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Category Archives for "guest/interview"

February 4, 2019

Gus Vickery – Authentic Health

You can find authentic health with the right changes. Dr Gus Vickery and I discuss his new book, Authentic Health: The Definitive Guide to Losing Weight, Feeling Better, Mastering Stress.

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  • Judy Murphy

Thank you!

Allan (0:55): Dr. Vickery, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Gus Vickery (0:59): Thanks so much, Allan. I’m really excited to be here.

Allan (1:02): Your book, which I really enjoyed, is called Authentic Health: The Definitive Guide to Losing Weight, Feeling Better, Mastering Stress. It took me to that last word before you really had me engaged and saying, “I’m going to read this book.” That is in my mind, one of the big missing elements that so many people skip, and I know I skipped it myself. So, 2018 was a beginning of a distress for me, and now in 2019 I’m going to try to watershed stress. In the book you’re pretty clear that if we’re not dealing with our stress, we’re missing a big piece.

Dr. Gus Vickery (1:44): Absolutely. And there’s both the direct and indirect effect on health. This became apparent to me over the 14 years I’ve practiced clinical medicine and seeing people in a family practice setting. A lot of people, as you know, are struggling with obesity or being overweight, poor energy, mental health issues, diabetes, etcetera. And of course there’s information to help them. You can improve your nutrition, you can get exercise. These are all things that we have a lot of information out there, but I would realize that I could give them information until the cows came home, but it was so often inaccessible to them in terms of being able to turn that information into action. So I started trying to figure out what’s keeping people from taking action? I just told them if they do these few things, they can reverse a disease and feel better. Why is it not happening? And of course you study it for your own self. So you begin to study the mind and stress responses and what occurs, and you quickly realize that when people are overwhelmed by stress, that a part of their mind – I call it the “higher mind” – I know it’s an oversimplification that helps them make choices and align with their desires, make plans, envision the future – it’s inhibited. It’s turned off, because they’re cranking out adrenaline and a fight or flight state all of the time, so not only can they not think from that capacity, but at the same time they’re in desperate need of something to feel better, a fix. And our society has made it very easy to get your fix, whether it’s this food you choose, the nicotine, alcohol, what have you. And so, if you don’t get control of the stress, you can’t put the rest of it into action.

Allan (3:20): Right. I’m going to admit right now you got me in trouble. I have a good diversity of friends on Facebook and throughout my life, and we don’t always agree on things. So it’s a pretty regular thing if I go onto Facebook, someone’s going to post something I’m not going to agree with. I’ll be really kind to say I’m not agreeing with them. But I realized as I was going through your book, that was just something that I was allowing to happen to me as I was going through my day. I check my Facebook probably two or three times a day because part of my business does run through the Internet, so I’m on. I said, “I’m just going to turn all that stuff off and I’m going to finish reading your book and I’m not going to worry with that.” Unfortunately, what ended up happening was, I forgot that it was Tuesday and thought it was Wednesday and I missed a call that was supposed to be on Tuesday night. So, I’m going to have to blame you for that a little bit because you got me to turn that stuff off so that I could in a sense distress, or at least keep some stressors out of my life for a period of time. I’ve got to learn the practice of still remembering what day of the week it is when I’m going through that practice.

Dr. Gus Vickery (4:46): That’s right. I’m glad you were able to take that action. For somebody like yourself, so tuned into health, so tuned into what needs to be done to improve health, you realize every single one of us needs this. We’ve all got our little things that we need to be doing.

Allan (5:02): At the time I was like, “I’m going to try this – turn Facebook off, turn the newsfeeds off.” I put my phone away; completely forgot what day of the week it was, which was great, except for when I woke up the next morning and remembered it was Wednesday and I was supposed to be on a call last night. I had some people to apologize to. Now, you brought up something in the book, which I think has probably been used a good bit in maybe more the scientific and the doctoral area. It’s not a term that I had actually seen in a health book before, which is kind of odd because I’ve read well over 200 of them just for this podcast. I’m going to screw it up when I say it – biopsychosocial model. Can you go through that, because I think it wraps this all together to give us a bubble of understanding that our body is not just one system, one thing, a simple rule, calories in, calories out? We want those simple rules, but this wraps it all together and says you really have to look at yourself holistically to understand what’s going on in your life.

Dr. Gus Vickery (6:15): Once you get your mind around it, it’s just common sense too. Intuitively it immediately resonates when you think about our mind, our body, our social environments and our cultural environment, and how all of those inform our health, our experience of health, our experience of whatever weight we’re experiencing. In med school, this has been around. When I was in medical school back in the ‘90s, we were being taught the biopsychosocial model. It was part of the curriculum to say it’s not just biology, it’s not just biochemistry, molecular biology and physiology, but how people feel about things is important for their health. What resources they have around them is important for their health. Now that seems obvious and I point that out, the initial theory of learning medicine is, you’ll honor all of that when you approach another human being to try and help them achieve their best state of health or reverse a disease. And then of course I allude to the idea that the modern healthcare delivery environment doesn’t allow any honoring. But the mind and how we feel and how we think has very quick and direct effects on our physiology and our experience of health, and our biology. What we take in from nutrients, how we move our body, whether we honored circadian rhythm – it informs our thinking and feeling centers in our brain and changes those aspects. And then again, cultural environment: What are the belief systems that we’re immersed in and how has that informed our habits, most of which we didn’t consciously choose – that’s determining our health as well.

Allan (7:46): Right. I was thinking through that concept because I didn’t go to medical school, but it was a brilliant concept. I’m like, “Yeah, of course that’s the way we would do it.” And the reason we know that’s the way we should do it is, there are things we know and respect, like the placebo effect. When I was much younger, I was in a club called the Positive Mental Attitude Flub. We would meet for breakfast on Tuesdays every week, someone would speak, someone would be responsible for putting together a little speech and then we’d have our breakfast together. Those were all things that we did to improve our lives in general, but what I found was most people that are doing those types of things actually are improving their health along the way. It’s not just one thing – it’s not just their business getting better or they just happened to be nicer people. Everything’s working better because they set their mindset.

Dr. Gus Vickery (8:48): That’s exactly right, which is why I started on the mindset and the desire and how you’re thinking before you get to just about anything else in the book, because that’s foundational. Part of the tension I felt as a physician – people come to us with their complaints: “I’m not feeling good”, or for a checkup or whatever. And then you’re sitting and you’re trying to help them figure out what’s the source and what’s the solution to these complaints, how to help them feel better. And the typical medical encounter in traditional medicine, the tools you’ve been given are medicines, prescriptions. I can help your stomach acid problem with a prescription. I can help your mood with a prescription. I can lower your blood pressure. And there is a role for those tools. I am a medical doctor, I prescribe medications. But when I found myself primarily using only that tool to try and solve problems that had much deeper roots, I realized this is ineffective, this is going nowhere. And of course eventually people didn’t continue to feel better. But what I also realized is, if they’re not bringing their own desire for health in the room with them, then there’s really not much I can do. For many of my encounters I had to back up and really start with, “What do you want? What is it you really want to experience?” “Of course, I want to feel good.” And I’m like, “Okay, let’s talk about what it means to feel good then, and how you’re going to get there.”

Allan (10:02): Me as a coach, for 95% of the people that call me or want to work with me, it’s weight loss. And I can coach them. I’m going to hold them accountable, we’re going to hang out. You had a program which allows you to structure test a lot of the concepts that you now have in this book. But I liked the fact that you recognize that weight gain is a cycle, and once we get on that cycle, the cycle fights us tooth and nail all the way. So many people will sit there and blame themselves and say, “I’m just lazy.” I did it myself – I called myself “the fat bastard”, and it was because I had not figured out a way to really break that cycle. It was just getting worse and worse every year and it still took me a long time to figure out what you succinctly put in this book. So, someone that’s feeling that way – whether they’re designating themselves “the fat bastard” or something else – what are the things they need to do right now, today, to start to break that cycle?

Dr. Gus Vickery (11:32): Several key things. One is understanding – understanding that you probably didn’t choose this problem for yourself. It’s something that happened to you. Yes, we’re making choices. Yes, there’s personal responsibility. And yes, you’re the only person who can make new choices. But more than likely if you’ve developed a weight problem, meaning an excessive amount of body weight that’s causing you to be unhealthy, it started at very young ages of your life based on exposures that were beyond your control and that you didn’t understand. So blaming yourself, bringing shame and guilt and saying you don’t have what it takes, is not going to help the situation. It’s just going to create stress, which is going to undermine your efforts to get healthy. So, understand the situation you’re dealing with is number one. And even though you can’t do it overnight, begin to let go of this blame. We don’t have the time for me to get into all of the mechanisms of how that happened – the epigenetics, physiology and hormones, but we both know that’s what happens, that’s what creates chronic weight gain. 

Two – understand what actually solves the problem. We know that daily reduced calorie diets and just increasing exercise do not solve this problem. We have copious evidence that low calorie diets and exercise plans do not lead to sustained weight loss. Yes, you’ll lose some weight, but you want to sustain it. So what’s actually creating the weight gain? It can be many different things, but for most people it is going to be, they’re probably eating excessively, because our foods are calorie-dense and nutrient-poor. They’re probably eating too frequently. I listened to one of your recent podcasts and you talked about fasting for a good bit of time, and it was great. It’s one of the foundational principles in my book. Eating too frequently will continue to create a hormonal response that favors fat storage, no matter what you’re eating. If you’re eating too frequently, you will stay in a cycle of, hold onto your energy, don’t use your energy. Then it’s inflammation and bad quality foods. If you’re choosing foods that trigger direct inflammatory responses in the body and they create increased oxidative stress, you are creating an internal physiological need that favors weight gain. In order to actually stop this cycle and allow your body to reset… And there’s hope here, because this actually works. It’s been proven to work and to allow the area of your brain that regulates your body weight, apart from your choices, to begin to reset your weight down. You have to honor your body’s design for eating, and that’s pretty simple. Our bodies adapted over millennia upon millennia to eating whole natural foods as close to their natural state as possible. That can include carbohydrates – you know I talk about ketogenics and things in the book. It’s a program that could be used, but people don’t have to be ketogenic. If they’re eating high fiber, nutrient-dense whole foods, then those will naturally begin to control appetite, correct energy balance and allow that area of the brain called the lipostat to begin to reset back down. And by eliminating the foods that trigger the human reward system, binge eating and dysregulation of normal satiety function and satiation function, you naturally correct the eating behavior. The problem just goes away when you do that, and then you balance feeding and fasting. You basically stop eating at such a frequent basis and you begin to allow periods for your body to use the energy that you put into it. So, natural foods, balanced feeding and fasting. There’s more to it – circadian rhythm, function, move, breathe, all that. But those two things.

Allan (15:13): The book goes into great detail on the hormone side of it, all the rest of it, which is really, really cool. Now, of course the “calorie in, calorie out” model pretty much requires you to eat all the time. I tried to go pescatarian. I was mostly vegetarian with some fish. I tried it and what I found was I couldn’t get enough sustenance to get myself to the next meal. So, I carried food with me. I became obsessed about food – I had food in my truck, I had food in my office. I pretty much feel like if I wasn’t showering, brushing my teeth or asleep, I was eating. So, I actually put on weight. I know that I did it wrong because every time I got hungry, I ran for the berries, I ran for the nuts. Those were my go-to snacks because they were convenient to carry, and abundant, because I can go to the grocery store anytime. But when I really started breaking down why I’m gaining weight, why this is not working for me – my ancestors would not have had access to berries and nuts like that, and probably not even at the same time, because nuts typically come in the fall, berries typically come in the spring. I feel better when I can fast, so I’m eating more fat and less carbohydrates and I feel better. But for a lot of people to start the fasting, it’s scary word: “Am I going to get blood sugar?”, all these different things that they’re concerned are going to happen. I would say if you’re going to do any extended fasting, please talk to your doctor. If you’re on any kind of medication, particularly blood sugar lowering medication – please talk to your doctor before you change your eating. But you lay out in the book what I think is a really clear plan for someone that wants to start working with fasting, so that they can be successful and use this as a protocol to get healthy. Can you talk through your protocol for fasting?

Dr. Gus Vickery (17:23): I sure can. It’s very important to keep it easy. And in the book I did say, don’t get stressed about this. When you learn what fasting actually is, you’re going to be refreshingly liberated. It’s not that you have to go 24, 36 or 48 hours. There is a role for extended fast when you train your body to fast for health, if you want to do that. As an example, one of my patients who I was coaxing towards this because of high insulin, high body weight, metabolic syndrome – he realized fasting was three meals a day, no snacks, with a 12-hour overnight window. That for him was fasting because it was a significant deviation from his eating pattern before. And that’s a traditional way of eating three meals a day; that’s not that hard. And when he learned that, he was like, “I can do that.” And of course it wasn’t long before he was doing 14 and 16-hour fasts because his body developed the skill. So I tell people, first you’re going to take your time. This is a skill that your body has within it to use, unless you have certain medical conditions. We’re making that medical disclaimer. If you have true medical hypoglycemia based on metabolic conditions, then this isn’t for you. But for everybody else, just about, this will work. So first of all, recognize you’re going to be patient with yourself and that you’re trying to achieve a specific end, which is metabolic flexibility and freedom from food and eating behaviors, and other improvements in health. 

The first easiest way to do this is to even look at it as a 12-hour window as a fast. You can use any 12-hour window, but one of the easiest is just to use your overnight window. You basically allow yourself to not snack after dinner and go to bed, and simply not eat the next morning until it’s been 12 hours from when you finished. Almost everybody can do that without much of a difficulty. The challenge for some will be that they were having ice cream at night. That’s not an issue with your ability to manage the hunger. That’s a craving. I think you want to talk about that in a little bit. So first of all, just extend your evening fast as skipping breakfast. You can start with a fast after breakfast or lunch if it works better for you. You could go from lunch to breakfast the next morning, but just consider a 12-hour window. Try to eat two or three meals a day and eliminate snacking. For some people just eliminating the snacking can be the beginning of fasting. When you get really good at this, you might want to go for 24, 36-hour fasts, especially if you’re trying to reverse weight issues, but don’t do that until you can do 16 or 18 comfortably. 

Now, don’t force fasting into your life when conditions don’t favor fasting. Don’t fast for your spouse’s birthday party. Don’t fast for Thanksgiving feast. Fast when it’s suitable for you, when it’s going to work socially. My fasting days are my work days, when all I really want to do is stay focused and productive and I don’t want to have to take time to eat. And then I can stop and really enjoy it with my family. Stay well hydrated while fasting. Most people fail because they become thirsty and dehydrated and they mistake dehydration for hypoglycemia. So they think they have lower blood sugar, but actually they’re just dehydrated. Drink plenty of water. Don’t overeat when you break your fast. When you first start to eat again, just eat a smaller meal. Give your body some food and give it a chance to digest. People have this mythological view that if you fast, you’re always going to end up becoming too hungry and then you’re going to overeat, you’re going to binge eat, and that’s going to create this yo-yo impact, but that’s just not true. Studies don’t bear that out. We tend to not eat as much when we’re actually breaking a fast. You have to expect to experience hunger. You are going to experience it. That’s part of what we’re on a mission to do here, is to begin to experience hunger and not always have to give into it. You’re going to have some physical and emotional discomfort, so you have to be prepared for this and you have to be in your mind determined to work through that. You know hunger is going to come for you, it’s going to come in waves and you have to know that you’re going to drink some water, redirect yourself, do some breathing, do some jumping jacks, something to turn that hunger off. 

Now, if you’re experiencing severe hunger, weakness, dizziness, nausea, sweating, just feeling terrible, brain-foggy – eat. You’re not being forced to do this. Just give yourself something to eat – eat some nuts, eat a small meal if you need to, and then just pick up from where you left off. That is not failure; it’s okay. Your body is leading you and sending you signals. On your non-fasting days, eat normally. Don’t undereat. That is a mistake I see people make because fasting becomes so powerful for people, they can use it to lose weight quickly, because you can use this interrupted calorie deprivation schedule to actually allow yourself to begin to create energy balance that favors weight loss without triggering the area of your brain to go, “Uh-oh. Let’s stop the process.” So it can be very effective. But if you undereat after a prolonged fast, all you’re going to do is the same thing as a reduced calorie diet. You’re not going to get the result you want. So eat normally on non-fasting days. In fact, eat robustly. Enjoy eating, because you’re balancing feasting with fasting. And then kind of vary the rhythm of it. Sometimes it’s 12 hours, sometimes it’s 16. You’re having a great day, you feel good – go 18 hours. But let your body lead you. Don’t try to force yourself through those hard stop moments where your body is actually going into a stress response, because that’s not going to get the result you want. Mostly, just make it a lifelong habit. It doesn’t have to be a 6-week program, a 12-week program. Make this a permanent habit. Don’t fast on your vacations, but then fast when you come back. There are a lot of great books out there on fasting. I like them, I read them, I geek out on this stuff and the physiology, but for most people it’s pretty simple – you’re just not eating. You don’t have to go and have a 90-day program written for you. Just give yourself permission to have longer windows without eating.

Allan (23:32): The core of it, I’ll say, and you say this in the book very well as an addition – if you’re going to keep eating garbage, processed foods, fasting is not going to work for you. Your body’s never going to listen to the signals you give it, that you’re trying to train it to do, because it is not going to understand what you’re eating is food. It’s not going to be properly nutritioned. As a whole, if you’re not eating high quality food, then don’t try fasting. That’s not your solution yet. Start with the high quality food, and then the fasting is where you step it up and say, “Now I’m in control. I’m going to train my body to actually give me the signals it’s supposed to give me, enjoy the food that I want to enjoy, get the nutrition that I need and my body will tell me when it’s time to eat.” And now you’re not locked into this, “I have to eat now because it’s 5:00 or 6:00 in the evening. It’s dinnertime.” It’s like, if you’re just not hungry when you know you’ve gotten the nutrition you need, don’t eat or have a small meal if you feel like you just need to make it through the night. But in a general sense, your body will start to actually say, “You’re hungry; go get some nutrition. You’re full; stop eating.” You train your body to do those things. You’ll understand what actual hunger feels like, and when you start to understand it, it’s not that scary. We have this abundance of food. And there is an initial, “Oh my gosh, I’m hungry. I need to eat”, but then you realize there’s food everywhere. I’m not going to not have food, unless we’re going through some kind of zombie apocalypse, but we’re not anywhere near that right now. And fasting will actually make you better in a zombie apocalypse.

Dr. Gus Vickery (25:22): That’s right. It is an essential survival skill. Our bodies are well designed for it, but you’re exactly right about the “eat real food” first. I think I’m very emphatic in that point throughout the book. A couple of times I actually equate it to smoking cigarettes, and some people might think that’s extreme. I don’t think it is, when you look at what cigarettes do versus what junk foods do to the body.

Allan (25:45): More people are dying of type two diabetes and obesity than lung cancer. So I think the math is there.

Dr. Gus Vickery (25:54): The math is there. Basically low quality foods don’t provide you nutrients, they directly trigger inflammatory and stress responses in the body, they are disease-causing agents, and they have been engineered to trigger the reward system and be addictive. It’s not that different than a processed cigarette with nicotine. So, people have to get their mind around that, just like a smoker has to quit smoking. I don’t judge them. If they were introduced at a young age to tobacco, it’s very hard. But I can’t stop their lung disease if they don’t stop smoking. If someone is metabolically sick because of the foods they eat, until they can actually get away from those foods, they’re going to stay sick.

Allan (26:33): When I first got into this journey, my first step in was Paleo, which is going to the whole food thing, and I said I’m not going to bread. And I’m not going to lie, I actually had dreams about bread. I would wake up in the morning like I could smell fresh cooked bread coming off of that dream. I was actually dreaming about being in a bakery, eating all the bread. When I first woke up, I’d just want some bread. But I didn’t have any bread in the house because I knew who I was and I knew if I have bread in the house, I’m going to have a craving for it and I’m going to run in there and start eating bread. When someone feels themselves being drawn in to a craving, what are some strategies, what are some things that we can do to get past that, to not fold to that creating?

Dr. Gus Vickery (27:31): I have an entire chapter trying to explain that craving loop and at least giving a couple of solutions for it, because it’s so important. When you’re dealing with craving, you’re not dealing with true hunger for whatever it is you’re creating. What you’re dealing with is a very strong central nervous system-based feeling. It’s a feeling. Craving isn’t a thought, it’s a feeling. And feelings are more powerful than thoughts. We know that. We act and behave based on our feelings, not our thoughts. I thoughts do inform our feelings over time. With craving, we tend to look at it through the lens of willpower: “I have to overcome that.” One of your recent podcast guests talked about how you’re not going to win the fight with willpower. That’s exactly right. Willpower is an important skill and it should be cultivated, and there are ways to cultivate it. It’s an executive function skill and we should cultivate it, but you can’t rely on it to overcome powerful feelings based on deep desires. In order to understand that craving, you have to understand a little bit about the human reward system. I won’t go that deep into it, but it’s a more primitive system in our brain. It works off of a euphoria signal to reproduce behaviors that would be consistent with survival. Of course, in our modern times now, we’re able to concentrate certain elements that have a powerful effect on the human reward system in a very unnatural way. They hyperstimulate the reward system. So we get this kind of overwhelming euphoric response, but it’s very brief, it’s short lived, and then we have an immediate need to get back and get that euphoria again. 

What we know is that the more sense of wellbeing you have… And our wellbeing is not euphoria. It’s associated with pleasure, but it’s different. Wellbeing are positive emotions like gratitude, contentment, peace, joy, etcetera. The more wellbeing we have, the less susceptible we are to the need for the euphoric response, the less susceptible we are to have to smoke a cigarette or drink too many drinks or take a drug or whatever it is that gets us. So, one strategy is cultivate wellbeing – cultivate gratitude, peace and joy, which is done through the activities that we know honor our ancestral design. Exercise, social engagement, faith-type spiritual exercises, meditation and breathing, listening to music, playing games – all the things that we love to do naturally. That gives us wellbeing, which reduces the need for a more primitive, “I’ve got to have a little fixed-type response.” But now let’s go ahead and say, “I know that when I encounter foods concentrated in salt, sugar and fat, I’m going to have a strong craving. And not only that, I don’t have to encounter them. I could be sleeping and already have that craving.” So, the craving exists apart from whether it’s even in our environment, but we know that it’s there, so we have that understanding. We’re not dealing with just a thought construct. You can’t just think your way out of this. You know you don’t want to give in, but you can’t seem to control that. You’re dealing with a strong feeling. 

