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Category Archives for "guest/interview"

September 30, 2019

Turn off your stress switch with Dr. Amy Serin

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

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

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

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

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

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

More...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Another episode you may enjoy

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The health habit with Elizabeth Rider

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Thank you!

One of the best ways to see a significant change in your health and fitness is by adopting healthy habits. Elizabeth Rider through her book, The Health Habit, helps you set those healthy habits and provides over 300 recipes to make it even better.

Allan: 01:10 Elizabeth, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Elizabeth: 01:13 Hey, thanks for having me.

Allan: 01:14 You know, I'm really excited to talk about your book, The Health Habit: 7 Easy Steps to Reach Your Goals and Dramatically Improve Your Life. And kind of the subtitle of that is actually what is so attractive to me because I know from experience and working myself and with my clients is once something becomes a habit, it's just this automatic thing that you do and it makes staying healthy so much easier. The more of these health-based type things that you stack on top of each other. So I really appreciate having the opportunity to talk to you about this book in particular and then about habits and kind of approaches here.

Elizabeth: 01:55 Yeah, I'm thrilled to be here, thanks. I love talking about habits, I'm all about habits that people enjoy. So this, the book was really a quest for me with my online audience and now my book to find a way to build habits that we truly enjoy and look forward to and not create something that feels too restrictive or like a prison every day. So this book is 10 years in the making and I'm really excited to share it with everyone.

Allan: 02:24 And yes, with 10 years in the making. Wow, it's very well put together. It's very well structured. It's a very easy read. I really enjoyed that part of it too. Like you're just kind of your common sense approach that if we go at this too restrictive, we're setting ourselves up.

Elizabeth: 02:43 Yeah. I mean, I've been a health coach for, oh gosh, seven or eight years now and I've been blogging for over 10. I started blogging before Instagram was even invented before influencers were a thing. I've just been blogging for a long time, which led me to do, um, to host online programs. And this book really came from pouring over the feedback forms of over 10,000 women who have done my online program and really trying to get at the root of, we know how to be healthy, right? We know that every woman on the planet knows that blueberries are better for you than snickers. We know how to be healthy, but why is it, why does it feel hard and why aren't we doing it? And really when I pour over the feedback forms, the overwhelming majority was that people, just women especially I think men too, but you know, I work mostly with women feel so restricted and that they know they can stick to a quote diet for a short period of time, but they always fall off. So what I, what my work has been is how do I help these women build habits into their daily life based on what they already enjoy instead of just prescribing a completely new way of living. Because that, you know, that's difficult for people. Again, we can, anybody can do anything for a week or even 28 days, you know, a certain period of time. But we eventually slide backwards into old habits. So instead of prescribing a completely new lifestyle, how can I help you look at your current lifestyle and just make tweaks to make it healthier.

Allan: 04:08 Yeah. Most people, you know when they're going to make a change. So there's, okay, I want to get healthy. Or the doctor tells them, you know, hey, you need to lose some weight, or there's a family member that that gets sick and has a chronic disease. And they're like, okay, I don't want that to happen to me. So they kind of have this immediate kind of wake up and then they're going to set goals for themselves, but we suck at getting to our goals. So in the book you talk about 4 reasons that we're not meeting our goals, do you mind going over those four reasons?

Elizabeth: 04:39 Yeah, no, I'm happy to. For me, what I've noticed with people with goals is, and I have a business background. I came from corporate America before I became a health coach. And what I started to notice, what I started to notice was, and I think this process works in all areas of life, but what I was noticing in health especially is a woman who would say like, I would say, well, what's your goal? And she would say, well, I want to lose 15 pounds, or I want to sleep better, or I want more energy. And those are great places to start. So it's not telling people no, you're wrong. But really at the root of it, those are desired outcomes and goals need to be daily and actionable. And we learned this in the context of business. Smart goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

Elizabeth: 05:22 And we don't need to get businessy, you know, in the context of our daily habits. But we do need to set daily, actionable goals. So you still want to have an outcome in mind. If it is, you know, you know you feel better at a certain weight and you want to achieve that. If you just need more energy during the day, if you want to sleep better, if you want to reverse symptoms of a condition that you have, those are all great places to start with their outcomes. And we need to work backwards and figure out what are the daily actionable goals that you can have to actually achieve that. So for instance, if somebody wanted to lose weight. A daily, an example of an a daily actionable goal would be no matter what the first thing you eat in the morning has to be low in sugar because if you spike your blood sugar in the morning, it's proven that you can eat up to two to three times more food during the day or engaging in time restricted eating, which is a horrible word.

Elizabeth: 06:10 It's a form of intermittent fasting. It's way easier than it sounds. Just reducing that window, not reducing the amount of food you eat, but reducing the window during the day in which you eat your food. For instance, you eat from like 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and then you're done eating at 6:00 PM and then you don't need to get until 9:00 AM the next day. So you're just giving a longer window for that fast that we do overnight. And in the book there's a ton of resources and ideas to meet a variety of different goals. But I want people to get out of the idea that a goal is this like big accomplishment that at the end of something, and we don't even know how to get there. The goals have to be daily and actual. So that's the first thing is just people confuse outcomes with daily actionable goals.

Allan: 06:53 Yeah, and I liked in the book you talked about, so basically we have, we have what we call I guess desires and then we take that over to actions and then we have outcomes. And so if your goal is desire bound or outcome bound, it makes it that much more nebulous and difficult for you to know that you're on track.

Elizabeth: 07:12 Absolutely. I think that's, you know, the second mistake I talk about with people is that they misunderstand the feeling that they desire. So any action we take is driven by desire. And I think sometimes on the surface, and I'll use, I don't, you know, I'll just tell you a side note real quick. I really did not want to write a weight loss book. And I intentionally wanted to keep this book out of the weight loss category because I think women are bombarded with this idea that we have to lose weight and it's generally not true. However, I think that we all know as individuals that potentially we feel better at a certain weight or there's been a time in our lives when we felt better at a certain weight and there's nothing wrong with that. So I'm kind of neutral to weight loss, it's not a good thing.

Elizabeth: 07:51 It's not a bad thing and you can have your own desires. But I intentionally wanted to keep this book out of the weight loss category and Amazon chooses the categories, the author and the publisher do not choose the categories that goes into. And of course the first category went into is the weight loss category. So, you know, we can't control everything and that's fine. But, um, so I'm using weight loss as an example here, but you could use these for, you know, energy or sleep or any of the other things that we talked about when it comes to weight loss specifically, I think a lot of women think that they desire weight loss because they'll feel better. You know, they'll, they'll have higher self confidence or something will happen and then we lose the weight or something happens and then we realize that it didn't meet any of the desire, that we don't feel the way we thought that we would.

Elizabeth: 08:35 And when it comes to weight loss specifically, I think focusing on vanity is not a bad thing. It might be like the first thing that you think of. Like I want to look a certain way in my clothes, which again, there's nothing wrong with that, but it has to be driven by a deeper desire to feel good. I know for myself, if I let vanity drive any of my goals, they all fizzle out. So really understanding what do you desire, how do you want to feel? Do you want to feel confident? Do you want to feel accomplished? And I go through a lot of different desired feelings in the books. You can really determine how you want to, how you desire to feel, because that will drive what your daily, actual habits are.

Allan: 09:11 Yeah. You know, I tried to tell my clients, so, you know, vanity vanity is not bad when you, it's based on work that you've done. So if you've gone out and spent 20 weeks of training your body of watching what you eat and you've gotten to, you know, body composition that you're just really, really proud of, be proud. Uh, but the, the vanity that you see a lot of times on, particularly on the social media where they're comparing themselves to someone else, you know, that's often kind of the struggle is, you know, I'm not going to look like, uh, you know, Dwayne Johnson, no matter how much training I do, uh, you know, but that said, I can be a better person myself and I can feel better about myself if I'm doing the right things for myself.

Elizabeth: 09:57 Absolutely. And Vanity. I'll just say I think women, women especially, I know I've had this internal struggle a lot and I've talked to a lot of women about this and it's taken me a while to overcome it, but you know, on the surface we start to feel like, oh, vanity is bad. So once we, once we kind of say, okay, I can't just be driven by vanity, then we start to, we swing the other way and we think the vanity is bad and really just like weight loss. It's, I hope that women can come to a more neutral, men to a more neutral position where vanity is part of your biology in the sense of not, you know, putting Mascara on and lipstick and that type of vanity. But all animals groom themselves. You know, when we look a certain, when we look healthy, when we look a certain way, it attracts a mate. And that's a biological process. It's ingrained in us to want to look good. And so I just want women to know like it's not, it's not bad to want to look good, it's just part of your biology. It's like you just said, it's not going down that comparison rabbit hole because, hey, look, I'm friends with a lot of Instagram influencers and I know that they take 500 shots to get the exact pose together to get it. Hey, you know, there's that too, but we can't compare ourselves to that.

Allan: 11:02 Yeah, yeah. And then, then they, they dehydrate themselves and fast for three days before they do a photo shoot and then, you know, Yeah. So we've gotta we've gotta be realistic. Um, another area you went into the, in the book that I really enjoyed was you started talking about vision boards. Could you get a little into that?

Elizabeth: 11:20 Oh, yeah. I mean, visualization is a proven technique to help you achieve what those desired outcomes and goals are. It's what, you know, if we even at a higher level, like Olympic athletes are our coach to visualize themselves winning because it is proven that that can help accelerate their progress. So visualization is so important. When something is in our mind, we gravitate towards it. I mean, the most simple example, we know this if like if I tell you today or I'm really into red cars, now all of a sudden when you're on the road, you're gonna notice a lot of red cars, right? Because it becomes, it comes to the forefront of our mind. So anything that you look at all day, every day, and this is why your environment is so important. I talk about this, your environment in the book as well. If you are in an environment where there is a bowl of candy on the counter all day or at your desk or whatever it is you're looking at all day, of course it's going to be the only thing on your mind. You're looking at it all day. A Vision Board is a similar thing where when you can take what you want to achieve and actually physically put it in front of you, your mind will naturally gravitate towards whatever it is that you've put up there.

Allan: 12:29 Yeah. Like if you visualize yourself being able to scoop your grandchild up when they come to visit over the summer and be able to walk the zoo with them with no, you know, not without having too much fatigue where you're just pooped out and have to sit on the bench. You know, those are visions that you can have for yourself and then they're going to somewhat manifest in the activities that you start doing because that's what you're, that's what you're preparing yourself for. It's more like training than work.

Elizabeth: 12:56 Yeah, absolutely.

Allan: 12:57 Now you use a concept in the book that I just adore. It's called the qualitarian. And so it's effectively saying, you know, however you're choosing to eat or what, like as a way of eating via Keto or Vegan or some of the other things that you might use, like Mediterranean or dash or all those different titles or labels that we have for the different diets that are out there. Most of them diets are intended, okay, you're going to do this for awhile and then you're going to quit. But you're looking at it more from the lifestyle perspective and that leads us to qualitarian, what is it? And you have some commanding principles that I think are really crucial for us to know.

Elizabeth: 13:38 Yeah, the qualitarian weight is, you know, I've been, like I said, I've been a health coach for a long time. I've literally seen every diet and eating style available and something I'll talk about really quickly, I talk about this in the book and people can go through this to determine which one they are both before the qualitarian wayeEven just understanding are you an abstainer or a moderator? Because one of the biggest problems right now that I see in health and wellness is that coaches don't understand the difference between somebody who does well in an abstainer model and somebody who does well in a moderator model. And if somebody gets into a program that, like if you're a moderator and you are trying to follow an abstainer way, it's going to be very difficult and same the opposite way. If you're an abstainer and somebody is trying to tell you to moderate, it's going to feel difficult.

Elizabeth: 14:23 And really you just can determine that by which one makes you feel more free. So an abstainer would be somebody that follows something like the whole 30 or Vegan or some a very strict diet label that you feel more free with fewer choices and some people feel that way. And I'm sure there are people listening to this right now that are going, yeah, yeah, I do feel better when I have a very strict rules that feels good to me. I know exactly what I'm doing. I like that black and white structure.

Allan: 14:49 You actually described me, I'm an abstainer.

Elizabeth: 14:51 Okay, great. Yeah, that's awesome. And then there are people, I'm a moderator. There are people like me who that makes me feel so heavy and restricted and it makes me feel like I'm in prison. I hate that feeling. I do really well on a moderate or model where it makes me feel more free to know like I'm going to follow a certain way of eating a qualitarian and I'm going eat real food, high quality food. And occasionally if I want to have pizza, I'll still have really high quality pizza, you know, made from the best ingredients. But I don't, if I have one slice of pizza, I'm good. That makes me feel more free. I don't need to have more. Right. I don't, it doesn't, it's not the model of like, you can't just have one. I'm like, yeah, actually can just have one. Um, but everyone's different. So like you just said,

Allan: 15:37 I'm eating half or the whole pizza, just depending on how good it tastses.

Elizabeth: 15:40 yeah. Yeah. So really determining, you know, which, which model do you fall under? And because if you're a moderator, like I don't label my eating habits. I think if somebody hung out with me for the week, they would think I was Vegan because most of the food I eat is Vegan. I gravitate towards that. I really don't do dairy or animal products. However, I might be out at dinner with a girlfriend, um, you know, and have a glass of wine. We might share like a flatbread or something. And, and that feels good to me, but some people, like you just said, you're an abstainer, you know, that is you just like the black and white rules. That feels better too. So really we have to find which of those things work better for us. And then within that model, the qualitarian way means that no matter what, whatever food you decide to consume, whether it's, you know, your salad or your pizza or you know, your bowl, your smoothie, that you choose, the highest quality food that you have access to. Meaning, one thing that I see a lot, and I think you know this too, everybody's on the Gluten Free Bandwagon and hey, I don't eat a lot of gluten either. But what happens is people end up buying gluten free, junk food, right? And gluten-free junk food is still junk food, you know, packaged, processed. Just because it's gluten free doesn't mean it's not made with stabilizers and preservatives and denatured oil and high amounts of sugar.

Allan: 16:57 Yeah, I've watched this cycle so many times. You know, something will come out like gluten free or like keto. And so this idea comes out and everybody wants to try it and then all of a sudden you start seeing the freezer section in your grocery store has a little section of it now and then it gets bigger and bigger. And then there's a whole section over, you know, what they call the health foods section, where you're going to have all of these Keto friendly foods or these gluten free foods and you look at the label and it's not food anymore. It's, it's basically manufactured, um, calories.

Elizabeth: 17:34 Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, under the current qualitarian model, the qualotarian way, I think the most important question to ask, whether it's plant based or animal based, what's the quality of this food? Am I eating the highest quality food that I access to? And when I say that I have access to, you know, I've lived all over the world, um, and all over the US and right now I'm currently on the coast in Seattle. Big cities have access to more food. And I realized that I'm from a small town in Montana and I realized that not every single place in the world has access to, uh, you know, free range, uh, air chilled chicken, right. Or whatever it is that you want to eat. So, and budgets are also a concern. So whatever it is. Um, and I give a lot of tips for, you know, budgeting and eating well on budgets in the book, but just choosing the highest quality food you can.

Allan: 18:23 Yeah. I think that's critical. If it's not whole food, um, you have to, you know, you have to realize that it was manufactured to, uh, to make you want more.

Elizabeth: 18:33 Yeah, absolutely.

Allan: 18:35 Now you have a process, I guess a method that you've put in the book. And I really like this one. It's called the book end method.

Elizabeth: 18:44 Yes. I'm glad you liked that.

Allan: 18:46 I do like that.

Elizabeth: 18:48 Yeah, you know, I have an online membership for health and I was putting together, um, one of our monthly bundles and I was just thinking about morning and evening routines because I've been getting a lot of questions about this and I think there were some confusions, we all have heard probably by now that it's really great to have a morning routine and then an evening routine. But I think people were getting confused of what those things are. And I started talking about it's really important to book end your day with, even if it's 10 minutes, you know, five, 10 minutes, you know, maybe 30 minutes, whatever it is, Everyone's different of intentional self care because that sets you up to make better choices during the day. And what came out of that as the book end method.

Elizabeth: 19:29 And really what the book end method is is like I just said, you have something in the morning and morning routine or ritual, even if it's just five minutes. I know a lot of people have kids, they have jobs. There's so much happening. You don't have to spend two hours every morning in the morning ritual, 10 minutes, 15 minutes that you can in the morning, 10 or 15 minutes in the evening and they have different purposes. In the morning you want to choose things that increase your energy, that set you up to make great choices during the day and the evening you need to set yourself up for better sleep so they actually have different purposes and they're not interchangeable but in the morning, and there are some things that you can do in both of them, you know, journaling, some type of meditation, whether it's mantra based meditation or mindful mindfulness meditation, even just deep breathing, stretching.

Elizabeth: 20:15 There are some overlap, but really in the morning, how can you healthwise set yourself up to make better choices during the day? Because we know that how you start something affects every choice that you make. It's why if you look at, if anybody's ever done theater or you know something in a theater group, there's always a prayer circle before the big show. It's how you start something. It's why, uh, in sports teams there's always the big huddle before the show, right? How we start something dictates how it goes during the day. So if in the morning, if you can just commit to 10 to 15 to 30 minutes of very mindful intentional health practice, you will make better choices during the day. And that brings us to the evening. If you can dedicate five, 10, 15 minutes, whatever it is to setting yourself up to sleep better. Sleep is so critical to health. But I would even say sleep is as critical to health as what you eat. I think sleep is completely underrated and quality sleep, right? Not Junk sleep where you're tossing and turning. You can't sleep at night. Um, and there are things you can do to set yourself up to sleep much better. I've been on a quest for better sleep for the last 10 years and I'm finally sleeping really well. But yeah, just book ending your day with two practices can make a world of difference in your health.

Allan: 21:27 Right? So now someone gets your book cause yeah, there's lots of, there's a lot in here of different things that we can do different approaches and so someone starts setting goals and getting action and they're starting to develop these habits. In the book you go through a series of tools that we can use to help us stick to the habits. In other words, quite a bit there. So I, you know, I don't want to ask you to share all of it, can you go through just a few of whatever your favorite tools that would help us stick to the healthy habits that we're getting.

Elizabeth: 21:59 Yeah there are, there's quite a few in here. I think one of the biggest thing, just the mindset shift of the crowd out method. Meaning instead of, if you're on the quest for healthier habits and you want to start with food, think about adding things in, not taking things out. So again, that's kind of the moderator of sooner model where you know, people want to be gluten free or dairy free or Vegan or whatever it is, which is not a bad thing. But what that model does is it removes things where the credit method introduces things. So instead of telling yourself like, I can't have you know, Tacos or whatever it is that you want, add things in so you know, I'm going to eat a giant bowl of veggies or salad or whatever it is, something that you know is healthier. I'm going to eat this, I'm going to bring things in instead of taking things out and that will naturally crowd out the bad things.

Elizabeth: 22:45 I think that's one of the best places people can start for healthy eating. Instead of saying, I can't ever have something again. Say what will I have today and if I still want that other thing. Sure. And usually you know you're full by the time you have the thing that you said you were going to have, so you don't even want the other thing. I think the crowd out method is absolutely key to building healthier habits. I think something else that's really, really important. We alluded to social media a little bit. I love social media. I use it, don't bite the hand that feeds you. I think social media is a great way to connect. But I also, um, you know, throughout the book, something I'm really encouraging people to do is to understand that how you do one thing is how you do everything.

Elizabeth: 23:26 And that's why I talk about environment and I talk about, you know, detoxing your laundry and all these different things because how you do one thing ends up to be how you do everything. So if you want to change your food habits and you're having a difficult time making great choices, start in other areas of your life, right? Once you start to clean up other areas of your life, it's easier to clean your food. So one thing would be curating your social media feed. I, you know, have gone through periods of time where I'm following someone, even a friend, someone who I know and I just find myself comparing myself to that person a lot. You can curate your social media feed, unfollow accounts. You don't have to, unlike, or you know, it doesn't have to be with any haste, but you can mute accounts, you can unfollow accounts, don't let your social media feed be filled with things that make you feel less, because if you're allowing, it's that little tick and your mind every time you see that that brings you down. And of course the more you feel down, the worst choices you're going to make.

Allan: 24:23 Yeah. I took one my work, uh, related, uh, Twitter accounts and I just went through and I said, okay, if someone posts something political, I'm just going to unfollow them. And I did that for like three days and after about three days, there were, there was no political posts on my Twitter feed for, you know, when I was working during the day. So if I went to check Twitter, I wasn't getting bombarded by it, all the political conversations. So it became a very peaceful, zinful feed because it was filled with people who were positive and and talking about health and wellness and not going off on those daily Tangents of negativity that were starting to impact the way I felt about the world. I'm like, no, when I'm doing this, I want to think about health and fitness.

Allan: 25:14 I want to think about wellness. I want to think about joy and I'm not getting it from these people. Even though a lot of what they put out there was extremely valuable. It was just, there was just, I wanted, I needed to get rid of that other piece, and so when I did that, it's like that feed is my kind of my little goto zen place. Every once in a while I'll log in there and just read what people are saying there rather than other places because I know I'm just going to get hit and bombarded with things that are gonna just be negative.

Elizabeth: 25:40 Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, no one, no two people's social media feeds are identical because the algorithms know based on what, even if you slow down to scroll, even if you don't like something, they know what you like or that you're at. You think they know where your attention goes and then your work feed is filled with more of those things. So I've, I've hear from a lot of women who are like, Oh, have you seen this? It's all over Facebook. And I'm like, I haven't even seen that. And like you like it because you're going to websites that are talking about that and you're liking things. You're slowing down on those posts. So they're giving you more of that. So I really, you know, especially women who are newer to social media in the past like five or 10 years, the reason your, your feed looks like that, no one else's does. It's because you're gravitating towards that. And you can curate that. You can change that by unfollowing or unliking things. And then really making sure that you're liking or commenting on things that lift you up. You know, your social media feed really should be a place that gives you inspiration, lifts you up if you're ever feeling down after you look at your social media feed, you need to curate it.

Allan: 26:40 Yeah, absolutely.

Elizabeth: 26:42 Yeah. And then I think, you know, a big thing too is that I would leave people with is that good health is not all or nothing. And I think we are bombarded with the idea that if you do one thing that's not on your plan, it's all for not. And that's not true. Your health changes in cycles and seasons in life you'll change. You know, the average person eats around 2000 times a year. If you're eating like three to five times a day, let's say you're going to eat 1500 to 2000 times in a year. And I don't know a lot of people who can get something 1500 out of 1500 or 2000 out of 2000 right. That's you know, I know some pretty high performers. I don't know if I can find anybody that doesn't, there's not any error in that. So, you know, I think what we need to understand is that we constantly need to be moving the needle towards better health.

Elizabeth: 27:35 I do believe that we need to eat real food. We need to, we need to learn what it feels like to feel good. Because once you feel good, you don't slide back into unhealthy habits and recognize that we should be always searching for progress, not perfection. Because perfection is a complete illusion, it doesn't exist and it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Now I don't want that to be a get out of jail free card to just, you know, go eat fast food or something because we need to stay away from food that is harmful to us. But good health is not all or nothing. So if you are at, you know, your sister's house or your friend's house and they make this big feast and it's not necessarily within the way that you eat and you want to enjoy the party with people, go ahead and do it. It's what you do the next day and the next day and the next day. It's not one meal that's going to sabotage everything that you've done.

Allan: 28:25 Yeah, I completely agree with that. Um, you know, something I've been paying a lot more attention to really in about the last two years, particularly since I started writing my book, um, back aways it was that words have such a profound meaning beyond what you would just attribute to them if you were reading a book. You know, like if you're reading through a sentence and the word I can't comes up. Yeah. And it just seems like a simple word, but you know, for, for the person like you, that's a moderator and this is, this is one of your, your hints here, your, your tools is, is to replace I can't with, I don't.

Elizabeth: 29:05 Yes. Yes. This is another scientifically proven mindset trick that takes the pressure off the burden off or the heaviness off of, you know, oh, I can't have ice cream after dinner. Whenever you tell yourself you can't do something, it is going to be at the forefront of your mind with, I don't eat ice cream after dinner or I don't eat ice cream after dinner unless it's Friday. Sure. On Fridays, whatever, whatever day you pick. Maybe you like your ice from on Tuesdays, um, or maybe you make your own. There's a recipe on my blog for healthy homemade ice cream out of coconut milk that's really low in sugar and you want to some that every night after dinner, go for it. For me, I use time restricted eating. I generally don't eat after seven o'clock so for me it's not that I can't eat after seven o'clock sure.

Elizabeth: 29:51 If I'm hungry, I can eat. I just don't eat after seven o'clock and I don't do that. And again, as a moderator, intermittent fasting is proven to work if you do it at least five days per week. So on the weekends, sure, if I'm invited out, I'm not going to tell my friends I'm not gonna eat after seven. Right. So I, I still have that balance and that flexibility in my lifestyle. But in general, when I'm at home, I don't eat after seven. And just that simple trick of using, I don't, instead of, I can't put you back in the driver's seat and it gives you a position of power instead of a position of why can't have that.

Allan: 30:22 Yeah. And the mindset is so critical in us. That's why I really liked that tool was because I think a lot of folks just feel so restricted when they go in and say, okay, well I'm going to, you know, I'm going to go ahead and try this Vegan Diet and they're not thinking of it as a way of eating. They do see an end point there, but now they're like, well, I can't have a hamburger. And then, so now they're in the shop looking for fake Burgers, uh, you know, to kind of appease this thing. And so it Kinda sends them down the spiral path of I can't, and I can't and I can't. And they just want it that much more.

