, I just had my knee operated on and I'm sitting here on the couch because I can'T really move around as much as I would like. Doctor still wants me to walk around, but he by no means wants me out running every weekend or lifting weights or doing these other. Right, but what can I do? Well, I can work on my mobility, yes.

[00:55:03.330] – Allan

I can go and figure out how to do, how to make and prepare really good food that my family loves that is healthy for us. So taking a cooking class, going out to a farmer's market on the weekend and learning about my food, maybe it's working on balance. That's not going to hurt my knee if I'm standing on 1ft and just trying to work on balance or mobility. While you may not be able to do something because it is a valid limitation, the question is, are you putting the limitation in front of yourself because it'S convenient and it means that you would have to go and do something uncomfortable and then that's holding you back. Or is it real? And if it's real, this audit is a good way for you to say no, well, I can't do this right now because of this that's real.

[00:55:54.050] – Rachel

That's really neat.

[00:55:55.000] – Rachel

And staying in the present right then is really important. It's interesting that you mentioned Ben was in his 30s. Did you say he was 40?

[00:56:02.580] – Allan

He is now in his 30s. When he was talking through the book, of course, this is a young man who was going through his teens and then 20s as he got into his career. And so as I started to talk to him, not knowing again how long happened between what he was talking about in the book and what he was.

[00:56:21.200] – Allan

I was basically assuming he was probably in his late 20s, but he said he's already past 30.

[00:56:27.370] – Rachel

It's just interesting to hear a guy, a person thinking about his future in the similar ways that you and I do. Allan, being that we're in our 50s even, you know, he's working towards developing a healthy lifestyle now so that he could live a healthy lifestyle in the future. And kind of taking that audit along the, we, we go through all these different phases in our life. And at the end goal, though, is to be able to have a healthy, high quality of life in our 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. And so all that hard work that we're doing right now, or like he's doing in his 30s and 40s, that's setting us up for success in the long term. It's a long process.

[00:57:07.080] – Allan

And I think that's what he's looking at if you look at your career, most people have a career and they expect for it to last 40 years or so. We all kind of go into it with the idea, okay, I'll graduate from college or whatever, and I'll start my career. I'll work for 40, 50 years.

[00:57:24.430] – Allan

You may do double that because some people will go in and say, okay, I'll work the time in the military and then I'll do that and I'll go do this other career, and then I'll retire from that and that'll be my retirement. So they're looking at 50 years, maybe 60. But most people think in terms of 40 to 50 years. Okay, so he's starting out as a peloton instructor in his late 20s. If he goes 40 years, he'd be 69 years old.

[00:57:49.590] – Allan

Okay. And if he wants to keep doing peloton or whatever, he wants to stay fit and healthy, he actually has to talk to you guys while he's doing this, or you don't hear his british accent. But the point being is like, yes, if you're in the health and fitness industry and you want to stay in the health and fitness industry, well, you kind of have to stay alive.

[00:58:10.980] – Rachel


[00:58:12.090] – Allan

If you want to do things and be a wonderful grandfather, wonderful grandmother, if that's who you want to be, then you got to do the things to make sure you're still here and capable. When your grandkids are around. If you want to remain independent and capable well into your older years and have a health span that's as long or closer to as long as your lifespan, then you got to do those things.

[00:58:34.820] – Allan

And so it's a joke. I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105, but it's not a joke. It is. I fully expect that I'm going to live a long, healthy life and I want to be able to take care of myself.

[00:58:47.190] – Rachel


[00:58:47.980] – Allan

I do the things I need to do to make sure that I'm that person when that comes around.

[00:58:53.040] – Rachel

That's awesome.

[00:58:54.120] – Allan

All right, well, I'll talk to you next week.

[00:58:56.490] – Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[00:58:57.970] – Allan

You, too.

[00:58:58.750] – Rachel


[00:58:59.520] – Allan


[00:59:00.200] – Rachel

Bye bye.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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