There is a mindfulness-based approach that was proven, it was used. It became what’s called the 4–step UCLA method for people with OCD who have strong urges they can’t control. And what it involved was, one, detection or awareness – you have to understand what it is you’re dealing with. And then you have to actually label it correctly. Instead of assigning negative value to yourself, because you struggle with this behavior: “I’m going to binge eat. I feel terrible about myself. I have no self-control. I’m a fat bastard”, as you said earlier, you actually have to begin to depersonalize it. You’ve got to get all of that emotion out of there. So you basically see it for what it is and you recognize that it’s just a rogue circuit in your brain that you probably didn’t even choose for yourself. At some point you got exposed to elements you were susceptible to that trigger this hyper response, and it’s been happening for years, if not decades, and of course it’s going to keep happening. It has nothing to do with you. It’s kind of in control. So, you depersonalize it and you relabel it. It is not you; it’s just this rogue brain circuit. But then you have to take the next step. What we just did is we used our cognitive powers over the situation, but now we have to use a new power. You have to refocus, and this is where in response to that craving, you substitute a new behavior. The main pushback I get from people is that this sounds too simple to them, like, “How could it be as simple as when I crave bread that I go work in my garden, or I start writing? It couldn’t be that simple. I would’ve figured that out on my own.” Actually it’s simple but it’s not easy, because what you’re doing is you’re creating a new brain circuit, an actual new automated habit response to the original craving or urge you’re experiencing. When you do that, you pick an activity that gives you wellbeing, that’s familiar to you, that you already know you enjoy and that’s easy for you to do. So a binge eater, for example, one, they don’t have the stuff in the home. They start to feel that strong 5:00 craving, and as soon as they feel it, they don’t react to it, they don’t get emotional. They simply go take a walk with their dog. They go for 15 minutes, give themselves 15 minutes of space to walk with their dog in the woods. And for the vast majority of people that craving will have already reduced by 90%.

Allan (32:48): That’s exactly what I did. I didn’t have it in the house, so I would just put my headphones on, listen to some music that’s uplifting, and start walking. I would just go for my walk. And my walks started out fairly short, but after a while sometimes they would be a two-hour walk, depending on what I was going to do that day. But I got so much joy out of the walk that when I got back, bread was the last thing on my mind. I wasn’t thinking about bread anymore. I got out of bed and I was like, “Okay, get your stuff on. Get your headphones on and head out the door.” It does works. But you’ve got to break that cycle by, like you said, seeing it for what it is and then setting a different intention that’s going to benefit yourself and your wellness. You use a very similar approach to stress management. Can you talk about your approach to stress management? I’ve spent a lot of time in the last two years really focused on that one core thing for myself, because that was I think the last piece that I needed to put in place for myself and then realized how important it was when I actually started doing some work on it. Can you go through that model with the stress management?

Dr. Gus Vickery (34:08): Yeah. As we discussed earlier, stress is very powerful and it’s all around us. I use the term “stress mastery” instead of “management” because I wanted something more than we’re just going to manage our stress. I wanted us to become masters of stress response.

Allan (34:20): Bingo! I like that.

Dr. Gus Vickery (34:22): Exactly. I want to make sure we’re clear, we’re focused on chronic bad stress. We’re not talking about the good stressors and the occasional challenges in life that we’re well suited to, but the stress that’s making us sick and effecting us emotionally. Once again, you have to use your cognitive powers. Your ability to think and reason and understand is a very important piece of this. When you apply cognitive power to change thoughts, feelings, emotions, behaviors, you’re talking about something called “cognitive restructuring”, which is foundational to cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help with anxiety, panic and depression. Cognitive restructuring works pretty well for any condition where you actually can begin to change outcomes just based on your understanding. Stress is actually one of those that it works well for. Cravings, because of the strong feelings associated with them, you have to apply other things besides just cognitive restructuring. 

So the first thing you have to do is detect stress. You have to know how it shows up for you. Does it show up through a bodily symptom like muscle tightness, sweating, palpitation of the heart, headache, fuzzy vision? There are all kinds of different bodily symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms. You might not have any emotional response to stress at all, but you may feel a whole lot of things in your body. You have to begin to recognize, “This is a stress response. This isn’t just a massive reflux or a sore neck. This is me responding to stress.” Or emotional responses – is it anger, irritability, impatience, melancholy, moodiness, whatever? Whatever your responses are – and it can be both body and mind – you have to detect it as quick as possible, because it’s kind of like getting lost in a forest. The further you go without realizing where you are, the harder it gets to find your way back out and the longer it takes to find your way back out. So those initial feelings are what are going to give you the clue, “I’m entering into a period where I’m starting to become overwhelmed by stress, even if I didn’t think I was.” That’s where you’re going stop and say, “I know how to detect it. I know what I’m dealing with.” And then you move into proper interpretation, because the vast majority of things – somebody arguing with you on Facebook about an issue that’s going to disappear – aren’t worth being stressed about. Whether it’s political, economic, whether it’s a situation of uncertainty you’re dealing with, you’re probably giving it more power over your life right now than it really has. So you have to begin to rightly interpret what is the stress issue. Most people immediately move down catastrophic thinking pathways. They become reactive, emotional, turn off their heart and mind. If there’s some insecurity in the company, they’re going to lose their job and their family is going to be destitute. Then they’re going to live on the street. Actually, there’s a good chance they won’t lose their job, but if they did, they’ll get another job, and even if they didn’t, the family probably won’t be on the street. Most of the negative outcomes we envision will never come to pass. Plus, it’s fruitless to spend our time living there, because we can’t do much about it. 

So detect it, you interpret it properly, and then you reinterpret it properly, meaning you do have some power over whatever the circumstance is. But then you have to use something to turn off the stress response internally. You have to. And that’s where we get into the breathing and the meditation, which I speak about extensively in the book. The reason I do is because it’s a proven expedient pathway to turning off stress responses, to dampening down the sympathetic nervous system and activating the parasympathetic nervous system. So even if you’re going to continue to feel a little irritable or nervous about a situation, you can at least calm your heart rate down, stop sweating and feel more calm physically by simply paying attention to your breath. And even doing perhaps a positive visualization meditation, a form of mindfulness meditation, or something else where you begin to see everything good that you actually have – all the good things that are still surrounding you, regardless of this, which will actually give you a greater power because then you’ll have a positive feeling in your mind that really makes the stress response minimal. But you have to do this daily and you have to be on it, because right now the world as it is will be throwing stress bombs at you constantly.

Allan (38:26): Yes. What happens for me physically and mentally is my higher brain turns off. I can’t seem to think straight. I lose a little bit of me. And I’m not a flight person, I’m a fight, so I suddenly get this desire to just want to strike, to do something to fight my way out of it. It was something as simple as my boss calling me while we were going through three years of layoffs, and my phone rings and my boss wants me to come to his office. I’m immediately wanting to fight because I know this is not going to be a good day. It was not a good day and it’s about to get worse. I step on the elevator and I just start breathing. It was like, “All I can do right now is just breathe and get my mind straight, get myself ready. This is out of my control. Once I understand what he’s here to tell me that, then I’ll figure out what we can do, but it is what it is.” And understanding what I had control over, what I don’t have control over, and then understanding that in the end it was how I let this affect me that was going to have the biggest impact on my career. And then when I got the opportunity, when I was laid off, it was, “Do I really want to go back to that? Do I want to go back to being stressed all the time, to being all the things that go on in corporate life?” And I was like, “No, I’ll figure out something else. I’ll get clients, I’ll do what I want to do, the things that bring me pleasure.” I completely said, “Forget it. I don’t want that in my life.” And I’m blessed to have had that opportunity to say I’m going to walk away from that. But it took me a good long time to get to that point where I would sit down and detect that I was stressing too much and say, “Okay, turn it around. Breathe.” And meditation and breathing were huge, huge helps for me as I was going through that period of my life. And I still use them today – when I feel a little upset, I just go in the bathroom and breathe.

Dr. Gus Vickery (40:43): For some people I know meditation is a real challenge. It took me years of consistent practice to get where I can really love quiet meditation for 20, 40 minutes. But breathing is something everybody can do. Even if they don’t have yet the skill of thought observation, activating the witness and some of the spiritual elements of meditation, they can absolutely begin to control their breath and attend to their breath and calm stress responses.

Allan (41:08): I liked the approach you had in the book to go on to the box breathing and all of that. Those were some great techniques and well worth the purchase of the book just for the breathing techniques.

Dr. Gus Vickery (41:18): Thank you.

Allan (41:19): 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. Gus Vickery (41:32): It’s a great question, and I like your definition. I’m always trying to get people’s definition of “health” because we’ve got to set a high bar for that definition if we want people to pursue it. I like your definition. Forgive me for this brief interlude, but I did think about this. I thought, “What a great question!” And I thought, “What are the usual answers?” And of course there are all kinds of answers. It’s nutritious food – we’ve already talked about that. Movement – we didn’t get into that as much. But you said being able to maintain; it’s like a perpetual getting this. I thought, “What would it be? What would I tell somebody that’s what I wanted them to have?” And I get back to what we’ve been talking about this whole time – mindfulness. 

To me, the first and most important thing is actually you have to desire that. You actually have to start with a mindful deep desire for what you just described. “I want to be fit and feel good and be as happy as I can be every single day.” If you deeply desire that, you build that into your consciousness, then you’re going to naturally choose the foods that are giving that to you. You’re going to naturally get up and move because it feels good. So then you don’t have to have a lot of instructions. So number one would be, stop and meditate on that, and desire it. Stay on it until you have in your mind a vivid picture associated with feeling of, “That’s what I’m after. I want this every single day.” And then play the long game, not the short game. This isn’t, “In six weeks I’ll be the fittest and happiest, etcetera.” No, this is, “Every year I’m going to keep getting happier, healthier, fitter, until the day that my life is done.” So, the long game is that you are going to every single day apply this thinking to your habits, to your daily life. And you’ll do 1% better in each category per day, based on what you’re after. And I have to pick one final thing. So we’ve got mindful desire, the long game, not the short game – you’re on this for the long road. Honestly the final one is not quite so esoteric. If I had to pick one right now, it’s honor your circadian rhythm. Allow your body to actually restore circadian rhythm function, which is intrinsic to everything else that we’re experiencing, which means you have to sleep, and then when you’re awake throughout the day, get natural sunlight. Turn off the devices, turn off the screens, get out in nature and restore circadian rhythm, because often times that restores actual eating behavior and a lot of other factors.

Allan (44:04): Excellent. I actually have my family here for the holidays as we record this. So we are prerecording this, but I have my family here. So as soon as we get off of this call, I am shutting down these computers and I’m going to spend some time with my family and some friends. Dr. Vickery, it’s been so great to have you on the podcast. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book Authentic Health, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Gus Vickery (44:30): They interface with our teaching, my blogs, etcetera, at www.HealthShepherds.com. That’s where I have my blogs, our videos, you can purchase the book. And of course the book is purchasable through any of the online book vendors as well.

Allan (44:48): You also have some 9-week programs and the whole bit out there. It’s a really good site; you should check it out. If you’re traveling, can’t write that down right now, this is episode 367. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/367, and I will make sure to have links there to your site. Dr. Vickery, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Gus Vickery (45:12): Thank you so much, Allan. And I appreciate your audience taking the time to listen to this.

As this episode goes live, I have just celebrated my 53rd birthday, so thank you. If you would like to give me a birthday present, there is something special that you could do for me today. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AAA, and that’s going to take you to a page for the Author Academy Awards. I’m up for an Academy Award in the “Health” category. So if you go to this page, it’s a little complicated, so just hear me out. You want to scroll down all the way to the bottom, because they allow the authors to submit on the same page that they allow to have the voting. So you want to scroll down to the bottom where you see “Voting”, and you’re going to be on page 1 of 15 for that first one. You’re going to want to click that arrow to go over to 6 of 15, and there you’re going to see the books in the “Health” category. You scroll down until you find my cover for The Wellness Roadmap. Go ahead and click on that cover, and that will secure your vote. So you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AAA. That’ll take you to the page, scroll to the bottom and vote for The Wellness Roadmap. Thank you.

Also, I would really appreciate it if you would consider becoming a patron for the 40+ Fitness podcast. Now that I’m moving down to Panama, I won’t have as much access to some of the resources that I have here in the United States, so things are going to be a little bit tight for me from a budget perspective. I really would appreciate if you could give just a few dollars a month to help out the 40+ Fitness podcast, help me cover the audio production and the show notes. There are full show notes, transcripts for each episode each week. It does cost to do a podcast, they’re not free, so I appreciate any help you can. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon. And anytime you go to the podcast websites, in the sidebar you’re going to see a button. So if you don’t remember this link, at least go to the website for 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Podcast, and on any of the podcast episodes you’ll see it at the bottom down. If it’s on your phone, it would be further down the screen, but you can find the button for Patreon. So, 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon to help support the show. Thank you. 

Another episode you may enjoy

How to make disease disappear with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee

Audrey Johns – Lose weight with your instapot

Time management is one of the main reasons people give for why they can't eat healthy food. In her new book, Lose Weight With Your Instapot, Audrey Johns shows how this cooker can make short time of cooking healthy meals.

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  • Judy Murphy

Thank you!

Allan (1:01): Audrey, welcome back to 40+ Fitness.

Audrey Johns (1:05): Thank you so much for having me, Allan. Im so excited to be back on the show.

Allan (1:08): I really do enjoy the approach that you have to cookbooks, one, because I went through the different recipes and they all look brilliant, and there are no cans of anything. It just makes me so happy that someones not saying, Open up a can of this, or buy that. In many cases youre making your own stuff to fill in the gaps in the recipes, where normally the recipe would say, Go buy a can of this or a jar of that. Youre actually teaching people how to cook the whole meal.

Audrey Johns (1:45): Absolutely. One of the recipes that stands out to me in that is the red beans and rice. A girl growing up in New Orleans, I was so excited to be able to make red beans from scratch. And I agree – when you can make it for yourself, its going to be so much healthier.

Allan (2:03): It is. I knew what an instapot was; Ive never really actually used one. The sad thing is I asked my wife because I was like, Im going to pull this out and try something. Were getting ready to move to Panama, so she sold our instapot.

Audrey Johns (2:19): Oh no! Well, youre going have to get a new one. Are the electrical sockets different there? Is that going to be an issue?

Allan (2:25): No, the electrics are the same. The problem is that were lightening our load as much as possible, so were selling practically everything in this house before we sell the house, or as were still in the house. So, it was an easy sell for her. She listed it and got, I guess, what she wanted for it, and it went out in one of the first rounds of our selling. And I didnt actually realize that until I started looking for it. Sadly, that was one of the few times I didnt. When I was looking at the pork chops with the apple – that looks really good. What was so amazing was with some of the accessories, you can cook an entire meal in one. I didnt actually realize how dynamic and how really good these instant pots are for, one, saving time, because you dont have to be there while its cooking, but the other thing is, you can do so much with it.

Audrey Johns (3:13): Absolutely. The protein bowl for example – I absolutely love that dish. What you do is you put the quinoa at the bottom, and then you put the trivet, which happens to come with the actual instant pot, and then you put a steamer basket in there and within the steamer basket you put the chicken and all the other vegetables. You press “Go” and you walk away; and you come back and you have this perfect, amazing meal that all you have to do is just add to a bowl. You can do that with so many different items. You can have rice on the bottom and then you can have the steamer basket in there for your vegetables or for your protein. Its one-pot cooking in a totally different way than what weve been used to in the last 10 to 15 years in the cooking industry. Its exciting and it makes cooking more accessible to people who dont really have the time to cook. Ive been speaking to a lot of people about the instant pot. You know me – I love to talk about cooking, which is why I’m on the show. I go out and Im talking to people about the instant pot. In fact, I had my car serviced yesterday and I was at the dealership, and the guy says, Wow, I see here that youre an author. What do you write? I said I write cookbooks. Oh, my girlfriend and I, we dont have time to cook. Im like, But you have an instant pot. And there I am, selling the instant pot for the instant pot company.

Allan (4:30): They need to get you on retainer with a commission or something.

Audrey Johns (4:34): Yeah, that would be nice. But what Im really excited about is encouraging people to stop going through the drive-thru; you can actually make a meal in the same amount of time that you go through the drive-thru. And while its cooking, you can kick off your shoes and turn on the news or some fun program, and help your kids with homework, and just relax. Its so easy and it makes it so accessible. If you can learn how to use just three buttons, youre set. Thats all you need to know to cook. Thats really exciting, and I feel like it makes it more accessible to the masses.

Allan (5:10): Id seen it sitting on our kitchen counter. I just had never thought to use it. I have no problem cooking and Im very good with the slow cooker, but it looked a little complicated to me when I first looked at it. Can you explain what an instant pot is and why its so versatile, why its such a good tool to have in your kitchen?

Audrey Johns (5:32): Absolutely. What I love about the instant pot is that you have all of these different options and there are tons of different buttons. And each instant pot they come out with is new and improved, there are more buttons. I love that, because it gives me more options, but I feel like it makes it more daunting for somebody who first opens it. And you go on these blogs and forums and theres an instant pot community on Facebook that Im a member of. And people are going on and theyre saying, I got an instant pot last year for Christmas, 12 months ago, and I havent even opened it yet. Im too scared to use it. And it is daunting because there are so many buttons. However, there are only really three important buttons and if you can use just three buttons, then youre set. What I try to do with Lose Weight with Your Instant Pot – my new cookbook – I try to only use those three buttons so its really easy. No matter which model you have, you dont have to worry about finding the yogurt button or the egg button or any of that. All you really need to notice on your machine is the Sautee button, the Pressure Cook button, or Cook on some of them it says, and the Cancel button. That makes it more accessible for people who maybe dont purchase the actual instapot brands, they buy an off–brand. Just find those three buttons and do the water test. When you get your manual, it asks you to do a water test, and basically, you cant ruin water. You certainly cant burn water in an instant pot; you can boil it. You do that one test and it kind of takes the fear out of it and it also makes sure everything is working correctly. Now that Ive given you all of this information, maybe your head is spinning even more. To simplify it, to give you the most simple definition of what an instant pot is – it is an electronic pressure cooker. Thats it.

Allan (7:25): So basically putting the contents under pressure and then raising the temperature, and that allows it to cook faster while still retaining the moistness and not drying them out.

Audrey Johns (7:37): Absolutely. Its kind of the polar opposite of the slow cooker. In slow cookers you cook it slow and low for as many hours as you like. With the pressure cooker, its a quick meal. Even on some of the recipes, like on an egg recipe, pretty much as soon as your instant pot has pressurized, youre done. You just turn it off and youre done. So its very fast, very easy. Im a cookbook author and I love food. I cook all day, every day, and I am the first one to admit that pressure cookers are a little daunting for me. You hear these horror stories of them exploding. But with the instant pot, all of that fear, all of those issues are completely taken off the table because if something goes wrong, it shuts itself down. So I feel comfortable turning my instapot on and walking out the door and going and picking my kid up from school, and coming home and food is ready. You cant do that with most other kitchen appliances, except for the slow cooker. Its foolproof. And thats what I really love about this new amazing… I mean its not that new, but its hot and exciting, and its very popular now. This is a great kitchen appliance.

Allan (8:51): Okay. So, we go out and we buy a pressure cooker or have Amazon deliver it to us, because Amazon, Im sure, sells these things. It gets delivered to our house or we go buy it at a local store. Were getting it out of the box and its going to walk us through doing a water test. That way well know everythings working the way its supposed to, and now were ready to start doing things. But besides buying your cookbook, Lose Weight with Your Instant Pot, what are some tips and tricks that we would want to know just to get started?

Audrey Johns (9:26): What I like to recommend is, pick something that you know youre really going to love to eat. A lot of times people say, What is the first thing I should make in my instapot? Make something that you know your family is going to love. If you guys love mac and cheese, make mac and cheese. Theres a mac and cheese recipe here in my book. Dont pick something completely over the top that you would never have made, for instance, the cassoulet. Make something simple and easy so it takes the fear factor out of it. Honestly, how hard is it to mess up mac and cheese? So, choose something easy and something you know the family will like. And what I always love to tell people is, in the kitchen, this is the only place in your life where you can completely mess up and you can call and order pizza, and that will fix your problem. So, get in there, get dirty and try it out. Worst case scenario, youre pulling something out of the freezer or youre calling for pizza. Its one of those areas that you can really be bold and try something new. You cant mess too many things up in the kitchen, especially with electronic pressure cooker. I mean you cant even light a fire in the house, so it really takes any of the fear out of cooking. Also I know I had mentioned earlier on the podcast, a lot of people are really scared to take the instapot even out of the box. Its so daunting. So I really recommend, dont get overwhelmed by all of the different buttons on there. You can get to them later. Right now all you have to find is the Sautee button, the Pressure Cook button and the Cancel button, and thats it.

Allan (10:56): Okay. Now, with the pressure, its going to have to let some of this pressure come off. Sometimes you can let it depressurize on its own, and on some recipes you need to go ahead and release that pressure. You encourage folks to use a wooden spoon to release that pressure because the steam coming out can burn you.

Audrey Johns (11:18): Absolutely. Its extremely hot. Im an Italian woman, so I have a collection of probably 200 wooden spoons. It is my preferred kitchen tool, if I may. I recommend using a wooden spoon. Its not going to melt on you, its not going to get hot, like if you use a metal spoon. You go from the side, not from above, and you just knock the little dongle to the side and the pressure will come out. Now, if that scares you, another tip – dont start your very first experience with an electronic pressure cooker on something that you actually have to release the pressure. Its easy. I will admit the first time I did it, I was a little bit worried, but its not as scary as it sounds. It does make quite a lot of noise. But if that kind of thing freaks you out, dont make an egg dish first off; dont make something that you have to release the pressure, otherwise it will overcook. Make something easy. Make the sloppy joes in my cookbook. Make something that you can walk away from and two hours later when the pressure has naturally let itself release and its been heated up and its just been sitting and waiting for you, its not scary to open it up. I really recommend baby steps when it comes to using an instant pot, and then you wont be scared of it and youll be excited and youll want to keep trying new things and youll get bold, and it kind of takes the fear out of it.