Elizabeth: 30:56 Right, right. Absolutely.

Allan: 30:58 Now, I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Elizabeth: 31:08 Oh Man, I think so much of it has to do with mindset. If I could pick three things, two of them would probably might be mindset based because if again, if we're just, if we're skipping the mindset piece and then we're just going straight into the food, we're always going to stop at some point. It has to be mindset based. I think the first thing for women that I've noticed that I would say is in getting your mindset right is realizing that you are constantly changing and evolving and nothing is ever set in stone. If you want to be thinking your whole life, great and that works, I think it's great, but what works more I think for a lot of women is that to understand, I mean women are cyclical by nature, right? We have our cycles by nature. You might want to eat different at different points in your cycle every month you might feel better vegan, meat free one week and you might realize that you need a little bit more protein and you gravitate towards animal protein another week.

Elizabeth: 32:02 Also the seasons change. The seasons are cyclical, right? Um, you might find that in the summer you like more raw and cooked food and in the winter you gravitate towards more, you know, heavier cooked food and then the cycles and seasons of your life change, right? You know, the teenagers, adolescents then we turn into uh, you know, young adulthood into this like more mature area of life. So the first thing for women, what I would say in order to be healthy and well is realize that you are free to change course at any point in your life. And that's a mindset trick. You are afraid to make a change. If you've been labeling your eating habits and that no longer feels good to you, you are completely free to change anything in your life. So I think that would be the first thing is just realizing that life is cyclical and you can make a change at any point.

Elizabeth: 32:49 Um, the second thing to be healthy and well I would say is to visualize it and that goes back to the vision board and create an environment. So this is mindset and you know, starting to get into like something physical you can do, you have to create an environment that supports your healthy lifestyle. And that has to do with how you, you know, whatever's in your home, whatever, how are you set up your day? You've got to create an environment for yourself that feels good to be healthy and well. Because if you don't have the environment to support your lifestyle, it's going to feel very, very difficult to be healthy and well. And I think the third thing is just really goes back to food. Understanding that there's one, not one right way for everyone to stop searching for silver bullet diet because it doesn't exist. Um, and really just follow the qualitarian way. Those would be the three things that I would tell people.

Allan: 33:39 I really appreciate those. Those were excellent. Thank you. So if someone wanted to learn more about you and the book, The Health Habit, where would you like for me to send them?

Elizabeth: 33:49 Oh yeah. Um, my website, Elizabethrider.com and there are over 300 recipes. There are, there are a ton of healthy living resources and with the book coming out we are giving away free downloadable book bonuses. I'm with checklists, downloads, cleanup items are so many fun things to download with the book and that's at Elizabethrider.com forward slash book or it's really easy to find on my website but I would love to send everyone there so they can grab those bonuses with the book

Allan: 34:14 Outstanding. This is going to be episode 395 so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/395 and I'll be sure to have the links right there. So Elizabeth, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Elizabeth: 34:28 Thanks for having me. I'm thrilled to be here. I appreciate it.

Let me ask you a question: Have you lost your edge? Do you just not feel as sharp as you used to and things aren't going your way at work or in life? Maybe you just lack the energy you once had that got you where you are and you want to get that back.

If this is you, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/edge. I made a short little video for you, I think you are going to like. 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/edge

Another episode you may enjoy

August 12, 2019

Midlife and prostate cancer with James A Hill

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Thank you!

Cancer is the scariest word for many of us. James Hill takes us through his journey with prostate cancer and by doing so gives us a solid approach for dealing with the disease and the thoughts and fears we'll face after diagnosis.

Allan: 02:28 Jim, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

James: 02:30 Thank you Allan. Glad to be here.

Allan: 02:33 Now your book, Midpoint, aptly named. You know, I'm sitting here at 53 and I'm thinking, okay all those things that I did as a kid, you talked about some of them in part of your book where you're riding your skateboard and then that happens and there's an accident and blood and scars and this happens in blood and scars. And I'm thinking, you know, when we get this age, blood and scars are actually really scary.

James: 02:59 Yeah. It's a remarkable a for me that this is the point in life for a lot of men, that really marks an inflection where we, where any kind of a, um, a brush with health can be more than just important, more than just a scar on your under elbow. It can be something a lot scarier. So, um, it is an important point for me to explore in the book.

Allan: 03:21 Yeah. But beyond the being scared part. I, you know, I think, I think what the purpose of this show and then when you're listening to this show, I want you to know why we're here. We're here because men tend to have this trait of pride and obstinance and wanting to be the provider, wanting to be that man that's out there doing these things. And many times, you know, we neglect those little things. We neglect doing the things that we shouldn't be doing to manage our health. Fortunately, even though you said you, you may have avoided screenings, not, not completely avoided them, but delayed them somewhat, you did make a point of making health screenings a part of your regimen.

James: 04:03 Very much so. Yeah. I mean I would describe myself overall as being a pretty earnest health care consumer. I always took my health pretty seriously. I work out, I've always been very focused on taking care of myself, but like, like so many guys there certain things I just don't want to be, you know, physical as being one of them. I talked about this in my book. I just never much cared for physicals cause I felt like they marked at least once I hit my forties and fifties, they started to mark a decline in my, in my physical strength and my, in my physical being. So I was probably not as earnest as I should have been on certain screenings. And then of course the PSA test, which my doctor eventually had me take, I should have taken more ownership and asking for it rather than just being a passive recipient of his recommendation to get it done. Because I was at an age where depending upon who you talk to, typically over 50 men should be getting their PSA.

Allan: 04:59 Yeah, it's part of my wellness testing, my, my PSA and so far I haven't had any, any issues, always less than that. And that's always been, that's been the case. It's always, it's always been below two well below two, well below one actually. So I feel pretty good there. But it was funny because for a long time as we looked at these tests, doctors were actually starting to pull away from them and saying, we don't need diagnostic tests because we get false positives and we ended up with people freaking out. We may even end up with procedures that we didn't need to do. But the thinking's turning around on that a little bit, isn't it?

James: 05:36 Yeah, it is. It's, you know, as I mentioned in the book, the, the subject of whether to get PSA testing is an enormous point of controversy in men's health. And it's one that I think has done men in general a disservice. You know when PSA testing kind of came on, the scenes became popular in the 90s. Everybody was recommending it to gives, it seemed like you're her first really reliable or, or reasonably reliable diagnostic for, um, screening methods available to men to catch, to catch a prostate cancer. And it does, it does. What a lot of people didn't come to terms with at the time is that there are multiple reasons why your PSA, your prostate specific antigen might be elevated if cancer is only one reason. And so what ended up happening is men who had BPH, benign prostate hyperplasia or prostititus, which is an infection of the prostate or other things that might cause their PSA to be elevated. They were rushing out and getting a, getting a biopsy which can, which can result in an infection and complications. And they had a lot of general adjuncts around the fear of cancer only to find out that they, they never had cancer in the first place.

So then the medical community pulled back from PSA testing and said, you know, if you look at it statistically, it's not saving enough lives. Well, I'm not a believer that any guy wants to be a statistic and I'm one of those people who had I not gotten my PSA tested, could have ended up very easily with metastatic prostate disease. So yes, the view has changed back and forth. I think that's why any man, I think over 50 and certainly over 55 needs to own that process, needs to understand what prostate screening or PSA screening is all about. Needs to consult with either his urologist or his physician about whether he thinks at a digital rectal exam is sufficient or whether he wants to get a baseline PSA and continue testing. But it's the one thing you shouldn't ever do is not have the discussion with your doctor needs to be something that you do in a methodical, calculated way. And at least if you make a decision not to be tested, at least you're owning the decision.

Allan: 07:54 Yeah. So for the first several years, you know, when your doctor was going through the standard of care, he was using the old rectal means of testing to see if there's any abnormal swelling or growths or anything like that. And you were checking out just fine.

James: 08:11 Yes. Every time. Yeah. We, we've been checking, I think since I was 50 and I was diagnosed when I was, I want to say 50, 56, almost 57 so yeah, the nature of that exam of course is that a digital rectal exam only has access to part of the prostate and it's a pretty good screening test if you have a capable physician or pa or nurse Practitioner who really understands what a prostate should feel like and can recognize a nodule or some irregularity. But again, if you've got a, if you've got a lesion on the, on the far side of the prostate that's not accessible through the rectum, that's not going to be detected through a DRE is as they're called. And that was the case with mind and why mine was, was had reached all the way to stage three before they ever found it.

And it also that very fact, even when I had my biopsy, they typically they take 12 cores, tissue cores in a biopsy, only two of mine, showed, showed cancer, which led them to a very reassuring diagnosis of stage one prostate cancer with a Gleason score of six, which is a, which is a very low grade cancer. Well, by the time we got through MRIs and everything else, we found out that I was actually stage three with a, with a high seven in which we can talk about it to like, but so I had to go all the way through MRI and eventually through the surgery to really understand the nature of the disease. So, you know, it's a process of understanding what you have is very much a process of choosing the right procedure and getting a more complete picture of what's going on down there.

Allan: 09:50 Yeah. Now as you went through the book and it was Kinda like you're walking us through some of the learnings that you had as you went through here, because prior to this you had no reason to know a PSA relative. You know, it just, if it's better or bigger than two or lighter than two, but you know what it means when it's excessively at higher than two. You learned what the Gleason score was and how almost somewhat, I'm not gonna say subjective, but there's a little bit of, we learn as we go because we, we probe further and you know, biopsies will do something MRI's will do something. But, even after the surgery, they're there, they're still coming back and trying to look at that data to say how aggressive was this? Do you mean because going to the Internet for some of this stuff, I guess you can be, should be scary as hell reading stories. But how does someone swim through all that information and get their head clear on, on the, the treatment that's right for them.

James: 10:47 That's a great question. And it's such a personal process, Allan. I mean, that's a remark. I get a lot from a lot of guys because maybe it was how I presented the process I went through in the book that made men thing. Geez, I don't know if I would have the desire or the or the staying power to do the kind of research I needed to do to make an intelligent decision. And a lot of guys don't. Honestly, you know, I've spoken to a lot of men who kind of went the, from the moment they met with their primary care physician, whatever that primary care physician recommended they did. And in some cases they have good outcomes. In some cases they don't. I'm a great believer in the whole model of the empowered healthcare consumer. I think it's critical that a man, as I said earlier, own his health and particularly in an area that is so fraught with controversy.

So what I did is I simply didn't believe everything I was told at first blush. Acknowledging that everybody in the healthcare system and all of the information on the Internet is to a certain sense. It's, you know, there's some subjectivity to it. There's certainly some controversy there. So I made it my job to talk to people. First of all, I knew who had been through prostate cancer themselves, what their processes were. I tried to find out where they went for information and what they had learned so I could kind of leapfrog or, or piggyback off of what they had they had done and if I could of saved myself some time by using their research I did. But I also, I very much guided myself by going to the best, the best resources online. So I was in my career, uh, prior to having cancer had been in content marketing where we published good clinical information on behalf of some major hospitals and hospital systems.

And so I knew who the, who the great cancer centers for example, were. So I tended to go either to.org or.edu sources online and you know, so names like Sloan Kettering or Mayo Clinic or Harvard health. And the more scientifically sound that information was, I found the more tended to align well. And the theme that I kept hearing over and over again is your situation's unique. You need to interact very proactively with your caregivers and be picky. And so I did a ton of research. I read up everything I could on PSA at Gleason scores, on staging, on radio radiation versus surgery versus what they call cocoa therapies, which are for early stage cancers. And I kept asking a lot of questions. I also happened to be very fortunate. My wife is a very smart and very capable partner and so she at the same time was challenging me and challenging doctors that I was meeting with and we just kept asking questions and challenging the kind of the prevailing wisdom until we felt like we had enough information to make a decision.

And I want to credit some of the doctors I met with for, for having said early on, look, because treatment plans and treatment decisions aren't always clear for a man because there are so many variables and there's so much unknown about prostate cancer. It's a, it has to be a collaborative process between the doctor and the patient. And I've even seen that taken to some ridiculous levels where some doctors will say, it's your decision, just tell me which one to do. The doctors that I dealt with were much more collaborative and said, look, here are your options. You know, here's what I would recommend, but you should go out and meet with people that you, uh, that you think and kind of eliminate the matter for you. So for example, I met both with a radiation oncologist and a surgeon and then of course a number of urologists and positions and PA's along the way. And my thought process eventually took me to surgery, but um, you know, for it, had I been 10 years older, I might've gone with radiation. It just depends on your, your particular situation. So it's, for me, it's all about ownership of the healthcare process and decision making process.

Allan: 14:49 Yeah. And, and beyond, you did something that I think a lot of us would actually find very difficult. You fired your first position effectively.

James: 14:58 I did, yeah.

Allan: 14:58 He wasn't supporting you in a way that, you know, we're not talking about a diagnosis or work. I mean, but the two of you just were not connecting on an emotional level where you felt comfortable with him. Can you talk about that a little bit? We're not going to name him cause he wasn't named in the book, but could you talk a little bit about that, that process of, okay, I've got a doctor that I'm asking him a question and he's sarcastic or belittling me in a way that I just don't feel like he has my best interest at heart.

James: 15:30 Yeah. And, and um, he, you know, he was, this doctor was, was honestly, I think a good guy and an excellent physician. But like anything in life, certainly in healthcare, which is such a, it's such a human interaction. I just believe that you need more than your expertise. You need somebody who respects you as a human being who understands that your approach to making decisions about your health care might be different from the other patient who doesn't. You know who, I don't care for sarcasm. You know, if somebody sitting with cancer, the last thing they need sarcasm. So this particular doctrine I simply weren't clicking. You know, as I mentioned earlier in the book, I had been advised early on to get an MRI before I had a biopsy and I push really hard with this doctor to do that because the idea is that an MRI gives you a visual picture of the entire prostate before you go in there and start poking needles because if you, if you don't have that visual picture of what you might end up getting is an incomplete diagnostic perspective, which is what in fact happened with me.

We only got two cores when in fact I had quite a large tumor. So I pressed this particular doctor for an MRI and he responded largely by saying he didn't think it was necessary, it wasn't the best practice and made me feel a little bit like a hypochondriac for asking. Well later when I was still considering using him as my surgeon, I subsequently went to Sloan Kettering and the first thing they asked me was, did you do an MRI before your biopsy? And I said, no, I, my doctor divided against you. They said, well here we wouldn't consider doing a biopsy or MRI. So you know, that entire view that I had taken was very much validated. And it was also just a manner in which he opposed me on that decision. It just felt like he was asserting his medical, I don't want to say supremacy but, superiority and I you're a patient, I'm a doctor. You need to listen to me and not acknowledging the fact that I had done my homework.

Allan: 17:39 Yeah. Well and, and realities, you know, are the generation before us and before that and then the white coat walked in and said, do this. We just did it. But now with the advancements in medicine and what's going on in the world, standard of care changes all the time and for the doctor gets you up to speed and say, no, this is, there is a standard of care. And if there's no reason to believe that doing an extra step is going to give you a better outcome. I was just surprised that when you said you were willing to pay out of pocket for this because you weren't, you know, you were told you would probably have to do that, that he just said no. Whereas it would just been a data point. And you know, again, I'm a big fan of the more data points you have, the clearer things can be as long as you just don't get overrun with it. But I think it would have been a point that you've obviously now hindsight definitely should've had.

James: 18:31 Absolutely. And the fact that it was validated the way it was and validated with really good information in the sense that the folks at Sloan Kettering explained that, you know, biopsies first of all, it not that you want to go back in and do, but also it causes bleeding because you're poking all these holes in the prostate. It causes bleeding, which obscures any subsequent MRI image for several weeks after that. So it actually impede the ability to get it to get a good perspective. So there's really a very practical reason to do an MRI beforehand. Now that you know, you mentioned standards of care. The problem with, I think with dealing with with prostate cancer is that standards of care are, they're changing, they're shifting back and forth as, as new data comes in and as doctors debate what to do. Another example of that would be the level of sedative or anesthesia they give you for biopsy and a biopsy is pretty painful. Either I'm a whimp or biopsys are pretty painful.

Allan: 19:30 No, I think 12 holes in the human body.

James: 19:37 Yeah, yeah. Particularly that area. Yeah. It's not, it doesn't feel good and the standard of care is to give you at most of a valium to calm you down and a local anesthetic. Well, when I asked the doctor after the biopsy was over, I said, wow, that really hurt. Has there been any discussion of putting guys under under general anesthesia? He said, yeah, I actually missed his credit. He said, I've been proposing that for a while, but it hasn't been adopted as a standard of care. And so that's one of those examples where it's an evolving thing and I think to a certain degree, medicine is always kinda catch up with what it's learning from patients. And frankly, part of my objective in writing the book was to educate doctors as much as patients about what the process is like so that when they realize, Oh gee, you know, these biopsies really hurt, or Oh gee, it makes it more complicated for a patient if we don't let them do an MRI beforehand. Maybe that's something we can revisit, whether it's on an individual level or on the standard of care level.

Allan: 20:36 Now you mentioned earlier three, three different approaches to treatment. You were passed one of those by already being a six, but do you mind going through those three and then in particular the surgery and the radiation. Spending a little bit of time talking about the pros and cons.

James: 20:53 Sure, absolutely. So the two most common forms of treatment for prostate cancer are either a prostatectomy, which is surgical removal of the prostate or, and by the way, it's always the entire prostate. There is no such thing as taking out part of our prostate, which was illuminating for me at the time. You had to take it all out or you're leave it in. The other option is is radiation therapy, which irradiates the prostate gland and potentially some of the areas around the prostate with radiation to destroy the the cancer cells. They've also developed for men who are very early in their, in it with a very localized cancer or small low grade cancer, have what they call a focal therapies, which are, they use all kinds of exotic things like cryoablation, where they go in and they actually freeze the cancer cell with a, with a needle.

Those focal therapies, as the name suggests, are very focused, therefore very well located small, early cancer. By the time they found my cancer, I was a stage three that the malignancy had moved out beyond what they call the prosthetic capsule or the envelope that is basically the membrane that whole step that surrounds the prostate. So I was by virtue of that the end, it was I think a two centimeter tumor. I was not a candidate for focal therapy. So for me it came down to either radiation or surgery. I should also add that for many men, particularly men who are potentially in their seventies or and who have a slow growing low grade cancer, they have what they call watchful waiting, which is simply to do nothing and to go and maybe every six months or so to get your PSA checked.

And if it's really not growing quickly, there's a great likelihood that men like that will die from some other natural causes before the cancer ever presents a real problem. And that is very much something that's being recommended for men who are older. I was not a candidate for that because I had a very high PSA and it was changing. In fact, it changed from about 15 to about almost 20 in the space of six weeks. So they immediately ruled out watchful waiting. And the fact that I was in my fifties so the decision for me came down to surgery or radiation. And surgery, I think I'd have to check this thing, but surgeries are more common. There's been a lot of push back among some doctors against surgery because they think it's too often proposed for people who could have avoided it.

And I think that probably was the case. It's less so now. But there are, there are various types of surgery that's performed. The most common now I think is a laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, which is the doctor uses a laparoscope that, that goes in basically through five small incisions in, in your abdomen. You know, they use laparoscopes on you know, for example, to repair damaged knees. It's a way of having a smaller incision and cutting less tissue to make repairs. So you get five small incisions into your abdomen. They go in with these kind of like robot arms and they with a doctor looking through, uh, through a video monitor, they removed the prostate that way and, and uh, fix things up and send you on your way. Radiation on the other hand is a process of going in I think typically for about six weeks, five times a day and lying under the beam and the pros and cons are with radiation.

They don't remove the prostate. So some of the side effects of not having a prostate are entirely avoided. So there typically is less with radiation, they are less issues with, with continents, less issues with, uh, post treatment potency. And a man still has his prostate. So physiologically he can still produce semen, which a man cannot live without his prostate. So for a lot of men who, who can, for whom radiation is an option, it's a good choice to give. They can, it has less of an impact on their sex lives. As an example, and my, my own brother-in-law went that route and was, was very pleased with it. The trick is, and this is what helped me form my decision with surgery, my, by the time we had my MRI results and they had, they kind of accurately stage my cancer.

They knew that I was stage three. They knew that it was aggressive and they knew that it had moved outside of the prosthetic capsule. It was likely, in fact, I was told I had about a 50/50 chance. My radiation oncologist explained I had a 50/50 chance of needing radiation after surgery as well. So if you have radiation as your first line of defense, the tissue is so substantially changed by the radiation that it really can't handle surgery Afterwards. Now Sloan Kettering is developing what they call a salvage radical prostatectomy where they will go in if necessary and remove the prostate. That's already gone through radiation, but it's very tricky and recovery is tough and there are a lot of side effects to it. So generally speaking, if you think you're going to need radiation later on as a followup, because maybe the surgery couldn't get all the cancer guys will go prostatectomy first radiation second. It's worth noting too that the cure rates are about the same for radiation and surgery. So making the final decision very much comes down to how bad is the cancer, how fast is it moving, how old are you, what's your life expectancy? All these variables that are unique from man to man. And it was that process for me that was really kind of essential kind of core to my experience with cancer, which was realizing that just because my brother-in-law got radiation and it worked for him and just because my best friend got surgery and I work for him, everybody's different and you cannot just make a decision based on kind of generalized views of these treatments. You really need to dig in deeply and understand your own cancer.

Allan: 27:10 Yeah. And I think that was, that was kind of the core because you had done some research and found surgery's gone really bad. And um, that like you said, the radiation could have done something and then it would've been much more difficult if there was a Reoccurrence. So it is something I strongly considered as far as you know, which you feel good about and you know, what the facts in your particular case are saying. I guess one of the parts of treatment that kind of, I guess I didn't really think a whole lot about, you know, I thought okay, well you have the surgery, they remove it, you know, you heal up from the sutures and you're on your way. That's not the case with prostate cancer. There's, there's a lot of uh, post treatment that needs to occur. Without going into all the gory details. I can kind of talk about cause you need, yeah, you need to buy this book if nothing else to read that story. But um, uh, can you go through some of the details, you know, some of the things that you have to do just to get yourself back to normal.

James: 28:07 Yeah, the main, and of course my experience is specific to the surgery. I can't speak to, to radiation, which does have it have its own side effects. What I didn't mention is that radiation can have side effects affecting potency. And, and I'm from continent, but they tend to be deferred by six months to a year. Whereas with surgery, those side effects of course are immediate coming out of surgery. But the typical things that, that a man needs to worry about coming out of surgery of course, is potency, which is, which requires obviously intact of nerves and in tact blood flow to that part of the body. And sometimes the two nerve bundles that make an erection possible are affected by the cancer and one or both have to be, have to be removed. Now you only need one, but if even one is removed, that's gonna require some post-surgery work, which we can talk about.

But under any circumstances, the trauma that's done to the body during the surgery, particularly the nerves and a man's groin send those nerves into what they call hibernation mode, which can last for one to two years where the nerves simply don't work properly, their healing and they just kind of let like a bear going into a cave. They just stop physiologically functioning during that time. The tissue down there that's required for an erection literally it needs to be regularly stretched in troll with blood. And if it's not, if that doesn't happen, there can be term long term effects on a man's potency. So, and then the other issue is incontinence, which is a very significant problem for man because during a prostatectomy, the urethra is surgically detached momentarily from the bladder to do the surgery.

Then it's reattached and that affects all the muscles down there and the ability to control urine flow. So the two things that are typically one thing certainly has done most commonly coming out of prostate surgery is they're going to recommend that men do with they call Kegel exercises. That's very well known to women who are advised to do with these after they have have a child because the muscles down, they're affected by childbirth. Same thing goes for men after a prostatectomy is literally just like clenching, clenching the muscles of the pelvic bed over and over again, like a workout. Honestly what it is. And in my case, I was advised to do these exercises before surgery and then to do them right after surgery to to just like anything else, you want to have strong muscles. So that's a big part of, of regaining continents.

And then in my case, Sloan Kettering has a group called the sexual health clinic, which is really pioneering ways to keep men functioning from a, from a, from a potency perspective, functioning well, while those nerves recover come out of hibernation mode and that's they, they have various ways of dealing with it. But the most, the way that they use most is an injection therapy where a man gives himself a shot that actually physiologically reproduces, creates an erection, which allows the tissue to be stretched and so forth and, and oxygenated until they heal on your own. So, unfortunately, that is not a therapy that is widely known about known by men, and it's not as widely recommended as, as it should be in the result of a lot of men. Too many men end up having potency issues when they didn't need to. They could have actually recovered normal, normal functioning.

Sloan Kettering is fabulous about that and I was actually part of a study, a 2-year study and following up with men on that and comparing the results of that therapy with men who didn't go through it. And the results are dramatic. I mean dramatic, the kind of improvement in that they see when you're on kind of therapy. And then of course the only other thing I would add, Allan, is that both going into a prostate surgery and coming out of it, the more you can be in good shape, eat well, not be carrying any extra weight, have good muscle tone, all of that prepares you for the what is a pretty significant assault on your body. I mean the prostatectomy takes four to six hours, it's a big deal and a lot of men don't realize it's one of the most complicated cancer surgeries out there.