Allan (12:47): I guess most instant pots are going to have a Keep Warm feature. It keeps it warm for you. So if you said, When I first get home from work Im going to sit down and put all this stuff in there, and then you go get into your comfy clothes for the evening, maybe take a shower or you go for a run or something, and then you come back in and it mightve been in there for two or three hours before you get ready to eat, but its going to be ready.

Audrey Johns (13:15): Absolutely. The skinny sloppy joes in my cookbook come to mind when you bring that up. Last year I was the Girl Scout troop leader for my daughters troop, and I was testing the recipes for the book. I just had too much on my plate, to be honest. It was a lot going on, like, why did I decide to become a Girl Scout troop leader while I was recipe-testing? I dont know, but I did. And so I made the sloppy joes and I left. That was the first time ever leaving the instant pot on and walking out the door, and it hadnt even stopped cooking. It wasnt that it was depressurizing on its own. It was still going. I walked out the door and two hours later, after we had done our meeting and all the kids had gone home and we had finally gotten home, they were the best sloppy joes I have ever made. They were warm and they were hot and they were ready for dinner. I barely had the energy to take my shoes off – 12 little girls and me, and I was already frazzled from cooking all day. It was perfect. This is perfect for people who dont have a lot of time or who have a lot on their plates. My daughter will come home from school and Ill start helping her with her homework and Ill forget to cook dinner. And thats me – a cookbook author – I will forget to cook dinner from time to time. And then Im rushing to try and throw something together, but with the instapot I can already have it ready and I can just let it sit, or I can quickly whip something up. Its amazing. Im in love with my instapot. I am Audrey and I love an instapot.

Allan (14:51): You had me when you did a 30-minute marinara sauce, because when I make a marinera sauce, its a six-hour ordeal, easily. Ill start in the morning and my wifes like, What are you doing on the stove cooking? I say, Im making some marinara for dinner tonight. Shes like, Oh, okay. Its six to eight hours that Im going to have to cook that marinara down, but in an instapot you can do it in 30 minutes. Thats pretty amazing.

Audrey Johns (15:20): I honestly felt like I was going to be struck down by lightning. I was worried about it. Im like, I am an Italian woman. My ancestors are going to be furious with me. This is not okay. You can’t cook marinara sauce in 30 minutes. It was amazing, Allan. It was so delicious. Im like, Are you serious? But its because its under pressure. Its essentially giving you six hours’ worth of cooking time in 30 minutes. I still do prefer the long and slow method because thats how my mom and my grandmother made it, but when Im in a rush and I need a quick marinara sauce, thats my go-to. It is so easy.

Allan (15:58): Thats a really quick meal when you think about a good healthy meal. You start the marinara sauce. You get some zucchini and make some zoodles and youve got a plant-based dinner ready for yourself in less than 30 minutes. Thats pretty cool.

Audrey Johns (16:15): Absolutely. And its delicious and its packed full of antioxidants. It feels like youre splurging. Theres something about Italian food that even when you make it healthy, it just feels like youre splurging. Or is that just me, Allan, because Im Italian?

Allan (16:28): No, I enjoy Italian food, and thats one of the problems. I dont want to go out and eat it anymore, because I know what goes in it sometimes. You look at a label when you go to buy a pasta sauce and one of the first ingredients is going to be sugar or a high fructose corn syrup. And then you get to the bottom of the list and theres 18 extra ingredients that I would never put in mine, but they have to put it in theirs to keep it on a shelf. So, youre making good, high quality food. A good trip to the farmers market on a Saturday, and Saturday night you could be eating some of the best marinara sauce on whatever, whether you want to do pasta or zoodles. Boom! There you go.

Audrey Johns (17:14): Absolutely. And since you mentioned going to the farmers market and then going home and cooking – I did an entire chapter called Shred It Your Way. I want to find a way to be able to do an entire cookbook on this, but basically I did a recipe for shredded chicken, for pulled pork and for shredded beef. And then I had coinciding recipes that actually went with every single protein that I had put in the book, but specific recipes to go with the chicken, to go with the pork, to go with the beef. So you only had to cook one night a week. Or say, for instance, for the beef ragu rigatoni, all you had to do was basically boil water and you were done. I think that when you use the instapot and you cook in larger quantities, you could cook an entire weeks worth of food in two hours on a Sunday afternoon and then youre set for the rest of the week. Ive heard from a lot of people who love to meal prep that the instapot is their go-to, because it cuts down the time and you can do such huge quantities, especially if you have one of the larger instapots, like an eight or a six quart.

Allan (18:25): I harp on my clients about batch cooking all the time. One of the main reasons people will say they cant eat healthy is that they just dont have time to cook. Now, batch cooking with an instant pot is almost a no-brainer. If I want to do some batch cooking for the week, Ill do three or four meals on a Sunday, put them in containers, put most of them in the freezer and then just pull those out the day before. I put them in the fridge and theyre good to go; I just warm them up. So yes, very, very good. Now, one of the things I do like about your cookbooks in particular is you take some time to throw in some really cool tips and things like that that might not have anything really to do with the topic so much. But you do include some tips about when were going to go out. This episode is going to air in January, but were always ending up at a party or at someones house and were having to make food choices that seem somewhat out of our control. Can you share some tips for when were going to go to an event or to a party on how we can structure our plate and stay healthy?

Audrey Johns (19:37): Absolutely. Like you said, I always add these fun things to my book, and this book happened to have a holiday chapter. So this is in the holiday chapter, but all of you listening in January, this goes for all events. It goes great for company events and going to a party. Its simple. First of all, if you know youre going to go to a place thats going to be full of junk food, eat beforehand. I think thats a go-to thats really, really easy. But say for instance you didnt know, and you get there and youre completely overwhelmed, theres tons of food, you dont know whats in it, you dont know whats healthy and whats not – I really recommend starting out with the vegetables. All three of my books have always talked about your plate equation, and I always recommend following the 50 /25 / 25 – 50% vegetables, 25% protein and 25% carbohydrates. That gives you the opportunity to have something yummy, have a roll or a potato or something. Youre at a party. You want to make sure that you are splurging a little bit, but not too much. So I recommend starting out with the vegetables because if you start out with the protein or the carbohydrates, youre going to end up filling up your plate really fast. Best case scenario – get a salad, because you know whats in it; you can actually see whats in it. If you end up getting some heavily cooked dish, you dont know if theres an entire can of cream of mushroom soup and two pounds of cheddar in it. Just because it happens to be a green item might not necessarily make it healthy. So I recommend going for your vegetables, ideally going for anything raw. Go for the veggie tray, the salad, those kinds of things. And then move onto the protein. 

Now, because this is a holiday chapter and Im modifying it for your listeners, I talk about how much I adore turkey. Any kind of white meat, chicken, turkey – anything like that is a great option. Youve got that big old salad; you can chop it up and put it on top of the salad, you can put it on the side. Go for the protein next because you definitely want to feel full. I dont know if Im the only one who looks at food like this, but its like thats the best deal there. You go out to dinner, and the steak and the chicken is the same price – I’m getting the steak; Im getting the best deal. When I look at a holiday gathering, I dont want to be cheap and only have the $0.25 salad. I want to have a piece of that chicken or I want to have some yummy steak. So, have a little bit of protein, and then finally go for the carbohydrates. And lets go for something thats more nutritious, if you can. I know a lot of people look at potatoes and they think starch, fat. But if youre thinking about nutritional value, potato versus a roll – youre going to get so many more nutritious elements from the potato. So have a baked potato. I make in my book the scallop potatoes; theyre absolutely amazing. Theyre really healthy and low calorie. But fill up on the vegetables, then protein, then carbohydrates. 

Another really great tip – if it happens to be a potluck, bring something healthy, bring something you know you can eat and you know that if you get there and everything is absolute junk and its going make you feel sick and reverse your weight loss work, then you know you can fill up on that. Then finally, what I always recommend is, youre at a party – have the dessert, have a drink. Just have it in very, very small quantities. For dessert, I always recommend splitting it with somebody. So if you go to a party and theres a great piece of pie or a cookie or a slice of chocolate cake – my favorite – split it with somebody or take half of it home or ask for a very small slice. When it comes to drinks, when you arrive at the party, dont go straight for the champagne or a glass of wine. Wait until youre actually sitting down with your meal. So, start with water, end with water and only have that one cocktail or that one glass of wine while youre eating, and youll be less likely to splurge the entire time.

Allan (23:43): Yes, absolutely. You also got into another topic that I think is really important, because I get this question all the time: Allan, what kind of exercise can I do to lose weight? Every time I hear it, I let out a little internal sigh because theyre not going to like my answer. But just so theyre hearing it from someone else, can you answer that question for us?

Audrey Johns (24:09): I hope that Im going to answer it the same way as you do. I am a firm believer that weight loss is found in the kitchen and not in the gym. Sure, you can burn some calories at the gym, but most likely you will end up thinking, I just burned 300 calories on the elliptical machine and now I can go have a slice of chocolate cake. I think that exercise is so, so important for our bodies. I am literally still sitting here in my Pilates clothes because I am a Pilates fanatic. It makes me feel strong, I carry myself better. I do look thinner, because I have better posture because of Pilates and exercise and because Im stronger. But I am a very firm believer that weight loss is found in the kitchen. Its all about what you put in your mouth. So, go for the exercise, but dont expect it to do all the work for you. You actually have to start working on how you eat.

Allan (25:01): I am complete agreement with you there. 

Audrey Johns (25:05) I’m so glad!

Allan (25:06): It surprises them, because Im a fitness guy and theyre like, You can teach us exercises and we can do these different things. And Im like, Yes, but thats for fitness. Thats to make you a better grandfather or grandmother, or make you better at tennis, or able to finish that 5K that you want to do in a couple of months.” Thats what exercise or training should be about, is helping you do those things. And then yes, if weight loss or fat loss is what youre really wanting, thats going to come from what and how much you eat. So, I completely agree with you that weve got to get our kitchens going if we want to get our waistline down.

Audrey Johns (25:45) Ive been thinking a lot about this lately, Allan. Why is that so hard for people to, not grasp, but to change? I do enjoy Pilates, but I was dragging getting there today, and I dont always want to go. For me, Id rather cook a nice healthy meal. I was trained to understand that and I think its daunting for people to think they have to give up something they love. They would rather add something. I dont know that that is necessarily the easiest thing to do, adding something, especially something that strenuous. But I think if your listeners do think it would be easier to add an exercise versus change how they eat, maybe we change the way we look at it and instead of taking away things you cant have, adding in things to your diet that you should be having. Its kind of in that same mentality, that youre adding exercise. Instead of adding exercise, why not add a plant-based meal, one meal a day? One entire meal thats completely all natural, and then go from there. And then keep increasing the amount of vegetables and healthy proteins that youre eating,

Allan (27:03): I think what it comes down to is, we were handed this really simple equation called calories in, calories out. So everybody thinks, I can increase the calories out by doing this work and I still get to eat what I want to eat. They may make some changes to what they eat, but in a general sense they dont, because they want to eat their cake, they want to eat their bread, they want to have their M&Ms, because they get a dopamine fix on that. A lot of us get into exercise and realize it feels really good to exercise. Once you get into it, the endorphins and things are happening for you there, so its a feel-good. Its kind of hard to tell someone, I want you to somewhat deprive yourself, if thats the right way to say it, of not having things while you go on this diet. To me its always the higher the quality of the food youre putting in your mouth, the less of it youre actually going to end up eating, because youre getting all the nutrition your body needs. Youre not going to have these urges to go and eat a whole bunch of bad foods, because your body has what it needs. Its not going to be telling you, Were not getting everything. Go eat everything. Thats just not going to happen for you, and thats why I think its really valuable for these cookbooks that are coming out that are using whole food ingredients, because this is simple. Once you get past that learning curve and get into it, its quick, its easy. As I was reading through the recipes, I thought just about anybody can do this. Theyll need some different pieces, the accessories in some cases, but once they have that kit and they get comfortable with this, its almost like an automatic. There are five or six ingredients in a dish, or in some cases just three or four. You put them in there in the way that theyre structured, just set the timer, and 15 minutes, 30 minutes later your meal is complete. Its so easy that I think things like this are going to make it easier and better for people to get into the kitchen and do whats right for their body.

Audrey Johns (29:17): Absolutely. Im in complete agreement with you. The instapot will open up healthy cooking to the masses just because its so simple. And you can find them everywhere now. They sell them at my grocery store. Im seeing them absolutely everywhere. So, Im sure the majority of your listeners whove never heard of an instant pot, its going to be like once you see an orange car and then all you ever see is orange cars. Youre like, Wow, I did not realize there were so many orange cars on the road. Now youre going to start seeing instapots everywhere. So, everybody can say “Thank you” to Allan and Audrey for this.

Allan (29:54): I think its a great tool. When I get settled down in Panama, well probably be looking for one. Im like you – not the Italian piece, but I actually like sitting in the kitchen and cooking. Ill do other things while Im cooking because its not always “you have to be on it” kind of thing. I pick dishes that are easier for me, but I love getting out on the grill, grilling some meat, protein, and then getting something going in the kitchen and moving around and using my kitchen, because its how I can get good food in my body. Im not going to necessarily get that if I try to eat out all the time.

Audrey Johns (30:33): Absolutely. Since you brought that up, the instapot is such a great tool to have when you are barbecuing, because you can cook a side dish. For instance, Ive got the scallop potatoes in here, or the bruschetta, or these amazing spicy brussels sprouts with bacon. You can have that cooking and you can go outside. You dont have to worry about lighting a fire in your kitchen. Its great for that. Even when you are in your kitchen… Its cold here right now and Im not going to be barbecuing in 20-degree weather, but I can be working hard over the stove top and know that my rice dish or my potato dish or my brussels sprouts are not going to burn and I can just concentrate on the one item, the one main dish and let the instant pot do the side dish. So you dont have to use it for the entire meal. You can use it for a side dish. You can use it for an entire meal. I have a whole breakfast chapter. I even made low calorie brownies in the instant pot. That seemed very wrong, if Im being completely honest. I complained about it to everyone I knew, because I love to bake, Allan. So I complained. I was like a child. I was pouting. I was not okay with having to bake in the instant pot. I’m like, “That’s a recipe for the book Im not looking forward to.” I made it. I will never make brownies in the oven ever again. They were the most moist and delicious brownies. And thats not easy to do when you are eliminating a lot of the fat in the dish. And so, you can really make just about anything in the instant pot. And my cookbook, Lose Weight with Your Instant Pot, it’ll give you tons of ideas. I actually make ginger ale in there as well. Low calorie ginger ale – I think its something like 17 calories per glass. Youre basically burning that off as youre drinking it, its so low calorie. I really recommend anybody who has the means to purchase an instant pot or borrow one from somebody, just to make sure you love it first. And check out my book, Lose Weight with Your Instant Pot. Its easy, its delicious. Theyre going to be all natural. And I tried to make something for everybody in here, so I think everybody will really, really love it.

Allan (32:40): Theres a lot of variety in there for sure. Audrey, one last question. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Audrey Johns (32:53): I have to say eating all natural by far. Youre going to feel better, youre going to be fit, youre going to feel happy, just because you will always be satiated and youll look your best as well. Your skin just glows and you always end up looking younger when you eat healthier. Same with water. I recommend to drink as much water as you can every single day. I drink on average about a gallon of water a day. I know that sounds like a lot. The closer you can get to that, the better. Youll be full, your metabolism will be roaring. Your body is mostly water; youve got to give back to your body. And finally, no negative self-talk. I know Im speaking to a man here and Im sure that you men do have quite a lot of negative self-talk, but for women…

Allan (33:39): Maybe not as much as women, but yes, we do it too.

Audrey Johns (33:43): As women, and as men, we hold ourselves to this really high standard of how we look and we talk negatively about ourselves. Being healthy and taking good care of your body is hard enough. You dont need to be putting yourself down. With that said, I was recently on the cover of a magazine. I didnt recognize myself. I was so heavily altered on the magazine. So dont believe what you see out there. Dont hold yourself to really high standards of heavily Photoshopped pictures. Just be proud of yourself. Be proud of yourself that youre trying, be proud of yourself that youre strong. Try to find things that you love about not just your body. It is great to have a good self-image of your body, but about your mind – how kind are you, what a great parent or grandparent you are, how much you care about the people around you – so much more important than what you look like. I think thats so important when it comes to being happy and healthy, is that you only use positive self-talk on yourself.

Allan (34:47): Excellent. Thank you for sharing those. The book is Lose Weight with Your Instant Pot. Audrey, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?

Audrey Johns (35:00): My Facebook page is a great place to start. Its Lose Weight By Eating With Audrey Johns. You can also check my blog out at LoseWeightByEating.com, and that will also showcase my other two books, Lose Weight by Eating and Lose Weight by Eating: Detox Week. Those will be non-instant pot cookbooks. Also check out Amazon. The reviews are absolutely amazing for Lose Weight with Your Instant Pot. Visit Barnes & Noble and flip through the pages if you like. If youre in the Boise area, I regularly go and sign all of the copies, so you may see me there with my sharpie marker. There are lots of places to check me out. Also, HarperCollins.com as well.

Allan (35:40): Okay. This is episode 366, so you can go 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/366 and Ill be sure to have all the links there in the show notes. Audrey, thank you again so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Audrey Johns (35:56): Thank you, Allan. I always love coming on the show and I cant wait to come back at the next book.

Allan (36:02): Outstanding. Yes.

So, do go check that out – having an instapot as a quick and efficient way for you to eat good, healthy food. And Audrey Johns makes it really, really easy with some great recipes in a beautiful book. You should check it out.

Theres still time – one week, approximately – for you to get your signed copy of The Wellness Roadmap. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound if you want the hardbound edition, or go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback if you’d prefer the paperback edition. Im only going to be able to do this for about another week, because I am headed down to Panama in February and I wont be able to ship books from there. So go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound or 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback. Thank you.

Also, theres time right now for you to go out there and get your lab results from YourLabwork. Ive gotten a partnership agreement with them that allows you to get your discounted lab work – whatever labs you want to get done – and it allows you to track your progress. I had a full lab workup done before the end of the year, which Im going to use to compare the things that Im doing for my health and wellness and see what thats going to do with what the results are. Im not going to be looking at the scale because the scale doesnt tell me the right numbers, but my lab work does.

So, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Lab. They offer really affordable tests. You can have the tests done that you want. A lot of times doctors try to talk you out of getting tests. They want to get the tests that they know and they can look up and answer to. Here youre able to get the whole picture. Like I said, I got the full workup, but you can pick and choose the lab work that you want to measure yourself on. So be it your hormones, your cholesterol – anything that youre interested in knowing about as far as your wellness, you can get those numbers. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Lab to get your lab results today. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

Lose weight by eating with Audrey Johns
January 21, 2019

Fix your digestive issues with Tamara Freuman

Do you suffer from a bloated belly, IBS, diarrhea, or another digestive issue? Our guest today, Tamara Freuman has the answers in her new book, The Bloated Belly Whisperer.

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  • Judy Murphy

Thank you!

Allan (1:00): Tamara, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Tamara Freuman (1:04): Thank you.

Allan (1:05): Your book is called The Bloated Belly Whisperer. I know from reading the book why you now have that, for a lack of a better word, nickname, but thats also what youve called your book. Can you give us a little bit of the backstory on that?

Tamara Freuman (1:20): Sure. I am a dietician and I work in a gastroenterologists office in New York City. And pretty much from day one when I started working there, patient after patient would come to me complaining of bloating. Early in my career I really had no idea what this thing was. Its not something you read about in your textbooks when youre learning in dietitian school. I just had to ask a ton of questions and understand what was going on, and it became very clear to me very quickly that not all of these people were talking about the same experience or the same problem. As my practice progressed and as my career progressed, I understood that bloating really meant many different things, but there were about 10 causes that I kept seeing over and over again, and they started to look very familiar. It got to a point where within the first 10 minutes of talking to someone who was bloated, by asking certain questions and gathering certain information, they were clues that would lead me very quickly to the right cause and therefore the right treatment. Once I figured out how to figure it out, I thought Id better put this down in writing so that other people can really benefit from this knowledge.

Allan (2:30): And thats what I think is really cool. Having written my own book, I think as a writer youre like, Gosh, I really do hope they read this first chapter”, because this first chapter is really critical. I know so many people are going to say, I have constipation so Im just going to flip to that chapter and get to the rub of what I need to do. But you start off the book with a quiz. The reason I like the quiz is, its looking for those other signs that someone might be missing because they have the most significant symptom in mind, versus they might actually have two of these things going on at the same time and the quiz is actually going to help them do that. You kind of define how you started developing this quiz, but can you tell us about the quiz, how it works and why its valuable for the reader to take some time to go through it?

Tamara Freuman (3:28): The reason I developed this quiz is because the way that it works when a patient comes into my office is I have an hour to sit with you and ask you a million questions. And I do – I ask everything, and youll answer something, and that will lead me to another question. Theres sort of this brain algorithm thing going on that leads me into this Choose your own adventure decision tree, and then I land at the answer. I cant do that in a written book, so what I had to do is come up with the next best thing, and this quiz really is that. Its, how do I distill that very complex diagnostic back-and-forth into something that you can take by yourself at home and that will lead you to, if not the most accurate answer, the top three. And then maybe you can pick from the top two or three things that you sound like and recognize your own experience. So the quiz is the best chance that I have to approximate an in-person patient consultation with a reader sitting in their own home.

Allan (4:24): I really enjoyed going through the quiz and looking at the questions and the potential of what I would have answered at certain times in my life. I have the great fortune right now – Im very clean with what I eat, so I dont tend to suffer from bloating much. But I can say in my past, I definitely have had multiple symptoms of bloating, constipation and those types of things. I recognize the nature of it, so it was really cool to go through and say, Yeah, thats what I felt. Thats how that was. That wouldve been my diagnosis at that point in time. I do want to go through what I think are some of the more common ones that I hear from friends and family and sometimes from clients. The first one that got my attention, and I have a couple of questions as we dive into it, is indigestion.

Tamara Freuman (5:18): Yes.

Allan (5:20): I see commercial after commercial after commercial of, Take this pill, take that pill. This is quick; thats going to take forever, but that lasts forever. And go back and forth. Can you talk about the symptoms someone would have and then what some of the treatments are that they can do?

Tamara Freuman (5:37): Sure. Indigestion, the way I talk about it in the book, is the sour stomach bloat. And thats really any kind of acid-related malady. This is one of the more common types of bloating that originate in the stomach. One thing I try to do in the book is really separate bloating that originates in the stomach, which is its own beast and it has its own remedies, versus bloating that originates in the intestines, which has other causes and other remedies. So, of the types of bloating that originate in the stomach, indigestion, acid-related issues are a problem. And whats tricky about them is they can be very situational. Patients have a really hard time identifying whats going on and whether there are food triggers, because theyll say, Sometimes I eat this food and Im fine. And then another time I eat that food and Im miserable. Am I intolerant to that food or not? Whats going on? And the issue is, our stomachs reaction to food is very contextual. It depends when we last ate. Has it been five, six, seven hours since we last ate and we are empty in acid? Or did we just eat three hours ago a big giant fatty meal and were still a little bit full from that meal? You could eat the same food in either of those contexts and have a really different reaction, versus youre on a normal meal schedule, its been about four hours since youve eaten, youre a little bit hungry – not over hungry, not over full. You eat that meal and you have a third reaction. And so, this idea that your body can overreact with acid, or you could have a loss of pressure in that muscle that separates your stomach and your esophagus, because you ate a lot of fat or you had some alcohol with the meal and that meal is refluxing on you. The trick to classic indigestion is really understanding the foods that trigger it, the contextual triggers of it in terms of your hunger level or fullness level, and therefore how to manage it with food choices, with supplements, with medications.

Allan (7:33): Okay. I like how in the book youre very clear with, Lets start with the How and what we eat. You went through a process of saying if you suffer from indigestion, youre going to want to eat more regularly, smaller meals, those kinds of things. And if that doesnt quite solve all the problems, then there are some medical things we can do, as far as over-the-counter and prescription stuff. Can you walk through the food choices, the size and timing of meals, and then some of the other treatments?

Tamara Freuman (8:08): Definitely. As a dietician, the way that I would typically approach people with acid indigestion is Im looking for foods that empty the stomach rather expeditiously. The way I describe it is your stomach is basically a food blender. Its main job is to liquify your meal, so that that liquid meal can trickle out of the stomach and move on into the digestive journey. I tell my patients, Envision how much stomach acid does your stomach need to secrete, and how much time and churning does your stomach blender have to churn in order to liquify a giant kale salad versus to liquify a kale smoothie. Same food, same ingredients, very different physical properties. So, you can envision what type of work and what kind of time and what level of acid will be required to liquify certain textures of foods, certain volumes of foods as compared to others. So the first thing that Im really looking at with my patients is how much volume do we eat in a sitting and what are the physical properties of that meal? Can we tame the texture? Can we tame the volume? Break it up – instead of having a big lunch at 12:00 and then nothing again until dinner at 7:00, can we have a small lunch at 12:00 and then the second part of your lunch at 3:30 or 4:00, and then another small meal at 7:00, so that youre never too hungry and overeating and then never too empty and starving, so youre going to overeat because youre starving. So, thats one thing that I do. The second thing as a dietitian that I care about is fat. Fat really does have an effect on the sphincter muscle that keeps your stomach contents in the stomach and prevents them from refluxing into the esophagus. Really high fat meals can relax that pressure so that food is more likely to reflux. So for a patient who does have that classic indigestion, Im looking at fat, Im looking at frequency of meals, volume of meals, and texture. For many, many patients, that gets them really far in terms of symptom control, even without any medications.

Allan (10:20): You also threw alcohol in there, because that can be symptomatic as well, right?

Tamara Freuman (10:25): Absolutely. Alcohol has a very similar effect as fat in terms of relaxing that muscle, and that can make reflux more likely.

Allan (10:35): Most of the medications that are on the market actually reduce the stomach acid at some level. But Ive read, and maybe its wrong and Im misreading something here, that sometimes we would have some of these symptoms because our stomachs not producing enough acid.

Tamara Freuman (10:54): Thats a really common Internet misconception thats out there. I know that there are a lot of beliefs that we’re not having enough stomach acid and we should take apple cider vinegar or other things to acidify the stomach, or even supplements. Theres one called Betaine HCL that I see people use a lot. Theres really no evidence to support any of this; in fact, there is some pretty strong evidence to support the contrary. Frankly, if you ask any person who has suffered from chronic acid indigestion or more serious chronic acid reflux disease, they feel better when they take a TUMS, they feel better with acid reducers. So, I havent really seen any evidence to support this idea that not enough stomach acid would cause acid indigestion.

Allan (11:41): Thank you for that. Like I said, that kind of confused me when I was reading through. I thought we were supposed to go away from the TUMS and go towards taking HCL to push our stomachs to do the digestion faster, if you will. But I guess not. Thank you. The next one I want to talk about, which I think is also very common and actually very uncomfortable for a lot of folks because it makes it sometimes difficult for them to feel comfortable leaving the house, is constipation.

Tamara Freuman (12:12): Yes, constipation is a big one. Its really common, and also I think a lot of people who are constipated don’t recognize that theyre constipated. I have a lot of patients who will come to me and theyre complaining of bloating, and when I go through my little back-and-forth algorithm in my brain, it sounds very much like what I call backed up bloating, or being full of stool. And theyll say, No, no, no, Im not constipated. I go to the bathroom every day. Theres this idea that if you move your bowels every day, you couldnt possibly be constipated. And thats not true at all. You could move your bowels, but move them incompletely, and still move your bowels every day and wind up having a very high stool burden or a very large backlog of stool hanging out in your colon thats unable to really be passed. And so, sometimes people can be constipated and they dont even know it.

Allan (13:02): Okay. So how would someone know the difference between normal constipation and something where theyre not completely getting rid of all the poo?

Tamara Freuman (13:12): The classic constipation, what most people recognize as constipation is, I dont go every day. I might skip a day, I might skip two days. My stools are really hard. There are these hard little balls, or I have to strain incredibly much to go. And when I go, I feel like I didnt get it all out. Thats the typical experience of constipation that most people who have that will recognize that theyre constipated. But there could be people who have extremely high fiber diets, for example. Theyre putting a lot of stuff into the pipeline and they go to the bathroom once a day. And its like a smallish to medium, formed normal size stool – in other words, putting more stuff in than is coming out. Someone on a really, really high fiber diet might need to go to the bathroom three or four times a day to keep up with the input. Sometimes if youre just going one time a day with a very high fiber diet, and its not an incredibly large amount of stool, you might be falling behind. Thats something people might not recognize is going on and then they dont understand why theyre so bloated.

Allan (14:17): Thats because the fibers picking up extra water and making up some girth to what youre digesting, versus not.

Tamara Freuman (14:27): Right. Fiber by definition is indigestible, so fiber that goes in must come out. We cannot break it down, we cannot absorb it. With fiber, what goes in must come out, and if a lot is going in and not a lot is coming out, then you might be outpacing your ability to eliminate it, which could happen for a variety of reasons. Maybe you have a slow colon, which can happen. Maybe your pelvic floor muscles arent working optimally and youre unable to pass large amounts of stool. There are lots of reasons that could happen.

Allan (15:01): I actually had a green smoothie yesterday for lunch, and Ive already gone twice today. So, I think the fiber is working its way through me quite quickly.

Tamara Freuman (15:13): It is. And I love that were at a place in our relationship where we can share these things with each other. Thats so great!

Allan (15:21): Its funny, because actually theres another author that Im interviewing and hes pretty heavy into the fiber stuff. Even though I do the keto, Im going to work a little bit more on getting my greens in, particularly the leafy greens with the fibers. I did do a fruit smoothie yesterday, Im going to do a smoothie today and see how that works for me.

Tamara Freuman (15:43): Excellent.

Allan (15:44): Alright. So, someone comes to you and they are in fact constipated. What can they do now to help themselves?

Tamara Freuman (15:53): The trick with constipation is, its really important to understand, if you can, the nature of the constipation. You can be constipated for more than one reason, as I alluded to before. For example, one thing is you just dont eat enough fiber. Thats the low hanging fruit – nothing in, nothing out – so, thats a more straightforward fix. Some people are constipated, like I said, because their colons are really, really slow; it takes a really long time for stuff to move through them. And the longer waste spends in your colon, the more dried out it can become, so that can be a cause for constipation. Some people, their motility is fine. Things move through them at a proper pace, at a normal pace, but the muscles involved with defecation arent coordinating properly – they cant relax and let the stool out, or their muscles are too weak and they cant propel enough force to get the stool out. There are all sorts of reasons that someone could be constipated and typically a dietician or a doctor will start with some of the more likely causes. Theyll look at the fiber, they might do a little bit of an-over-the-counter laxative thing and see if that does the trick. And for many people with a slow transit constipation or inadequate fiber, that is a really quick and easy fix. But if youre someone that is on a high fiber diet and youve taken magnesium supplements or MiraLAX or a senna tea or something – those low level laxatives, and literally they havent done a thing for you – then we have to start wondering whether your musculature can really support healthy defecation, and maybe get an evaluation from a gastroenterologist of your pelvic floor function to see, because all the laxatives in the world and all the fiber in the world aren’t going to help if there is some faulty plumbing and things cant get out.

Allan (17:47): Okay. Typically Ill have some coffee in the morning, and that seems to be a stimulant that gets my whole digestive system working rather quickly. So, that is something they could also consider – some caffeine in the morning?

Tamara Freuman (18:05): Its actually not the caffeine. Its the coffee. Theres a compound called chlorogenic acid that is in regular coffee and also in decaf coffee, and that is what stimulates the colon to kind of perk up and move along. You could get that benefit from both a regular coffee and a decaf coffee. Whereas even a caffeinated tea will not have as strong of an effect because it doesnt have the chlorogenic acid. I know a lot of people don’t drink coffee because they say, Im caffeine sensitive. The caffeine doesnt agree with me, so I cant drink coffee and therefore I cant benefit from the gut stimulating properties of coffee. And I always tell them decaf works too. If you enjoy the taste of coffee and youre willing to have a decaf, get on that because it will help.

Allan (18:51): Cool. That was in the book; I just actually forgot about it. I guess the other question that came up as I was reading through, because I had a guest on once that swore by coffee enemas. I know enemas are a way to help with constipation from time to time. What are your thoughts on coffee enemas?

Tamara Freuman (19:11): Enemas in general will promote emptying. Ive had patients who’ve needed to use enemas regularly because their pelvic floor muscles dont work well or because they have extremely pathologically slow transit, and enemas on a regular basis are the only way that theyre able to get some relief from their bloating – enemas, whether its coffee or water or salient or whatever. My understanding for the few patients Ive had that have done coffee enemas – it was really about an alternative delivery system of caffeine, because they were not able to tolerate coffee by mouth. Once I had a patient who had these terrible migraines and caffeine really helped her with her migraines, but she couldnt drink coffee; it gave her this awful, awful acid reflux. So, she happened upon the solution of coffee enemas as a delivery system for caffeine, and that seemed to work for her. So my understanding of a coffee enema in terms of constipation relief – it probably has much more to do with the enema and probably a lot less to do with the coffee.

Allan (20:12): Okay. Any other thoughts if someones going through constipation that they can do besides the changing and making sure theyre getting plenty of fiber, maybe taking some of the soft laxative formula or perhaps enemas, that we could consider if were looking for treatment options?

Tamara Freuman (20:32): What I would say about the fiber question is, if you are someone who does have a pelvic floor function disorder, eating less fiber until your pelvic floor muscles have been rehabilitated through treatment might actually make it better, not worse. The fiber is a little bit tricky, which again comes back to this idea of, if more fiber doesnt feel better, there may be a reason for that. And for some people less fiber may be better. Theres another thing that is a little bit underrecognized with constipation, and that is position on the toilet. There is something out there called a Squatty Potty, which is basically an overpriced stepstool that you put in front of your toilet and it raises your knees so that when youre sitting in a toilet, youre in a more squatting position. That is our bodys more preferred natural position for pooping. The pelvic floor muscles are optimally aligned when we are in a squatting position. Particularly for people who have pelvic floor problems, getting those knees up with a stepstool of some sort while youre going to the bathroom can really make a difference.

Allan (21:34): I should reiterate, because I think a lot of people stop their squat real early. So just being seated is not necessarily the squat position. Were talking about your bottom being a little lower, so that the hip crease is below your knees. And yes, the Squatty Potties put you into that natural position while youre on the toilet if you are having some issues. That’s actually why the guy invented Squatty Potty. I think he said his mother was having some issues and thats why he came up with it. Its cool, but it is just a stool. And then I guess the last area I really want to get into, as far as some of the things that we would deal with that I see from time to time, is carbohydrate intolerance. Can you get into that a little bit?

Tamara Freuman (22:23): Sure. Carbohydrate intolerance is any time that you have digestive distress because of a poorly absorbed carbohydrate. There are these different families of carbohydrates that human beings may be inclined for one reason or another not to absorb very well. And I think the one that most people are familiar with is lactose intolerance. I think its pretty common knowledge at this point that for a large segment of the population, once were out of our teenage years or out of our 20s, we start producing less of the digestive enzyme lactase that we need to absorb milk, sugar or lactose. As a result, when we have too much dairy, especially high lactose dairy, we can get really gassy, we could get bloated, we can have diarrhea. Thats one that were very familiar with, but there are other carbohydrates that we could also be intolerant to. Another one is fructose. There are these special transporters in our gut that are supposed to take fructose out of the gut and some people have more of them than others. So if you have a really high load of fructose and you dont have enough transporters to take it out of your gut, youre going to have very similar symptoms as lactose intolerance. And the trick to some of these carbohydrate intolerances is the symptoms dont onset immediately after the lactose or the fructose or the offending carbohydrate. It takes at least four hours and typically closer to six to eight hours, because the symptoms of malabsorption dont happen until that sugar or carbohydrate makes it all the way to your colon, and that takes a while. So what can happen is someone might experience the onset of gas at 3:00 p.m. and theyll look and be like, What did I just eat? But really what they should be looking at is what did they eat for breakfast? And there are other carbohydrate intolerances that Im seeing more and more of as well, especially with some of the special diets and the new products coming out that are sugar-free, low carb. Theres a lot of use now of sugar alcohols – things like sorbitol, erythritol, xylitol. People like them a lot because theyre natural or naturally derived. They have no calories, they dont raise your blood sugar, and so youre seeing them in a lot of sugar-free, low carb, even some keto products. The problem is when you have a lot of them in your diet, they can exert a very similar effect as a lactose intolerance or a fructose tolerance because human beings dont absorb them well. So, those too can produce gas, bloating, diarrhea, things like that. There are these different families of carbohydrates that can produce those symptoms.

Allan (24:51): Thats going to be a function of doing a food log and looking at symptoms and trying to find that connection.

Tamara Freuman (25:01): Definitely. What I tell people is a food and symptom journal for a week, 10 days, where you record the time of what you eat, everything, and the time of onset of symptoms. And what youre going to want to do is look back at four to eight hours before your symptom onset, because very often thats where it originates. Thats especially so for carbohydrate intolerance. Not necessarily for other types of bloating, but for a carbohydrate intolerance a food and symptom journal is terrific. It really provides the data. You need to figure it out.

Allan (25:33): In the book you went through several supplements that we can use to help our digestive system do the things its intended to do so we dont have these plumbing issues, for a lack of a better word. Do you mind going through a few of your favorites that would benefit most of us to consider having as part of our diet?

Tamara Freuman (25:57): Definitely. Im not a big pill pusher, Im not a huge supplement pusher. Ill start there.

Allan (26:03): Im not either, but Ill tell you, I get more questions about what supplements they should be taking. I tell them, whole foods first.

Tamara Freuman (26:11): Definitely.

Allan (26:13): And if there are some other issues and you want to optimize, thats when you can start looking to these things.

Tamara Freuman (26:18): Absolutely. If I had to pick the top two that I recommend the absolute most often and the top two that give the most of my patients… If I could only have two supplements to recommend for the rest of my life, which two would they be? They would probably be magnesium and soluble fiber. Starting with magnesium – its an electrolyte, its a mineral, our bodies have a need for it. Its something that we need anyway, but when we take it in higher doses of 350 milligrams or more, it has what we call an osmotic laxative effect. Thats a fancy way of saying it draws more water into the bowel and speeds up bowel transit so that people who tend to be on the slower, more sluggish side, people who tend to have harder stools that are difficult to pass, its magical for them. You take it at bedtime, usually in a dose of 400-500 milligrams, sometimes a little bit higher if needed, and the next morning, it really helps regulate bowels for people who are constipated. And its really safe, its really cheap, its really available. Its something that I recommend a lot, and its just a lot of bang for your buck.

Allan (27:29): I use a ZMA supplement from time to time, but I would caution folks with magnesium. Walk your way into it. You might wake up in the middle of the night and have a “hurry, go” kind of situation. But I do use a ZMA occasionally. The other thing Ive noticed about the ZMA is it gives me these really cool lucid dreams from time to time. I just dream better, and I think probably Im sleeping better with the ZMA. It is also relaxing and helps you sleep.

Tamara Freuman (28:01): Interesting. I dont have all that much experience with it, so its really interesting to get that feedback. I would say that the other supplement that I use a lot is for people with the opposite problem – diarrhea; people who are really prone to diarrhea and this pattern of running back and forth to the bathroom four or five times every morning where they feel like they cant get out of the house. For that, a soluble fiber supplement in the mass market – things like Citrucel and Benefiber; in the more natural market youre looking at things like acacia fiber, Heathers Tummy fiber, things like that. Taking that in the evening at bedtime can really regulate the bowels in the morning, calm down that spasmodic back-and-forth, consolidate all these little pieces that arent coming out at once into one or two complete, calm, normal formed stools that you get out easily and you get on your way. I have to say that for my patients with irritable bowel syndrome that are diarrhea-prone and spasmodic – soluble fiber is just magical for them; they do so well with it. So, I rely heavily on that in my practice.

Allan (29:08): Okay. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Tamara Freuman (29:19): I love that definition of wellness and I think its so similar to my own. One thing I see that I think undermines a lot of peoples ability to achieve that definition that you’ve described, is theres a real dogmatism about diet. We kind of adopt these dogmas that, This is bad, this is good. You should eat this way. We all should eat that way, because so-and-so told me that and so-and-so eats that way. Theres this black and white thinking as if all human beings have to eat the exact same diet. I like to really encourage people to step back and take a more global perspective, which is, there are populations all over this big planet of ours who have extremely healthy lives that live into their 100s without chronic disease very, very well, and they eat really different diets. Theres not one diet that all human beings have to eat. And one diet that works for you or for your personal trainer or for your aunt or for your best friend might wreak havoc on you, in terms of digestively, or might be miserable for you because it makes you gassy or you hate the foods on it or its inconvenient for you. There are a lot of reasons why we dont all have to eat the same diet, and I think allowing yourself and opening yourself to the possibility that you could have a very healthy diet and I could have a really healthy diet, and we could have completely different diets, and that is not a conflict. I think thats so important. So thats the one thing, to be a little bit less dogmatic about diet and really be open to the possibility of different paths to good health.

Theres another thing I see a lot that really has a negative impact on peoples relationship with food and eating, which I think impairs wellness. Its this real emphasis on what to avoid, what to eliminate, whats toxic, whats bad, and placing foods into these categories of dietary demons and defining your diet based on what you dont eat. What Ill say is Ill have a patient who could come to me and say they follow a vegan diet or a plant-based diet. That doesnt tell me anything about whether its a healthy diet, because potato chips are vegan, apple juice is vegan. So, defining your diet and good health by what you dont eat, I think is a lot less useful than defining your diet and its helpfulness based on what you do eat. Whats actually going in your mouth? I dont care if youre a vegan, Mediterranean, keto, whatever kind of dietary pattern you follow. Its less about what you avoid and more about what you do eat. You could avoid 50 things in the world that are supposed to be terrible for you, but if youre not eating any vegetables or youre not eating anything with vitamins, your diets not going to be healthy. And so really focusing on putting good stuff in your mouth rather than being so fearful of being poisoned by something that might not be perfect going in your mouth, is I think a really healthy, constructive way to look at your diet.

I think the third one is the importance of routine. We think about diet as being this main key to health, but I think we also forget that sleep plays a really big role. Movement and activity play a really big role. And ultimately for optimal health, our bodies want us to be in a rhythm of consistent meal times, adequate rest, regular movement. When any one of those three pieces of the puzzle are missing, its going to be really hard to have true and complete health and wellness. We talk a lot about diet, but then we stay up too late, messing around on YouTube, and then we get five hours of sleep. Or we skip meals some days and then try to compensate by eating a super healthy lunch, but we didnt have breakfast. I think the best way to really be kind to our bodies and give our bodies what they need is to pay attention to consistent rhythms, routines, meal times, sleep times. Our bodies thrive, I think, when we have these set schedules and our organs know what to expect and have that predictability.

Allan (33:26): Tamara, those were excellent. I love all of those, so thank you for that. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book The Bloated Belly Whisperer, where would you like for me to send them?

Tamara Freuman (33:39): I have a website – TheBloatedBellyWhisperer.com. Theres information about the book. I have a lot of my old newsletters, where I sound off on things that are on my mind and important to me. There are links to things that Ive written. I write a lot online for U.S. News and for Self, and so links to a lot of those articles are on my website. So I think my websites a great place to start.

Allan (34:01): Excellent. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/365, and Ill be sure to have a link there. Tamara, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Tamara Freuman (34:13): Thank you for having me. It was so fun.

 If you've been struggling with gastrointestinal issues, you know its a big pain. Now Tamara in her book has given you a quiz thats going to help you have the right conversations with your doctor to get this taken care of once and for all. So, I do hope that youll go out and check out that book if you have any issues with your stomach at all.

Also, Ive been telling you this past couple of weeks, during the month of January, I am offering to sell you a signed copy of The Wellness Roadmap. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound to get a hardbound edition of the book, or you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback to get a paperback edition of the book, a signed copy mailed directly to you. I can only do this during the month of January because in February Im moving to Panama, so hurry up while supplies last, because I did get a shipment of books in and Id like to get them in your hands if youre interested in having a signed copy. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound or 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback. Thank you.