It messes up the body in a pretty significant way for a while. And it takes a long time to do all the healing that's necessary. The more fit you are both before and after the surgery, you know the better you're going to handle it, the more quickly recover. Some of big proponent of be fit all the time, follow it, have a good diet so that you're not inadvertently helping the cancer or the cancer recur by eating the wrong kinds of foods. All those things. The same things that we're told anyway about being fit and healthy very much affect the outcomes of a prostate surgery.

Allan: 33:04 Yeah. And you know, as you were talking through that and you're getting yourself physically fit. I was, I was thinking about a quote that you had in the book, you talked a lot about how you didn't really see cancer as a battle or at least you didn't like that kind of that phrase of encouragement battles. But you did say this in the book. You said cancer cells are the terrorists of the human body, the weaponized bundles of angry, twisted cellular matter that have come unmoored in their restraints. And, and I thought about that in the basic ways of saying, you know, if we prepare ourselves generally for life, we're going to be strong, we're going to be generally healthy and that's going to put us in a better place. So it's not necessarily a battle so much as knowing, okay, we have this insurgency that uh, we now have to deal with and if we're physically fit and generally healthy, our bodies are going to be more resilient. And then there's always the mental side of this of, you know, terrorism is scary, not knowing when this could happen or if this will happen is scary. And in a sense it kinda changes the way we think about life when those scary moments happen.

James: 34:15 Yeah, yeah, very much so. I'm fortunate that I was always somebody who just was interested in staying healthy as much because I wanted to look good and feel good. But you know, it turns out that healthy has a lot of dimensions to it and you just don't want to go into a scary diagnosis like cancer with anything already compromising your health or that makes it just much more of an uphill battle. And I joked about it in the book about doing, you know, following that was so earnest about following the, the physician's advice for, or being prepared to physically put surgery. I followed advice they didn't even give me, but that's how seriously I took it. And you know, one of the things also that they push you to do, which I talked about quite a bit in the book, is walking right after surgery.

I mean they have you up walking down the hallway within four or five hours of the surgery and then walking subsequent to that while your catheters in and during that, that first 10 days or two weeks of recovery, physical activities so important and the more fit you are going into that process, the more quickly you're going to be able to resume that physical activity that is so central to your healing. The human body was made to move and we're not, certainly after a surgery like that, you might have fluid in your, in your lungs that you need to be able to call from. The stronger your body is, as soon as that can happen, the stronger your circulatory system, the more likely you are to replenish the blood flow to your groin. All of that benefits from being in a generally good state of health. I can't say enough about the importance of that and you know I honestly, I as hard as I've worked at it, there are even things I could have done a lot better. It's just a matter of doing everything you possibly can.

Allan: 36:03 Yeah. Now I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get in stay well?

James: 36:14 That's a great question. I would say from my perspective and within the very specific context of prostate cancer treatment, it's leading a fit lifestyle. Not when I say a lifestyle, it's not just, it's not just going to the gym, but it's maintaining good physical and mental health. So eating right, getting exercise, managing stress, making it an approach to life rather than something that you do when you're not stressed out about work. So I'm all about just making health and matter of lifestyle coming out of surgery also, I believe that the best thing you can do to, to regain that sense of wellness, just to be a model patient, doctors know what's required to, to return to a good state of health. And so I'm a big believer in follow exactly what they, don't be a c student, do everything they say you're supposed to do, ask questions and they know how to get you healthy.

And they're going to push you to do that and don't subvert that process and you know, something. The third thing I would say, Allan, is that a lot of men overlook, particularly in this context, the importance of psychological changes that happen during middle age and particularly during treatments for prostate cancer. It's a disease of the male reproductive system, which is central to our sense of wellbeing. And men need to, who go through this need to prepare themselves for those psychological shifts. How they see themselves, their relationships with the partners, uh, how they see the world around them now as they are some in some ways altered. So surrounding oneself with support, with loved ones who can, we can be there for you if you start to stumble or you feel down or if you're not pushing yourself as hard to recover. That's just as much about wellness as is staying physically healthy. And it's something I end on that point. Particularly think of the thing. It's something that too many men, particularly in the context of prostate cancer, come to, uh, not pay close enough attention to.

Allan: 38:12 Thank you for sharing those. Uh, I do want to kind of close this a little different because there was a quote, some advice that your father gave you that I want to share here because I think this is really important. And he basically told you, he said, make sure you live your life before the hard times come. And I think that's some advice we should take to heart and realize that you know, we should be living the fullest life we can possibly live because this type of stuff can to us. Stay healthy, stay fit and enjoy the life that we have while you can. And so I appreciated your father's advice and I appreciate you sharing that along with your entire story in this book, Midpoint. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book and the things that you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?

James: 38:57 Well thanks for asking. I have my website is www.jamesahill.com and that is both a place where there's more information on me, my book and I also blog regularly on issues related to this. And um, and also of course the book is, is uh, going to be released in a few days on July 30th on Amazon. Barnes and Noble is all the, uh, all the major booksellers online. So anybody who wants to reach me can certainly reach out to me through my, through my website contact page there.

Allan: 39:29 Cool. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/394 and I'll be sure to have links there to the book and to Jim's website and all of that. So Jim, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

James: 39:43 Thank you for having me on. I enjoyed the conversation.

Another episode you may enjoy

August 5, 2019

The Mindful Runner with Gary Dudney

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Thank you!

Our guest today not only walks the walk, he runs the run. He is a wonderful storyteller and I really enjoy my conversations with him. Even though his books are about running, I can tell you that you can get something out of this for pretty much any fitness endeavor that you want to take on and that was kind of my challenge in this episode was to make sure that that's exactly what happened. So even if you're not a runner, I think this is an episode well worth listening to. It's my pleasure to welcome back Gary Dudney, author of The Mindful Runner.

Allan: 01:14 Gary, welcome back to 40+ Fitness.

Gary: 01:17 I'm happy to be here, Allan.

Allan: 01:19 Yeah, it's been three years since we talked last. That was episode 131 this is episode 393 so I've gone through a lot of these, but I was really excited to see your book come out because I enjoyed the last book, the Tao of Running because you're such an excellent storyteller. I mean, you know, you're talking about a race and you're going through the details of it. You know the locations, you were the struggles and it's, you do a really good job of, even though I'm not doing ultras, putting me in the place, in the conditions and in your frame of mind, all in a really well told story.

Gary: 01:55 Well thank you. That's, that's really my goal was to bring, I was a writer before I was, I was running. So I'm not a runner who wrote a, wrote a book. I'm a writer who runs and, um, I thought getting the whole experience down on, on the page was the important part. And of course I, as you know, I use those stories to make my points about the mental side of running. You do. And so you know, this book is called the mindful runner and like I said, it sort of a,I guess I'd call it a second edition of the other book.

Allan: 02:31 It kind of takes it in a slightly different direction with I think a lot more of, you know, the other was about enjoy, I think more about enjoying running and then there are challenges and things like that, but that's part of the value of it. This talks about, I particularly like that you're talking more to the beginning runner or the person that's looking to try to start doing, performing a lot better. Maybe setting some higher expectations for themselves and the fact that they're going to have to push to make this happen. And that's all going to start with their, with their mindset rather than what their body's capable of doing.

Gary: 03:06 yeah. I had, I had a lot of material that I wanted to, um, include in a new book that I didn't get into the dow of running and a lot of stories and even some short fiction that I've published in the past that I wanted to put into a book for anybody who's interested in reading about running. And then my personal focus is of course on what's going on in your mind when you're running. And there's just so many different ways to be thinking about what to be thinking about while you're running and so many mental frameworks you can bring to it. And with each new mental framework you bring to it, you find a new richness and running and you get, you get more out of the experience. And so again, I wanted to capture all that in the new book.

Allan: 04:00 Yeah, I think so many beginners will go out there and you know, they're excited because they, you know, maybe this a new year's resolution or they get on the phone with someone, they get excited, they've signed up for a 5K and you know, they're all jittery and then they're going to go out and do their first training run. And once they start moving, their body just starts in the brain, start saying, stop this, this hurts.

Gary: 04:23 That's the first thing you discover is that it's pleasant for a little while. But then invariably if you push just well beyond your comfort zone, which you really need to do in order to improve then you get right into the mental struggle. You know, do I keep going? Is it worth all this effort? Surely it shouldn't hurt like this. Whereas it's very natural for things to hurt when you, when you're pushing yourself beyond your limits and improving. And it's actually a positive thing that you're feeling that way when you do because it means you're improving and that you're reaching your potential and you're reaching the goals that you're after. If it's coming easy, you're probably not pushing hard enough.

Allan: 05:11 Yeah. And you use, you used two words that I think are critical for any training. This is not just running, but anyone that wants to achieve a result from their body through physical training, resistance training, running, whatever it is that the words are patience and determination and they somewhat counterbalance each other, but they work very well synergistically if you know how to apply them, can you talk about how we can apply it patience and determination into our training to get the most out of it?

Gary: 05:44 Sure. Those are, those are two qualities that I've just found, you know, 30 years of running and, and 20 years of ultra running are just a critical component of succeeding at what you're doing. And it occurred to me that patience is starts right there with the beginner who is trying running out for the first time or going back to running. In variably it's not going to feel good at first. It takes, you know, it takes a couple of months of continued effort in order to start getting the benefits of being in good running shape. And I think a lot of people they read about how running is you know, such a pleasant experience and such a good way to stay healthy or their friends are telling them that and then they go out and they try it for a couple of weeks and you know, something, a lot of little pains will pop up and manifest themselves and then go away if you stay after it.

But I think a lot of people get discouraged right at right at the beginning when they've been working at it for two or three weeks and you know, they still feel awful at the end of their first mile. And so, You know, the beginner needs to show some patience in getting to that month mark or two month mark of regularly getting out there and running to get to the point where they start feeling the benefits and then they can expect to get that good feeling of getting out there and getting into a rhythm and being able to get through the middle miles without, without too much stress and discomfort and whatnot.

Allan: 07:37 Yeah, I think I've found that the folks that get really comfortable with running and enjoy it the most, they've reached a certain point of training where their bodies effectively trained and now they're not really pushing their comfort zone as much. They're just staying within their comfort zone because they're happy. You know, they may be a short distance runner or they may be at a middle distance runner, you know, they like half marathons or 10 ks and that's their happy place and they run it their comfortable training pace and then they race at a, maybe a little faster pace. But the folks that I, you know, hear the most or that I really enjoy in the running, they're not really pushing themselves to do something faster or harder. They're not that driven kind of person. They're more the, I just enjoy doing the run kind of thing. But it takes a while to get there.

Gary: 08:21 Yes it does. It takes a while to get there. Your body has to make a lot of adjustments. You have to build up your endurance and your stamina and that takes a while and if you can stay patient and, and realize that you have to stay patient, then it will eventually work out. But patience also plays into when you're racing or when you're doing a longer run, you get to a point where things are becoming uncomfortable and your first inclination is slow down or drop out of your race or whatnot. And at that point when your thinking is going negative, you want to try to use thoughts about being patient and determined sort of as a mantra. And you can just, if you're aware of the fact, Hey, I have to show patience here. I have to endure the way I'm feeling right now.

This is a normal thing that I'm feeling. And if I stay patient, I will be rewarded. You know, that's somewhere to go with your thinking instead of going into a negative frame of mind where you're thinking, wow, this is just too much for me. I should have trained harder. Maybe it's not my day. Maybe I could, you know, come back next year to this race and do better. All those are excuses for not reaching your goal. Whereas if you can block those thoughts and feelings, those negative thoughts and feelings and tell yourself, you know, patience will get me through this patience, the determination will keep me in this race and, and keep me after my goal. That's a nice positive thought. And then you can get back into your race and, um, and go from there.

Allan: 10:11 Yeah, the determination part I think is, is really, where the growth comes from, the patience is just kind of making sure that you're, you're there, you're showing up each day you're doing your training, you're in the race, you're going to stick with yourself and you're, you know, this, this is not just something that you're going to wax over. The determination is kind of that point where you're beginning to push yourself because you want to get done faster, you want to move further, whatever the, the goal is with this training or with the race. And so I do feel, and I actually, in my book, I use the word persistence, but I like your word better.

Gary: 10:45 Yeah. Determination is sort of the irrational part of your brain that is keeping you in there. When the rational part of your brain is telling you, you know, this is hurting too much, or I'm trying too hard. Or determination is if like ignore all the rational thinking that you're doing. You're going to stay in this and you're going to continue it and you're going to keep performing despite everything that you are, you know, your mind is telling you.

Yeah, it was, um, I was in the army and in basic training, they broke us up into platoons and they did it alphabetically. And so we were, you know, with the last name M I ended up in the third platoon and for one reason or another we were just, we were all just the worst. Every, every competition we went into, we came in last place and the fourth platoon, every competition they went into, they came in first place. And so we, by the end of basic had this chip on our shoulders. It's like, okay, who are these guys and why? You know, how, how did alphabetically, the top end of the, of the alphabet end up with so many, you know, somebody better soldiers or better athletes. And so we were going into the two-mile run and everybody was talking about, you know, one of the kids who he ran track in high school and was, so he's a track star.

And you know he had scholarships but decided to go into the Army instead. And so I'm like, okay, I want to see how fast this guy really runs. Cause they were telling me it was really fast. I'm like well I wasn't all that too shabby myself in the two mile when I was in high school. Probably not competing in his level but you know, I'll try this. And you know, you go through basic training, you're teaching your body in many cases to ignore the pain. You know, if you know it's not a pain that's going to kill you, do you tend to push through it? And so by this time I had done enough of this that I felt comfortable. At being uncomfortable now outside my comfort zone. So I was like, I wonder if I ran my quarter mile split at the start of the race, what I could do in two miles if I could actually hold that for all the two miles.

And so I did, I literally took off, you know, with about, I guess it's probably about a 1/15 split on the quarter and you know, the, a couple of guys in my unit are walking over cause they just seen you taken out there. So I finished like the second lap and they were like, what are you doing? You know? And I just was running as hard as I could run now because I was turning off all of the pain things and not thinking about it and trying to just really focus on my breathing and just continuing to go and not, not completely red line out. I actually pooped myself, running, he did actually beat me. But the thing I can say is coming off of that run, it was, it was the fastest two mile I'd ever run in my life. It was the first time, it was a first time I broke 11 minutes and, and so, you know, even though I came in second, I felt really good, at least personally, I had to keep running and go to the bathroom and cleaned myself up. But, uh, then that embarrassment, it was where I saw that kind of cutting out the pain of it and knowing that the pain was not something that was going to sideline me forever. I, you know, I knew I might be paying and paying for a couple of days, but I didn't have to worry about it. We were passing the PT tests. So at that point, running the, you know, running the two miles was the last athletic thing I had to worry about doing for awhile. Well I knew I had that in me. I wanted to see how hard I could push myself. I wanted to see how much I could push past. And that's when it Kinda hit me why a lot of the elite runners are who they are is because it's not because they don't feel the pain, it's that they ignore it. So how do we push past that pain when we're training and how do we recognize when it is that kind of pain that we should be pushing through?

Gary: 14:35 Yeah. Okay. I will address that. I just wanted to make a final point about patience and determination. And then, and then we'll, we'll talk about that. Allan, one of the things I focused on the book, the mindful runner in the title, mindful of is associated with mindfulness, but I also want you to take the title, literally the mindful runner in that it's a runner who is aware of what is going on in his mind, his or her mind. And I think that's what so many runners, they're always focused on the physical side of their workout, how far they're going, how fast they're going, that sort of thing. And when they think about, you know, what's going to happen in the race, they're just, they're thinking about, okay, I want to hold this, this pace, I'm going to do this particular distance, that, that sort of thing.

But they don't think about what's going to happen to me when things get really bad and my mental state starts to deteriorate. And my experience from all the running I've done in all the ultra running I've done, is that if you pay attention to the mental side of the equation and you practice the mental side of the equation then when you're in the, when you're in the race or you're deep into a long run or something like that, then you're much more adept at using mental strategies to keep yourself in the race and keep yourself reaching your goals. And so just having this understanding of what is the role of determination and what is the role that patience in what you're doing. If you're thinking about that and you're aware of it, then that's a very helpful tool that you have when you're in the race and things start start getting difficult for you.

And I think you're way ahead of the person who just thinks, okay, when things get hard, I'm just going to get it out. And that's the only strategy they have because when that strategy starts failing for them, then they have nowhere to go. But if you've got these mindsets and ideas in mind, when you hit that point then you have some, some resources to try out and you can cycle through different mental strategies for keeping yourself in the race. So I wanted to just say that being, you know, aware of these things are being aware of the importance of these things is very helpful. But one of those is pushing through the pain. And I think having one strategy or many strategies that you've practiced for that point of the race where things get really painful is really critical and really helpful.

And I say that from some experience because when I was, was working up through my ultra running career, I got to the a hundred mile race, which is sort of the holy grail of ultra running is to you know, do that a hundred mile race cause it's such an iconic distance and whatnot. And I started doing them and I had done eventually 26 of them. And if you look at my records for that first 2,600 mile runs that I did, I had sort of indifferent success. I was making it to the finish about two thirds of the time and about one third of the time I was dropping out. Then I did another 2,600 mile runs. So I had gotten up to 50 to a hundred mile runs. And in that second half, the second 2,600 mile runs, I never DNF, I never did not finish. I made it to the end of every single one of those runs and a lot of things happen in a hundred mile run that can knock you out of the race that are almost beyond your control.

So it's pretty amazing to have that consistent record of finishing. And I look back at that record of the 52 runs and the point where I started not ever DNF'ing was that point where in my career where I had really started focusing on the mental side of what I was doing and I started developing the mental strategies that would help me when things got, as they inevitably do, when they get painful in the race. So it convinced me that it was, you know, nothing else had changed. My training hadn't changed. My level of fitness hadn't changed. The types of races I was doing. Nothing had changed except that I had some mental strategies to rely on when things got very difficult out there.

Allan: 19:24 So let's, let's talk about a few of those.

Gary: 19:26 Okay. So pushing through the pain. The thing about when you start feeling stress or fatigue or you know, the aches and pains, especially in a long race, like an ultra, you know, your first inclination is to deny that it's happening to you or try to run away from it or escape from it or, or just not accept that it's going on. And that's usually not going to get you very far because you can put it out of your mind for a little while, but then it's gonna just reassert itself. And when you get to the point where you realize ignoring it is just making it worse, then you're in trouble.

So I think that the key to pushing through pain is to meet it head on. To acknowledge the fact that it's happening to you. I'm not as comfortable as I was before. I'm getting very tired. What objectively is happening to me here. You know, how exactly does this feel? How bad is it? And you sort of face up to it and in a way, just just that act of facing up to the fact that acknowledging that you know you're not feeling great anymore and you are feeling bad is going to take little bit out of this, of the sting out of it and take some of its control over you out of it.

And then you want to tell yourself, this is a normal way to be feeling at this point in this race. You know, I'm not, if I'm running a marathon and I'm at mile 20 you're not going to feel good. You're going to feel really bad and you're going to feel distressed that you have six more miles to run and that you're, it's very hard to hold the pace that you were hoping to keep. But that's a normal and a natural feeling. It's also a feeling that everybody else in the race is experiencing along with you. You are not alone in feeling badly. You can't train so hard that when you push yourself, you're not going to feel this pain. So again, accepting it as just a natural and normal part of what's happening to you. It's feedback to you that you are indeed pushing yourself hard and that you're getting to your goal and that you're doing what you're supposed to be doing.

So your job now is to find a way to accept what's happening to you. And like I said, you do that by, you can sort of sink down into it a little bit and just let it, how does this feel? How, how bad is this? And usually when you do that, it's not as bad as, oh, you know, you don't let the fear and the self doubt take over. Instead you let your sort of objective look at that pain be the what's uppermost in your mind. And then once you face that you try to get back into what are all the other experiences that I'm having here besides this pain. You know, what's, what's going on around me, what are there other people around me I might be talking to or you know, what is this part of the trail look like? What am I seeing? And hearing and smelling, I'm still, I could still be focusing on my breathing or on the rhythm of my arms swinging or there's a lot of sensations going on in addition to the pain.

And so you want to try to focus back on all the other things that are going on and try to let the pain recede into the background. And that's very helpful. You, you want to try to, you know, keep your thinking positive and not give into fear and self doubt about how the pain is going to get worse and worse and you're not going to be able to stand it. You want to go to a positive place. This is the normal thing to be happening to me and I need to accept it and then I need to move beyond it and think about what else is going on in the race and what else I might be doing that will help me stay in this race.

Allan: 23:42 Yeah. I think one of the things you said in the book that was, you know, that kind of helped me a little bit in this area was we're not going to see performance gains and we're not going to have our best race if we're staying inside our comfort zone. So the fact that you're feeling this discomfort is really just proof that you're right where you need to be.

Gary: 24:02 Exactly. Yeah. I mean, and that sort of mental Jujitsu on that pain has been for me, one of the really critical insights that I've had. Because now, I mean, it's hard to believe, but now when I'm in one of my a hundred mile runs for instance, and things start feeling really bad as they inevitably do, I sort of, it's not that I welcome it, but it's like, it's like it's an old friend. It's like, okay, I know this was coming and here it is. And uh, I've dealt with it many, many times before and so I know that now I'm engaged with the beast. I know that I'm getting the job done and I'm, I'm getting to that, I'm getting to the point where where the real meat of the run is. And, uh, I'm almost happy I'm there because it's, I'm getting to the, you know, I'm, I'm getting into the real contest now. And of course it's getting to the hard things that are so validating in the end. I mean, when you get to the end of the race, if you've gone through hell, then you're, you're really happy to be at the end of the race and you, you have the real set, you get real satisfaction out of it. Whereas if it, you know, if it was easy it wouldn't be as cherishable.

Allan: 25:24 Yeah, I have clients and I've had friends that, you know they'll set stretch goals, you know, and they'll want to get to those goals. Like I've, you know, my, my stretch goal for that two mile run was, was to beat the fastest runner. You train and you train and you train and maybe it doesn't happen exactly the way that you, you saw it in your mind's eye. So at one point you to it, well you told this story in the book at one point you were training to run a 40 minute 10k. Can you tell us about that experience?

Gary: 25:52 Yeah. I'm trying to remember the point I was making.

Allan: 25:56 Well I think the point being you trained hard for this, for this particular goal. It was it at the time it seemed very, very important to you and you didn't quite make it.

Gary: 26:04 No, I never did.

Allan: 26:05 The things you learned about yourself, things that you were then able to do physically, you did have some benefits coming out of that.

Gary: 26:13 Yes. That was, you know, having a goal is a, of course a great motivator and that was one for me to get under 40 minutes for a 10k and the journey that I went on in trying to do that was infinitely satisfying. Even if in the end I never got to the goal that I had set out. But working through the training, going to the races, giving it everything you had, all that was well worth the effort. Even if in the end I didn't make it.

Allan: 26:52 Yeah. And I think that's why it's, it is important for us as we're looking at our overall fitness to have that target that's maybe slightly above what we think we're capable of, that, that kind of scary thing we're after then we know it's going to take a lot of work, but if we dedicate ourselves to it, we use patience and determination and yeah, we push through and get outside of our comfort zones. The more and more we do that, the better we're going to improve our overall fitness. We're going to improve our mental toughness and that's going to help us in so many different ways.

Gary: 27:24 Yes. And I should say that quite a long while ago, I mean I'm getting up in age, I'm 66 now, but quite a long while ago I stopped running with so much intensity where, you know, I was trying to break old, um, 10k records and that sort of thing. And I shifted my focus, not so much on making a time goal for a particular race, but getting the most out of the experience of running. And the way I did that was I chose to run new distances so that, you know, it was a new kind of race that I would be running or I chose to move out of my neighborhood and you know, travel around the country and do runs that are exciting just because you know, you're there in a particular location like the New York marathon or the Chicago Marathon. And that's also, those goals are also a very rewarding goals and they don't necessarily require that you run with so much intensity that you are, you know, liable to hurt yourself.

Allan: 28:41 Yeah. Uh, you know, there, there are marathons, 10ks, 5ks all over the country. Uh, you know, I ran big Sur, I ran Washington DC, you know, I ran the blue angels down in Pensacola. So I mean, you know, there's tons of opportunities for you to make this more than just trying to complete a run. I mean, initially when you first start running that maybe it's a local 5k you want to finish, but you get online and you look for races and, and pretty much anywhere you want to go on any given Saturday, they're probably going to be a race somewhere nearby during the season.

Gary: 29:14 Yeah. I even have a chapter in the mindful runner, it's called Yo, I know you're in there, which is about, well, the, the first example I give is I was in Sacramento and I was doing a, I was doing a 50 mile there and the night before the race, I was in my hotel room all by myself. And suddenly I heard this pounding on the door next to mine and it was a drug dealer or something like that, who was a shouting at the person inside the room. And he was going, you know, Yo, I know you're in there. Get you, get Outta here, give me you giving my 20 bucks, you get the, you get the hell out here, give away 20 bucks. And it just went on and on and on. And this is in the middle of the night, about three o'clock in the morning.

And I called the front desk and they said, yeah, we're aware of the situation, but they weren't doing anything about it. And so the guy was at the door for about an hour shouting and screaming. So I wrote about that for a race report for Ultra Running Magazine. And I'm an editor of the magazine, wrote me a note back and said, I loved your race report, especially the part about the drug dealer. And it made me realize that the experience of running, it's not just the race itself, if you're going to travel to a race, it's everything that happens around, you know, preparing for the race and dreaming about the race and, and making arrangements to go there and then traveling there and the night before and trying to get to sleep and getting to the starting line and the race itself and then getting home and the satisfaction of having gone and done something like that. And the whole, it's an example of where running or whatever activity that you are using to get exercise is just, can be such a rewarding and rich experience for you if you think about all the things that go into it and not just the running itself.

Allan: 31:24 Yeah. I completely agree. You know this, the stories, the people you meet for the longer races that the pre-race meeting, you know, when you're just sitting around looking around at the other, the other athletes that are going to be doing this and you know, saying, okay, wow, you know, this guy's, this guy's 68 years old and he's going to be out on the same course I am. And I was when I was 29 and I'm like, this is, this is kind of amazing to see this breadth of people sitting in a room.

Gary: 31:48 Yeah. Now that guy is me.

Allan: 31:51 Well, you finished.

Gary: 31:51 I launched a goal several years ago to try to run a hundred mile race in every state in the union. And I'm up to 34 states now and hope to get to 50 in a maybe two years.

Allan: 32:12 Yeah. I guess the question is, does, does every state have a hundred mile race? Because I know Mississippi had a 50, the touchstone 50, but I don't even know if they have a hundred yet.

Gary: 32:24 Mississippi does.

Allan: 32:25 Okay, cool.

Gary: 32:26 There are a handful of states that don't have, you know, sanctioned 100 mile runs. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that. And maybe by the time I'm like you're going to be, there are so many runs popping up, who knows? Those states will come on board before I finish. But the point I wanted to make is that traveling to these races has, is so much fun and I've enjoyed so much seeing new places and meeting new people and getting to know the race director at every one of these events. It's been the most rewarding thing I've done in my life, I think.

Allan: 33:04 Yeah, absolutely. In the book he had a quote and I just have to share this. It's short, it's simple, but it's so right to the point that I just want to use this. “No one can do your running for you.” And I'm like, you know, that that's all you had to have. You know, it's like if for anyone that wants to go out and do something, they set a challenge for themselves. It's you, you know, and then the book is going to help you get in the right frame of mind to do this stuff. But in the end, when it comes to the training and it comes to the actual race day, it's you who puts one foot in front of the other.

Gary: 33:38 Yeah, exactly. And that was, I think I said that in the context of, um, there's a lot of ways to get help out there. When you're running, there's people who when you're sitting at an aid station and you're really discouraged and you want to quit, sometimes somebody can come along and say, just the right thing to you and get you up out of the chair and get you going on your way. Get your determination back. You can hook up with another runner and have a conversation and feel a lot better just because you're getting your mind off your own misery for a while. But in the end, it is all you that is going to get you to the finish line and nobody can do that for you. They can, you know, they can encourage you and help you along mentally, but they're not going to be the ones that get you there, which in the end is what makes running I think so wonderful and so satisfying is that it is very individual sport and it's something that you've accomplished and you know, once you've accomplished it, nothing can take it away from you.

Allan: 34:46 I agree. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Gary: 34:55 You know, I think the key, it doesn't matter what discipline you're, you're doing triathlons, ultras, shorter races or whatnot. I think working towards some big goal is the thing that keeps you engaged in the activity and keeps you coming back over and over again. If you're only thinking, oh, I should, I should run every other day just to keep fit and you don't have anything in mind at the end of that, it's just, it's pretty easy to find yourself thinking, I, you know, not today. I don't really need to, you know, there's no reason why I need to go out today, but if you have a goal that you've set, there's a race, you want to do a half marathon, you've never gone that far before in the race or there's a marathon and in some distant city that you'd like to go to and you have that in mind.

Gary: 35:51 I think that's extremely helpful and extremely motivating to know that at some point the training that you're doing has a purpose and it's leading towards something and it doesn't matter if that goal is just you going off to have some experience. It's very helpful. And then I think it's helpful to have different goals that you, you know, if you've always been running marathons and that can get sort of stale after awhile if you decide, okay, well, you know, maybe I'll train for a 10K and see how I can do at this point in my life running a 10K or maybe I'll try a trail running instead of running on the road. Or I'll try, you know, a 50K ultra. Um, if you get off on some new quest, I think that's something that it's very helpful to reinvigorate what you're doing and you can find yourself more excited about the training that you're doing because you have this new goal.

Gary: 37:01 And then the new experience itself might be something that you know, you might, I know the first time I did any trail running, I was totally transformed from a road runner to a trail runner. Like the very first time I ran on a trail. Because I just found it so, such a wonderful experience to be out there in the woods jumping over streams and getting lost in the forest, you know.

Allan: 37:27 Yeah, that happens. A true story.

Gary: 37:29 That's a couple of things I'd suggest.

Allan: 37:31 Yeah. Thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?

Gary: 37:38 I have a website, it's called the taoofrunning.com and that's a tao, spelled t, a o and it's all one word, so the taoofrunning.com. And that's where I've gathered all my material that I've written for ultra running magazine over the years. All my race reports, all night articles with advice about running and the mental side of running and where I linked to my books and I linked to a lot of other running websites. The books you can get on on Amazon, The Mindful Runner or The Tao of Running. They're both available as paperback and Kindle and as audio books. And then also I write a regular column for Ultra Running Magazine and an online magazine called Endurance Sports and Fitness. I do a regular column for them as well. Those are all places you can find me.

Allan: 38:37 You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/393 and I'll be sure to have all of those links there. So again, Gary, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Gary: 38:48 Hey, I enjoyed it. Allan

Another episode you may enjoy

July 29, 2019

Mental Toughness with Michele Ufer

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Thank you!

With the techniques Michele Ufer shares in his book, Mental Toughness for Runners you can push your body to new levels. On episode 392 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we share a few of those techniques. 

Allan: 02:00 Michele, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Michele: 02:03 Hi Allan. Thanks for inviting me to your show.

Allan: 02:05 You know your book, it's on mental toughness, it's on a lot of things and as I got into it, what I really appreciated was the way that you layered the information in there so that you gave me a really good foundation for understanding the mind over body. And then you just kept taking it to a deeper level and a deeper level and a deeper level and all these lessons and things that were in this book. I really liked how you related them to the event that you did. And so I'd like to kind of just start out with, could you tell us a little bit about that event and you know, why you thought 15 weeks was enough to train for an ultra marathon when you'd never done anything close to that and how you used mind over body as a basic way to do that.

Michele: 02:57 Well, when I signed up for this ultra marathon Atacama Crossing, I just realized, oh, it's just three and a half months to go. So I had no choice. And uh, all the people around me, they told me I'm crazy. I've never done a marathon or half marathon before. I'm not an experienced runner. I'm not even felt like being a runner and then signing up for such race in the driest place on earth and just people, just look at me like I'm stupid crazy. It was out of I don't know, they couldn't imagine and uh, yeah, but, but finally it was just very short amount of time and I said to myself, I told myself then you really have to think wisely how you spend these a couple of weeks. And, uh, my main goal was to get as fit as possible on the physical side, but not to train too much. I don't want to get exhausted when arriving at the start line. And a main or key point for me was the, was the mental training part, the metal training session, because I titled The whole project, an extreme mental self test.

Allan: 04:13 And it was, I mean, we're talking 240 kilometers and for, for us Americans, I'll kind of put that in relation. When I, when I did the 50-mile run, that was, um, to me that was extremely long. This is far in excess of 50 miles.

Michele: 04:30 MMM. Yeah, it was a 250. And during my training for this phase, the largest distance I covered was, I was shocked when I was looking at my GPS watch pad. It was 29k so I felt like, oh Jesus, do you really want to travel to Chile and started this race with the maximum distance of 29k in your longest training run. But then I said to myself, what if it's your hobby? It will be a great adventure. And uh, if you can't run anymore, you switched walking or trekking. So it will all be fine.

Allan: 05:08 Yeah. Yeah. So I want to start out because when people think about training, I think they think just like the physical aspects of it. I know I typically have and just figured, I don't know, maybe the mental toughness just comes from the fact that you are continually putting yourself through the long runs. You know, like, so someone's going to train for a half marathon or marathon they say on their day off their Saturday or Sunday, they're going to do the long run. And over time they inched that up to make it a little bit more and a little bit more. And then you know they tapered down for the race and the training has been their mental training even though they didn't really take the time. But in your book you're talking about actually taking time to train your mind, not just the running part of it, but to actually train your mind. Can you talk about that mental training, how it's going to help us improve our performance?

Michele: 06:00 Yeah. First of you, you're absolutely right. During your race or during the long runs, you have a lot of time to train your mind and even if you push yourself through it, this has a huge impact on your mental toughness. As you mentioned at the beginning. I'm not really a fan of mind over body. I rather think mind and body has to do kind of teamwork in order for you to achieve top performance or the goals you want. And for example, in German speaking countries where the book got published first, there is tons of books out there and they all focus on one thing, physical training plans. So they tell you when to run, how long to run, when to do cross training, how long the long run should be, when to do interval runs and whatever, and at the same time, all runners they say and confirm the mental aspect of performance is very important, but it's not represented in the training plans, so it's completely, it's not there.

Allan: 07:10 I was guilty of that too. You know, I've had clients that, you know, say, okay, I want to run, I want to run a 5k. I'm like, okay, well here's, here's a training plan for you. And it's, you know, it's the slow progression of the distance and then doing some speed work and you know, all to go up to a race day when I know they're going to be capable of completing the race. But you're right, I've never sat down and say, okay, we're going to need to do some mental training on top of this, make this a more enjoyable part. I give them that training, but when you're talking about a 5 k or something like that, most people within a reasonable amount of time, there's not a lot of pain and aches, but if they want to run a certain time, that's where this is going to come in. Or if you're, you know, I'm looking at this as a trainer and saying this applies to everything. If you want to, if you want to be able to ride your mountain bike further, if you have a little bit of this training even a little bit, I think it's going to go a long way towards helping you be more successful.

Michele: 08:12 Yeah, definitely. And I got a lot of feedback, although the book is dedicated to runners first, not especially or not just long distance runners or ultra runners, I got a lot of feedback from middle distance runners, 800 meters or whatever. They have to be mentally tough as well. And I even got some feedbacks from soccer trainer or tennis player or executive from a business corporations, and they say this applies to all kinds of challenges because the main goal of a mental training or mental toughness training is to work to achieve your goals maybe a bit smarter or to even achieve them at all.

Allan: 08:54 Exactly, and I really liked that you put that idea and so this is not just a sports performance book or a running book as you say. It actually can apply to a lot of part of our parts of our lives. Having that mental toughness to be able to push through when things get tough and maybe even have some fun when we're doing it. I love the story when you talked about Santana floating or floating or running when you first started this story. I thought, okay, Santana has me running along with them. And then you talked about the carousel and I was like, okay, but you had fun. You didn't just tough out this race. You had fun while you were doing it because of the mental training you had done.

Michele: 09:30 Yeah, exactly. It was a, the fun part for me was a key point. I really, when I, when I signed up for the race, 10 seconds later I started crying because it was such an amazing step for me. And uh, two minutes later I went into the living room and started listening to music. It was Carlos Santana. I was listening to some songs from seventeens, uh, one court revelations and the other one try a little bit harder or try a little harder. They fit perfectly to this project and they really become a very motivational for me. And when I sat there listening to the music, just automatically kind of mental training started, I started visualizing how to get to the finish line or the moment when I get to the finish line, how proud I would be, what I would feel like when I arrived at the finish line. And, but also, hey guy, now you signed up for this race. There's no return way and what is the key challenges in order to complete this event? And immediately a lot of things went through my head and I just started ordering, developing mental images, self-talk elements. And emotions and tons of things that were really very helpful.

Allan: 11:00 In the very beginning of the book. You put in an example that I feel like really resonated with me because it was just a simple little experiment, and you call it the lemon experiment and you can show us how, a thought a single thought and an image in your head can change your body. Would you take us through the limit experiment?

Michele: 11:21 Yeah. Yeah. I like to, it's very famous experiment and really wonderful example on, uh, to show how conscious thoughts or mental images effect our bodies really immediately in a minimal most of the time. So, dear readers, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to invite you now to those little experiments. Imagine holding an already peeled lemon in your hand. It's plump early ripening and therefore particularly sour lemon, very sour lemon. And imagine what the lemon surface feels like as you turn it over and move it around in your hand. And now imagine raising your arm and passing the lemon under your nose to smell it. And you begin to notice a pleasant, fresh lemon scent. And the longer you hold the lemon in your hand, look at it and sniff it and the stronger the lemon fresh scent becomes. And now imagine bringing the limit to your lips, opening your mouth and taking a big bite.

Oh, that's already there. This little exercise. For many people it works particularly well with their eyes closed and the more intense and detailed the attention that is focused on the mental image, the more senses or cognitive channels activated and generally, the more significant is the immediate physical reaction. So some people, they really shut it when they imagined themselves fighting into the solid limits or other facial muscles they contract or increase in production. So immediate impact, if just such a little image has, can have such a huge impact, then we can use this information to control our thoughts during tough moments. And I did that in the during the Atacama race really a couple of times, like you mentioned the Carlos Santana image, if you want, we can talk about this a, it was really funny, but it was also very functional. I use this image to change my, or to put myself in in a different state, in a functional state and to feel freshness and to have fun and whatever.

Allan: 13:41 Yeah, I think the one that would, the one I liked that you'd probably tell us about, you said you were running and I guess the ground was particularly rough. It was, you know, of course you're in the desert so it's very hot. You imagined water like on a beach washing up over your feet.

Michele: 13:55 Yeah, exactly. One of the key points for me during the preparation was during these ultra races, the feet, they carry you the whole way. They are crucial for your success and many people suffer from blisters and I dunno, the feet will swollen like crazy. There's always a lot of sand and stones in the shoe so it makes all time. Things get bloody and it find my feet to be most important and I was defining kind of a goal. I wanted to achieve a process goal for my feet. How do I want my feet to feel what do I think my feet should be like in order to carry me through the race. And I defined the feet should be, should feel fresh, really, absolutely fresh. And I was searching for an, for an image that presents this freshness. And uh, there came an image into my head when I'm walking at the seashore barefoot and uh, the water is just, I don't know how to say in English, gets over the feet and gets the waves, just get over the feet, get back when the waves getting back.

There is some wind who make feel the feed even fresher. And I really imagined this in a very intensive way and finally felt that my feet got more and more fresh and I have another image just walking, I don't know, in the mountains on fresh grass in the morning, still a bit baffled as well. And with my wife, hand in hand, very relaxed. And I really focused on this feeling of freshness. And finally I was able to activate this feeling during tough moments when, I don't know, we ran 80k and it was hot of course in the desert. But getting into this image, I felt my feet fresh and the result was I didn't have any blisters at all. And yeah, made it to the finish line finally.

Allan: 16:08 Yeah, it's, it's crazy. But it works, you know? And um, but I want to kind of jump on the other side of the conversation because I think a lot of us start there and it's, it's self sabotage. And so in the book you kind of really get into some of the words when we're talking to ourself, we're doing this stuff. There's words that we need to start avoiding.

Michele: 16:27 Yeah. Yeah. It's very interesting. Years ago I was invited for conference, a sport medical conference and it took place in, in the Alps, in a ski resort and in during the morning that people were involved in scientific lectures. And in the afternoon we had ski courses, ski lessons. And, uh, during one of my lectures I was presenting people with the techniques that have an immediate effect on their performance. And it was confronting them with the instructions or maybe self instructions that are very common whether we talk to ourself or we talk to friends if we want to help them as a trainer, whatever. There's a self talk, like don't put so much pressure on yourself or daunting to up when you run. Or maybe the participants in the congress were skiing, oh don't take the snow gun or don't ski staight at another skier. So very, very common self-talk I think. And I explain to people that it's really dysfunctional because it moves as exactly in the direction we don't want. So this is kind of the realization. They are all well intended, but they have the pitfalls and still lead to precisely the opposite behavior. The one we wish to avoid.

Allan: 18:02 No, I know they, they, they tell you, you know, if you see a police officers pulled someone over to the side of the road and you're passing by, don't look at the police car. Keep your eye on the road where you're, where you want to be driving because so many people are looking at the police car and ended up hitting the police car.

Michele: 18:19 Yeah, exactly. That's it. You, you, you, you move in the direction you're focused on. And this is a true also with the self talk if we're talking about don't do this, don't do that. The problem is our brain doesn't have any internal representations for denials. So when someone is talking to us or we are talking to ourself stuff like don't put so much pressure on yourself, then a lot of areas in our brain start working, connecting each other. This can be centers for cognition, image processing, movement control, whatever. And there's always the center for visual imagery, uh, affects and circumstances involved as well. So when someone tells me, don't stiffen up when you run, I have to represent this first in order to then deactivate it again. But uh, in this moment, the focus is already a guided into the wrong direction.

Allan: 19:22 Yeah. I can't remember the animal you used in the book right now, but it was sort of the concept of don't think about a polar bear, immediately whats her head gonna do. It's gonna think polar bear. And so now you've got to say, well I don't want to think about a polar bear. So you have to try to clear that image out of your head and it's very difficult.

Michele: 19:41 Yeah, exactly. We, well that's a, I don't know, [inaudible] we are very much conditioned to these negations, but they have the pitfalls. So what we should do, what were first the language that focuses on negative things on things we don't want or on mistakes leaped to these results that we wish to avoid. So we should rather learn to focus on goals instead or on things we really want instead of things we do not want.

Allan: 20:13 Yeah. So instead of saying don't put so much pressure on yourself, it's run relaxed, stay relaxed, enjoy. Then two other words that you use or that you talk about. Are the words, try and must.

Michele: 20:26 Yeah, if we use the word, I don't know if it's the same in in English speaking countries, but in German speaking countries they word must is very popular. But it's also very problematic because must always induce this kind of pressure and at the same time kind of reactions to do or to want the opposite. So imagine yourself telling, I must train today or for me it feels hard already and we should avoid this word and rather choose, something more productive. Like I will train today. Oh, I go, I'll go train today.

Allan: 21:05 Or better yet, I get to train today.

Michele: 21:08 Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And the word try feels like it will be hard. You have to put a lot of effort in something. So it would be a good idea to change it as well. Not I try to, I try to prepare the nice presentation for the meeting. No, I will prepare it and that's it.

Allan: 21:34 And yeah, so, so with this, you know, the focus is focused on where you want to go instead of the things that you want to avoid. But invariably, you know, we have these things in our head, they talk to us all the time. We can't shut them off. We call it self-talk, but it's the voice in our head and for a lot of us, we need to change. We need to manage it. And it's not as easy as just saying, I'm not going to necessarily, I'm not going to use these words. That helps. It definitely helps. But when you're in a tough situation and the self-talk is starting to move against you, what are, what are some training things that we can do to kind of make sure that we're in a position to turn that around, to change that self-talk because that's at a point where we're at our physical weakness, you know, we're weak physically, we're emotionally tired and fatigued and now we've got this, this internal dialogue that we need to turn around. What are some tools that we can use to make sure we're in a position to do that?

Michele: 22:28 Hmm. I think the first step is to be aware of your self talk and especially of negative self talk and a very easy strategy, which also is backed by science. It's proven and helpful is to start violating a little kind of diary. Just go through your last race, tough race maybe or situations. And I remembered the self talk you had. Was it positive, was it negative? In what moments do I have negative self talk and what exactly is the self talk like or what do I tell myself? And I can make a list and when I have a bit of time, maybe during the next long run and I want to combine running with some mental training, I can spend a little bit of time changing these talks, this negative self talks into positive ones and the next time I'm on a tough moment and maybe I realized, ahh okay, the inner voice is there.

Again, the negative inner voice is there. There's one very powerful strategy. It's a thought stop. So whenever I realize, Oh, I'm into negative self talk again, just tell yourself stop. Or maybe you can combine it with a kind of gesture or with an intern rhythm image of, I don't know, a button, the red button, which when you push it, it makes a solid like or whatever. But this technique is a very powerful to just, yeah to stop the negative thinking this automatism but then if you stopped it you have to offer your brain something else instead. Otherwise the brain could jump back to the last rather negative self talk again. So don't leave the brain in a kind of vacuum. Offer him as positive self talk and you could prepare this before race or once when you started working on your diary and you found this might typical self negative self talk in this or that situation and you have turned them into a positive one. You can combine it with the Stop Technique. So whenever negative self talk you'll stop, you make a thought stop and then you'll switch consciously to a positive self talk that is rather functional.

Allan: 25:00 Okay. Can you give us an example of how you've used this before?

Michele: 25:04 Easy example is last couple of days it was really hot in Germany and uh, people are complaining all the time and now you can go out running and start or let you in a voice complaint. Oh, it's so hot. It's so hot. But that's not really helpful. You suffer more than you might have to suffer. So you could just work with the thoughts, stop technique, maybe use your inner B or whatever and switch immediately to positive, hey, running in heat is a great opportunity for me to improve going through challenging conditions and I just adapt to speed and well get enough drinks or whatever or just enjoy the sun. Well, we are not in a very sunny state, so yeah, be happy. Finally, you have some sun, enjoy the sun, whatever. It's really very personal. And sometimes these self talk or images, they just pop out spontaneously, very spontaneously. But you should be open for this.

Allan: 26:14 Oh good, good. And then you know, I think one of the other things you talked about like you know to make sure there's no vacuum there is to maybe fill it up with something that's a little fun. You know where like you said the Santana thing or you know, water running over your feet or walking in a cool damp morning mountain air grass and those things where you're putting something into your head that's, that's there. That's going to keep those negative thoughts from returning.

Michele: 26:42 Yeah. Even another strategy might be in order to prevent negative self talk or images to occur, just fill up your mind with tons of positive self talk. For example, if you, that's a strategy I used. I've been in Russia two weeks ago at the race called TransUral. It's a race series, four races 160 280 kilometers each and the first day for me was very tough. There are difficult days and weeks before didn't sleep enough. I had to stop every couple of minutes to do some footage for TV documentary that will be broadcasted in a couple of months. It was hard for me. The next day I really switched my mind and I said, okay, you shared, you are here. It's free choice. So start enjoying the race while taking the footage and I started working with a self talk, very easy but which has worked for many years for me, the self talk was just I few fresh and relaxed, fresh and relaxed, fresh and relaxed.

I enjoy it being on the way, whatever. And I spent hours out there on the course just repeating this all the time, repeating, repeating. I run fresh and relaxed, fresh and relaxed. What happens was I started feeling fresh and relaxed, fresh and relaxed and there was no chance for negative self talk to enter my brain because it was completely full of this positive self talk. So nice way to avoid the occurrence of negative self talk and you might get into kind of a trance state if you use it like a mantra. Repeating, repeating, repeating, repeating.

Allan: 28:33 Yeah. I've, I've used mantras during particularly tough times. We had a, when I went through basic training in the military our captain was a green baret and so he loved this thing called a flutter kick and basically lay on your back and you lift your feet off the ground and you just start kicking your feet. Like you're almost like you're scuba diving upside down and you know, just kicking your feet and after a while, you know, you start feeling the burn and your abdominals and front of your top of your legs and it's hard to just keep going. So your body wants to quit, you're in a lot of pain. And I just, because I was in basic training and I was stubborn, I just, I can just, I will not quit. And that was my mantra as I'm kicking. And the more it hurt, the more I had to actually verbally say it versus just say it in my head so that it was getting louder and louder than what I was feeling. And he walked by and saw me and heard me and said, yeah, you won't quit. And we went for another few minutes and I made it through the entire time and didn't have to put my feet down. I felt it that afternoon because that was a tough workout. But it got me through it and it kept me going. When more likely than not self talk would say, Hey, put your feet down. He's going to come yell at you. And then you'll just lift him back up and start kicking butt. You can rest if you want. You know, you know that whole, he's telling me most and my brain is saying, okay, I don't want to quit. But turning it into a mantra and just continuing to repeat that just allowed me to push a little harder than my body would have normally let me.

Michele: 30:05 Hmm. Yeah. It just stays even some evidence from science that this works. For example, studies showing that, uh, people that enter into this kind of trance state, they might perform better but feeling less exhausted or what is the strain is less than what they objectively have to have to master or if to go through.

Allan: 30:27 Michelle, I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay Well?

Michele: 30:38 I'm not really, well, this is now the big question. The listicles, I've heard about it. People love listicles. The three top strategies, and normally when I'm talking to journalists, I tell them, sorry, I can't deliver because we are all very different. We have different goals, we have different concepts maybe of what being happy means. We are living in very different contexts. So it's really hard to offer the three magic strategies. I think one, maybe one, one advice, be love what you do. Maybe it's not the answer you are expecting.

Allan: 31:16 No, no, no. That is, that is a big part of it is I talk to people about fitness. You know, you don't necessarily want to have to look like a bodybuilder or a crossfit athlete or you know, an elite runner. That might not be your goal for fitness. Your goal might just be to be the best grandmother you can be and train for that, you know, make that your thing. Because now that's your, your why. That's your vision. That's everything you want to be. So yeah, I very much agree with that. It's um, to what you have.

Michele: 31:46 Yeah, I may add something else. We have fun while doing what you love and be aware of yourself and uh, what, what you really need, what is good for you in a certain moment. I really feel like many people, they, they lose a bit of context to there. Their buddies, they don't really listen to themselves. And so this might be a very basic strategy, but a powerful and some people really have to relearn, listen to themselves and to their bodies.