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Erin Boardman Wathen – Why can’t I stick to my diet

Did you have a New Year’s resolution to go on a particular diet? How’s that working out for you? Our guest today is a holistic weight loss coach and one of the first international food addiction counselors. She’s going to give you some tactics and strategies to help you along with your diet. Her name is Erin Boardman Wathen, and the book we’re going to talk about is Why Can’t I Stick To My Diet?

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Thank you!

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

Erin Boardman Wathen (1:14): Thank you so much for having me.

Allan (1:16): Your book, Why Can’t I Stick To My Diet?, I think is extremely timely, because we’re in the new year here and this is the time when people start their new diets, and it’s also the time when they quit their new diets. The word “diet” to me actually means what you’re eating. If you look in the dictionary, that’s what you’re eating. But we’ve kind of morphed the word over the years to mean a temporary state of eating, a restriction of doing something different than what we were doing before, almost with the intent that we’re going to go back to that later.

Erin Boardman Wathen (1:56): Yes.

Allan (1:57): But your book’s not about that.

Erin Boardman Wathen (1:59): No. My book is about how the fact that we go on diets is why we can’t stick to them, because it’s the way that you’re going to change your life, change your body composition, change all of those things, so you have a long-term approach. The reason why so many of us could not stick to our diet was because we went on a diet – the term that has become relevant, not the actual Webster’s Dictionary term, because we go on it like a Ferris wheel for example, where we always intend to get off of it at the wedding, the reunion, see the magic number, without any real commitment to the rest of our lives. And what I’ve noticed is a very important key to all of this is how and why we gain the weight in the first place. And it’s very often I hear this time of year, and I’ll hear it more in January: “I just enjoy the holidays.” There’s way more to it than enjoying the holidays. You also are eating cookies 24/7. So, we also need to really do a deep dive into why you gain the weight, how you gain the weight, and not just chalk it up to “That’s how life is.”

Allan (3:21): There was a point in the book where you said, “Looking back on it, I was not suffering from a lack of morals, nor was my life insufficient in some major way.” That sort of hit me in the chest, that we get into these episodes where we’re not living the way we want to live, and we then become the judge and jury of ourselves, and can be pretty harsh. Someone read the introduction to my book and they were like, “Allan, you’re way too harsh on yourself.” And I’m like, “No, I don’t think I was harsh enough.” But can you tell us a little bit about your backstory, because it was kind of fascinating to me? You shared so much, which was amazing, because it really opened my eyes to how we look to ourselves, how we’re perceived by others and how that all makes us into this stew of not living a whole life.

Erin Boardman Wathen (4:25): Yeah, no problem. I was definitely one of those kids whose mother had the right intention of never ever letting us have sugar, but when I had it, I was so enamored with it, I couldn’t eat it quickly enough and I had to get more, and had a very emotional and chemical reaction, looking back on it, from an early age. I distinctly remember my brother and I – he was years younger – Easter morning, I ate all my candy before we got to church, because there it was. I got older, I started dieting, but the sugar was very prevalent, especially in the ‘90s. For those of you who are younger or older than me – fat–free was what we were told was the way everything needed to be. Dean Ornish wrote a great book in the ‘80s talking about a certain type of diet for heart patients that somehow got distorted into everyone eating buckets of SnackWell’s. We used to when I was in college. So, the combination of my own predisposition to loving sugar, and everything having so much sugar at that time, because we took all the fat out. So, my weight definitely fluctuated; not enough that anyone ever really talked to me in a medical sense, or there was ever an intervention or anything like that. I was always under the radar because I, quote unquote, “looked normal”. I was a normal size and I always exercised, so my weight wasn’t too out of the normal range. But through all those years, I can look at every picture from my life and tell you how much I weighed, because I was always obsessed with how much I ate, “Can I be skinny by Friday? What’s going to fit?” It was this constant mental chatter going on constantly, constantly. I call it the white noise machine; it was always on, drowning out other things.

I didn’t understand intellectually as a person that it wasn’t because I was a bad person, it wasn’t because I was weak. It was because I was flat out addicted to sugar. I would catch myself having a disagreement with a friend or a family member and eating ice cream on the phone while I was arguing with them, in between bites. I would be getting in my points while eating fish food and standing in front of the refrigerator. Those episodes really made me realize there was way more to it than just “Erin likes sugar”. Everyone always thought it was so cute how much I liked sugar, like, “It’s so funny that you like sugar so much because you’re skinny.” And I’m like, “Well, I’m not skinny, but okay, fine.” But it was never a thing where anyone ever spoke to me about it seriously; none of my doctors, even though I was still getting acne and cavities in my 30s. No one ever asked me what I was eating, which is crazy to me. So, it definitely reached a point where on all those levels of acceptance I had to understand the reason I wasn’t the weight I wanted to be or the reason I was always kind of short with my husband, even though he would say I still am sometimes, is because I was always in some stage of sugar, either my blood sugar’s spiking, my blood sugar’s rising. I was constantly on this rollercoaster of sugar and Diet Coke. And the problem with diet soda, which a lot of us don’t understand is, the reason why we like it is because it tastes sweet, but it really messes with our brains and we end up needing, wanting, craving sugar even more. So it was a lot of sugar, artificial sweetener and a range of other symptoms.

Allan (8:31): I used to really have a bad addiction to Diet Coke. It wasn’t that I went around hiding it from people, because that just seemed to be normal. You’re walking around with a 44-oz Diet Coke. Why not? There are no calories. It’s not the lifestyle we really want to live, but it doesn’t register with us that we’re hurting ourselves. Whereas with candy, sugar and those types of things – and I think your favorite was the gummy bears – was that you had these in the console of your car, you had them stashed in places around the house. And even though you knew you wanted to get away from them, your body wouldn’t let you. Can you talk a little bit about sugar addiction and your experiences with it?

Erin Boardman Wathen (9:18): The thing about sugar addiction is, when you look back upon your life, you probably have pictures in your house, or your mother does, of you and your first birthday cake. We’re all celebrating, “Yay! Allan’s one! He’s going to get sugar. We’re going to light a candle.” So most of us have our first taste of sugar when we’re really, really young, way before we can even really understand it. And it’s so normalized. A lot of the food we eat currently for the average American person, so the standard American diet, is chock full of sugar we’re aware of. Most people will acknowledge there’s sugar in ice cream, for example. But sugar we’re not aware of, in things like hamburger buns or even juice. There’s orange juice or whatever fruit, and they add sugar into it to make it even sweeter. So, if you’re someone who is addicted to sugar, you could cut out the ice cream and the gummy bears, but unless you’re really aware of everything you’re eating, those hot dog buns are going to trigger your body to want more sugar. There are a lot of chemicals involved and dopamine receptors and a lot of science, but just to summarize it, which I think is easiest – the more sugar we eat, the more sugar we want, because like any drug, our body gets a tolerance going. For example, if you used to be able to only, quote unquote, “need” a medium Frappuccino, over time, the next one looks pretty good. That’s because your body’s craving more sugar. We might not even be aware of what’s going on, but that’s the behind the scenes science of why people end up with these gigantic drinks or smoothies or whatever, because “That sounds okay, but the bigger one sounds a little bit better.” That’s the sugar talking; that’s not your body talking.

Allan (11:30): All that time, I thought it was the caffeine talking, which it probably was, because that was my primary source of caffeine. I decided to give up the Diet Cokes, but I still relapse every once in a while, but not very often. I decided I needed the caffeine, so I shifted over to black coffee. And it took me a little while. I actually had to use fruit as a bridge to get me over to drinking black coffee, but I was able to eventually get out from under what I would call a Diet Coke addiction.

Erin Boardman Wathen (12:07): I distinctly remember the same thing. I kind of prioritize which Diet Cokes meant the most to me, body-wise, craving, that sort of a concept. But that 4:00 p.m. one, I used to have when my kids would come home from school and everybody is in a bad mood. I’m making dinner or going to soccer. There’ll be times now where all of a sudden, out of the blue, I need a Diet Coke. I’ll look at my watch and it’s 4:00 or 5:00. It’s been years, but I’ll still have that, “Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! A Diet Coke would help!” And the thing is, if you are someone who’s got a problem with Diet Coke, it’s really easy to get one. You could just send your kid into the grocery store and they could bring you one out. We have a problem with these sorts of foods and drinks in our current environment, with the way the grocery stores are set up, and even things like going to get paper and there’s a row of candy before you check out at Staples. You really have to make a conscious effort to be aware of where all this stuff lies, because it isn’t like alcohol that’s in bars. Sugar is in everything, it’s everywhere. People love to give it to you as gifts, as “Thank You’s”, samples at Costco. But being aware of everything it’s in, or saying “No, thank you” until you know otherwise is something I’ve had to learn over time. Sugar addiction is one of those things where it’s so easy to trigger it again, even if you’ve been off of it for weeks and months, because your body is still kind of longing for it a little bit. And then there’s also the psychological component of, “A 4:00 o’clock Diet Coke would really help my kids be less irritating. It would fix it. My kids would whine less if I had a Diet Coke, the homework would be easier.” So, the physical and all the other aspects of when we get in these habits. And then our body is also interested in having it. It becomes a lot more of a process than just not having the ice cream. It also becomes reading every label and being very aware of what’s in your salad dressing, because even if we have the greatest intentions, if we’re always triggering ourselves for sugar without even meaning to, with a Diet Coke for example – it’s really hard to get away from it.

Allan (14:47): I like how in the book you’ve given us basically four guidelines, because the way I look at it is, one, I believe humans are opportunistic eaters. When we were foraging and hunting, that was perfect. We came upon a field of blueberries in the spring – it’s time to fatten up for the fall and winter, so go ahead, gorge yourself on the blueberries until they’re gone. And then they’re gone. But today you walk into a grocery store and 95% of it is sugar-laden crap.

Erin Boardman Wathen (15:17): Totally.

Allan (15:18): Your four guidelines give what I feel is a really good, solid base model for someone to go through their daily eating and figure out how to make it work for them. Do you mind going through your four guidelines?

Erin Boardman Wathen (15:31): Yeah, no problem. A food plan is something you stay on, it’s how you live your life. It’s from here till whenever. It’s not the “skinny by Friday” concept, or the reunion. It’s just how you’re living. I really thought a lot about all my nutrition knowledge, all my behavioral knowledge, all those things, and how to summarize it as quickly and as succinctly as possible. And I got to the four fundamentals because I think anything less than five on your hand is easy to remember, but also because if you stick to these things you will pretty much be okay. Even though they’re very simple – the amount of words or the amount of numbers – it doesn’t mean that it isn’t broad in its scope. So, first of all, stick to the perimeter of the grocery store. If you think about your average American grocery store, there’s fruit and vegetables on one wall, meat is always on the back, by the freezers, and the other wall is usually dairy. And you have oils and stuff in there somewhere. But we don’t really need anything in the middle. That’s where the Wheat Thins live, and the Granola, and all of the things that trip us up, that just decrease our quality of life. So, the first one is always stick to the perimeter or the grocery store, not just when you’re in the grocery store, but also in life. So if you’re going out to dinner and they put the bread down, you don’t really need the bread. You don’t need all of those refined carbohydrates.

Allan (17:19): I get really weird looks when I go to a conference and I pass the bread and I don’t take one. And then I don’t eat my dessert, and they’re just looking at me like…

Erin Boardman Wathen (17:30): Like, “What’s wrong with that guy?” Also, when I was doing my food plan, it was really important to me to have it not be ridiculous for normal people. By “normal people”, I mean average budgets in average parts of the world, not people that are going to go to five different grocery stores to get all the ingredients and spend hours in the kitchen and having a ton of extra cash. I’m talking normal food like chicken, broccoli, olive oil, things you can get in a regular grocery store. So, stick to the perimeters is always the first thing. The second is, three meals a day. Now if you’re an intermittent faster, you can say your coffee is one of them. But we don’t need to snack. We’re just in this habit of three meals a day and two snacks, and you always have dessert, like you were saying, or the bread. If we’re eating the right amount of food and the right portions, we can go very easily from lunch till dinner. We’re just used to having a snack, because everyone was always telling us we had to have snacks all the time. And look, there are so many snack foods available. So, we don’t need to be eating as often. And almost always the snacks we go to are some sort of chips or a bar or something that’s not really nutritious. It’s just empty calories, empty bag, empty everything.

Allan (19:12): The real thing here is, once people get off the sugar, they’ll start to recognize that the reason they were hungry at 10:00 and then again at 3:00 was the low blood sugar. They had a high blood sugar before, after they ate breakfast, because it’s orange juice, a bagel and a cup of coffee with three teaspoons of sugar in it. Their blood sugar spikes, and then by 10:00 their blood sugar’s plummeting and their body’s screaming at them, “Give me more.” So once you get to that whole food, like you said, walking around the perimeter of the store, that’s actually going to make this three meals per day a whole lot easier.

Erin Boardman Wathen (19:49): Absolutely. The reason why people are ravenous at 4:00, a lot of it is because they didn’t eat enough fat at lunch. It all kind of goes together – we’re not eating enough in one meal, so then we have a snack in between. It’s this whole domino effect with one bad choice leads to another bad choice, leads to you’re eating from the time you get home from work until you’re asleep. You had the best intentions in the world at 6:00 that morning and you’re going to bed at 10:00 and you’re like, “What did I just do?” Because you’re eating sugar all day long. And it’s really easy to keep eating it, because it’s in everything. I’ve had clients who had two or three barbecue potato chips and are craving sugar for a week, and they’re like, “I don’t know what I did to myself.” I’m like, “Tell me everything you ate.” It’ll come down to a couple of barbecue chips, because there’s sugar in there, it triggered them. They, for whatever reason, weren’t cognizant of it. Next thing you know, they’re stealing their kids’ Halloween candy. It’s a slippery slope sometimes.

Allan (21:00): It’s the parent tax.

Erin Boardman Wathen (21:04): Yeah, Dad tax, right? So, you have three meals a day, the perimeter of the grocery store. I also talk a lot about meal planning, and not just “On Sunday I make batches of chicken” sort of thing, which is great if you do that, but also not making any food decisions on the fly. You should pretty much know what you’re eating every day, because it follows your meal plan. But also if you know you’re going out somewhere, look at the menu ahead of time if it’s someplace new. You shouldn’t be looking for excitement in your food. Your food shouldn’t be entertainment, it shouldn’t be your fun, it shouldn’t be your friend. It really is all you need to get from A to B in your lives, but we’ve made it into something else. So, meal planning is making sure you have all the right stuff in your house, but it’s also knowing the night before what you’re going to eat tomorrow. Not just what you feel like it going to the grocery store when you’re starving. Next thing you know, you have five cups of ice cream because it seemed like a really good idea. So, planning ahead and having that awareness, not when you’re in the moment of, “I’m not going to have dessert at that conference, because it never serves me. I feel really tired afterwards and I can’t do my work back in my hotel room or at the meet and greet or whatever.” When you chose not to have the bread and the desert, you probably made that decision a long time before you were in that situation.

Allan (22:40): I know when I walk into a conference, if it’s a buffet, there are tables I can select to go to or not go to. But if they’re bringing the food out, I know 99% of the time they’ll come out with a bread bowl, then they’ll bring out your salad, then your dish. And your dessert’s sitting right there in front of you the whole time. I don’t even look at the desert as a food item. I look at it as decoration on the table.

Erin Boardman Wathen (23:04): It’s entertainment, right?

Allan (23:05): It is. And I know everybody else is trying to chow through their food so that they can hit that cake. I’ll easily pass the bread and the butter. It took me really a long, long time to train myself to do that, and it kind of touches on one of the things you talked about in your four guidelines. I make sure, in a normal sense, that I’m getting enough fat. I’m not eating low fat. I’m eating high fat, low carb. I’m eating whole foods and my body is pretty much nutrient-dense because I’m making sure to get good, high quality food. I’m planning for that. I’ll go on to Thrive Market later today and order some organic meat shipped to my house, because that’s what I want to have. My local grocery stores are not really good at having enough variety of meat. So I’ll order my meat, they deliver it to my house in a few days, I’ll start thawing it out and that’s my food for next week. I like how you put all those together because I do think they give us a really good foundation moving forward. Now, we’re always going to run into the folks that say you can still have your cake, you can still have some bread; you just have to do it in moderation. It’s all calories in, calories out. This is another unique thing about sugar addiction – just like with all addictions, some of us can get off of an addiction really quickly and some of us cannot. Moderation might work for one out of 100 people, but tell me why moderation is not really the route that most of us should be taking.

Erin Boardman Wathen (24:48): First of all, moderation is like the unicorn. It’s rare that someone can just have a bite of cake, just a bite. Odds are they’re going to eat half of the piece, all of the piece, many more pieces. We need to look at food not just as beautiful and nutritious; it’s also a chemical reaction that happens. When we chew it, we start digestion. All these things happen internally when you just think you’re eating lunch. So, when we invite those chemicals into our body – and cake is a good example because you have sugar and flour, so you’ve got double dose – our body is going to think, “This is a really great idea.” Our pleasure sensors, dopamine, is very excited by this introduction. So that one bite is sort of like, “What do you mean? That’s it?” Kind of leaving it high and dry. Where if you never go there in the first place, you might see the cake, acknowledge the cake, be aware of the cake at the conference. But having just one bite and not going into a full-fledged sugar thing later, or bread, depending on who you are, is very, very unlikely, just based on the chemicals. Now, some people don’t care about that kind of thing. Some people don’t care about sweets, but they really can go for bread, like pizza, donuts, whatever. And it’s the bread. The way that we’ve gotten flour and sugar too nowadays – it’s so ground, it’s so refined, it’s so processed. It’s pretty close to our brain, because they’re both quick acting carbohydrates. What a lot of people don’t understand is that everything we eat, at the end of the day, has to fit under three macronutrients – carbs, fat, or protein. Sugar and grains are both carbs, and they’re quick acting carbs, compared to broccoli, which is slower. Not as exciting as cake. It’s also a carbohydrate, but it’s not one of the ones that will jack up your blood sugar and create this whole craving thing and have you start drooling. While a bite of cake, most of the time for most people, they’ll have a very difficult chemical and I guess psychological reaction to only having a little bit of it. If you notice all those mini muffins get eaten just as quickly as the big muffins, if not sooner, because they seem so innocent and because they’re little and cute.

And I remember moderation. Moderation was very big in the ‘90s; it still is very big with a lot of commercial diet plans. Even the whole “cheat day” concept is a take off of moderation. But to have all of those things reintroduced to your body and say it’s only going to be at that one meal is very difficult. Also, when we’ve been using food as entertainment, as our friend, as whatever emotional need we had at the time, you’re also bringing that up and up again with those foods. Chocolate cake could have also been what your grandmother used to make when you went over there on holidays or whatever. So there’s a lot of stuff around the chocolate cake that isn’t just the chemicals; it’s also going to be how you remember it. And what’s really interesting too is there’s this thing that happens when we get off of sugar and then we have it again. You’re probably used to the concept of a relapse with an alcoholic or a drug addict. But this thing is called “euphoric recall”. So, if we’re off of sugar and then we decide to have the bite of chocolate cake, because moderation is this thing we all believe in – it will actually taste better, because our body will want us to indulge more. That’s why when people relapse on any of these substances, it’s so much harder for them to get off of it than it was the first time, because your body is working against you. So, my take is, just stay away from it completely because moderation, like I said, is like the unicorn. It doesn’t really exist.

Allan (29:33): That takes me back to my concept of opportunistic eaters. They didn’t come up on a field of chocolate cake and start binging on it. There was some true nutrition in the berries, the fruits or whatever they found in that valley. Yes, for a period of time they went nuts because, like you said, it tastes wonderful because they’ve been seven, eight months without having any of it. And now here it is in abundant supply. Go ahead and eat it because at that point it was very, very healthy. I can tell you there was probably no moderation whatsoever if they were traveling around forging and found a big field of fruit. They would go nuts, but they needed to. That was a survival mechanism. And today we don’t really need that. Foods that are around us are not as nutritious as necessary, so moderation is going to be something that is not going to work for the vast majority of us. It’ll be, like you said, the unicorn that went out there and did it and said they can still have their cheat day and they’re fine. But for a lot of people, once they have that cheat, that little slip, then they start this rationalization of, “Well, I did have the cake, so I’ve kind of blown today. I guess I’ll go ahead and order a regular Coke and I’ll go ahead and get some popcorn at the movies.” They wake up the next morning and they’re like, “I really want to stop by Starbucks and get a Frappuccino.” And so the slip, while it was a single event, it now becomes a cascading mess. Can you talk to us a little bit about slips and how we can deal with those?

Erin Boardman Wathen (31:15): The thing about a slip is – let’s use the chocolate cake thing because it’s nice and easy. It seems like it’s no big deal, but we need to be very aware, like you said, the foragers. We’re not that far away in our bodies from that mindset. We have technology, and isn’t it great we can get everyone on our smartphone? Our bodies are still thinking “feast or famine” and “Is this fight or flight?” when you’re in a car accident. All these evolutionary responses kick in because we still have a lot of them lurking around. With a slip, when we reintroduce the sugar, our body is really, really happy about it, and then our brain decides, “We’re going to make it taste even better to her just to get her to eat more of it.” So here comes euphoric recall, yay! And then we start the internal nonsense of, “I’ve already blown it” or, “It’s okay to have dessert. It’s normal to gain weight in the holidays”, “Well, I’ve already gone there today, so let’s go there more.” The whole, “I have one flat tire; let’s make them all flat.” Next thing you know, we’ve talked ourselves into an entire crazy amount of food that we didn’t really think about eating. We just find ourselves eating it, because that cheat slip or that moderation slip, whatever you’re going to call that bite of chocolate cake, can easily morph into a cheat meal, a cheat day, a cheat weekend, a cheat week, just cheating. If we have that first slip, which is known to happen, it’s how we handle it. If we have the whole, “We’re going to flatten the other three tires because one tire’s flat” in our brains – that is not your best interest talking to you. That is the primal need for having stuff, and the hunting and gathering, all that other sort of analogies. That is not your best interest. Your best interest is to go brush your teeth, get some water, get away from the cake, and be very aware the next couple of days are not going to be very pleasant because your body is going to be jouncing for sugar. And that’s okay. That doesn’t mean you have to follow through though. But if you make that chocolate cake that you’re a bad person, there’s no point trying to eat right anyway, it’s normal… When you start talking yourself into how it was okay, then you’re definitely off in the wrong direction.