Allan: 32:15 Yeah. Your book, Mental Toughness for Runners I think is going to make me a better trainer with a lot of the lessons that are in there. I'm going to take the heart in my own work and training, but I think I'm also going to share a lot of that with my clients because I do think they're very powerful strategies when we're hitting those tough times. So thank you so much for coming on today and sharing this with us. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?

Michele: 32:41 Well, first of all, if they want to have a look at the book. Yeah, check out their local bookstore on the internet shops. Maybe people want to have a look on my website with some additional information on the book and some readers comments as well. And Yeah, I'm always very happy to receive feedback from readers and share success stories, so I'm really looking forward to get in touch.

Allan: 33:05 Okay. Do you have that link for your website?

Michele: 33:07 Yeah, it's Micheleufer.com

Allan: 33:10 Okay, well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/392 and I'll be sure to have a link to his website and the book.

Allan: 33:18 Michelle, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Michele: 33:22 Thank you Allan

Another episode you may enjoy

When food is your drug with Kristin Jones

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Thank you!

The more time I spend coaching, the more I see how food is a very complex topic. Whether it is mindless eating, emotional eating, or full food addiction, we have to get control of our food or we'll never find wellness. Our guest today is Kristin Jones, the author of When Food is Your Drug.

Allan: 02:02 Kristin, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Kristin: 02:05 Thank you so much, Allan. I am so honored to be here and I'm really, really excited to share some knowledge and share some things with your audience site. I'm really, really honored to be here, so thank you again.

Allan: 02:17 Well, you know, I have the low voice so it's pretty clear I'm the guy on the show. But so you know, you're talking about emotional eating and to me in a lot of ways, when I first started getting into the book, I was thinking this is a predominantly female issue and it was a guy. Like you said in the book. We don't typically sit around talking about food, but I will tell you that I have male clients that have emotional issues with food and I have female clients that have emotional issues with food and we have those regular conversations. So it was really refreshing to kind of have a book like yours where you really, it's a concise book, but you really got in there and boar your soul and use that as a perfect example for someone to go these exercises to discover why they're having an issue with food that's not about the food as much as it's about what the food does for them emotionally.

Kristin: 03:10 Absolutely, absolutely. I actually, the process that I use in the book and that I used on myself and, and I use with my clients was something that was exposed to me when I actually did some work with a life coach in relationship to some money issues that I was having. And so we went through the process of accepting situations, forgiving and then rewriting and it was really, really powerful for me. And so it was one of those things where I kind of morphed that into what I knew had worked for me in regards to another issue. And I was able to then take that and use that with my own experiences and my own issues with food, which has gone back for me as early as, as early as I can remember, probably using food in a way that wasn't because I was hungry. That would kind of, I can say I can go back to maybe being seven or eight years old and remembering circumstances where food was used in a way that wasn't just about getting nutrients. It was, it was about making me feel better.

Allan: 04:16 Yeah. Obviously, you know we have to eat, you know, those who have alcoholism or they'll have a drug substance abuse or there'll be had a gambling issue or sex issue or something's going on in their lives where they're doing something they know is unhealthy, but they can't necessarily stop themselves from doing it. How does someone recognize emotional eating? What is emotional eating and how can we recognize if it's happening to us?

Kristin: 04:39 An emotional eating to a certain extent, there's probably, I would say probably most of the population, and this would include men as well, have had at least one instance where they have responded to something that has happened to them and their response was to instead of expressing, or maybe they even did express it, but they would use food as a way of making themselves feel better. So when we, when we think about it in very, very basic terms, probably everyone at some point has used food either as a celebratory device or used it to make themselves feel better. It's when emotional eating, when it becomes your regular go to option, instead of expressing your emotions instead of communicating, you turn to food instead of dealing with the situation directly. That's when it's done on a regular basis. It's something, it's, it's kind of your crutch that you use to get through life.

Kristin: 05:42 That's when it begins to be a problem. It's the same thing. Most of the population, a lot of the population drinks alcohol. It's when you can't get through a certain situation without alcohol that that becomes a problem. It's the same thing with emotional eating. If you can't get through an emotional episode or something in your life without turning to food on a regular basis, that's when you need to be a little bit more aware of like there might be a problem here. I might not be using my words. Instead, I'm using, I'm using food to get myself through certain difficult situations.

Allan: 06:16 Yeah, and you had said it in the book so aptly, it's like we don't go after Broccoli for this. There's no, we're picking, we're typically going after foods that are high fat, high sugar that are going to give us that rush that uh, almost a drug like euphoria, the, you know, the endorphins, the whole dopamine and all of that is when it's happening.

Kristin: 06:38 Absolutely. And that's, and that really is, that is the, that's that's is, it's a great kind of a great segue into the difference between emotional eating, emotional hunger and physical hunger because physical hunger gradually builds and when you're physically hungry you can have a salad, you can have, you can make that decision of I'm going to have my salmon and I'm going to have some rice and some Broccoli and I'm going to have a, a good well rounded meal and I'm going to eat it in a way that is, you know, sitting down eating at a table with a fork and a knife and, and that is a response to physical hunger. Again, there's a gradual buildup. You want to eat something, you can make a rational decision about what it is that you want to to eat. And in a lot of cases people make wise choices in that way.

Kristin: 07:26 With emotional hunger. Emotional hunger can come on almost instantaneously and it triggers in your body that response for the, you know, the high fat, the sugar because it needs that comfort and it needs those chemicals and that reaction in the blood sugar and you know the elevation of our blood sugar in needs that in order to make a person feel better. And so yeah, we're not going, we're not going for Broccoli, we're not going for carrot sticks and hummus when we have an episode of emotional eating is always going to be those things that are going to make us that or they're really going to be identified as comfort foods because that is exactly what it's doing. It's comforting us.

Allan: 08:10 Now you said something that was very important and I don't want to gloss over here cause I do think we need to dive in and the difference of sitting down at the table with a knife and fork versus hiding in the Pantry, squashing a box of cookies. Can you kind of go over that a little bit? Because I think that's a, there's probably gonna come up and one of your triggers, or at least you know and understanding that there's something going on. Can you kind of talk through that?

Kristin: 08:32 Oh, absolutely. When you use food in a way that, and I kind of always used the term inappropriately, when you use food inappropriately, not what, it's not what it's originally based upon, how it's originally should be used with our bodies. There is a certain degree, a person, I'm going to say, I'm going to make a generalization, but I'm going to say that in most cases people know that they're not, this is not right. Like I knew for me, I knew I had a funky relationship with food. I could not tell you what it was. I couldn't put a name to it. I knew I wasn't anorexic and I wasn't balemic but I knew there was something that wasn't right. But I, I didn't really, I didn't want to look at it. I just was like, this is just the way I do things. And so because I knew in my heart, kind of in the back recesses of my mind that this was not what other people did.

Kristin: 09:23 There was a degree of shame associated with it. And so with shame comes that need of wanting to keep that secret and wanting to not let people know what was going on and what you were doing. And so what happened, what happened for me was I became very much, I very much isolated myself and I would do, I would eat at night, I was a nighttime eater. I would, my family still laughs about it, we still joke about how, you know, if something, somebody thinks somebody breaking in the house, no, you better check. It's probably Krisin in the refrigerator. And that would be the truth that I would be getting up at one o'clock in the morning and going, you know, padding out to the kitchen and slowly opening the door of the refrigerator to check and see what, you know, what I could have at that particular moment.

Kristin: 10:09 And so there's definitely, like I say, a degree of shame and you, you isolate yourself because you one, you don't want anybody to see what you're doing and you also don't want to be called on it. You don't want to have, cause you don't want to have to face it. And so that hiding the shame, you know people who a lot of people will hoard food and I can remember doing that as well. I write about in the book how, because I was not, as a young person, I was not allowed to express my emotions if something, if I got in trouble or if something went, something went down in the house that I didn't agree with, I was not really allowed to say if I had disagreed. I wasn't allowed to disagree with an adult. And so if I got upset about something, I would be sent to my room because I wasn't allowed to say how I really felt.

Kristin: 10:59 So I would be sent to my room and I started to realize, well, if I'm going to be sent to my room and no one's going to come check on me and I'm going to be down here by myself and I'm feeling terrible, I should probably have some food in my room. So I know that I can take care of myself and I can make myself feel better. And so I gradually started making sure that I had what I would call rations in my room to make sure that I was taken care of during those situations when I was left kind of emotionally needy and, uh, would be able to take care of myself. So yes, absolutely there is, there's a huge element of secrecy and of isolation that you want to isolate yourself from others because you don't want people to find out what you're doing.

Allan: 11:40 And I think that's so hard because I guess subconsciously you're just doing this, you just, you, you don't want people to know. You pack up all these desserts from the event and you're taking them home and you don't want anyone to know that. But now it's time for you to kind of say, okay, well I've got to figure this out because you know if you're wanting to lose some weight or you realize that this behavior is really starting to adversely affect your overall health and obviously there's some happiness issues there as well. So your total wellness is really kind of can be devastated by this. We're looking for triggers, we're looking for what are the things that are making you do this? Because if you can, if you can figure those out, you can start putting together strategies to combat them to to make sure that you do don't go off the rails every time. Can you go through, in the book you have nine triggers. Can you go through those nine with us real quick?

Kristin: 12:32 Sure, absolutely. So I really would, I do with my, with my clients is I ask them and I think it's really helpful too. I asked them to think back to the last, the last time they felt an episode of emotionally or they can recognize when they were emotionally eating. What was the event that happened right before that? What was the circumstance that happened right before that. And when you can be aware of what your circumstances are or what things are said or what people you're around you can then become much more that oftentimes awareness is a huge thing because people just become, they become more mindful, they become more present. Because what happens is is emotional eating takes you out of that present moment and takes you to your proverbial happy place and you go there and it's, it's like, okay, I can deal with this now because I've got my ice cream, I've got my cookies and I can just, I can just be, and I can make myself happy. And so I ask my clients to really look back at what are those circumstances, situations? Is it an argument? Is it a person that you're around? So oftentimes, and then they can look at, okay, so when I'm in those situations, how can I prepare myself to better be able to cope with what my reactions are going to be to things that happen around me.

Allan: 13:47 Just just punch them in the face.

Kristin: 13:50 You know, at sometimes. And sometimes it really is recognizing that there are people that set you off and that there are people and oftentimes it just takes one time of telling of, actually it's more about communication than anything else. A lot of times it's people don't know, or people, for me it was, I wasn't allowed to really say how I felt and so I would just swallow my feelings. Well, when you swallow your feelings, there's gotta be something along there with you. You've gotta be swallowing something. And so for me, I would swallow my feelings and I would want food because I knew that I was keeping all this stuff inside me and it really, in theory had to be fed. And so I would keep all this inside. Then it gets to the point of being able to, how do you appropriately communicate with people?

Kristin: 14:34 Because if you've grown up and never known how to communicate with somebody or how to communicate appropriately, I know for me, I could keep it inside for a long time. And then I decided that, okay, now it's time for me to communicate. And I would come out like a Holler monkey and I would just start, you know I, there would be completely out control. So learning how to appropriately communicate with people is really important. But the nine, the nine most common triggers that based upon based on research they show the first one is a pretty obviously one and that's a lack of intimacy. And so when people are lacking physical touch, they're lacking close bonds and close friendships and close relationships. Food oftentimes can become a replacement for that. And that unfortunately can be something that somebody could have throughout their life. It could be situational.

Kristin: 15:23 Somebody has a breakup, they use food as a way to comfort themselves because their partner's no longer there. But some people, if this has gone on for most of their, of their life, and this is something that they were, they didn't have a lot of physical intimacy or emotional intimacy when they were young. This could be a problem that is that they never, they've never learned the skills to be able to allow themselves to be intimate with, with another human being. But they can be intimate with food. So, um, the second one is, as I talk, I talked about feelings of shame that can be feelings of shame based upon circumstances, trauma, feeling that they've done, a person feels that they've done something horrible and they can't forgive themselves. And so that they end up feeling like they need to continue to punish themselves. And so that's what they, that's how they end up.

Kristin: 16:08 They end up using food in that way. Again, very, very closely parallels what alcoholics and what drug, you know, drug users do as well. Because again, food can be and is for many people in addictive substance, fear of challenges. Oftentimes people, if they are in a situation where they don't, and again, a lot of it is avoidance. If they want to avoid a situation that makes them uncomfortable, they turn to food. So a lot of people who are, who are, have a fear of failure, they don't want to be confronted with challenges. And so instead of actually facing a challenge they receive back and they just, they find comfort in avoiding it and using food as, a way of avoiding. Again, fear of judgment is probably this, this really parallels eating disorders pretty significantly. I mean, I consider emotional eating and eating disorder and it's really, the fear of judgment by others is actually a fear of judgment for your, you're judging yourself in when it comes to your own body.

Kristin: 17:12 And oftentimes people have such high expectations for themselves that they are so hard on themselves and they fear judgment and it's not the, it's what they want their bodies to be perfect. They want their bodies to look in a certain way. I know I really felt that was really important. And so then the question is, well, why would you sabotage yourself by eating these things that you shouldn't be eating? And the answer for me was, well, I want to be in control of that. I want to make the decision that if I'm gonna go off the rails, it's my decision. It's not going to be because somebody else caused me or because somebody else made me feel badly. So a lot of it has to do with control as well. Again, which is a common threat with people with eating disorders and the fifth one is a conflict avoidance.

Kristin: 17:53 Often times when you don't want to have an argument with somebody or you don't want to face up to emotions and circumstances, it's much easier to hide in a meal or hide in a bag of potato chips or hide in that ice cream. So that is another, another very easy and common way for people to distract themselves from actually facing uncomfortable emotions. Probably the most common one is boredom. I think that a lot of people use food as a way of just getting themselves through the day because they're bored and they don't want, a lot of times they're bored and they're again trying to distract themselves from not wanting to deal with difficult situations. I have to say number seven, self sabotaging beliefs. That kind of goes along with the shame. When you sabotage yourself, then no one else. It's not because somebody else, you're in control of it, you're doing it yourself.

Kristin: 18:45 And that is something that, again, control comes back to being a huge, a huge issue. I know for me, there's a portion in my book about the issues in my family growing up where there was food that I was not allowed to eat, and I really believe that when we deny anyone of anything, it makes us want it even more. That's why I really, I have kind of an issue, not kind of an issue. I do have an issue with diets only because when you deny somebody something, they want it so much more. So I think if someone's going to go on an eating plan or an eating, eat their meals, they have to have some indulgences, a little bit of something, because when we completely deny ourselves things, oh gosh, we want them so much more. And so rebellion for me was because I was denied these foods when I was a child.

Kristin: 19:35 It made me want them so much more. And they became a reward. They became like a treat when I really wanted to, when I really wanted to feel better. And the last one is kind of goes along with the with shame and that's people who are victims of trauma, whether it's physical, sexual or emotional trauma. Again, there's that degree of shame that they feel they have to continually punish themselves for something that was completely out of their control, but it makes them feel, it just makes them feel better. And again, they're doing it themselves. They have that control piece and um, no one is doing something to them. So those nine triggers, again vary. They can manifest themselves and present themselves in a very different way for each person. But what I would recommend to anyone is look back at the last couple of times where you realized that you probably ate some things that you didn't need to eat or that you ate for reasons other than hunger. And what were the things that proceeded that and what were the emotions that more than anything, the emotions that proceeded it.

Allan: 20:40 I found myself kind of having to have those triggers that, you know, back in the day, the first thing, boredom. When I was, you know, when I was working a hard job and I was traveling a lot, I get home and I'd run by the grocery store and I'd pick up a bunch of crap. And then Sunday morning, you know, I'm just sitting there watching infomercials and uh, those talk shows, political talk shows and just, you know, I'm just gonna lay here and use my thumb and finger and other thumb to just eat this bag of Tostito's, you know? And it was that he was, I considered it relaxing. I considered it lasting, but it was the, it was the comfort of the food. It was the comfort of my couch

Kristin: 21:23 and the reward of that hard of a hard week at work. And absolutely.

Allan: 21:27 And then another time that I kind of found myself, you know, going off the rails in different ways was whenever I had to deal with the CEO of our company, it was just a brutal, brutal person. We're wired very much the same way. So the two type A red guys, you know? And so whenever we were having a conversation, you know, he had to be right and I had to be right and you know, you, you get through with those situations and it'd be like, I just want a beer or five, you know? And that's what I found is that those were the nights where I basically just went over to a restaurant called Portico and had me some beer, you know, because I just felt like I needed to reward myself for not killing him that day.

Kristin: 22:10 Absolutely. Absolutely. And I as a teacher, I was a former middle school teacher and I can't even tell you how many times one of the teachers at my school, there would be like an SOS email sent out to everybody. Like who has chocolate in their room? I just got done talking to the most horrific parents and please does someone have some chocolate? And that was a perfect, and at the time we didn't even think twice about it. If you know, five people would be like, oh, I've got it. I've got candy in my room, come on over. And so we would take care of each other in that way, but not realizing that those reactions were so were such an emotional reaction and it wasn't that we needed, we didn't need the food. It was just, it was going to make us feel better that chocolate was going to take care of things and it was going to reward us for having to go through that horrible interaction.

Allan: 23:00 Yeah. Whereas I would've been so much better off to just go home, meditate for about 10 15 minutes, fix myself a sensible dinner, and then turn on Netflix and forget the day, you know, exercise. But you know, you have to dive deep like that. I think this is kind of the core concept of your book is you're not going to get there until you do this deep dive and you've got these great exercises that people can get a journal, sit down and just really start examining what's going on to kind of find those things that are, that are making this happen. Why, why you are the way you are, because you are the way you are. Which kind of leads me into the kind of the process that you take to kind of get through this because we're not gonna, we're not gonna cure ourselves. This is a lifetime emotional disease for a lack of a better word, but you use three words that I think are really concise and really kind of say, this is, this is the approach and it's except forgive and rewrite. Can you take just a few minutes to walk us through that process?

Kristin: 24:07 Sure. Thank you so much for asking. The process again, throughout the book, I take my clients through a very deliberate, slow moving process in a sense of this is not something that can be dealt with in an hour. It's not something that can be dealt with in a day. This has to be gradual because there are so many emotions that are associated with it, whether it be guilt, whether it be shame, embarrassment, that sort of thing. So my clients go through a process of not only examining where their triggers are, also what their limiting beliefs are about themselves and limiting beliefs about who they think they are and then who they know they are because so oftentimes, and in most cases we are told who we are by other people or people tell us, you know, what, what they see in us.

Kristin: 25:03 And in most cases that's not who we really are. And so we have these limiting beliefs and oftentimes the limiting belief can be, well, I'm just big boned or I'll never lose weight or I never keep weight off. I always gain it back. And when you constantly have those tapes playing in your head, that's what you're going to manifest. That's what's going to to continually come back to you. And it's not a surprise when we really think about it. Why the Diet industry is so popular and will continue to be so popular is because people lose weight, they change their lives, they make decisions, they, they do what they need to do. They lose the weight. And then for some reason, why do they go back to those habits? We'll, our minds are so incredibly powerful that if you have that negative tape playing, it's, it's going to come back.

Kristin: 25:55 It's going to continually play whether you want it to or not. And so what I really take clients through is that idea of I need to accept that this is what happened in my childhood or what happened in my life in whatever circumstance it is. I need to, I first need to accept and face that this is what happened. Because so oftentimes I don't think we even acknowledge that these things happen because we all want to have a great childhood. We all want to have a great life. And so sometimes you just think, well, if I ignore it, then it'll go away. That it really, it really didn't happen if I, if I ignore it. And so having to peel back those layers and have to look at, okay, so what were these things that happened that I need to look at and say, okay, yes, I acknowledge that did happen.

Kristin: 26:36 And that felt really, really bad. And I really didn't like it and it was because of sometimes it's because of a caregiver. Sometimes it's because of some person in your life and we always have to remember that every person is doing the best they can given their circumstances and given where they are. And I don't believe that at our core that anyone is a bad person. It's, we all are trying to get by based upon the information, the knowledge, the education and the upbringing and the modeling that we've been given to us. And so when people do things that aren't very nice, it's almost always a reaction because somebody has done that to them. That's been their learned behavior. And so we have to then forgive when people have done things to us, we need to forgive because we are not forgiving them. We're not condoning their behavior.

Kristin: 27:28 We're not saying it's okay and we're not even forgiving for them. We're forgiving for ourselves. Like when we forgive somebody, it's about us letting it go because for most people who have emotional eating issues and issues that have come up in their childhood related to food, they are holding onto that. And when you hold onto something and you keep it in your body like anything else, it has to be fed. And that's where that relentless need for food comes in. And often times people don't understand why, and I'm sure you've heard this before with your clients, you give them a meal plan and they say, Oh my God, I'm hungry all the time like I this is not enough food. I can't not. I'm always hungry. That's when as a trainer and as a person, people need to stop and go, okay, are you really hungry or is there something else going on?

Kristin: 28:16 So it's that we need to forgive to get that out of us. We have to almost purge ourselves of those of those emotions in those things that we've held onto. And so once we can accept it that it's happened and we forgive the person for, or the, or the circumstance or the institution or whatever it is that we forgive, then we can actually take whatever's happened and rewrite it. And I'm, I'm not saying go to la La land or you know, the Pollyanna, you know, like, Oh I, I had this great upbringing, but you have to look at circumstances and you, there is not a circumstance in anyone's life that they can't find something positive or something good that they got out of it. So when I look at the circumstances, when I was growing up and when I was sent to my room and I wasn't allowed to express emotions, I can look back on that and say, Oh Gosh, my dad did this to me and I don't know how to express emotions.

Kristin: 29:14 What I did learn was I learned that there was an appropriate time and there was appropriate place for me to express emotions. So I am not a person who goes into circumstances and just flies off the handle. I'm not one of those people who goes to a store and starts yelling at somebody because they're not going to give me my money back. I have learned that I need to control my emotions. There's a certain time and place for me to express my emotions and I will do that in a place that's appropriate where I don't hurt another person in the process. That's what I can find positive about what happened in my childhood that really wasn't very good. But I can look at it and I can say, you know what? I got some really, I got a really good quality out of that and I can turn that around and make it something that's gonna benefit me.

Kristin: 29:59 And every person has things that have happened to them that we've all, every opportunity, every circumstance is a learning opportunity. And if we don't take the opportunity and we don't take the time to find what the positive is, we are one, completely missing out on growing as human beings. But also we're keeping ourselves in a really negative place. And so it's really about learning to look at circumstances and say, okay, what, what thing can I positive thing can I glean from this circumstance that I can then make a benefit for me? And that's, that's what I do as I take my clients through and I have them recognize where those things that appear to be really negative. How can we find a positive? How can we make that something that is a good thing for you and you, and it totally will change how you look at those circumstances.

Allan: 30:49 Yeah. I'm like maybe the world's biggest introvert. Yeah. And I was, you know, I was raised in military brat. We moved all over the place. So I, you know, just people and then, you know, I made friends but not close friends, not until I was in high school. So I don't have any friends from before high school because that was when we settled down and I actually got to spend significant time with anybody and I only have a few really close friends and they know who they are. But that being an introvert also, you know, if I want to, I could look at it that way and say it's very negative. I don't like going into group situations. I don't typically like parties and events and things like that. If there's going to be a lot of people, particularly if the people are going to be close together.

Allan: 31:29 That's just something I get very uncomfortable with and that, you know, that emotionally affects me. But on the positive, if I want to rewrite that, what I do have is this capacity to be comfortable in my own skin and be alone. You know? I don't have to have people around me to make me feel comfortable. I can sit in a room by myself, read a book, write something, watch a show, go for a walk. I used to have whole days where I tried to avoid hearing a human voice, you know? And so I see that as a positive and that I don't have to have someone around me 24 seven to feel good. I do that for myself. So just kind of taking your approach there with the rewrite. That's, you know, that's my, my rewrite on, on that piece.

Kristin: 32:16 Absolutely. And as you were speaking, one, we sound incredibly alike. Um, because I'm the same way. I don't like, I don't, and for me, I recognize that social situations are a trigger for me. I am very uncomfortable. I don't like, because I've, I've had addiction issues in my family. I lost my brother to alcoholism. And so I don't like being, I don't like being around a lot of drinking. And so when I, you know, when there's social situations, I know going in, all right, this is going to be something that's going to be challenging for me. And oftentimes it can be a trigger for me to have an episode of emotional eating. And so I really have to be really, really aware of it. But as you said, what I have learned is because I was sent to my room and had to be alone So often I've learned to be able to be alone and to be very, very comfortable and very happy by myself and not that need, that constant need to have to have interaction or have to have people validate me all the time. I can be comfortable, you know, just doing my own thing. And in a lot of circles they call it Fomo, the fear of missing out. Oh, I do not have the fear of missing out. I'm fine, I'm fine being home. I don't mind. I don't mind that at all. But it really is, it's all, it's all in your perspective and it's all in how you choose to look at a given situation. I write about in the book about how, like in the late nineties there were all those talk shows where you know that, you know, Sally Jesse Raphael and, and Geraldo and they'd have people come on and they would talk about, you know, I was abused or something happened to me 25 years ago and they're still so angry.

Kristin: 33:50 And I think, oh my gosh, like you've lost 20 years, 25 years of your life being angry and holding all of that inside of you. And it's like we, as a society, I think sometimes that's why there's, there's so much unhappiness at times because people are just not, they're holding onto resentments and anger and things that have happened to them. And if they just would let them go and just move on, life could be so, so much better and so different for them. So it's really, it's a, it's a pretty powerful process and I really, and it can be applied to any area of anyone's life.

Allan: 34:25 Yes. Kristin, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Kristin: 34:35 I am a firm believer that wellness 100% comes from the inside out and it comes from how we feel about ourselves that if we don't truly love ourselves and, and love who we are, that has to be the basis of anything we do. I mean we can, you can work out at the gym seven days a week, you can eat clean, you can do all these fabulous things, but if you have those negative tapes playing and your buying into the limiting beliefs that other people have put on you and you are not truly in love with yourself, all that stuff is just on the surface. It's all, it's all a shell and it's all protected. We have to get to truly being good with ourselves and loving ourselves. Totally. So I would say the three strategies that can make that, they can facilitate that to happen. You mentioned one of them. I am a strong believer in meditation and in prayer and in quiet time and really being comfortable with yourself and being still and just allowing your mind to slow down and, and turning off those negative tapes. So often that we, that we have playing in our heads. So meditation is one.

Kristin: 35:51 The second one is I am an absolute firm believer in a daily dose of affirmations and positive things that we say to ourselves about ourselves and reinforcing those beliefs and those qualities within ourselves. We cannot look to people on the outside to make us feel good, and we can't look to people that tell us how wonderful we are. We have to believe it and we have to tell it to ourselves. A great strategy for, for doing that is my cousin used to have index cards and she would write her affirmations and strategically placed them around her house. So sometimes you'd open up the refrigerator and there would be an affirmation hanging in the refrigerator, not about food, but just about her as a person and what she was striving for and what goals she was working towards.

Kristin: 36:37 And she'd have them in random spots around the house in places that she, she frequently, you know, there was frequent traffic for her and she was able to reinforce those beliefs that she has about herself. So I strongly believe in affirmations and then the last thing, the last strategy that a person can do is daily gratitude and being grateful for what we have because the more we're grateful for what we already have, the more that's going to come into our lives and the more we're going to, we're going to send out that energy of gratitude and love and the more of that good stuff and that love is going to come back to us. The better we feel about ourselves that just in turn then makes us want to go to the gym, makes us want to eat healthy. It makes us want to be kind to other people and help those around us and it just is that ripple effect that that just can I for me can't be on it. It just can't be diminished. It's just the center of of where we need to go as a society.

Allan: 37:30 Kristin, thank you so much for sharing that. I really enjoyed that. If someone wanted to learn more about you, about your book, When Food is your Drug or the coaching that you do, where would you like for me to send them?

Kristin: 37:41 Absolutely. They can go to my website, www.KristinJonescoaching.com. There's a couple of different ways you can spell Kristin Jones is pretty easy, but Kristin is k, r i, s, t, i, n. And there is a quiz there about emotional eating. It's a great place to start to kind of get an idea about whether or not emotional eating is something that maybe you're dealing with. Maybe you have thought maybe that could be something that's going on with you. So there's a quiz you can take. There's information about me and about what I offer. I love, love, love. Like I said, I was a teacher for 17 years. So at my heart I am an educator and I love just working with people and and really getting to those places where people can really look at the things that they are doing and how they can not, it's change, but it's that, It's getting back to who we really are. And I think sometimes we forget who we are because of all of the other things that go on. I have one-on-one private coaching. I also do some group coaching programs as well. And I also have aspects of my business. I do a nutritional guidance, I have workouts, I'm a fitness instructor as well. So whatever someone needs to create their best life and feel the best that they can feel about themselves every single day. That's what I want to do and that's what I want to bring to people's lives.

Allan: 39:15 Cool. Well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/391and I'll be sure to have a link there to Kristin's website. Kristen, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Kristin: 39:26 Absolutely. Thank you so much Allan. I think it's wonderful what you're doing and just, you know, again, thank you so much and thanks to the listeners and uh, if anything I've said has resonated, please don't hesitate to come to my website. I would love to love to spend some time with them. So thank you again.

Conquering our food issues is a huge first step in finding wellness. It isn't easy, but it is something you can do, especially if you have the support you need. Now is the time to take action. And I'm here to help. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/now and book a complimentary 15 minute consult. I'll share a three step process to ensure you know where you're going and the right way to get there. Do this before you forget. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/now.

Another episode you may enjoy

July 8, 2019

Wave goodbye to type 2 diabetes with Dr Nicki Steinberger

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The current medical practice around type 2 diabetes is to use insulin and blood sugar lowering medicines. It isn't working. Dr Nicki Steinberger treats her patients holistically and in her book, Wave Goodbye to Type 2 Diabetes, she shares those methods with you.

Allan: 03:00 Dr. Nicki, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Nicki: 03:03 Thank you so much Allan. A pleasure being here with you.

Allan: 03:06 I really enjoyed reading your book. It's called Wave Goodbye to Type 2 Diabetes. And one of the reasons that this book was so compelling to me is that up until a few years ago, it was pretty much unheard of for anyone to reverse type two diabetes. It was sort of a, Oh, you've got this disease and it's eventually going to rob you of your feet and your kidneys and your life. You're going to balloon up because we're putting you on insulin. And yes, you're just eventually going to die from this. And more and more people are using healthy lifestyle to reverse and basically cure themselves from type two diabetes.

Dr. Nicki: 03:45 Absolutely. And what you described is the number one myth about the condition that we've been brainwashed to accept and live in fear around. And it just does not have to be so

Allan: 04:01 And the worst of it. I know you had taught at the statistics in the book and I was just like, you know, because you'll see it everywhere. You walk around and it's like, okay, back in the 80s, when I was in high school, maybe you had, you know, one or two kids that you would call, you know, overweight. And the overweight, you know, they stuck out because there were just a few of them. And I want my good friends, Barry was on the, on the football team. Most of us, most of the bigger guys were on the football team and um, you know, he's already dead. He was a truck driver and he's already gone. And I don't know that it was type two diabetes that took him, but you know, it was really kind of rare to have someone who had diabetes or know someone had diabetes or was obese. And there's some general relations to how that's happening in the body. What's going on, why are so many of us getting sick with this disease?

Dr. Nicki: 04:51 Well, it's a testament to the level of the infiltration of processed foods. Number one, you know that is available that we're consuming, you know, by bucketfuls and you know, you can throw in there also technology. We're sitting more, we're on our computers and our devices, so if you pair together no processed foods, tens of thousands of more chemicals, you know, than we had in the 80s and a sedentary life style, then you know, we're going to create an environment that hosts a condition such as type two diabetes.

Allan: 05:38 Now one of the things that you had in the book, because you know right now when we talk about type two diabetes as you go, you know you're on a spectrum. You call it a continuum effectively and based on kind of my reading of it, the way you approach this is, okay, you're on one end, you're really, really sick. On the other end you have this concept call optimal health. There's a middle ground. Can you kind of talk about that continuum and how that applies to, you know, as you start looking at your health, kind of working your way towards the, the right end of it, I guess for lack of a better word, but the alt and the optimal health end of that spectrum.

Dr. Nicki: 06:13 Yeah. So chaos of symptoms is basically where we're sick. We don't feel good. We might have different diagnoses, we've got symptoms are energy levels plummeted when we start moving from that place. And just a side note that I find in my experience in research and working with folks, most of us start moving when we either hit bottom or we get super inspired from something. You know, we heard, I try to help people not have to hit bottom, but you know, we all have different bottoms. So that chaos, so symptom you could, you know, think of as, as a bottoming out.

But a lot of people are living in that state. And then as we move through the spectrum and we start to incorporate these holistic lifestyle practices, we start to feel better. Our symptoms subside, vanish. We can reverse diagnoses. And you know, like I say in the book, a lot of people will stop there and it's, it's a beautiful place. It's, it's perfectly fine to stop there and say, Hey, I feel pretty good. My diagnoses is reversed or it's in a place where I can live with it and sort of maintain from that place. There's another level, you know, that I call optimal health. And that is where body, mind, spirit, we're really taking our life, our health, our day to day, living to an exceptional level. And you know, that's really defined by each person. I could give, you know, examples of what I've found in working with folks. But it, it really is for you to define for yourself.

Allan: 08:02 Yeah. You know, a lot of clients will come to me. They want to lose 30 pounds or you know, the one on, you know, be able to start doing some things that they couldn't do before. Like I have one client and he just signed up for this, a kind of a rugged trail run. It says six mile things. So shout out to Rich on that one but, Yeah. You know, so they have a, a kind of a goal and then they get to that goal. Oh, and they're perfectly happy there. They're perfectly happy to say, okay, I reached my goal. Now I just want to maintain this. I don't necessarily want to be, you know, a super, you know, superstar trail runner. I don't want to go out all the way up to ultras. I don't want to. And, and I think that's just true. Cool. Uh, as long as you don't kind of regress. And I think a lot of people will go and do the exact opposite. They'll lose the 10 pounds they want to lose and then they go right back to eating the processed foods. So, you know, I liked the idea that you can kind of ratchet up and down this to find your spot, but just understanding that there is something beyond just that. Okay, 10 pounds you wanted to lose.

Dr. Nicki: 09:03 Absolutely. And the thing is, a lot of people don't know that what's available. You know, they don't know the level of wellness. And I'm not talking about, you know, running marathons per se or an intense level of fitness. I mean, that could be in there if that's your thing. And I'm really talking about a holistic body, mind, spirit being in joy, loving life, waking up, you know, happy to hit the day. Just a real full bodied way of living.

Allan: 09:33 Cause you know, the aches and pains aren't there, the symptoms aren't there. You're, you know, pulse rate doesn't just shoot up when you're trying to walk up some steps or your, you know, basically, you know, when you go into the doctor that you know, your blood pressure is going to come out the way you want it to. Your resting heart rates going to be what it wants. And when you look at your labs, are competent and comfortable because the doctor says, you know, you're, you're, you're in good range. You're a good place to be.

Dr. Nicki: 09:57 That's right. Absolutely.

Allan: 09:59 Now in the book you go through and, uh, before we freak, freak out, there are 16 of these holistic lifestyle practices and you know, as I was gonna say 16. Wow. But you're very clear in the book. It's like this isn't a, okay, you've got to do these 16 things and you've always got to do them. This is a get something in and, and make it, make it stick. If it works for you, keep it. If not, then don't, but you're, you're literally kind of just building on a foundation of, you know, get one or two of these done. Right. And then the others will kind of fall in place for you.

Dr. Nicki: 10:31 Absolutely. You know, success is cumulative, it builds over time and it's not, you know, written two and 10 you have to do all of these practices. An interesting thing, however I've found for myself and a lot of people is that after a while you go, wow, you know, I'm doing like 10 to 12 practices without a whole lot of effort, without like three extra hours a day. It's now integrated into my life. It's integrated into my daily. So some of these are five, 10 minutes a piece. So it's, it's very doable. However you do it.

Allan: 11:13 Yeah. And I like yours. Okay. One of them I'll talk about and we can kind of talk about how you've, I guess for lack of a better word, stack these, and I call it kind of like habit stacking, but in your style, but it's, you have a morning ritual and so that's, that's number eight on your, your practices to have this morning ritual in which you're doing the things like you said, mind body, spirit that are kind of helping you along the way and you're getting this done right after you wake up, which I think is brilliant because it puts you in such a good place for the day to know that you started off in the right direction. It's sort of like that general, there's a general, it says, you know, he's kind of giving recommendations to folks. He says make your bed first thing in the morning and if nothing else started your day out exactly the way you want it to. And I liked that and I liked your, your morning ritual where you kind of go through the ritual and talk about some of the other practices that now just fold into that. I guess for, I mean if I'm looking at it probably doesn't take you more than an hour of each morning, but you're able to get these things in.

Dr. Nicki: 12:16 Yeah. You know, an hour might sound like a lot to a lot of people who don't have an hour in the morning and we're all in such different places. I am fortunate to have that time and especially if I wake up earlier, I find that on the days that I don't do my morning practice, just, you know, not quite as as whole feeling as satisfied as those days where I do now, I don't beat myself up cause that's just how some days go. Sometime my practice as with most people it evolves, it changes. You don't have to keep the same one for 10 years. One of the first things I do is hydrate. So after waking up, you know, after breaking that fast of sleeping and we tend to get a little inflammatory at night, you know, while we're lying there and maybe heating up.

Dr. Nicki: 13:15 So I like to, you know, hydrate and flush my system of the toxins with a glass or two of room temperature filtered water. I'll add lemon or apple cider vinegar and you know, just that practice, I mean, it's maybe 10 minutes and it's so, so powerful on so many levels and the commitment to ourselves that we make. When we do a morning practice, I'll often meditate and that could be 10 minutes. It could be 20 minutes. You know, it varies. I'll read something inspirational. I'll often write a little bit in my journal and sometimes I don't. And um, you know, I gotta get out walking. I find that for me, although everything can't happen in the morning, um, it's very important. I need to move my body in the morning. If I don't, it may not happen. It's likely not to happen later in the afternoon when I'm either tired or it's hot out. I'm in Los Angeles right now and, uh, you know, we're, we're already in the 80s, which is very pleasant for me to move around. So I walk, I put on a podcast and that's how I find the joy in it. Um, you know, I listened to either writing or health or business and I, I walk hills and I walk stairs and that's for me what helps move the needle, you know, for my heart health and, um, my lungs, my mood and, you know, then I'll, I'll do a writing practice often whatever I'm working on. And of course I need to eat. And, uh, bathe, you know, and well we'll say when I start my walks, I do affirmations, absolutely critical practice and gratitude and, you know, just getting the mindset, um, right for the day, you know, and hooked into the direction that I want to be pointed because if we don't tame the mind and these old story loops, then we can be going off cliffs that we really don't want to be going down.

Allan: 15:35 Yeah. And if you, if you've been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, I bet this is not a large investment. Uh, it's, it's, uh, it's some time. Right? Okay. The way you've done this by stacking these lifestyle practices into, you know, kind of just how you do your morning, you've just put four of them all within your morning ritual, uh, where you, you know, you get the meditation, you got the stress relief, you've got the water and you've got the movement. And I, like I said, I just, I like the way you've structured that so that you're getting those and you're even using some of that time to do some of the things just make yourself want joyful, which I think is another important practice or an important thing, which you do. Go into the book and we'll, we'll talk about in a minute if someone's going to get started with this. Um, you know, I think the water one is probably the easiest to do.

Dr. Nicki: 16:31 I think so too. You know, and I like how you call it stacking. I haven't thought of it that way, but that's really cool. And that's why I said before you know it, you're doing five practices, you're doing 10 practices, you know, and they take practice. You know, if there's one word, one concept, one idea that I repeat most other than holistic, it is practice. It doesn't happen overnight. You know, it is daily and it's a commitment. And after a while it is fun and something to look forward to.

Allan: 17:08 Well, thank you for using that word commitment because I talk about that all the time. I'm looking at your health. This is it. This is what you've got. We don't take care of our wellness. Uh, it's, it's not going to take care of us. And so, you know, making that commitment and saying, okay, I'm going to do this now. Uh, we're talking about type two diabetes and so it shouldn't surprise anyone at all. You know, obviously you've already talked about the hydration in the, in the lemon water or that the apple cider vinegar, um, it shouldn't surprise them that, but there's another five of your lifestyle practices that relate specifically to food. Do you mind going through those and kind of telling us why each of those is important and how we can approach as we start to try to build these practices?

Dr. Nicki: 17:52 Sure. So practice number three is to decrease or eliminate fast converting carbs. These are the carbohydrates that turn to sugar very quickly and spike insulin, you know, put too much work on our pancreas, which releases the hormone insulin and can lead to metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of symptoms that leads to prediabetes and type two diabetes. So these fast converting carbohydrates are basically our grain flowers, you know, that comes in the form of bread and bagels and pretzels and cookies and crackers and you know, all of the the above. It doesn't matter if they're gluten free or not, has nothing to do with that. Uh, the distinction is a grain flour versus something like a nut flour from, you know, almond or coconut. Um, and then our typical desserts, you know, with sugar, uh, that sort of stuff. We just, if we're managing blood sugar and if we are looking at prevention, then we are going to decrease, you know, up to 90% of those sorts of carbohydrates.

Allan: 19:20 Yeah. And, and I've always told people just cause a lot of people ask me, there's like, okay, so what are those foods? And you've kind of given us a little bit of a list. But I said if you have a doubt about a food and you, if you've got type two diabetes, you probably check your blood sugar on a regular basis, check your blood sugar before you eat it, and then check your blood sugar about 30 minutes to 45 minutes after you eat it. And that's, that's when you're going to know, cause if your blood sugars shot up significantly, your body is surging on it and that's not a food that you, you probably want to consume a lot of.

Dr. Nicki: 19:51 Exactly. You know, and also to mention that these carbohydrates are addictive for a lot of people. So you get hung up in a cycle and that's no fun. Another practice is to eliminate rancid oxidized industrial seed oils that have just gone crazy in the big food industry. I'm talking about oils like canola oil, and corn oil, Soy oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, these oils are highly inflammatory and high in omega six fatty acids where we don't need anymore omega six, we need you omega threes. We're out of proportion. These oils are just in everything. So if you go to a restaurant, even a high end restaurant, you asked them what kind of oil they use. If they say olive oil, that means nothing. Okay. That means nothing. You have to go the next step. Oh is it extra virgin olive oil or is it a blend?

Because a lot of restaurants are using a blend of all olive oil and canola oil because it's cheaper and they're calling it all of oil. This is in grocery store, food bars across the nation, whole foods, tons of canola oil, really a crap food bar. So you really have to know your oils. You know, certain oils are healthy, you know, extra virgin olive oil. Not to cook it at a high heat, but you know, put it on a salad, veggies, coconut oil, avacado oil. But all these other rancid oils really have caused havoc to our systems. We are not meant to digest these.

Allan: 21:59 And I'd say, if you've bought some oil olive oil and you know, I used to do this all the time until I recognize what I was doing, you store it on the shelf right up above the stove and that's one of the warmest places in your house. And I was like, well I didn't know. You know, I just, I didn't know. And then I started looking at the labels and saying, okay is this made somewhere? You know, where is it? And you know, there's no indication of origin, uh, it can actually say olive oil on the package and not list the other oils, which just insane to me. You just, you have to know your, you know, you have to know what you're getting. And like you said, you liked, you kind of like doing a little bit of this detective work. So you, you scoped this out.

Dr. Nicki: 22:39 Yeah, I mean, I, you know, I always have to ask and you just can never assume. I go to the distance of asking to see the olive oil, you know, bottle or container. Oftentimes, you know, restaurants that they'll use, you know, big containers because they're doing volume. So you want to be patronizing places that are forthcoming and have no problem revealing what they're using.

Allan: 23:09 Yeah, I think that's really important. It's, it's hard, you know, it's hard to get the waiter and say, hey, you know, I'd like to know a little bit about the oils, uh, because that's not what they're trained. I've been a waiter before and I was like, we know the ingredients that are in most of the dishes because if someone says they have a nut allergy or something like that, we need to be aware of that. But as you, as you go out there and they start saying, yeah, what kind of oil? I was like, well, it comes in this big plastic tub. I don't know. then you got to get the, you've got to get, sometimes you got to call and say, go to the, you go to the kitchen and get the kitchen manager out here and let them, you know, go a little bit further with this conversation. But that's a hard conversation to start. But once you get with the fact that this is your health we're talking about and then the food that you're taking in is such a critical part of reversing this disease or this condition that you, you just, yeah, I don't really have a choice in this matter. You really do need to know what you're eating.

Dr. Nicki: 24:02 It's true. And you know, you say, you know, once you get comfortable and, or once you get sick and that's that bottom that I, you know, try to help people prevent. But once you get sick and you just can't go there anymore, you know, it's like, hey, I got to know what's in there, you know, and just say medical diet. I got to know what's in there. You know.

Allan: 24:27 You pull out your little insulin kit and you say, this is, this is my insulin fund eating bad food. Then you know, I need more of this and I don't want to do any more of this. So do you want me to be your customer and come here on a regular basis? Then tell me once, unless you change it, you know, we're going to keep going. But even you said it, that sometimes you've had products that you really believed in only to find later that they had kind of done a bait and switch on Ya.

Dr. Nicki: 24:53 That's right. And you know, I think you're referring to the supplements, but yeah, you have to constantly monitor. You have to be that inspector, that detective, you know, it has to mean that much to you.

Allan: 25:06 Yes.

Dr. Nicki: 25:06 So another practice when we're looking at food is, you know, we're eating these carbohydrates and you know, there's no, there's no one size fits all for any of this. So whatever types of carbohydrates you're going to eat is going to be different for everybody. But the idea that we can wrap or surround some of these carbohydrates with fat, fiber and or proteins to help slow down that sugar conversion in the blood. Now, uh, since I wrote the book, you know, I'm gonna lean more toward fiber with the carbs, then protein or fat, a fat being, you know, after fiber. So another words, you know, let's say you are having a potato, you know you're going to be better off with some good veggies with that potatoe, you know, steam Broccoli, go ahead and throw some, you know, pasture organic butter on there as far as protein, you know, we don't really want to do protein and starch. So it depends what kind of carbohydrates you're doing. Protein and starch is going to spike blood sugar even more for some people. So it's a little bit of fine tuning in this one, you know, if you're going to have an apple, maybe you put some almond butter with it, you know, and, and things like that.

Allan: 26:37 Yeah, and that's like I mentioned before, if you, if you really had a question about how foods affect in you and you've got the monitor, just do a little self test, you know, you try it and they see how it works, you try it and that's where you can get to that, like you said, that fine tuning of, you know, this is, this is working for more for me or it is not.

Dr. Nicki: 26:56 It's true. And you know, I test myself now nine, 10 years after the fact. More now than I did then because I want to know, you know, if I'm not exactly sure how a combination of foods…

Allan: 27:11 It's really as good to have that data. I mean, because at that point then you and uh, you know, if you go out to eat and you're not quite sure what you ate, you know, check your blood sugar and, uh, you know, you get a pretty good idea of at least what your body thinks you ate.

Dr. Nicki: 27:24 Yeah, absolutely. Another food practice is to increase raw foods. And I'm particularly talking about vegetables. Fruit is, you know, really fruit is sugar. So it really depends on where you're at on the spectrum and how you respond to fructose. Fruit sugar, and a general good rule of thumb is to limit your fruit to berries. Organic Berries are going to be lowest on the glycemic index. But you know, we really want the fiber and the living enzymes and the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes from these raw foods. So, you know, it's even if we're doing a Keto type, you know, based food plan where we're doing high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrates, very important to get your veggies in. It's always going to be number one in every good food plan or program, you know, as much as you can. And you don't really have to worry about the carbohydrates if they're not starchy veggies.

Allan: 28:39 Yeah, it's, it's interestingly a, the Keto, I guess community how's so to speak, I guess if we can be considered a community, bbut folks that are in Keto, it just seems like right now there's, there's sort of two movements going on. Uh, there's one that's moving towards more of a plant based Keto. so making sure you get those, those in, and I tend to be a little bit more leaning to that side of if your body doesn't have the, that's, you know, the high blood sugar changes for these, which you can measure, have some berries and actually was, you get your Palette changed over time, you'll actually find those berries, sweeter and sweeter because you can start actually tasting the sweetness on them. And then there's this other camp that's going over here to this, this full carnivore model and say, no, we don't, we don't need plants.

We can get all we need from animal products. And they're like, so if you're eating this and you're eating, you know, eating the organs, andeating all that, I'm like, okay, well, okay, great, great. Are you? You know, are you eating organs regularly? And then what you find when you start talking to a lot of these folks, it's like, no, I'm just, I'm eating Ribeye steaks. Or there's the one group that's did the 30 day bacon experiment that just eat bacon. And, um, I'm like, I really, I can't wrap my mind around that and I'm not ready to have that conversation with you if you think that you don't need new micronutrients. Uh, that's, that's just false. And so if you're going to go on a strict elimination diet, you know, track yourself because, uh, it's not going to agree with everybody.

Dr. Nicki: 30:06 Yeah, exactly. And I don't know about the long-term effects of, you know, like the carnivore diet. I know people are getting some good immediate results, but you know, again, we do need those micro nutrients. We do absolutely need the fiber. And you know, we hear something, I just did a social media post about this. You know, we hear something, whether it's on a podcast or in social media or on a blog that is working for someone and they're loving it and they're getting great results. And this idea, this flash goes off in our mind, oh, I'm going to do that. That sounds great. That's not really the proper approach. You have to experiment to see what works for you. And you know, not just take that at face value because we're all unique and different and we have to find what works for us. Listen to our intuition, our body's cues. You only need to change things up and be willing to be doing something different than the person next to you. Bless that person that are doing what works for them and you do what works for you.

Allan: 31:20 Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Nicki: 31:21 And I'd say, you know, another food practice is to release the processed foods. You know, just like the industrial seed oils, we are not meant to be consuming tons of sugar and candy and all these things in packages and boxes and cans, food like products. They're not real food. Our system cannot handle them over time. It's, it's hard to grasp it when you're young, when you're in your twenties even sometimes your thirties because you're not having symptoms. It's an esoteric idea, you know, and it's a shame because for many of us it does hit us. You know, when we're in our thirties, forties, fifties and we don't feel good. And you know, what's available in life is feeling extremely well. And being extremely creative and as we're loading ourselves up with these food like products, no fault of our own because we're bombarded with advertising and marketing and a fast paced, stressed out culture. But there comes a time where we have to notice and turn things around for the better.