Allan (34:04): I’m going to steal that three car tires analogy, because I really do like that. I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Erin Boardman Wathen (34:23): I thought about this before you asked me, so I definitely have a bit of an answer planned. We didn’t get to it, but my last fundamental of eating is to always have fat, protein, a low glycemic carb and fiber every time we eat. That will do a lot of good things, but it will also help regulate our blood sugar. When our blood sugar is not like a rollercoaster, when it’s nice and slowly processing food, it’s a lot easier to stay in that mental space. So we’re thinking about how to stay well. We’re in a place where we make the right decisions, where we’re going for the water and not the Diet Coke. Having a good handle on your blood sugar is a really good place to start, as far as staying well. Everything starts with our thoughts, right? If we’re thinking that we’re going to beat the system with sugar because we’re going to be that one person that’s going to be able to only have a bite – that’s going against own best interests. So, having a really good handle on your blood sugar is a very good place to start. So that’s number one.

Number two is to really spend a lot of time and think about how you want to feel and how you want to look six months from now, a month from now. All those dates and times just seem to happen to us, but actually, we have a lot of time before. For example, January 2nd is a notorious big dieting day, because the holidays are over and all these other things. Everyone’s pants are kind of tight. What if back in early December you sat down and thought about, “How do I want to feel on January 2nd? Do I want to feel like a busted can of buscuits, like I have all the other years before, or do I want to feel like I’m starting off 2019 with my best foot forward?” Think about both scenarios, because both scenarios are available to you, but one is going to put you in the right direction for a higher level of wellbeing, and the other one is going to get you where you’ve always gotten, which is probably breaking your diet by February 8th, which I think is the usual date most people fall off the wagon with their year-end resolutions. So really having a lot of mindset work, visualization and being realistic with what result you want and how you’re going to need to get there. You can’t feel your best on January 2nd if you’re eating nothing but cookies and drinking chocolate martinis the month beforehand. That’s not how it works. So, visualizing and thinking about what your future self really wants and needs is not for you to completely go off the wagon and go crazy over the holidays, and then January 2nd decide you’re going to starve yourself and do green juice, which is putting yourself in another extreme tailspin. So, that’s the second one.

My last one would be to be really cognizant of portions, because often times we have no idea what a serving is. We just think it’s till the bowl’s full, or whatever they serve us. If when we’re home, we weigh and measure all of the things we’re eating, we have an idea of what exactly six ounces of beef looks like. So when we’re in a restaurant and we see this huge piece of meat, we know it’s not one serving, even though they gave it to us on a plate. There’s actually enough meat for three meals there. So just being aware of that, like you said, opportunistic eaters, that if someone gives us a plate with a giant steak, a lot of people will try to eat it all, because it’s expensive or it’s special or it’s your birthday, when actually you’re eating three times the amount of meat you would be eating if you made it at home. So being very aware of portions and how crazy our portions are right now. A really good and cheap way to get a hold of this is regular old measuring cups when you’re at your house, and get a food scale, because when we’re out in the world and we’re presented with these gigantic portions, we understand that there’s no reason for us to finish it. But there’s this tendency to do it just the same.

Allan (39:08): I agree. Those were wonderful. Thank you for that. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book, Why Can’t I Stick To My Diet?, where would you like me to send them?

Erin Boardman Wathen (39:18): The book is going to be in bookstores on December 18th, but before then you can pre-order it on Amazon or BarnesAndNoble.com. And they can get in touch with me on my website. It’s pretty easy – it’s ErinWathenWellness.com. All my information is right there. My Instagram – same handle, Facebook – same handle. It’s pretty streamlined.

Allan (39:39): Good deal. This is episode 364, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/364, and I’ll be sure to have all the links there. Erin, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Erin Boardman Wathen (39:52): Thank you for having me.

I hope you enjoyed that conversation as much as I did. You know I’m not a big fan of diets and weight loss procedures, things that we’re doing to try to lose weight. I think there are other health markers that are much more important, like your lab results. Now, if you haven’t had labs done in a while and maybe you just don’t want to go to your doctor or your doctor doesn’t really order you the kind of labs that you’re interested in knowing about, you can go to YourLabwork.com. It’s a company that will actually do the labs you want them to do. You tell them what you want, they get a doctor involved, the doctor does the things that he’s supposed to do. You show up at a Quest Center and they take your lab works. I have an agreement with them. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Lab – very good prices on their lab work. And they give me an education piece so I can do a little bit of deep diving into what the labs mean. I went through and had a full panel done, so really, really deep cholesterol, hormones, pretty much all of it, and got all the way down to the particle counts. Really, really detailed information; more information than my doctor would normally go for. I have that now as a benchmark for the year, so as I do things for my health and fitness over the course of this year, I now have a really good benchmark to measure my performance as we go. So, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Lab and order any kind of lab work that you want done. Like I said, go down to a Quest Center. They’ve got all the paperwork done, they’ve prepaid for your labs there. You just show up, give up a little bit of blood, and they send you the results within a couple of weeks. So go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Lab.

Also, I got my books in. If you would like a signed copy of The Wellness Roadmap, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound if you want the hardbound edition, or go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback if you would like the paperback edition. Again, that’s 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound or 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback. I’m charging the same price you’d pay on Amazon. I’m eating the shipping. But I will send you a signed copy during the month of January, because remember, I’m moving to Panama in February so I can only do this through the month of January. And I’m going to do this until the books run out. So, go ahead and get on and order that: 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound or 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

Jonathan Bailor – Breaking your bodyweight setpoint

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Often when we’re trying to lose weight, we end up getting into a stall or a plateau. Our guest today in his book, The Setpoint Diet, is going to tell you why that happens and what you can do to break the cycle. He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Calorie Myth and I’m pretty certain The Setpoint Diet is also going to make that bestseller list. With no further ado, here’s Jonathan Bailor.

Allan (1:14): Jonathan, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Jonathan Bailor (1:17): Thank you so much for having me.

Allan (1:18): When I was really getting deep into my self-education of what I needed to do for myself, I came across The Calorie Myth. It was an eye-opening book, to say the least, for someone who really had been brought up in the mantra of calories in / calories out, just eat less, exercise more. I’d get on the treadmill or I’d get on the elliptical and I worked my butt off, and then I’m starving all day. Then you eat more calories to get your calories back. I’m like, “I’m eating at a deficit and I’ve done this for a while and it’s not working.” I think a lot of people run into that fact of, they’re doing everything right, and their body just doesn’t want to get rid of the weight.

Jonathan Bailor (2:06): It can be extremely frustrating, Allan. It gets to the root of my whole team’s work, and really, we stand on the shoulders of giants, articulating research done by the top doctors at the Harvard Medical School, at Johns Hopkins, UCLA, the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic over the past 60 years that’s been buried from the mainstream. And this definition of, you’re doing everything right – what we’ve found is, the definition of what is right is wrong. It’s analogous to when we look at obesity and diabetes as diseases, which they are, as classified by the American Medical Association, that if you were to go to a doctor with a broken arm and the doctor were to prescribe you cough syrup, and you took that cough syrup correctly. Chances are your arm wouldn’t get any better and you would feel very helpless. It’s a condition called “learned helplessness”, because you’re doing everything you’re told, but the treatment for the disease you’re suffering from or the medical condition you are suffering from is simply incorrect. And that’s what we found over the past now 15 years, that this prescription we’ve been written for both obesity, overweight, and diabetes is simply wrong. What we have been told is right is wrong, and that is evidenced by the catastrophic impact it’s had on our culture.

Allan (3:26): Yes. I do have to say this also – in your book, The Setpoint Diet, you really got deep into the science. Each point you had in there was supported, and I really, really liked that. It was so much support, you couldn’t put all the bibliography in the book. You have to link to another website if you really want to go down the rabbit hole. I did. I spent a lot of time in that rabbit hole, because it was really fascinating stuff. Our body has this setpoint, and I talk to my clients about it all the time as they plateau. They’re working hard, they’re doing some of the right things, or most of the right things, but their body’s going to somewhat hit this setpoint. You call it a setpoint; I call it the body’s happy weight. We might not be happy with it, but our body is. Can you talk a little bit in detail about the setpoint and why we have a setpoint?

Jonathan Bailor (4:17): Allan, the term “setpoint” – a lot of your listeners may say, “I’ve heard of that term before.” And there is a bit of an irony here. In 1983, there was a book published called The Setpoint Diet – literally the exact same title of my book. But you can’t copyright a title. And that was also the year I was born. So I don’t know if fate had the destiny in store for me. The concept of “setpoint” has been around for a while, but the thing that’s happened over the past 7 to 10 years, which has been so revolutionary is, it’s gone from the setpoint theory to, we’ve now proven this. When I say “we”, I mean the broader scientific community, not me personally. For instance, if you look at even Wikipedia and you look up diabetes – the medical condition diabetes is defined by the breakdown in the body’s ability… This is according to Wikipedia; I’m not saying that Wikipedia is like God’s truth, I’m just saying that even Wikipedia is acknowledging this. It says that diabetes is the breakdown of the body’s ability to homeostatically, a.k.a. automatically regulate blood sugar around a healthy range. You do things to raise your blood sugar, your body does things to lower it. You do things to lower your blood sugar, your body automatically does things to elevate it. There’s never been a question, ever, that there is a setpoint around your blood sugar. There’s also never been a question, ever, that there is a setpoint for blood pressure. The breakdown in that homeostatic regulation of blood pressure is called hypertension. The breakdown in the homeostatic regulation of blood sugar is called diabetes. And we’ve now proven, over the past 7 to 10 years, that the breakdown in the body weight setpoint, which is as irrefutable as the blood pressure and blood sugar setpoints, is known as the disease of obesity or overweight. And it’s no more debatable than that your body regulates body temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar. Once you understand that, it changes everything about how we approach weight gain and weight loss.

Allan (6:43): Right, because if we don’t reset our setpoint, basically we are not going to be able to, in the long term, keep that weight off.

Jonathan Bailor (6:53): That’s exactly right, and it would be just as absurd. Once someone gets the following point, it’s a little bit like seeing life in color for the first time. It will change the way you see everything. So, if you went to your doctor and you had diabetes, and your doctor said, “Eat less”, you would say, “Wait, what?” Eating less does not fix the problem with your pancreas, the problem with insulin secretion. The underlying root of the breakdown of the blood sugar setpoint can’t be solved by starvation. If you went to your doctor suffering from hypertension – again, the breakdown in the blood pressure setpoint – and your doctor said, “Eat less, you lazy glutton”, we would say, “Hey, wait a minute. There’s something else happening.” It’s the same thing with body weight.

Allan (7:55): Right. Now, in the book you mention three hidden factors that are basically setting this setpoint. So if I want to fix my setpoint, these are the three areas I need to think about, right?

Jonathan Bailor (8:09): Exactly. The term, again, “setpoint” has been around for quite a bit of time, but what has changed recently is a concrete definition and identification of what makes it up, how it breaks down and how we can fix it. So, what determines your body weight or body fat setpoint is the interaction of three key elements of your biology and physiology – your brain, your gut, and your hormones; and very specifically, when there is inflammation in your brain, when there is dysregulation in your gut microbiota, and when you have hormonal imbalances. Your first brain and your second brain – your gut – communicate via hormonal signals to automatically regulate appetite, to automatically burn calories. It’s not that calories don’t exist, and it’s not that calories in / calories out is like unicorns. It’s that your body is brilliantly set up to automatically regulate calories in and calories out so that you maintain this body weight setpoint. But when that system – the brain, the gut and the hormones – breaks down, that setpoint creeps up and obesity ensues.

Allan (9:30): When people say “calories in / calories out” or they want to keep that paradigm, they just want to keep sticking to that simple rule, I say there are periods of time when our ancestors had no food, and there were times when the food was abundant. I’m guessing that our bodies probably weren’t designed to allow them to get obese over the summer and then whittle away over the winter. There are some metabolic changes that are happening during those periods of time that are allowing them to continue to survive.

Jonathan Bailor (10:01): That is correct. The thing that is essential to understand is that at the most basic level, the only thing that we need to prove from a scientific perspective to say that the setpoint is an irrefutable fact is if you feed people more calories than they need, does their body automatically burn more calories? The answer is “Yes”. If you feed people fewer calories than they need, does their body automatically burn fewer calories? The answer is “Yes”. And you can even look at it from a different perspective. You could say if someone exercises very heavily earlier in the day, does their body work to conserve calories later in the day? The answer is “Yes”. We’ve all experienced that – you have a really tough workout; how do you feel for the rest of the day? Tired. That’s your body automatically working to balance calories, and as a consequence, your weight, as calories are a component of that; not the be-all-end-all – they are a component, automatically.

Allan (11:02): I’d say tired and very hungry.

Jonathan Bailor (11:04): Exactly.

Allan (11:06): Now, I want to deep dive a little bit into each of those three factors, because I think there’s a lot of value in understanding how each of those affects our setpoint. Can we start with the brain inflammation and work through the three and talk about how that really impacts the setpoint?

Jonathan Bailor (11:24): Inflammation in your brain, or very specifically areas around your lateral and ventromedial hypothalamus… We’ll take a step back. There are a couple of parts of your brain. The one that is relevant for our conversation here is called your hypothalamus, and your hypothalamus is the part of your brain that has to do with allowing mission-critical functions that must take place 24/7, 365, without conscious control to happen. For instance, if you had to consciously think about regulating breaths in and breaths out, you could not function as a human being. We could not function as a species if our conscious brain, our neocortex, had to worry about beating our heart, or blinking our eyes, or shivering when we got cold, or prompting the sensation of needing to use the restroom when we consume excess liquids. There’s a part of your brain that is 100% dedicated to taking care of those life-sustaining, constant, mission-critical functions. That’s called your hypothalamus. When inflammation exists in the hypothalamus, those signals of, you need to use the restroom, or you need to breathe, or you need to slow down or speed up, can become compromised. And we know this irrefutable fact that there are certain substances completely independent of calories – take MSG for example, that have a detrimental impact on the hypothalamus, causing inflammation in the hypothalamus. And there are foods, such as certain Omega-3 fatty acids which reverse inflammation in the hypothalamus. So if we’re having a conversation about weight and we are not discussing inflammation in the brain and we are not discussing the hypothalamus, we are essentially having at best incomplete and at worst counterproductive discussion about weight.

Allan (13:27): Okay. Now, foods and things that are going to help us with this brain inflammation – you mentioned Omega-3, so I’m assuming fish, fish oil is going to help us; processed foods are going to hurt us.

Jonathan Bailor (13:42): Yes. When it comes to brain, gut and hormones, the good news is, as fate would have it, not dying is relatively simple. If it was extremely complicated, we probably would not have survived and thrived as a species as well as we have. So the way that we need to eat to optimize the health of our brain and our gut and our hormones is the same, which is important because I don’t want you to have to memorize, “I have to eat these foods for my brain, and then I need to set aside this part of my plate for my hormones, and this part of my plate for my gut.” We can cover what to eat all at once if you’d like.

Allan (14:23): We’re going to get into the SANE modeling in a bit, so we’ll get into that then. Cool. So let’s step into the microbiota.

Jonathan Bailor (14:35): One of the most shocking things when I talk with people about this casually is understanding that about 90% of the cells that exist in what you call “you”, are not yours. They’re cells of microorganisms that live in or on you. That which we define as a human being is actually trillions of little beings put together. We’re learning more and more about that, the mainstream is talking more and more about that. But when you look specifically at body weight, the research is so clear that there are certain types of bacteria which are much more prevalent in the gut of individuals who struggle with overweight than there are in individuals who are naturally thin. We can even go so far as to say there are certain types of microbiota that crave – these little creatures crave different foods. So while you think you might have a craving for sugary and starchy foods, it is literally true that you don’t, but rather these microorganisms that are living in your gut do. If you want to enlist billions of little bacterial helpers to help maintain a healthy weight and to literally crave the SANE foods that facilitate that, you can. And you’re not an army of one; you’re an army of trillions working towards this lower setpoint, the SANE lifestyle, and really feeling great and craving the foods that help you to feel that way.

Allan (16:23): Cool. And then the final piece is the hormones.

Jonathan Bailor (16:27): Hormones – talked about ad nauseum, but still not given enough attention. We can’t talk too much about hormones, because when you go to a gym and when you look on the television screens and when you look at the ads, it’s not going to say things like, “Do this exercise because of its hormonal impact.” It’s going to say, “Do this exercise because you burn this many calories.” At the end of the day your body does what hormones tell it to do. Period. This is so important to understand. Let’s use a simple example that most people are familiar with – anabolic steroids. Why do anabolic steroids work? Anabolic steroids work because they are essentially a hormonal messenger that tells your body to build muscle, therefore your body builds muscle. We know testosterone communicates X, and your body does X. Estrogen communicates Y, and your body does Y. We know that. So if we are talking about eating and exercise, if we’re talking about weight loss without talking about the hormonal impact of what we’re eating, or the hormonal impact of how we’re moving – again, we’re just missing… I’m going to try to think of an analogy on my feet here, but if you went to the eye doctor and the eye doctor was like, “Let’s talk about how your feet are doing”, you’re like, “Doc, I can’t see, and we’re not even talking about my eyes, we’re talking about my feet. What?” If you are not having a conversation about hormones while you are discussing your weight and your overall health, it’s a little bit like going to the eye doctor and have a conversation about your feet, because your body does what your hormones tell it to do. So if you don’t know and if you haven’t been empowered with the information you need to control that conversation and to get your body saying what you want it to say, a.k.a. “Burn fat and help me feel energetic”, but rather you have hormones getting triggered that are saying, “Store fat and make me feel tired” – it doesn’t matter how little you eat or how much you exercise. That conversation will probably only go worse and make the problem worse.

Allan (18:39): I was going through the hormones section of the book and going through each of them, there were some that came up that we don’t talk about much at all. We talk about insulin, we talk about leptin and ghrelin, we talk about testosterone, cortisol. But after that there are some of these other ones, like CCK, adiponectin and glucagon. There’s a lot of them. In my mind, as I’m getting into it, I know what most of these do fairly well and I know how to balance and manage a few of them, but I think the cool part of all of this was that your SANE method actually addresses all of them.

Jonathan Bailor (19:23): I appreciate you saying that, Allan, because that is the key thing here. The thing that I really don’t like is when people are made to believe that their bodies are fundamentally broken or stupid, and unless they micromanage these mission-critical biological functions, they are doomed to a state of obesity and disease. I think that is a diabolical way of looking at the human body, that unless we intervene and micromanage, our bodies are destined to be fat, diseased, diabetic, cancerous wastelands, which when you think about it is really what a lot of the fitness and diet industry says: Unless you know what every single hormone is doing at every single point in time, and what your calorie count is, and exactly how many steps you’ve taken, etcetera, things are going to go off the rails and you’re going to be in bad shape, which cannot be true. Why? Before we had any of the problems we have today, nobody did those things and everyone was healthier. So, by definition, it cannot be required to micromanage every aspect of your input and output in order to achieve effortless health, as evidenced by the fact that radically more people enjoyed effortless health in the past than the present. I’m not talking about hunter gatherers; I’m talking about in the ‘50s or in the ‘60s, when no one went to a gym, no one was focused on calories, and everyone was just healthier. What’s beautiful is, we can read The Setpoint Diet. I would appreciate if people read The Setpoint Diet, I think they will live radically better if they read The Setpoint Diet. But even if you remember no names of any hormones, if you simply remember to eat SANE foods in such high quantities that you’re too full for inSANE foods – all the brain stuff, all the hormone stuff, all the gut stuff will take care of itself and you will live radically better.

Allan (21:18): That’s one of the messages that came out of the book that I was really happy to see. Up until maybe about a year or two ago, diabetes was a progressive disease – you were going to die. You were going to lose feet, you were going to lose your kidneys, everything. And now we’re saying, no, if you make lifestyle changes, you can reverse your diabetes. The other thing was obesity – you’ve got some genetic problems. We can work out and we can cut some of the weight, but you’re always going to be big boned and overweight. And now we’re finding, no, if you make substantive lifestyle changes, we can reverse obesity. You talked about the SANE foods, and I definitely want to get into that. What are the SANE foods so we can stay away from the inSANE foods?

Jonathan Bailor (22:08): We came up with the… Well, that’s actually a bad way of describing it. It was more as if the universe presented this acronym, SANE, to me while I was doing this 15-year research journey. I stumbled upon it. I was doing all this research and it seemed like there are these things that are not commonly discussed and they’re not in any way, shape or form controversial in the scientific community. These are things like how much foods fill you up and how long they keep you full. Studies have been done for decades on, “Let’s feed people 1,200 calories of this type of diet and feed people 1,200 calories of this type of diet, and see which keeps people fuller longer.” That existed and that’s called satiety. And then the research around the different impact on hormones that foods have – this is sometimes discussed in popular literature as glycemic index or glycemic load, but it’s much broader than just insulin or just some of these sexy hormones that are discussed. So, the way I defined that is I just said “aggression”, because it looked like it was very clear in the research that there are some foods and some lifestyle decisions in general that caused these wild, aggressive swings in your hormones, and you can imagine that’s not great. And then the nutrient density – this is something that’s extremely important and is talked about a lot, but unfortunately is not talked about in the most optimum way, which is the ratio of essential nutrients – vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids – to things that are nonessential and / or toxic, like sugar. So, someone looks at the cereal aisle, they see Honey Nut Cheerios and it says it’s healthy because it’s enriched with vitamins and minerals. But if you put a vitamin pill in a can of Pepsi, I don’t think anyone would say that that can of Pepsi has now become healthy. So it’s essential that we look at the ratios.

Allan (23:58): Please don’t tell PepsiCo about that vitamin, because they will do it.

Jonathan Bailor (24:05): Yeah, they might do it. So, we’ve got to take a different look at nutrition. And then there are also different macronutrients that are processed differently by the body, more or less efficiently stored as fat. As the universe would have it, we have satiety, aggression, nutrition and efficiency, and that happens to spell out the acronym SANE. And what’s really cool is that all four of those factors can be objectively measured. You don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. It’s not my opinion, it’s not any researcher’s opinion. There’s a scientific method to measure them. So we can look at any food and say, “How satisfying, aggressive, nutritious and efficient is it?” And then we can say, “These are SANE foods, these are inSANE foods.” To the extent that you choose to eat SANE foods, you will live extremely well, and to the extent that you choose to eat inSANE foods, you will not live as well. And we can empower people with that information.