Allan: 32:48 Yeah. As we were going through these, I, you know, I realized like I did the show plan and I sent these over and I kind of scanning down the list here real quick just as we're going along and I'm like, oh, I left two food ones out. You also talk about chewing your food really slowly until its liquid anyway and supplements. And so, I won't go into too much detail there, but just realize that half of the 16 practices are around food and managing your food and experimenting with your food and enjoying your food. And uh, you know, I think this is really, really important for us to understand and to apply that information and say, hey, you know, when you get this book, because please, if you have type two diabetes, please do quote and get this book. You're going to learn a lot about what's affecting you and why it's affecting you and these practices that you can slowly incorporate into these, these lifestyles.

And there has been a little bit of talk on the internet what is, what is disease and what his health and his health, just the lack of disease. And I don't think I'm going out too far on a limb, Dr. Nicki, when I say that, no, there, there's more to it than just not being sick. Um, and you get into the book about talking about joy and I do believe that that's Kinda one of those, those next step things. If you're going to go from basically you've, you've reduced or eliminated your symptoms to getting to that point of optimal health, this, this big joy piece is going to be a big part of that.

Dr. Nicki: 34:14 Absolutely. And that's why I felt it was critical to put it in the subtitle. You know, at the end of the day when we say, okay, I want to lose the weight, I want to get the job, have the money and the relationship. I want to reverse this condition or this disease. And if we keep asking why, you know, what's under it, you know, why, then what, then what and then what you know, and it comes down to a few basic things, generally speaking and joy is certainly one of them. You know, we, we want to feel joy in our lives and so many people are walking around moment to moment, pretty miserable and it doesn't have to be that way, you know. I mean, you know, aside from, I'm not going to comment on certain oppressions that make it much more difficult for some people. But mindset is very powerful no matter what.

And you know, I talk about joy and the present moment. And the truth is that five minutes ago is now past, an hour from now is not here yet. The reason why really getting intimate with the present moment is so critical is because everlasting joy or sustainable joy is always available in the present moment. It's not fleeting. Now a moment, you know, five seconds ago that's gone now, that fleeted but this moment right here, right now, so you know, we can go outside and maybe we can hear birds or your roosters. Um, you know, and it's the easiest way to access joy without needing anything except the right mindset. This doesn't come from an intellectual idea that you'll write this down when you hear this is practice. You have to practice it. And that's why when I go out for my walk, it's part of my affirmations. I'm affirming it. You know, I'm, I'm blueprinting it in, on changing those old tapes, uh, because that's just what the mind does. So, yeah, you know, present moment, leave the past in the past, future little bit, not too much. And you know thats why meditation is so powerful as well and helps us be in the present moment.

Allan: 36:51 Yeah. You know, like I said when we first started talking about these, these practices, um, because again, they are practices, they are something you're going to have to work on to really incorporate them to a point where they actually do become a part of you become a part of your, your expectations is part of your lifestyle. Um, I think for some folks it can be a little intimidating again because there's just so much there. You know, and it's not that, its like you said, you don't have to do all of them. But you know, I'm the kind of person that says, what's the easiest one? That's how I'm wired. What's the fastest one so, you know, like the lemon water. I can, I can definitely do that, but how does someone go ahead and get started about, you know, which ones are these really resonate with them the most and where to start?

Dr. Nicki: 37:33 Yeah, I think, you know, you can start and I think it's smart to start with one or two that seem easiest. You know, like, you know, hydration in the morning because we want success. Right? We want to be able to check that off and celebrate, you know, acknowledge ourselves. I did that. The smallest successes are important to acknowledge and we also want to notice that there are particular practices you know, that I think about are calling out for more, you know, so let's say it's easy for you. You're already eating a big salad every day, you know, no problem. But when it comes to putting on your walking shoes, whatever kind of clothes you need to wear and getting outside and taking a brisk walk or a hilly walk of course, depending on where you, where you're at in the spectrum, your fitness, if that's something that's just knawing at you, it's calling out for more, but you keep putting it off, that's also a good practice to jump right into at the level that you are.

Allan: 38:48 Okay. Well you just hit me in the gut because I was going to say that I think meditation might be the hardest one. So here's my confession. That's the one I would say I, I struggle with the most. Uh, I have done it consistently in the past, but it seems to be the easiest. Um, sometimes the easiest 10 minutes to give up. And I said, you know, I felt like, okay. And I justified it a little bit saying, okay, well I, when I walk, you know, I'm just walking by myself and you know, now being here in Panama, the beaches and the jungle and you know, those types of things that I kind of almost think of that as my meditation. Uh, but I do agree with you. I think that that one is one that I probably need to go ahead and step up a bit.

Dr. Nicki: 39:34 Yeah. And you know, there's walking meditation too. You don't have to sit, it doesn't have to be a traditional, but it needs to be intentional and you know, that sounds like a great one for you to jump into. I bet it will become easy after you get over that kind of mind bump that it's difficult.

Allan: 39:54 Yeah. But I do a lot like you do when I do my walking, I've got my headphones on and I'm listening to, lately it's been audio books and I've been leaning towards fiction a lot more lately than, than learning. Uh, and I need to know, I need to get back into some of those other books, but, uh, it's just been really cool to sit there and put on a fiction book and kind of just, you know, get out in nature and walk around. But, so what I'm hearing you say is I need to take those headphones off for at least 10 minutes and be a little bit more intentional and aware in my space, uh, for that. So that is something I'm going to start working on.

Dr. Nicki: 40:29 Oh, absolutely. A little note on that. You know, I got my head phones and I'm out the door and before I allow myself two start a new podcast or continue the one that I was listening to, I do my affirmations. It just, sometimes you just got to get it in, you know, you got to get the practice in and do them robustly. You know, usually there's no one around. You don't have to yell, but really express, you know, um, I'd like the listeners to know, really express yourself. One of the affirmations I say every day is from a book I read many, many years ago called Coming Home by Martia Nelson, and I say to the depth of my being more than anything else today, I choose to experience the love that I am. And sometimes I say it three times. It just, you know, it's amazing how affirmations, gratitude, steering ourselves in the direction we want to go, starts to influence our life. You know, uh, our lives in many different ways. And again, it's a practice and you want that emotional component. You don't want to just say it, like a line, you know, take a deep breath and feel it in the body. And a simple, such a simple yet very powerful practice.

Allan: 42:08 Well, I completely agree. And all of these actually, when you break it down none of these are earth shattering. Shatteringly hard as some of them, a little harder than others. And, um, that, you know, all of these are worthwhile and worth getting into. Um, so Dr Nckki, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Dr. Nicki: 42:34 Okay. Number one is mindset. Number one is always mindset. And a concept that I need people to understand is that we crave what we feed ourselves. We crave what we feed ourselves, not the other way around. It only becomes the other way around when we're in the cycle. So once we can push through this place of, you know, letting go of these cravings for let's say sugar, we will start to crave what we're feeding ourselves. And this is important to know because it puts us in the driver's seat, co-participating in the wellness of our life. We're not just, you know, a victim to, uh, you know, I couldn't say no to that. I couldn't resist it. And it's this really difficult place to be. So understand we crave what we feed ourselves. The feeding comes first. And once we break through that cycle, it becomes a lot easier, um, to really enjoy food and, uh, high nutrient dense nutrition.

Number two, you gotta work your affirmations like we're just talking about. It's a daily practice. It's so simple. It's so powerful. It can be five minutes. Without this we're likely to be stuck in our old stories ,our old loops riddled with fear, riddled with doubt and self sabotage. So we need to be co-participating in the health of our mind, right? Because we're holistic body, mind, spirit.

And number three, I would say you need a program. When I say program, I'm not talking about something expensive. I don't even mean somebody else's program. I'm not talking about you have to go to the gym. I'm talking about you need a program. Uh, similar to like a morning practice is part of a program. It's a place where you're committing yourself. It's a place where you know you're going to go. You do not have to be perfect. We're not expecting perfection that silly. But whether you create your program or you reach out and you get support, um, you're a co participant in your program, we can't just be floundering around with the level of toxicity and inflammation, you know, available to us today. If we want to be, well, if we want to step out of the chaos of symptoms, if we want to reverse conditions and diseases and if we want to move toward optimal health and really the kind of potential that's available to us. We need a system, a routine, you know, sacred ritual, however you want to call it.

Allan: 45:54 Cool. I like those. Thank you. So Dr. Nicki, if someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book Wave Goodbye to Type Two Diabetes or all the other stuff that you're up to. Uh, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Nicki: 46:07 Okay, so the book is available on Amazon and you know, Wave Goodbye to Type Two Diabetes. It's available paperback and Ebook audio book coming soon. And then for your listeners, if you want to connect with me, learn more about my teachings, work with me. If you want to hear about podcast episodes and videos, blog posts, and my next book, which I'm starting to work on, the best way to do that is to get on my email list. That's where I share the inside stuff. And easiest way to do that is to go grab my checklist that I created. Um, it's called Blast Type 2 Diabetes with 12 simple lifestyle practices. You can also use it for prevention and some of these practices are out of the box so they might surprise you. And uh, you can get that at drnickisteinberger.com/blast.

New Speaker: 47:14 Okay, well you can also go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/389 and I'll be sure to have the links there. So Dr. Nicki, thank you so much for being a part of 40 plus fitness.

Dr. Nicki: 47:38 Thank you so much. It was wonderful speaking with you, Allan

Allan: 47:46 Still there? The fact that you are still there tells me that you've already made the decision that you want to get healthy and fit and I commend you for that. That is the biggest, hardest first step is deciding that you want to change, but you have to have a plan. Do you have a plan? Now I came up with a process called the wellness gps. It's a three step process that helps you put together that plan. I'd like to walk you through this on a free complimentary, no obligation, 15 minute consult. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/call and on that it'll take you directly to my scheduling link. You can book a time that's convenient for you. We get on a conference call together and we talk through what your goals are, what your aspirations are, what you want out of your health and fitness journey, and I help you put together a plan that will get you there. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/call and reclaim your health today.

Another episode you may enjoy

July 1, 2019

The time saver’s workout with John Little

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  • Judy Murphy
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  • Debbie Ralston
  • John Somsky

Thank you!

Let John Little help you make the most of the time you spend doing resistance training. On this episode, John and I talk about his book, The Time Saver's Workout.

Allan: 02:45 John, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

John: 02:48 Thank you Allan. Pleasure to be here.

Allan: 02:50 I'm really excited to have you here. Uh, you know, I had Dr. McGuff on to talk about some of his books, including Body By Science. When I was first doing my first interviews. I was usually kind of a little star struck when I met him the first time. And I'll have to admit just, you know, reading your books, I'm a little star struck talking to you too.

John: 03:08 Well no need for that, Doug. I can understand. Yeah, I consider Doug one of the brightest minds in exercise science.

Allan: 03:15 And I think you are too. That's you know, it's just, based on the research that you've done. I mean, I, you know, you've, this is a very well researched book. We're talking about The Time Savers Workout, which I think is actually pretty cool because most of us, if you ask people why they're not working out, they'll say most of the time they'll say, I don't have time. So giving us the workout that is, I guess biohackers like to call the minimum viable dose is really, really cool.

John: 03:43 Oh, well thanks. Well, I mean it in, from my vantage point, I just think the most valuable commodity in our lives is time. Once spent, it's irretrievable, you can't get it back and nobody on their death bed is going to say, Geez, I wish I'd spend more time in the gym because life offers way more than, you know, what a gym does is that the purpose of a workout really is to be an adjunct to your life, not the reason for it. And so, you know, doing any more than is minimally required, seems to me time that could be better spent.

Allan: 04:17 Yeah. I know when I was, I was in my twenties and you know, in college I Kinda had this time like, so I'd, I'd finished my final class, you know, around 1/1 30 and then I would go to the gym and I'd get my workout done and then I would just sort of hang out. And typically it was the owner would say, Hey Allan, you know you're going to be here for another hour I know, I'm going to get my lunch. You know, just if you're okay to hang around, that'd be cool. And I'd hang around eventually just started, give me the gym membership for free cause I would do that stuff for him. But I loved being in the gym. You know it was fun. I had a lot of friends there and it was really cool. But like you said, now I'm kind of a little bit more time restraint sometimes. And I go into the gym and it's funny because you'll walk into the gym and the folks who are working out typically just doing, you know, the, the arms, you know like I'll see someone workout and I'll go in and do a full body workout and leave. And they're still, they're still working those little bycepts.

John: 05:14 Yeah. Oh for sure. For sure. Well I think back when you and I, because we are approximately the same age had started training. It was like a cause celeb that we were behind. We wanted it to be bigger and stronger individuals, you know, in the worship of muscle was the church. And uh, anyone who was in gym was a compadre, you know, we were, we were all part of the same belief and put a value on looking like professional bodybuilders that uh, you know, and looking back was probably uh, misplaced, but that at the time it fueled our young imaginations. That's what we wanted to do. And every hour we could spend in a gym or among people that shared our belief was we might learn something or it might advance us a little closer toward our goal. And I think eventually over time and after banging your head against a brick wall in terms of and arrested development, that is not progressing despite the efforts, many of us began looking for another way.

We didn't want to give up the cause entirely, but eventually we kind of recognize that, well, maybe what we were told wasn't completely true and well that maybe, you know, you know, our diligence and the money that we throw out the window every month on supplements and protein powders in order to achieve this look, that was never going to come. Maybe we'd been duped. And consequently, I think a lot of people who were of our antiquity probably just wash their hands of the enterprise at a certain point in their lives and either, you know, in despair stopped doing anything like that or, or went into some other form of activity that was at least enjoyable and didn't promise unrealistic rewards for their time. And so certainly in my case, I was lucky too recognize that there was an alternative out there. And that was mainly through the influence of people like Mike Metzler and people that said as much, you know, that, you know, number one, you're never going to look like, you know, a champion bodybuilder. It's not the genes, but number two, there's still a lot to be gained from this enterprise. And so my interest, especially as I got older, shifted more onto the benefits that proper resistance training could impart to a person as opposed to the cosmetic component.

Allan: 07:30 Yeah. You know, I've talked to a lot of people in a, in a, and I've even in my book I kind of said, you know, when I talked to you about fitness, when I say fitness, you know, I'm not, I'm no longer talking about the kind of fitness that you want to be a professional hockey player or you that you want to be Arnold Schwarzenegger or that that's what you've kind of, you fitness to me, fitness now, once we get over 40 should be more about living the life that you want to live. And I think anyways, resistance training is an absolute imperative for us to do that.

John: 08:04 Yeah. To be able to do the things that you enjoy doing. The things that give your life, meaning. You have to be strong enough to, you know, to be able to do them. And the natural process of, of aging is entropy. You know, we're going to lose fibers, not lose them, but downsize them to the point where we can lose the ability to use them. And that suddenly restricts the circle in which we can move in terms of things we can do. So anything we can do to keep that balloon in the air in terms of full fiber health and function for as long as possible is a step in the right direction because it's coming down. You know, it's just, that's the natural, you know, entropy of human existence. You know, when you're born you're kind of, it's kind of like a bullet that shot in the air and it reaches the peak height at about age 25, but then it starts to return to earth and, um, you know, up until 25, you know, you've got bigger and stronger just as part of the natural growth process.

And so you would have gotten bigger and stronger by taking garbage out every week. Didn't really matter what you did. But, um, once you pass a certain age, typically once we exit our twenties, our body becomes like a very stingy board of directors and they want to know why they're investing this energy into keeping these muscle fibers preserved and hanging around that you simply never use. I mean the fight or flight fibers, the fast twitch fibers, the ones coincidentally that happened to have the greatest potential for the size increase that infect that affect our health the most dramatically are the first to go typically because cost the body the most energy to keep them on the payroll. So if you autopsy a 90 year old, you're going to find slow twitch fibers that are very well preserved, but the intermediate fast twitch are going to be decomposed at an alarming rate unless you do something to convince your body to keep them.

Allan: 09:54 Yeah, I know I was, I was reading a study and they had done um, some biopsies of older runners, you know, runners that had run their whole lives. They compared those two active runners in their twenties and thirties and found that from a, you know, from the, like you said, the, the fast twitch muscles, I got that right. Slow twitch muscles. I guess they retain those and they literally their look. So from a, from a muscular perspective, they had stayed very similar and the same can actually be said for people that do resistance training. Right?

John: 10:28 Right. Yeah. I mean that if you do a type of resistance training that calls upon fast twitch fibers and intermediate twitch fibers, you will preserve them. They're still going to be a loss. There's just, you can't buck up against nature, you know, and definitely, but, you know, whatever it can be done to preserve them, we'll preserve them and the thing that can be done to preserve them as to use them to give your body a reason to keep them on the payroll and uh, you know, otherwise, the natural course of things is simply to downsize them. Um, so when you do a type of resistance training, the cool thing about resistance training is that it hits all three classes of fibers, generally speaking, it gets slow twitch, intermediate twitch and fast twitch. And so your body is given a very strong prompt to hold onto those despite the aging process. And I think that's very important, not only for our functional ability but also for our metabolic health because each of those fibers contain metabolic pathways that he rode with the muscle. If you don't do something to preserve them.

Allan: 11:24 Now, one of the things that I think a lot of people struggle with is that they go in the gym and there they get a program. And here's a program where they see all the images, you know, the before and after, before and after. Uh, and some of those that are before and after, they're, they're in their forties and 50s, and you see them, they kind of put on a good amount of muscle, but someone else will do the same program and not quite get the same results. And you kind of talk about in the book about how we kind of each have our own individual response to how things work.

John: 11:57 Right? Absolutely. And there was a study that I quoted by a physiologist named Van Etten. And what was interesting about this is they had two groups. One that was mesomorphic are quite muscular and the other thinner ectomorphic and they put them on an identical exercise program for a period of 12 weeks. And then they monitored the results. And at the end of the study it was discovered that the mesomorphic or the group that was muscular before the workout experienced significant gains in muscle mass while the ectomorphic group experience no significant improvement at all. You know, so the takeaway from that is those who are inordinately muscular to begin with who have that genetic gift will gain size and strength from the bodybuilding efforts to a much greater extent. Then those who are not, you know, who don't share that morphology.

And of course the bodybuilding industry ignores this, But it also looks, when we think back on our early training careers, and you mentioned Arnold, I mean he was the guy, right? So we went into the gym and we bought Arnold's book, the education of a body builder. And we followed his program as best we could. We never got Arnold like results. But if you look at a picture of Arnold when he was 18 or 17, I mean we would have been happy to look like that, you know, when he started. But um, you know, it just isn't in the genetic cards. So to ape, you know, a popular bodybuilders program, the very fact that you're looking to look different than you do with strongly suggest that you don't have the genes to look the way that you want.

Otherwise even a little bit of training would suggest that potential. So, you know, anytime you see a bodybuilding magazine, and I used to write for bodybuilding magazines, the articles in there really have zero application to you, zero. So, and it's like trying to copy an Olympic athletes training program. You know, good luck with that. I remember Mike Mansour, who was perhaps the most honest bodybuilder I ever encountered in my career saying, you know, someone had asked him that, Sarah had mentioned that Roy Callender, who was another famous bodybuilder who is known for his density of muscles, that he did something like a hundred sets for his chest. And Mike said, well you try doing a hundred sets for your chest and see what happens. He said, you'll end up looking like a jockey. He said, because most of these bodybuilders would look like jockeys were not for the amount of steroids and take, and that was never discussed in the magazines really back in the day.

But genetics are the big ones. They are what will determine how much muscle, if that's your interest you can put on and it determines everything else from your height to your hair color. I mean it is the, you know, the Great Oz. It's the one that makes the, you know, the declaration as to how far you can go. And for most of us, we're going to bump up against our genetic potential in terms of muscle size, which is a more discernible, easily discernible indices of potential, usually within a year, at the most two years of training. And it's interesting being older now, my sons have friends who were at the age I was when I got into bodybuilding or in the strength training and the friends are into it and you can see it, you know, a real difference in their physique over the course of one year, maybe even a year and a half.

And then boom, that's the end of the road. And they're frustrated because, you know, their first year of training, they were experiencing this transformational benefit cosmetically of doing these workouts. Muscles were big, muscles became bigger and as a result, they're metabolic rates. Increased body fats tended to come off the body a little easier and they want to keep it going. And I recognize that as, you know, an attitude that was president of myself at that age, but it doesn't, and then they started looking for other things that can help them. You know, maybe they need more protein, maybe they, they need to change their program to one more closely resembling that of a, a bigger type of bodybuilder, but they're not going to get any bigger. And you've been around long enough to know that you've probably observed the same phenomenon. It just, there is a genetic cap that's put on these things. We don't know what it is ahead of time, but we do know that the, the best gains most of us ever had were first year of training, you know, serious strategy.

Allan: 15:58 Or after that coming back, I mean if you, if you trained as a, you know, when you were in your 20s or 30s and you, maybe you got untrained because you just, you know, life got in the way. Like with me, when I came back in the gym, it was like, okay, boom. You know, things looked really, really good. And then like you said, it Kinda plateaued. So you'd go to the trainer and said, okay, you know what, let's mix this up. Let's try something different. But yeah, general sense. You could refine it a little bit, but you just really couldn't go beyond that, that line.

John: 16:28 Well, you can't transcend. Yeah. You can't transcend it. So the thing is you, you go to training for a while, your muscles be conditioned, they atrophy, you get back into training, they come back again and you notice the difference. But you know, as far as some of these older guys that appear in the magazines, I mean, it's clear that there's some chemical enhancement going on there. Uh, you know, no, 65 year old has 2% body fat and a 17 in chart, you know, and suddenly built at age 60, you know? Yeah. I mean, it just doesn't happen unless you're, and the thing is steroids are an interesting thing. It's not that dissimilar for, or from what they know, you know, euphemistically called testosterone replacement therapy. You're still getting synthetic exogenous hormones put in your body. You know, you're not producing. And the problem is that nobody knows what the long term ramifications of this is.

I mean, most of the bodybuilders that I grew up being fans of in the 70s are either dead or have had serious coronary problems. And because there's never been studies done on steroids long term because they were originally not intended to be used for cosmetic purposes cause they were used to treat burn victims, you know, to facilitate the production of tissues. But then we found out, you know, about this great muscle building component and that became the priority. But there was never longterm studies done to know what the problems are. I mean step and think after, you know, several hundred thousand years of evolution, maybe there's a reason that's 70 year old guys aren't producing the same level of testosterone they did it 17 you know, and when we know that if someone gets certain types of cancers, the first thing doctors will do is, is try and cut out any testosterone in the body at all because that causes the cancers to spread, to metastasize.

So there's tumors that can be awakened in your body, let's say from certain endocrine responses that may not be, you know, a good thing to awaken. We don't know. We're kind of, we're playing with nature a little bit with that. But like I say, there's, there's probably a reason after all these years of evolution, that our bodies tend to reduce testosterone production. So when I see a guy in a magazine who claims to be whatever, 70 years old and he's got he's got a physique that more closely resembles that of a steroids taking 20 year old, that doesn't impress me, that tells me, hey, I have a very insecure seven year old who, who thinks you know that life is all about from the neck down. You know, you don't see pictures of these guys writing novels. You don't see pictures of them painting great paintings or, or composing music.

They just sit there and in a speedo and say, look at me. And that's the extent of their, you know, their enthusiasm for life. I knew a guy in California, he used to hang on to Joe Leader's office quite a bit and uh, he always claimed to be older than he was. And because he thought he looked more impressive physically. If he told people he was 75 or whatever, he was maybe late sixties but heavy steroid user and would be open about it and say how great he looked. And uh, and then, you know, it wasn't enough that he was married. He had to try and impress younger women. And I mean, nothing the guy said appealed to me at all. I didn't find them cool. I didn't find them. Uh, oh Geez, I want to be like this guy. I mean, to me, you know, the fake 10, the capped teeth, the perfectly quaffed hair and fake muscles, basically. It's Arthur Jones old line about a little boy in a gorilla suit. And this was an old man in a gorilla suit and the gorilla suit wasn't that big to begin with.

Allan: 20:02 Yeah, I think the key of it is, and you know, and that's what I really like about the listeners of this I have on the show, is they're not looking for necessarily the vanity look, they're not going for that approach. This truly is about wellness and what can we do and how can we use resistance training to enhance our wellness? And one of the concepts that you had in the book that I think is really, really important for us to understand is this conservation of energy and how that impacts how our muscles grow or how we lose weight. Can you kind of talk through a little bit of this cconservation of energy and our bodies kind of do that?

John: 20:42 Yeah. Well, it's a funny phenomenon. I've labeled it the conservation of energy phenomenon or CEP just so I can have a moniker for it, but it's just the natural course of action of the body to conserve energy every step of the way. Energy is one of the most vital resources that we have apart from air and water for without it, we die. So very early on in our species history, our bodies discerned to means by which it would learn to control the amount of energy that it was outputting from the body for any tasks that we have to undertake. Since all of the tasks were muscular in nature, therefore impacted the muscular system. So you can, for example, the most common example I use is the first time you ever drove a standard automobile standard trans mission. It was exhausting. You know, every muscle group was fully engaged and as well as your consciousness, as you check the mirrors and your work to clutch and the shift and the brake and the gas, that by the time you finished your first session learning how to drive a standard automobile, you were exhausted.