Allan (24:54): Now, you laid out several of the SANE foods and several of the inSANE foods. I don’t want to go through an exhaustive list, but there was one that came up and your approach to it was very different than anyone else. You’re not a big fan of olive oil.

Jonathan Bailor (25:17): I can’t give away the farm on this show by definition, because it’s a long book, but I’ll give away some of the farm here, which is SANE foods fall into four categories: non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats, and low fructose fruits, in that order. And one of the biggest, coolest new things about the new book is we actually subdivide those into optimal groups. So these are the optimal non-starchy veggies, optimal nutrient-dense proteins. These are the things that are most therapeutic to lower your setpoint. The common characteristic amongst SANE foods and amongst all those food groups is the presence of three things: water, fiber and protein, which is beautiful; this all becomes very simple. Basically foods that are high in water, fiber and protein are saner than foods that are lower in water, fiber and protein. If you look at vegetables, non-starchy vegetables are very high in water, fiber, protein. That’s why if you put spinach in a blender, it blends and becomes a liquid, whereas if you put crackers in a blender and blend them, it becomes a powder. Crackers, don’t have liquid in them; spinach is primarily all liquid, it just doesn’t look that way. It’s also shockingly high in protein. We all know that vegetables have a lot of fiber. Anyway, if we look at fat, we have been told a lot about, first of all, fat doesn’t make you fat, which is 100% true. And then we’ve also heard a lot about olive oil, like slather your food in olive oil and it’s fantastic to use olive oil. Without question, olives contain more water, fiber and protein than olive oil. The point that I make in the book, and the point that I would encourage people to think about, and the point that people in the same community have found to be so transformational for them in breaking through plateaus and in living well is, if coconut oil is good for you, which it is, relative to other oils, if olive oil is good for you, which it is, relative to other oils, you know what’s even better for you? Coconut. You know what’s even better for you? Olives. We call these “whole food fats” because they have more nutrients. They have more water, they have more fiber, they have more protein. I am not anti-olive oil; I’m pro complete scientific information. So, if one were to say that olive oil is a healthy oil and olive oil is a SANE oil, I would 100% agree with that statement. Now if someone said, “I think you should get 600 calories per day from olive oil, because fat is good for you”, I would say if you got 600 calories per day from whole food fats, because fat is good for you, you would live radically better than if those 600 calories came from a low water, low fiber, and low protein fat source such as olive oil.

Allan (28:07): Absolutely. Now, you did a spin on the MyPlate, and you call it the SANE plate. You’ve already laid out the elements of what we should be looking for, as far as fiber, water and protein, but you’ve actually laid this out now on a plate, so we know how much of the non-starchy vegetables, how much of the protein and how much of the low fructose fruit we should have on the plate. Can you talk about what that percentage is and what that looks like?

Jonathan Bailor (28:41): Really important to think in terms of a plate, because I don’t know anybody, myself included, who goes to a restaurant or to a dinner table or to the grocery store and says, “Where can I find the fiber?” or, “What is the protein that we’re going to eat right now?” or, “I want some water on my plate.” It doesn’t make any sense, right? Those are scientific terms that don’t really help us at the dinner table. So when we sit down at the dinner table or at a restaurant, what should our plate look like? It’s extremely simple. Half your plate should be non-starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables are vegetables that you could, but you don’t have to, eat raw. This is a really important distinction, because a lot of people have been told that things like corn and potatoes are vegetables. They’re not; they can’t be eaten raw. They’re starches. Non-starchy vegetables are plants which are generally quite colorful with a few exceptions, which could be eaten raw. Think any green leafy vegetable, think things like peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, zucchinis, broccoli, asparagus, so on and so forth. I want you to fill half your plate with those, and I don’t care how you prepare them because what’s most important is getting them into your body in a way that you enjoy and can keep up forever. So if you hate the taste of raw vegetables, please don’t try to force yourself to eat raw vegetables. Use olive oil in that context to sauté those vegetables and make them taste great, because getting the vegetables into your body is priority number one. Just please don’t deep fry them. That is the only form of preparation that I would advise against.

The next big portion of your plate – about a third of your plate – is going to be nutrient-dense proteins. It’s really important that we focus on nutrient–dense proteins because you hear a lot of things about meat – it’s good, bad, etcetera. It’s just people being imprecise with language, which is unfortunate because certainly things like spam, hot dogs and processed meat are not good for us, much like, for example, processed sugar, which is a plant, is not good for us. Processed anything is not good for us, whether it be meat or plants. So we want to eat nutrient-dense proteins. These are generally humanely raised animals and / or wild-caught seafood. Canned is fine, frozen is fine, and having a big chunk of that on our plate because of the therapeutic impact of those nutritious sources of protein. And then the remainder of your plate can be low fructose fruits, like berries or citrus fruits. These are going to provide you the most of what you need to thrive and the least of things you don’t, such as fructose or other forms of sugar. And / or whole food fats, such as nuts and seeds. But what we’ve seen a lot of people do to make this even simpler is make half your plate non-starchy vegetables, half your plate nutrient-dense protein, and then use whole food fats and low fructose fruits for dessert. That’s when this gets really fun, because no way of eating that is disgusting or unappetizing is a way of eating that I would recommend anyone engage in for life. Life is about being here, being present, being happy, enjoying oneself. So, what’s beautiful is things like coconut, coco, almond flour, berries, all these types of delicious, decadent foods – these can make up the backbone of cakes, cookies, pies, ice creams, puddings. Pretty much any baked or dessert food you can think of, we can SANE-itize using whole food fats and low fructose fruits. Then eating becomes so simple – just pack your plate with non-starchy vegetables and nutrient-dense protein, and then eat some SANE dessert, and you will drop your setpoint and live extremely well.

Allan (32:20): Hallelujah! Now, I want to shift gears a little bit. You got into a series where you were talking about mindset, and you got into goal setting. You made a clear delineation about the types of goals we should be setting for ourselves, and I thought that was just brilliant. Could you take a moment to start talking about goal setting and the types of goals we should actually be setting for ourselves?

Jonathan Bailor (32:49): We talk a lot about mindset in The Setpoint Diet and it’s extremely important because where your head goes, your body follows. How many of us have said, “I’m going to do this!” and get really excited? And motivation wanes and it doesn’t materialize over time. There is tremendous research that has taken place that can help us, just like we know more about nutrition. The realm of positive psychology is so powerful. Like a lot of what we’ve been told about nutrition is just wrong and counterproductive, a lot of what we’ve been told about goal setting is wrong or counterproductive. For example, the way that we are generally told to make goals is what’s called “results goals”, and we’re generally told to do big results goals. Let me give you an example. I want to lose 100 pounds. That’s a big goal, and it is a result – 100 pounds is a result. The reason that that is bad – in the scientific research we define “bad” as “ineffective”, meaning it’s not going to yield the outcome you want. First and foremost, you don’t have ultimate control over the speed or ability to lose 100 pounds. There are things outside of your control that influence that, so making a goal that you have limited or no control over is not helpful, because if you can’t control it, that’s not helpful. But the other thing that’s even more important for a lot of people that we’ve worked with, is when you set a goal like that, you will feel like a failure every second of every day, because you haven’t reached that goal. And you’re not even close to reaching that goal. So you’ve now set yourself up. Your brain is going to say, “Alright, I’ve got to lose 100 pounds. Have I lost 100 pounds yet? No, failure. How about now? No, failure.” You wake up tomorrow: “No, failure.”

A much more empowering and effective approach to goal setting instead of big results goals… Which are fun; they’re like mental junk food: “We’re going to go to a conference, and I’m going to lose 100 pounds. And I’m going to make a million dollars, and I’m going to get married and have five kids. I’m going to do that all in the next three weeks.” And for the next 12 hours I’m going to be super excited, just like I ate a bunch of sugar, but then I’m going to crash and be like, “How the hell am I actually going to do any of that?” So it’s like junk food for your brain. A much more SANE approach is to create small process goals. What is a process goal? A process goal is something that you do and something that you have complete control over – so a process goal of, “I am going to blend a SANE green smoothie” – you have control over that, and it’s a process. I am going to do that, and it’s small. I’m going to do that right now. And it’s not super sexy, but what we’ve seen in the research, which is quite clear, is if you start stacking up process goals, if you start taking tiny actions that you can control daily, consistently, there is very little in life that will be outside of your reach. We know that’s true. Small, consistent change over time is the only way anything has ever happened in any of our lives, barring winning the lottery. We just need to recognize and embrace that and treat the way we eat and exercise in the same way.

Allan (36:17): You’re going to be happy to know that I did set a SANE goal and yesterday when I went to the grocery store, I bought a lot of leafy greens and I actually made your blueberry blast smoothie yesterday. And my goal is to do that each day now.

Jonathan Bailor (36:34): That is absolutely fantastic. That’s an example of some process goals that I can write down, I can check off, and I can do. I’m going to go to the grocery store and buy these ingredients. Allan, that’s an important point, because we really want to break stuff down into, what is the next action? It’s one thing to be like, “I’m going to make a SANE smoothie.” Okay, what are you going to blend it with? “Crap. Don’t have a blender. Don’t have the ingredients.” You want to just back up and say, “Where do I start?” You start where you start. Try to describe to me if you tried to teach someone how to walk. No, explain with words how to walk. You take one foot and you pick it up, you put it in front of the other. At some point we need to reduce stuff down to the simplest state: “I am going to get in my car. I’m going to drive to Safeway. I’m going to go to aisle 3. I’m going to pick up a bag of spinach. I’m going to go to the checkout.” That seems silly, but it’s like a blueprint. It’s like code for your life. There’s a reason computers work. The reason that computers work when they work is because instructions have been laid out extremely clearly, every step of the way. We need to do that for ourselves in our lives.

Allan (37:56): When you’re doing coding, you’ve got to think, “What’s my next step? What’s my next step?” And this is very similar. I already had a very good blender. It’s not the Vitamix that you recommend. It’s called Ninja, but it’s still a very good blender. And then I knew I need to get some more leafy greens, I need to pick up the lemons. I didn’t actually use the erythritol. That’s what I did skip out on because I didn’t think I’d need it with the lemon in there. And then I made my smoothie with some blueberries. It was awesome.

Jonathan Bailor (38:27): And that’s a huge win. Again, it seems like a small thing, but imagine that that became a habit. That’s another thing we talk about in the book. So let’s say that, Allan, you make that a goal and you say, “I’m going to consciously take steps to buy these ingredients to make these smoothies every day.” And you do that for 21 days, or 30 days, or so on and so forth. What you’re going to find is that next month instead of it taking effort to make that smoothie, it will take effort to not make that smoothie, because it will become a habit. When it can be easier to perform SANE, healthy habits than it is to do unhealthy, inSANE things, that’s when the magic happens. And that absolutely can be the case. We know thousands of people within the same family who crave green smoothies. It’s happened to me and my wife. We go on vacation, we go on a cruise where it’s like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t wait till we can get home and drink our green smoothies.” We’re in the midst of all this decadent, all-you-can-eat food, and we’re in the habit of drinking SANE smoothies, so we’re like, “I love the cruise, but I hate that I can’t have my green smoothies.”

Allan (39:42): I’m thinking I picked up spinach and I walked past all the other stuff. I’m like, “I could have put some dandelions in here. There was so much more I could have put in here that would have been interesting.” So I’m looking at it as an experiment. I’m looking at it as, “This is going to be fun because I’m going to experiment with different fruits, different berries, different flavors, and just have some fun with it.”

Jonathan Bailor (40:04): It is a great canvas on which to experiment in that way, with what we would call “optimal” non-starchy vegetables. If I’m like, “Hey, eat more dandelion greens”, you’ll be like, “Uhhh…” But you can just take a handful of them, toss them in the blender with some other stuff. You can toss a handful of all sorts of things into the blender. We’re not a smoothie company, this isn’t called The Smoothie Diet. But we have found that drinking the appropriate type of SANE green smoothies can be one of the simplest and most enjoyable ways to SANE-itize your diet and lower your setpoint.

Allan (40:41): I think it was five ounces of spinach that I put in there. I went a little overboard. I made a whole lot, but I drank all of it. It would have taken me a lot of effort to eat that much in its whole food form.

Jonathan Bailor (41:00): 100%. I get probably 80% of the vegetables that I eat in smoothie form, simply because you could drink it at your desk, take it with you in the car, and that’s great. They’re raw. You don’t need to use a lot of olive oil in a green smoothie, for example. And then you can do all sorts of fun stuff. You can use avocado to help make it more creamy, so you get your whole food fats in there. It’s also a great place in which to try some nutrient-dense protein. You could have some whey protein or casein protein or pea protein or rice protein or hemp protein, some pasteurized egg whites. It’s a canvas on which you can really create something beautiful.

Allan (41:39): Yes. You get into another concept that you call “implementation intentions”. And I thought those would be extremely valuable to talk about.

Jonathan Bailor (41:48): Implementation intentions are the natural byproduct of the process goals, the small process goals we talked about earlier, where you really start to flesh out a plan. For example, rather than saying, “I have the small goal of drinking a green smoothie tomorrow”, an implementation intention will take it further and say “if, when, then”. So, “If it is the morning, when I am hungry, then I will make a SANE green smoothie.” So there are three components to it and it’s almost like making the decision ahead of time. This is really important. I don’t think we talk about this in the book, but you can be in what’s called a hot state or a cool state. Not to digress too much, but if you’ve ever found yourself in a context of passion with another human being, it’s one thing if you get cut off in traffic to say, “Calmly on my couch, I will behave this way.” But when someone cuts you off in traffic or jeopardizes the life of your family members in your car, you become emotionally aroused and your decision-making process changes a bit. Implementation intentions help you to act out and create an entire game plan for how you’re going to act in certain situations before those happen. So if I get home from work and I am stressed out, and I open the refrigerator, then I will grab the container of pre-washed sugar snap peas and I will binge on those. You literally have a plan for situations where you find yourself making inSANE choices. You have yourself set up, you have a game plan in place. You get that written down in a very simple formulaic way, and you are now empowered because you have made the decision and created the plan before you need to, so that when you need to, you’re ready.

Allan (44:00): It used to be at the office, they would bring these donuts called Spudnuts, and they’re literally made out of potato flour. So probably the most inSANE food on earth, because they’re coated in sugar and they’re potato flour. And when they bring them in the office, it’s like watching sharks be chomped. They’re all over the break room. So, I had this strategy, which was similar. It was this intention where I’d say, “If they brought Spudnuts, I’m going into my office and I’m going to eat a bag of nuts. I’m going to stay out of the break room until lunchtime.”

Jonathan Bailor (44:36): And the reason, Allan, that that is so powerful is, contrast that with the goal of, “I’m not going to Spudnuts.” That’s actually more of a result – the result of, “I’m not going to eat them”, but how am I going to not eat Spudnuts? These goals without “How’s” are meaningless, especially when you ask the question of, “I’m going to lose 100 pounds. How?” It quickly falls down. Implementation intentions force that “How” in an elegant way,

Allan (45:15): Absolutely. Now, you get into something else in the mindset part of the book that I just love, because I think it’s an underutilized aspect to wellness, and that is the concept of gratitude.

Jonathan Bailor (45:29): Gratitude is one of those things which research has shown without a shadow of a doubt that to not leverage gratitude is to your psychology like not eating vegetables is to your biology. There’s basically a dose-dependent relationship in the amount of gratitude that you proactively seek to express, and your mood. So gratitude journaling, consciously setting aside time to, once a day, tell people you love, “I appreciate how you emptied the dishwasher today, “I appreciate how you noticed my new socks.” It sounds simple, but so does “Eat your vegetables.” Sometimes the most profound changes in life come from the simplest practices in life, and gratitude is one of those.

Allan (46:16): I for the longest time struggled with stress. I was actually fortunate to get laid off, and now actually I’ve had a year of what I would call healing, so that I can make 2019 my complete “whoosh” of trying to get as distressed as possible. But one of my eye-opening moments was when I came to the realization that when you’re experiencing joy, you don’t feel stress. And to me gratitude is one of those self-inflicted joys. When you start actually thinking about how good things are, even the little things, it’s like you’ve taken in a bit of self-induced joy in that moment, and it’s a complete de-stressor.

Jonathan Bailor (47:05): That’s been my experience as well, Allan, and I will give the listeners to this an advanced technique that is actually not in the book, simply because we were so over the word count. It was supposed to be 80,000 words. We already went so over, we had to start cutting some stuff. But some people hear “gratitude” and they’re like, “Okay, what?” There’s a different way to approach gratitude that I’ve found to be helpful for some people, which is, while it may not feel great… Let’s say you have a cat that you really like, and you’re like, “I like my cat, I like my cat, I like my cat. This isn’t doing anything for me. Why did I listen to that podcast?” There’s a different approach. This sounds a little bit morbid, but it has a long track record historically; it’s just not talked about a lot. Imagine that something happened to your cat, as deeply as possible. Not for a long time, but just take 60 seconds and literally play through in your mind that something bad happened and you no longer had your cat. Then stop and hug your cat. You will instantly feel more grateful for your cat than you did before. So, there are two approaches. For some people based on their personality type, they’re like, “Hey, Snookums, I love you. I’m so grateful for you.” That works, and if that works, please do it. For other personality types that does not work, and all you need to do is close your eyes and imagine if Snookums wasn’t around, graphically. Then open your eyes and hug Snookums. In either case, you’re going to get that sense of joy that is so helpful with stress.

Allan (48:45): Absolutely. 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?

Jonathan Bailor (48:58): Drink SANE green smoothies every day. Sleep at least seven hours, and prioritize your life so that you can do that. Love and contribute as deeply as possible.

Allan (49:13): Those are wonderful. I adore those. Thank you for sharing that. Jonathan, if someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about The Setpoint Diet and the things you’re doing, where would you like for me to send them?

Jonathan Bailor (49:26): Please go to our website, which is SANESolution.com. That will give you all the information on the book, a bunch of free resources, wonderful miniseries coming out, tremendous coaching programs, all sorts of good stuff. SANESolution.com.

Allan (49:46): Awesome. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/363, and I’ll be sure to have all the links there. Jonathan, thank you so much for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast.

Jonathan Bailor (50:00): Thank you for having me, Allan.

I hope you enjoyed that interview as much as I enjoyed having that conversation. Some really good information for you to take into your January. I am very happy to say that I have finally, finally received copies of The Wellness Roadmap so that I can do some signed copies. If you would like a signed copy of the book, all you have to do is go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound if you want the hardbound version, or 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback if you want the paperback edition. Again, that’s 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound or 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback. I can only do this during the month of January, because as you know in February I am moving to Panama. So, if you want a signed copy of the book, this is your opportunity. 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Hardbound or 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Paperback.

Also, I wanted to let you know that I have partnered with a lab company called YourLabwork.com. They’re are really, really cool company in that they offer discounted lab work and you get to pick the lab work that you want done. They have the doctor there, they go ahead and call it in or send it in. You just show up at one of the quest centers. It’s already prepaid by them, so you just pay them, then they take care of all the backend work. They do these wonderful reports, they give you all kinds of information. I’m going through their educational course right now, so I’m also in a pretty good position to help you understand what is going on with those. Maybe we can do a Q&A if some of you are out there doing your lab work and want to talk about what some of these numbers mean. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Lab. They offer really good discounts. The rates they’re charging for these lab tests are really, really cost effective if you want to get things done, whether it be your hormones, your cholesterol, or any other kind of panel you want to check out. They’ve got a multitude of items for you to choose from and you can pick and choose the specific tests you’re interested in.

I did the full workup, so I have a complete particle count on my cholesterol, I have all the hormone checks, all that stuff done. I do that in my wellness trips with my doctor, but this was even deeper than what my doctor orders. This was really, really good information for me to have going into the new year, because I can use that now as a basis for how well my activities and the things that I’m doing for myself are in fact improving my health. You know I’m not a big fan of the scale. These numbers that you’re going to get from your blood labs are going to be so much more important as a measure and metric of health. So, you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Lab and that’ll take you to their site. Like I said, it’s a really cool service that they’re doing. 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Lab. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

Keto Cure with Dr. Adam Nally
December 24, 2018

Your holistic gut prescription with Dr. Lauren Deville

On today’s episode, we’re going to meet Dr. Lauren Deville and discuss her book, The Holistic Gut Prescription: Create Your Own Personal Path to Optimal Digestive Wellness. This is a really cool podcast episode, particularly if you’re suffering from any kind of digestive issues. She helps you cut to the chase and find some real solutions to get healthy in a natural way.

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

  • Judy Murphy

Thank you!

Allan (1:14): Dr. Deville, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Lauren Deville (1:17): Thanks for having me.

Allan (1:19): Your book is The Holistic Gut Prescription: Create Your Own Personal Path to Optimal Digestive Wellness. When I got into the book, I thought it was going to be predominantly a nutrition book. I guess it’s because you think digestive health and you think nutrition. But what I’m learning big time is that digestion is only part of what your gut does for you. There are so many other things going on there that we’re going to talk about stuff that’s way off the grid of nutrition.

Dr. Lauren Deville (1:56): Right, absolutely.

Allan (2:00): It was a good reminder for me that the things that are going on in our health – if we’re not taking care of our gut, we’re just not going to get there.

Dr. Lauren Deville (2:09): It’s the key for an awful lot of the rest of your health. I didn’t want to specialize per se, but it’s a way to specialize without specializing because almost everything goes back to the gut.

Allan (2:22): When I first started reading I thought, “Now we’re talking about air quality. Let’s see where this goes.” Obviously we know if we eat poison, typically our gut’s smart enough to tell us to throw that up. You eat something that disagrees with you, your digestive system kicks in. You might not feel too good while it’s happening, but it does the things it needs to do. But we don’t really have that kind of reflex thing happening so much with the air. We could breathe bad air all the time and really not even know it.

Dr. Lauren Deville (3:04): True. The thing is that we’re exposed to so many toxins now – in the air, in our food, in the environment that we’re around in our house and our buildings, things like that, that are low level enough that they don’t create an acute reaction. If they’re severe enough, they do and then it becomes really obvious. But when it’s chronic and it’s building up slowly over time and you’ve got tiny changes in your symptoms that are increasing over a period of months or years, it’s hard to pinpoint where it’s actually coming from. And a lot of it is cumulative.