But then fast forward, you know, about a month or two and you find yourself zip and down the highway changing gears while you're changing the radio. It's effortless. And it's, it's not that the, you know, the first time you did it, that was a real workout, but it felt like it. But later what happened was your body recognized that it over mobilized its forces. It used way more muscle fibers and thus way more energy than a required in order to to accomplish this task that you've set before that of changing gears and working the clutch. So over time it learned to pull back and just use the precise amount of fibers at the precise time that they were required rather than all together at once. And consequently, your heart and lungs and your metabolic system where no longer servicing 100% of the tissue they use, they were two months previously when you first started, maybe it was on the order now of 15% so it's not nearly as demanding.

But then I could see that application to every physical activity we did. For example, runners who let's say in the northeast when the snow comes, they have to run indoors on a treadmill cause they don't wanna run on the ice. So they, you know, tick along on their treadmills and they believe their cardiovascular systems in pretty good shape. And then the snow goes away in the spring and they say, okay, time to run on the road. Well, invariably their first road run feels like they've never run before in their lives. You know, their hearts going like a trip hammer their sweating, pouring sweat through their chest is heaving. Their muscles ache for days after the first run. But they do it again just like the guy in the standard automobile and they do it again and they do it again and they do it again. And Lo and behold, that same route run at the same speed. You know, less than a month later. It's effortless. The older pulse rates barely leaving a baseline. They're not no nearly as sore, they're not breathing nearly as heavy. And they pat themselves on the back saying, I've really improved my cardiovascular system. Well, no. What happened was the CEP stepped in again. So now, you know, rather than the first time running where your heart ones, we're servicing the working 100% of the tissue. Maybe now it's on the order of 25% maybe less. So of course your pulse rates are not going to be driven up. You know, of course the amount of fibers brought into play won't be as much. But now I see it in everything. I see it in everything we do from lifting a Coffee Cup to working out and the body's means of conserving energy.

And they did a fascinating study that I cite in the book where they tested the calorie burn or the energy of people walking and they got a value of that. And then they put them in an exoskeleton or a mechanical suit that altered their gait to the way their, their strides so that it was more demanding, was a little more challenging and to nobody's surprise, they burn more calories. But the very next time they put on the Exoskeleton, they were right back to the calories that they were burning before the body have made the adaptation. So it occurs, you know, probably quicker than we think. But you can see that that has preservation value.

We kind of have two things that are hardwired into our consciousness with regard, maybe even to our DNA as regard to energy. And one is if you come upon energy, consume it because it may not be there tomorrow. And the second one is if you don't have to output a lot of energy, don't because you may not get it back out of your environment. Now this has a lifesaving value to the species such as ours that live for eons in a environment of food scale because it'll allowed us to conserve energy until we got to an area where there may be a little more food to sustain us. But the only thing that's changed does not our biology over this time, but our, our environment, I mean we now live in an environment of food abundance. Consequently these two impulses are still at play. So if there's energy, we opt to consume it. And there's still almost a primal fear that you know, it may not be there tomorrow. And the other thing is when it comes to exercise, all of us instinctively load high energy output activity.

And it could simply be because there's a part of our biology, it says you may not get that back. You know, don't work quite so hard, especially if you don't have to. So given that most people aren't physiologists, they don't know the workings of the body when they hit their forties I think, Geez, something's changed. Like I just saw a snapshot of me on holiday and I look like a beached whale. I've got to do something. I've lost whatever. You know, I used to be strong, I used to have muscle, I want to get that back so they know they have to do something psychologically. But the biology says, and I don't like this all out, you know, effort in the gym. That's a, it would be like, you know, running hurdles on the track. It's not a pleasant activity, but it's that type of activity that is necessary to activate and engage and stimulate and thus preserve those three classes of muscle fibers.

If you can do something that our psyches like, like going for a walk, you're only gonna use slow twitch fibers and over time you send a message to your body that the other two classes of fiber are dead weight because you're not using them. So it hastens their deterioration. So it's important to do a type of activity that we might initially perceive as being unpleasant in terms of its effect. Lactic acid burns, not pleasant breathing heavily, is not, it's not pleasant, but they there, it's just basically getting comfortable with your biology. You know, the heavy breathing and the lactic acidosis is simply a byproduct. It's the exhaust system of fast twitch fibers. So the more comfortable you get with your biology and you recognize there's nothing threatening going on, you know, the healthier you will be and the easier it is to train in a manner that is necessary to preserve all of those fibers and the metabolic functions.

Allan: 27:26 And that's what I really liked about this was when you kind of got into it and I was thinking, you know, most people are looking at resistance training and saying, okay, well this is going to get me stronger. This is going to improve my bone density. I may gain some muscle mass. But it goes well beyond that in that if you're training appropriately with resistance training, as you mentioned in the book with what you call the high energy output, you are tapping into your glycogen stores through all three types of muscle fiber and as a result you're actually setting yourself up to be metabolically advantage. So if you're struggling with high blood sugar like prediabetes or diabetes, if you're struggling with weight gain, that actually resistance exercise done the right way can actually go a long way towards helping you with taht.

John: 28:16 Oh absolutely. More so than any other activity really. And that is probably the only reason, apart from safety considerations, that resistance training moves to the form. It comes from the front of the line, those the preferred form of exercise, number one, it's a low force and if you run, you've got anywhere from three to five times body weight coming down on the joints with a single foot, you know when you're running. And then you also have the other issue that every time you do an activity, be at weight training, running, lifting a coffee cup. It's like a rope going over the face of a rock in terms of joints and where in terror. Now the hinge joints in your knees or the hinge joints and your elbows are not that dissimilar from the hinge joints in a door. In that they have a lifetime of normal use built into them, exceed that normal use quantity and your on a fast track to a replacement.

So when someone goes out for a bicycle ride, let's say, which was a seemingly innocuous activity, at the very least, they're going to open and close the hinge joints in their knees 10,000 times at the very least. So it's not that dissimilar to going to your door and opening and closing at 10,000 times over and above the normal use of that door. And if you do it three or four days a week, you've got a multiplier to put on it as well. So it's not a coincidence that people who are heavily involved in athletics, for example, and have, you know, two or three practices a week and maybe one or two games a week through a varsity career or high school and college, all of them end up arthritic. I can't think of anyone I knew who was on the varsity football team or hockey team that now has either had a knee or hip replacement or severe arthritis.

And it's overused and I think the earlier we're cognizant of this in our lives, the less problems we're going to have down the road. The benefit from exercise comes from a deep fatiguing of the muscles. That's the prompt cause the body to make an adaptation, whether it's in terms of endurance, which essentially is more glycogen storage and a muscle or strength in a muscle and you know, shy of that. There's not really a hell of a lot more you can get out of exercise anyway. So when people say, well, I'm going to do this for my cardiovascular system as if running for example, you know, the muscles involved in running where somehow divorced from resistance training or when you do resistance training. But the problem with that is when the CEP kicks in, you now have to change that running program in order to get the same benefit, the same stimulus, same effect, same fiber involved.

And that typically equates to running greater distances so now or cycling greater distances. So in the case of the cyclist, those 10,000 opening and closings now have to be extended to 20,000 to 30,000 to 50,000. And so that rock or sorry that rope goes over that rock face that many more times. And again, all to reach the end goal, which is to fatigue the muscles meaningfully enough that the body produces a positive adaptive response. And that's, that's what it is. If you think about, um, the best example of fiber recruitment stimulation and the effect would be cycling. Again, if you're cycling on the flat, and let's say you went out with a buddy, you could converse for as long as you want it to, an hour, hour and a half back and forth while you're riding on a flat surface because you're only using slow twitch fibers. You're not even really aware of your legs moving.

But then you come into a hill and as you start to go up the hill gravity, and I'll start to pull you back the other way. So the muscles have to work harder, uh, to keep you moving upward or up to grade. And consequently, at some point at the lower base of the hill, you begin to feel something's going on metabolically in my muscles, now I'm aware of it. Maybe we're not going to converse at quite the same rate that we were prior to this. But you continue on and as you get closer to the summit, your legs are on fire. You know, you're breathing very heavily. You all, you have to stand up now because it's very difficult to complete the revolutions of the pedals and maybe even you have to stop and get off the bike and walk it up the rest of the way.

But once you, once you do that, you notice that your breathing continues the heavy breathing for a protracted period, there's a tremendous cardiovascular stimulation far greater than what you had for writing for an hour on the flat surface, just from maybe 30 seconds to a minute of demanding muscular work, high energy output, muscular works. And so with resistance training we can manipulate certain variables. The load, the time of the muscle's underload and we can also control the forces, which is very important for our joint hill. But you know, when you finish a proper set of squats or leg presses or whatever lower body exercise you choose to do, it should feel like you just rode your bike to the summit of that hill from a cardiovascular and metabolic standpoint.

Allan: 33:01 Yeah. As I was getting into that part of the book, I was thinking, okay, well you're kind of talking about high intensity interval training, but I guess the problem with high intensity interval training is typically there's also the forces involved. But when you go to the resistance training, you're able to control the force.

John: 33:17 Well, right? I mean in high intensity interval training, there's lots of ways you can do it. Typically it's done on a a bicycle or a stationary bike. At least that's what most of the studies have been done on because it's easier to test vo two Max and things like that in a controlled environment. But, uh, you know, when you pull back big enough and take a more macro view of things, you see that in both cases it's demanding muscular work and resistance training. I mean, that could be another definition for it as demanding muscular work. And so the more demanding the muscular work you do, the brewery for your such exposure to that type of work has to be, and that's simply because you run through fibers at a quicker rate and you exhaust them just like the, you know, the faster you run, the less distance you can run.

So demanding muscular work is good and it gives us the benefit that we touched on at the beginning of freeing up more time. You don't have to be riding your bike for four hours, three or four days a week because of getting all of our, all of our adaptations are fixed. They're kept, and that includes cardiovascular adaptations. That's why not all of us can be Lance Armstrong's, we just don't have that genetic fifth year that lance had that allowed them to excel in cycling. He's perhaps not our best example because lance took a lot of other things as well to become a great cyclist. But genetically he had the [inaudible] to be an exceptional cyclist. You before he veered off into chemicals and other peoplehave that gift to be great Hockey players. The best example of that would be, I think I mentioned the book is Wayne Gretzky. He is bar none, the greatest hockey player in history because of the amount of records that he set.

And let's say you've been studying physiology and exercise science for 30 years, and the parent comes to you and says, Allan, I want you to train my son for hockey. I want you to get on as strong as possible because he's going to be playing a midget level hockey next year and you'll see you okay, I can share with them what I know. But right after he leaves, he gets a phone call from Wayne Gretzky says, Hey, I'll train your kid. Who's it going to go with? Most parents are going to go with the athlete because he knows this guy's been there. He's got the trip, the tips and secrets to make them a superstar. So interestingly enough, Wayne Gretzky was made the head coach of the Phoenix coyotes team in the NHL some years back, and he was the head coach for a period of five years.

So for five years, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each of those players had the full benefit of his wisdom, his whatever tips and secrets Wayne Gretzky had to impart, and they finished dead last every one of those years and didn't produce one player of the caliber of Wayne Gretzky, which tells me at least Wayne had a gift. It was genetics. He can't tell you why he was the greatest hockey player in the world. It just worked out for him. You know, uh, just happened to be that way. He had the right genes to excel in the sport of hockey, whereas most, most people don't, which is why most people never make it to the NHL level, let alone, uh, you know, shatter all the records in the NHL. But you can see that right across the board that in athletics,

Allan: 36:19 When I was playing football, you know, you had Herschel Walker and walks out and he's just this huge specimen of a man and you're like, holy crap, what is he doing? You know? He's like, what is he doing? I want to do what he does. He's, he's just doing pushups and sit ups. Yup. And you're like, he had the gift. I could do pushups and sit ups, you know, kind of look like that. I'm not going to be that fast. I'm not going to be that strong. You know, there's just, yeah, there's just some aspect, he doesn't know what it's like to be a little guy.

John: 36:52 Well, and the reality is, I mean, whether you're Herschel Walker's coach or Wayne Gretzky's peewee coach. I mean he trained and played his players exactly all the same. And, and yet Wayne Gretzky came out of that. So if you wanted to hang up a shingle and say, you know, send your kid to me. I trained Wayne Gretzky in peewee and look where he is now. He probably would have made a lot of money, but the reality is everybody that trained in the same way that Wayne Gretzky did went nowhere on his peewee team. So it's just, it's these guys falling through the genetic cracks that excel because they have this genetic gift. Herschel Walker is a perfect example. Bo Jackson was another example. Jim Brown before him was another phenom who just had the genetics to be an exceptional football player. And these are the ones that make it to the top. And it's the very fact that they are exceptional. That is far different from the norm that has caught our attention in the first place and what distances them from ourselves. They are how we would love to be, but we won't be well, you know, we'd like to entertain that thought as long as possible because who would want to be Herschel Walker?

Allan: 37:58 But you know, I came back to kind of what we can be, you know, cause we're, we're all now well past that point.

John: 38:06 Welcome to the club.

Allan: 38:07 Yeah. Uh, even thinking that's possible. But I do want to get into this because you've, you've got some training protocols in the book and I really want to help someone understand how when we talk about this deep fatigue or you know, the high energy output. How does that relate to a workout? And then why does that then result in us spending actually less time in the gym.

John: 38:32 Will you spend less time in the gym because of the nature of how the programs are engineered. Number one, you want to use all three classes of fibers and we want to do what's called a sequential recruitment, which means you go from a slow twitch to intermediate twitch the fast twitch and for that to happen, there has to be a meaningful load imposed upon the muscles so that it doesn't, all the work isn't done by slow twitch fibers if the weight is too light. Since we have a type of fiber slow twitch, which is very slow to fatigue and very quick to recover, they're the same fibers you use on a walk, for example. It's very easy for the fibers that you initiated the exercise with to recover. By the time you've completed a certain amount of repetitions and therefore you never break out of that cycle.

It's slow twitch, slow twitch, slow twitch, slow twitch, but the load is meaningful. That's like you ride in the bike up the hill. Now you're, you're going through these fibers at a rate quicker than they can recover at and the body has no choice but to recruit the next order of fibers in line. So we move on to the intermediate twitch and have those fatigue out before the slow twitch fibers that you started with fatigue out. Then we'll move onto the final class, which is fast twitch and that's where you'll notice, you know the difference in respiration and the burn and, and all of these things. So the protocols are, because they're demanding because they cycled through fibers at a quicker rate. You're basically out of gas after about a minute and a half to two minutes of work. So it's, it's like you starting your, your bike ride up the hill halfway up the hill, you're just flipping off the hour you did on the flat, which didn't really do much except recycled slow twitch fibers.

But there are also done with an eye toward minimizing wear and tear or opening and closing of the joints. One protocol in the book, which is called done in one requires, but one repetition just performed incredibly slowly and can take up to two minutes to complete, you know, a full extension and contraction of a muscle. Other protocols such as the Max Pyramid will burn you out really quickly and in fact is so demanding that you might not need, need more than two exercises in a given workout to reap the full benefit because you simply won't have, you'll want to give 100% but you won't have 100% left to give for a third exercise let's say. And the protocol that I tend to start most people with is, is an old one and um, you know, went back to the 1940s. It was designed by the physiologist Forman Watkins.

And the reason I put it in there, it's because it's time tested. It's probably put more muscle on more people than any other protocol combined. And indeed I would venture to say that most other protocols since then have been footnotes to Dolores and Watkins method and it's pretty standard. It's three sets, approximately 10 reps per set is very light and as strictly a warm up that utilizes some slow twitch fibers. Second set is heavier, it uses what's left of your slow twitch and uh, some intermediate twitch. But then the third sets, the work set, it's the one that allows you to incorporate or to activate all three classes of muscle fiber. And so it's just three sets of 10. That's most basic fundamental training protocol and the history of resistance training.

Allan: 41:44 Yeah. And you, and you can pretty much do these with just some full body exercises like the, the dead lift the leg press, the squat, bench press, overhead press. And in a sense you'll get a full body compound movement workout with three to four exercises. And you know, if you're doing that and you're not taking big long rests between this and then basically you can get through a workout and you know, less than 20 minutes

John: 42:09 For sure. Oh, for sure. Yeah. Most of our clients don't, uh, worked out longer than 12 minutes and that's, that's at the high end. Some that some can be as low as six, but the idea really isn't to look at a clock to see whether or not you exhausted your muscles. You're gonna know if you've exhausted them by the effort you've put forth. And we keep progress charts and notes so that you know there is no waste of time. We know what weights you can use and we know, you know how long in the case of using a stopwatch you can sustain that contraction or how many repetitions you can perform so that when you come in the next week, we know exactly where to where to start just so you're not wasting any time and I think that again, time is such a big thing.

We don't think of it an exercise because we know we're used to seeing people get better by doing something more. You know, you got better at the piano by practicing more, you get better at stick handling in hockey by practicing more. You know, all of these things require more time to lay down certain neural pathways to perfect a skillset. But conditioning training is a completely different animal. It's not a skill set, although there's some motor learning involved. It is. It is a metabolically demanding high energy output activity. And when you're tapping fiber such as the fast twitch fibers, you know, they were not, you know, they're not on our bodies as a, as something that, uh, we needed to use on a daily basis when you, our ancestors didn't have fight or flight situations imposed upon them, you know, every day from 11 until two, you know, like people at the gym, these were sporadic occurrences maybe every seven to 10 days.

And consequently our body's never evolved. A means by which the fast twitch fibers or the fight or flight fibers required a really quick recuperation before they can be brought into service again. And so they don't, it takes time for those fibers to recover. And it takes time for those fibers to adapt and slow twitch fibers and fast twitch fibers do not share the same recovery profile. So while you can go for a walk for an hour using slow twitch fibers and upon your return home you could probably go out for a walk again because you've recovered from that very low. You know, it's not a high energy output activity, but you do a set of reasonably heavy squats to the point of muscular failure where you can complete another rep, try and do another set right away. You won't have the inclination, all of your energy and resources have been called upon at a very, very high level. And then you just have to give your body and nature, if you will, time to make the necessary adjustments. So the next time you perform such an exercise in such a fashion that's not nearly as demanding physiologically as it was the last time you did it.

Allan: 44:49 Yeah. That's one of the beginner questions I get all the time is should I just do the same workout every day? And I'm like, no. If you did it right the first day, you don't want to do it the next couple of days.

John: 45:00 And you don't want to do it again until you really have to. I mean there's two factors. One, the immediate after effect of a workout is a depletion. You get weaker. Energy was used up, glycogen was burned up, which is an energy selling them in a muscle and in some cases fibers or damage. So when that happens, you're not, you're not looking to do that again, you're, you're, you're essentially tripping the growth and repair mix. He doesn't have the body into motion by doing these workouts. And that's the same mechanism that comes into play. If you should ever cut yourself or burn yourself and the next time that should happen, just informally observe how long it takes for that little bit of skin or Dermis to bridge the wound. And that's just a little bit, it's usually seven to 10 days anyway. So the, the healing process, which is where the benefit that we're after occurs takes time.

It's not a, it would be the, like the workout is the stimulus, which is like when you cut your hand, well that's a stimulus to your body to produce new tissue, to close the wound. And when you work out with weights its extinguished your body to produce a little more, you know, a thickening of the muscles. But you don't hasten the process by recutting your hand every day, you know, you delay it. And the same is true with a workout. And I remember speaking with Doug McGuff about this and he said, interesting point, he said, but did you know that the skin repairs itself through the ectodermal germline, whereas muscles come from the Mesodermal germline? And I didn't know what the hell he was talking about. So I said, no, I didn't know that. And he said, well, here's what you need to know about.

He said, the active Dermal Germline, which you mentioned with the cut, which takes over seven to 10 days to heal, he goes, it is a germline that heals much, much quicker that muscle does. You said so if you scratch your cornea can be pretty well on its way to repair in 12 hours, so if you're going to be doing a very demanding workout, don't beat yourself up. If seven days ticked by and you haven't been back to the gym yet, you know you may need the extra day or two for full recovery because again, it comes from a metabolic line that is not quick and turning over proteins necessary for a rapid repair.

Allan: 47:08 Okay. John, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

John: 47:19 Hmm, that's interesting because it's an interesting definition because consists of three completely unrelated conditions that are under one umbrella term, but each is important to consider. Fitness is your ability to function, to do things that you want to do. Health is simply the absence of disease and happiness is a subjective term is what makes one person happy, might bore another person to tears. But I believe that the type of training that we've been discussing, high energy output training will look after the first condition you mentioned and to some extent it will positively impact your health as well. It won't cure a disease, but it might help prevent your health from deteriorating to the point where your body can't combat certain elements that might lead to diseases such as say, diabetes and perhaps the ability of your body to carry out the dictates of your mind in terms of doing things you really want to do and enjoy doing might lead to happiness of a sort and stave off conditions such as depression to some degree, which in fact the medical literature is indicated about resistance training. But only you can infuse your life with purpose depending upon your individual psyche and that will give you peace of mind to some degree.

Happiness is an interesting topic because as a perpetual state is foreign to human beings, and I'm not sure that it would be desirable as there is a vast spectrum of human emotions that collectively make up what we could call the human condition and some of them are the furthest thing from pure happiness, but to experience them all to live your life within each nerve fully exposed during this brief go round that we have is to experience the totality of your humanity. And according to some philosophies, at least your experience of a particular emotions opposite tends to heighten your experience of that emotion when you experience I again, as you know, you often only know things through contradistinction.

So after all, what would darkness mean if you only ever knew light, but to your point, given that the studies have shown that your health can be preserved with proper resistance training, given that the studies have shown that your functional ability can be tremendously enhanced through proper resistance training. And given the fact that studies have also shown an interrelationship between psyche and Soma. For example, if you're constantly worried and stressed, you can get a physical condition known as an ulcer. You have to think that would also work in reverse. So whatever it is that makes you happy, usually it's an activity or something that you enjoy. You need your muscles to get you to it or to perform it. And this was a means by which you will enhance and preserve your ability to do those things that you enjoy and to do it, you know, as best you can in the absence of the disease better than any other activity. And certainly fire quicker and more thoroughly than any other activity.

Allan: 50:04 Yeah, I'm inclined to agree with you because, you know, I think, you know, if you kind of go back to some of the happiest times in your life, it typically involves you spending time with someone that you care about, like a grandchild or something like that. And your ability to be engaged with them and doing the things that need to be done. So I agree with you there. And then, you know, if you're really doing this workout the way you're supposed to, it's not going to be the most pleasant day of your life. So you're going to be very unhappy for that 12 minutes.

John: 50:35 But yeah if you can get comfortable with being uncomfortable for, you know, six to 12 minutes a week in order to have all of the benefits of resistance training can give you, you know, maybe it's a deal worth taking.

Allan: 50:50 I think it is. I really do. So John, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the books that you've written and the things that you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?

John: 51:00 Well, I don't really have a dedicated website about any of that. Certainly for the books, they can go to any of the online bookstores. They're available there. Amazon carries all my books and that will at least be able to give them a means to see what I'm interested in, what I'm working on. And as I tend to publish quite a few of those and if they're on Facebook, feel free to look me up and say hello.

Allan: 51:23 Okay, well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/388 and I'll be sure to have links to the books and also to John's Facebook.

John, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

John: 51:38 Well thank you Allan. It was a pleasure to speak to you.

I hope you enjoyed that conversation with John Little, you know, it's, um, it's always good to get the most out of our time working out so that we're getting the best benefit in the shortest amount of time. Bang for the buck, right? So go back and listen to that again. Go ahead and get his book, The Time Savers Workout. Really good book as well. I did want to let you know, again, I do have those slots for one on one training. You can email me Allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com and I'll send you an application. But if you're just on the fence with this and you're just not quite sure, why don't we schedule a 15 minute consult? You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/15min and we can schedule a 15 minute consult. We can talk about what your needs are. We could talk about what your goals are. I can give you a little bit on the phone there just to kind of give you a taste, a little taste of what it's like to be working with me. One on one. So go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/15min. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

June 24, 2019

Live large and live long with Jennifer L Carroll

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Thank you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another episode you may enjoy

Short cuts to happiness with Tal Ben-Shahar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another episode you may enjoy

June 10, 2019

Reach your peak with Dr Marc Bubbs

Patreons

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  • Judy Murphy
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Thank you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Another episode you may enjoy

June 3, 2019

Fix your back pain with Dr. Sabastian Gonzales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allan: (37:39) Yeah. And I can, I can, I can definitely get that. You know, pain is kind of one of those things that cuts through most of the other things that are there. And if we want to avoid it then well, it is. Now. I define wellness as being the healthiest fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay? Well?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another episode you may enjoy

May 27, 2019

Super wellness with Dr Edith Ubuntu Chan

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  • Judy Murphy
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Thank you!

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

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

Now on to the interview…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allan Misner: 01:04:22 Yeah, you're right. Your acronym just fell right in place. I used to streets in mine and I had to do them all out of order just to get it done. And yours is really, really cool. Now Dr. Edith I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another episode you may enjoy

May 20, 2019

Get bigger, leaner, and stronger with Michael Matthews

Patreons

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

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

Thank you!

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

Show notes are pending…

Another episode you may enjoy

May 13, 2019

The hormone fix with Dr. Anna Cabeca

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

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

Thank you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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