Allan (3:42): In our house, we buy furniture, our floors are probably shellacked with something. How does someone go about reducing that load or at least knowing what is there and what isn’t there? What are some things that we can do to improve our air quality?

Dr. Lauren Deville (4:04): Before you’re actually ill from it, one of the very best things you can do if you live in a climate where this is possible and you don’t have severe allergies, is just open your windows. And start having the fan blowing, ideally toward the outside, so that you’re getting some of that toxic air out, just off-gassing, because there’s so much of that stuff. That’s especially critical when you’re doing any kind of construction. Before I moved into my current office, we had to paint it and also put down new floors. So while I was aware of trying to get low VOC paint – the kind that isn’t going to have nearly as much of the chemicals that are going to get into the air – there are still going to be some. And the flooring – there’s still going to be some of that. So I did that a couple of weeks in advance. I think I did get my landlords to let me open the doors, but I also got some good HEPA air filters and put them in multiple places before we moved anything else in, so that we could get as much of that out, so that we weren’t going to be breathing it, as possible. One of the things that I also recommend people do is to get a high quality HEPA air filter. Put it in your bedroom, because that’s where you spend the majority of your time. I also have one in my office – in my actual physical office, as opposed to the larger building where I practice – because I’m spending a lot of time there and so are some of my patients. Also in your bathroom, you’ve got a lot of products. I usually try to convince people to offload some of the products that are full of a bunch of chemicals. That’s really the best way to go to try to minimize those things. Minimize the cleaning products that are full of chemicals, use natural stuff whenever possible. But there’s possibly still going to be some stuff. They’re usually equipped with one of those air filters, air vents. Use them when you’re in there because that’s going to really help. If you’ve got one in your kitchen, use it in there. As much as you can get the air circulating and get fresh air in – that is going to really, really make a big difference.

Allan (6:00): I’m a big fan of getting outside in nature. Trees are some of the best filters of our air. Typically if you’re walking through a forest, you’re getting some of the cleanest air that you’re going to be able to get in your area. So the more time you can spend out of doors, the better.

Dr. Lauren Deville (6:16): Absolutely true.

Allan (6:19): Then we start talking about some other things, like mold. I have a particular story: My wife and I bought this house that we’re about to sell. It’s in a lot better shape now than it was then, because we didn’t know we had mold when we first bought the house. The house inspection didn’t catch it. My wife was starting to feel sick, so I said, “Let’s clean out the filters, clean out the ducts, because we don’t know when that was done.” And we brought a company in – they didn’t notice any mold. They cleaned the ducts. That cleaning process they did basically stirred up the spores. So our walls, at least in one bathroom in particular, were lined with mold two days later. It was horrible. So we had to hire a remediation company, and now I’m good friends with him. His name’s Greg; he did a great job. Shout out to you, Greg – you saved our lives. He came in and not only had to replace all the duct work, he replaced all of the insulation on our attic and then put in a new HVAC unit, which basically all it does is dehumidify the air, because we’re in Pensacola Beach.

Dr. Lauren Deville (7:30): Yeah, you need that.

Allan (7:33): We had two units for the house and now we have this extra unit that’s further taking the humidity down and that’s helping a good bit. But even after the exposure, my wife remained sick and actually had to go in for surgery because of this reaction. Now, in the book you say there are three types of mold and you talk about once you’re exposed to mold some of the bad things that could happen. If you start down that line, what are some things we can do from a treatment perspective and a prevention perspective?

Dr. Lauren Deville (8:04): Sure. So, the types of mold I’m talking about are allergenic, pathogenic, and toxic. The pathogenic toxic molds are going to cause everybody a problem at a certain threshold, but where that threshold is depends on the genetic susceptibility of the person. About a quarter of the population is genetically susceptible to mold, and there’s a test called HLA-DR that I talk about in the book that you can have your doctor run to find out if you’re one of those people or not. And if you’re not, that doesn’t mean if you’re exposed to toxic mold, you might not have a problem; it just won’t be as severe and it won’t be as hard to get you healthy as it will for some of the others.

Then there’s allergenic mold, and those are only a problem if you’re actually allergic to them. So other people can be around those types of mold and be totally fine. There are some blood tests that you can do to differentiate between the two, which ones you’re reacting to. The people that are going to have the hardest time with mold exposure, and it sounds like your wife is probably one of these people, are the ones who are in the genetically susceptible camp and they can have any number of reactions. This can be very systemic. What the mold is producing is called biotoxins. That’s what the toxic mold is producing that’s causing lots of problems. They can downregulate your hormone production, it can cause lots of sinus issues, which you were describing with your wife. If I see chronic sinusitis, I’m almost always going to look for at least fungus, if not mold. Very often there’s a mold issue and / or a candida or other yeast issue that’s the underlying issue, and that’s why you keep getting these bacterial superinfections on top of the fungal infection. And the antibiotics aren’t eventually touching it, because the tissue is still not healthy. So there’s that. I’ve had people who have had really serious upper respiratory issues as a result of that. Had some where it manifests as asthma. I’ve had a lot of them where it manifests as gut problems that don’t want to go away, which is the reason why I put that in the book. I’ve seen a number of cases of leaky gut syndrome where the root cause is actually toxic mold exposure. The gut’s not going to heal until you actually get rid of it.

So, what you do in order to get rid of it – once somebody is actually toxic, you have to get away from the environment, of course, and then you also have to get that out of your body. So if you’re not one of the genetically susceptible people, sometimes just getting away from the environment is enough, because your own mechanisms will eliminate it. But if you are, then you probably need a little bit of extra help. Regardless of whether they are or not, I pretty much put everybody on binders. Binders are substances that you can swallow. My favorite is Colestipol or Cholestyramine. It’s an off-label use of a cholesterol medication. What it does for cholesterol is it grabs it and pulls it out of your body; does the same thing to mold. So it’ll just grab that and pull it out. And if somebody doesn’t tolerate that or doesn’t choose to go the actual pharmaceutical route, then I will have them do maybe activated charcoal. Some people do bentonite clay or zeolite. Things like that are all really good binders. Depending on how high the level is, usually it’s at least a couple of months – sometimes it’s longer – but it also depends on whether they’re able to get away from the environment. I’ve had some people where it’s their workplace that’s moldy and they don’t plan on quitting. Then we just have to keep treating them. So, you do what you can do as far as that goes.

Allan (11:20): If you know you’re sensitive to this and you’re looking to buy a new house, make sure the inspector knows that. You want them to do a really thorough check on the mold issue. I was baffled that all these professionals I hired to come in and advise me… I bought the house. It was going to be my house, but if I had known that I had that issue, that would have been the first thing I would’ve fixed; I wouldn’t have found it later. It was almost a year later before we really identified the problem, and that was a lot of exposure for my wife.

Dr. Lauren Deville (11:59): It’s not part of the typical process of the inspection, so that’s why they weren’t even looking for it. They usually don’t, unless you hire a company that specializes in testing for mold. So I would look for that. I’ve had a lot of people who will have the wrong kinds of tests done and they’re told everything’s clean, and they’re clearly sick. We see it in their blood work that there’s still something going on and they feel sick whenever they go into the house. We know there’s a problem. You have to make sure that you get somebody who really knows what they’re doing when they’re testing for the mold. The other thing I would say is make sure that the company that tests for the mold is not also the company that does the remediation, because then they have a vested interest in finding it.

Allan (12:42): We found it, because we saw it growing down the wall. I didn’t have to hire anybody to tell me what my problem was. He got up into the attic, and I remember the call, because I was actually coming out of physical therapy for my shoulder. He got on the phone with me and he said, “I don’t want to make this call, but your entire system needs to be pulled out. Everything.” He said, “We’re not sure if it’s into the Sheetrock yet. If it is, it’s going to be much worse.” But he said it’s bad. And I said, “Throw a number out there. We’ll deal with it, because it’s my wife, it’s her health, it’s our house. I’ve got to get it fixed.” Fortunately, there’s a happy ending to the story. We were able to solve that. My wife is better now for the most part. She still has awesome allergies all the time, but that’s not mold. So, hundredfold better.

Now, I eat seasonally, because I feel like that’s what my ancestors did. So right now we’re into the winter. I don’t eat any fruit at all during the winter. I think the only fruit I really eat is olives. I guess olives are technically a fruit, so I take that back. I had some olives this morning. But other than maybe some olives, I really don’t eat fruit during the winter. Fruit can be a problem for some people.

Dr. Lauren Deville (14:08): It can, yeah. Fruit is high in sugar in general, so that’s something that I do have people typically limit, especially if they’ve got either yeast overgrowth – back to the mold conversation, where if you’ve got mold, you pretty much have yeast; those are two things that will definitely go hand in hand. I’ll have people avoid fruit completely for the first two weeks of a protocol if they’ve got yeast overgrowth. After that I’ll let them have one piece a day as long as it’s a lower glycemic fruit – so not bananas, not figs, not dates, those kinds of things. But if they also have insulin resistance or something along those lines, then I will also have them greatly limit. A Lot of my insulin resistant diabetic patients, I will permit them to have berries – the really dark colored ones, just because the antioxidant status is so good; but not a lot of them. A small handful a day or so, and we cap it at that. And if they’ve got major blood sugar issues and they’re totally out of control, I’ll cut fruit entirely until we can get that under control. So, there are a decent number of people who do have some sensitivities to it, but I don’t restrict it for everybody altogether. I usually try to cap it at two pieces a day for everyone.

Allan (15:15): We don’t want to vilify fruit. I think it’s so easy in the food space for them to say, “Fat’s bad, sugar’s bad, fruit’s bad.” I can’t eat meat, I can’t eat fish.

Dr. Lauren Deville (15:27): What’s left?

Allan (15:29): Now I can’t even eat Romaine lettuce. I’ll just go suck on a stone, I guess. You did hit me in the heart a little bit with this next one, because I wake up early – about two or three hours before anybody else in the world is up. It’s my wonderful time. It’s when I don’t receive any emails, the phone doesn’t ring, the dogs don’t bark. It’s just this beautiful, quiet time, and I enjoy that quiet time with a few cups of coffee. Now you’re telling me that the coffee might actually be disrupting my testosterone.

Dr. Lauren Deville (16:12): Caffeine does affect hormones. Now, I’m not one of those people who takes caffeine out for everybody entirely. It depends on the person. There are some people where we have to do that because either their adrenals are too low or their hormones are too disrupted, and then it’s usually a temporary thing. But for somebody who is healthy, they’re not in adrenal fatigue, they don’t have major hormone imbalance – usually I’ll cap it at a cup, maybe a cup and a half a day. If you want more than that, if there’s an emotional addiction to caffeine or to coffee, which I also have – decaf after that point, so that you’re at least not doing as much of that. But the main thing with the caffeine and the sex hormones is that the metabolism of sex hormones and metabolism of caffeine is the same, via the liver, so it’s like you end up with a bottleneck. If you’ve got all of these things trying to get out of the liver at the same time, then not everything can get out at once, and you end up with a backup and with imbalance. Lower amounts of caffeine don’t have nearly as much of an effect on that. But if you are having large amounts of it, then it certainly can create great disruption. I honestly see that more often in women who have estrogen dominance issues than I do in guys who have low testosterone, although it can be an issue for them as well.

The other main thing, a little bit more indirect for the testosterone piece, is the adrenals. The core of your adrenals produces adrenaline; the outside produces several hormones, most important one is cortisol. Cortisol will start off highest when you wake up in the morning, decline throughout the day until melatonin takes over at night so you can sleep. You can’t have unopposed adrenaline. So, if you’ve got excess adrenaline from some kind of stress or from caffeine, because caffeine will indirectly pump out additional adrenaline, then you have to have excess cortisol over and above what the adrenals are normally producing in order to take you back down to baseline. That’s fine if that’s only happening occasionally, but if you’re doing it every day, and especially if your adrenals are already low to begin with, it’s like whipping a dead horse. You are forcing them to work harder and harder and harder. I have definitely seen an association with any sort of stress and guys having low testosterone too. Also for women, the adrenals are very linked to your sex hormones. When the ovaries are not producing as much, either because you’re going into your period or you’re going into menopause, the adrenals are the ones that pick up the slack. And if they’re super tired because you’re having tons of caffeine and / or there’s lots of stress from someplace else, or inflammation from anything else external, then you’re not going to be able to compensate very well and you’re going to have disruption across the board.

Allan (18:52): Okay, I’ll do my best to taper down. Notice I didn’t say “quit”.

Dr. Lauren Deville (19:00): I understand. I’ll meet you where you’re at.

Allan (19:07): This next part, the conversation goes all over the place. I’ve heard a lot of people tout that raw vegetables are good for you, and other people say raw vegetables are hard on you. I eat some raw vegetables. I eat mostly cooked vegetables, if I broke it all down. For me it’s a mix. Now, when it comes to fermented, I love sauerkraut. I’ll eat sauerkraut as often as I can possibly have it, and I enjoy even making it for myself. Can you talk a little bit about vegetables, preparation and things like that, and how we can benefit our gut by understanding ourselves and doing it the right way?

Dr. Lauren Deville (19:47): Sure. There are pluses and minuses to all of the above. The raw veggies are going to have some antinutrients that will keep you from absorbing some of those vitamins and minerals. But on the flip side, when you cook them, a lot of those vitamins and minerals will end up going into the water if you’re boiling. However you’re cooking those vegetables, you are going to lose some of the original nutrition that was in the raw form. So there’s that. There’s also the fact that the raw veggies can have a lot of roughage in them, which is good in terms of fiber that can really help keep you moving, but on the flip side, if you’ve got any kind of gut inflammation, raw vegetables are not going to be your friend. So for those people, it’s probably not the best way to go. With fermented veggies, fermented anything, you are getting a good dose of probiotics, the good bacteria that are going to help keep your gut going. The only real caveat I have is if somebody has yeast overgrowth or SIBO, fermented vegetables can actually perpetuate the problem. So, you want to be aware. If you have a tendency toward lots of gas and bloating, these may be great for you. It depends on what your problem is as to whether they will or whether they won’t. If somebody has a fairly healthy gut though, fermented vegetables are really, really good for you. The reason why I say that is because the fermentation process is uncontrolled, so you are going to get some good stuff. You’re also potentially going to get some yeast, if there’s a yeast problem. Across the board, it may end up contributing to imbalance if there’s already imbalance there. But they are fantastic for somebody that is on the GAPS diet, if you don’t already have an issue with that. The GAPS diet is pretty much the only one out there that I say those people don’t have to be on a probiotic, because they’re getting enough fermented vegetables that are coming from their diet, and that’s what our ancestors did historically. But most people don’t have the time for that or the energy or maybe they don’t like the flavor or whatever. For everybody else, I want them on a probiotic because you need something in order to help keep the gut healthy in that way.

Allan (21:51): Yesterday I had a spinach salad – five ounces of it. It looks like a big honking salad, but it’s only five ounces. If I had an issue, like SIBO or something that, I would feel bloated and gassy after eating that. Would that be the basic symptoms someone should be looking for when they’re eating vegetables to see if there’s an issue?

Dr. Lauren Deville (22:13): No, I was talking about the fermented veggies.

Allan (22:19): But if I have an issue with the raw vegetables, how would I recognize that?

Dr. Lauren Deville (22:23): The raw vegetables are usually going to be if you’ve got diverticulitis or something like that. Or some people that are in an ulcerative colitis flare are not going to do well with the roughage. Those people are going to need really simple cooked, easy to digest foods at that time. For almost everybody else, you’re not going to have an immediate reaction to raw veggies, unless you’re allergic or something. You mentioned the spinach – if you’ve got an oxalate buildup or something – in that situation maybe. Spinach is really high in histamine, so maybe you’ve got a histamine problem. In that case you’re going to get super itchy if you’re eating that much spinach. But for most people I don’t really restrict the raw vegetables per se. It’s just that there are some of the antinutrients that are in there, so it’s good to have a decent mix of the cooked vegetables and the raw at the same time, assuming that everything else is fine.

Allan (23:17): Cool. A lot of my clients will ask me, “What supplements should I take?” And I always push back on that because one, I don’t think we have to take supplements if we’re getting everything we need from our food. I’m also a realist and I know that we’re not going to get everything from our food or from the sun. I actually had a blood test recently and found that my vitamin D is down. I’d been working on a book, so I wasn’t outside as much as I thought I was. So, I am taking a vitamin D supplement. But in the supplements discussion that you had in the book, you brought up a term. And I’ve heard this before, but I really want to dive into it. It was the chelated versions versus the other types of versions that are out there. If somebody’s a vegetarian or vegan, they might not be getting enough B12. Vitamin D is an important one that most people can look at. Fish oil is one. But when we’re looking at these supplements, they’ll always ask me, “What do I need?” I struggle with that because I don’t take a lot of them. I just say, “Find a reputable company.” Now we’re going to talk about chelated, because I think this is a pretty important thing for us to consider when we’re buying. Because if you’re taking a supplement and it’s not working for you…

Dr. Lauren Deville (24:39): There’s no point.

Allan (24:42): Just give me the money, I’ll do as much for you.

Dr. Lauren Deville (24:45): Right, exactly.

Allan (24:46): So, can you explain that and what we should be looking for in our vitamins?

Dr. Lauren Deville (24:49): Right. The minerals are the ones where this is important. There are vitamins and there are minerals. The minerals are the micronutrients that are complexed with something in order for them to be delivered. So, chemistry term real quick – they are charged particles. They’re positively charged for the most part, and they have to be combined with something negatively charged so that they’re neutral for the sake of delivery. And then once they get into your gut they get broken apart again. The chelated ones are easier for your gut to actually break apart and then absorb the valuable part of it, the valuable mineral. The oxide, sulfate and carbonate are the forms that are most common and they’re really cheap vitamins, and they are close to useless. It is very hard for your body to break those apart. Not only are they close to useless, they can actually be somewhat harmful. And I say “somewhat” because it kind of depends. Magnesium oxide or sulfate or carbonate for instance – all of those are going to work great as a laxative, because they will draw water into your colon, but you’re not going to really get much of that magnesium anyplace else. That means if you’re taking it in order to move your bowels, it’s going to work, but you’re going to be chained to the toilet because you’re going to have lots of cramping and stuff.

The chelated versions, because you can break them apart, it’s a lot gentler if you’re using it for that reason, because not only are you drawing water into the colon, but you’re getting that magnesium absorption elsewhere in your body. For calcium, a few years ago, you may have heard about the study that came out that showed that taking calcium orally was actually damaging to your cardiovascular system. That study was done on oxide, sulfate, carbonate – those kinds of calciums are not absorbable into the tissue so then they’re going to precipitate out on plaques in your bloodstream, and that ends up contributing to plaque formation. If you get a different form of calcium that’s designed to absorb into your tissues, that’s not the case. So you do want to make sure that you’re able to get these into your body, aside from, you want to get your money’s worth out of your supplement. Chelated is anything ending in “ate” that is not sulphate or carbonate. I know that might be kind of confusing, but citrate, orotate, glycinate or threonate – any of those are all considered chelated and they are a lot easier for your body to use.

Allan (27:08): Okay. We are going to have a full transcript of this. That was a lot to absorb right there.

Dr. Lauren Deville (27:16): Sorry.

Allan (27:16): No, no, no, no, it’s cool. We can go back and read this in the show notes. This is going to be episode 361, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/361. Go down to this part of the conversation and you can pick up exactly what she said. Print that out or write it out, and when you go to look for your magnesium or calcium supplements, if you need those, then that’s what you’re going to want to look for. Thank you for sharing that, because it can get so confusing. And yeah, you see a study that says, “Don’t take calcium”, but the doctor is saying, “Your bones are starting to get a little brittle, so you need to start taking some calcium.” And you walk into Walmart or the pharmacy, and what’s the most expensive one or…

Dr. Lauren Deville (28:03): You don’t know what to do. Exactly.

Allan (28:05): This is one my mother took. She’s still around, so it must work. Now, I’m going to apologize to you right now, Dr. Deville. I have a final question and I neglected to put it on the show plan for you. So if it takes you a minute to think this through, that’s cool. I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest, happiest person you can be. What are three strategies or tactics that you could give us that will help us be and stay well?

Dr. Lauren Deville (28:42): Okay. So, my basic philosophy of naturopathic medicine is that if you give the body what it needs to heal itself, and then find and eliminate obstacles to cure, then within reason healing will follow. How you actually walk that out for each individual person is going to look different and may end up being a whole lot more complicated depending on what you’ve got going on. But at base, that’s what it is. So I guess what I would say is, strategy one – maybe spend a little time and sit down and think about, where are you lacking building blocks? Are you giving yourself the right nutrition – so, macronutrients or micronutrients? Are you not exercising? Are you getting decent sleep? Are you dealing with your stress? Do you have a spiritual connection? Do you have people around you, a community to support you? If you notice that any one of those things is lacking, then those would be the places where you specifically would need to place your attention. And along the same lines, I’ll use this as my number two. I’m kind of cheating here; this is kind of like wishing for more wishes. But if you were to then look at where your obstacles to cure are, the ones that are specific to you. This is what I walk people through in the book: Are you in a toxic environment emotionally or physically? Do you have an obstacle to cure? Maybe you’ve been exposed to a bunch of solvents, maybe you’ve been exposed to a bunch of chemicals in your food. Maybe you’re really overdoing the caffeine. Maybe there was a heavy metal exposure or something. Figure out where your obstacle to cure might be and focus on eliminating that one for you. And I guess I will say number three – everybody really does need to focus on their stress management. If I had to just pick one – have a really good stress management technique that you can practice on a regular basis. And by regular, I would like it to be daily and I would like it to be at least 30 minutes to an hour. But if you can only manage three times a week, whatever you have to do. We all need to make sure we make that a priority, because that is probably the number one area where I see most people falling short.

Allan (31:03): Absolutely. I appreciate all three of those. The last one also resonates with me. This has been my year, and next year will be another year of, how can I get my stress level down as low as possible? Dr. Deville, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, The Holistic Gut Prescription, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Lauren Deville (31:29): My website has all of that information – www.DrLaurenDeville.com. You could also go to Amazon and look it up, but all the links and everything are right on that website, so that would probably be the best place.

Allan (31:42): Alright. You can also go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/361, and I’ll be sure to have the links there. Again, thank you so much, Dr. Deville.

Dr. Lauren Deville (31:51): Thank you for having me.

Are you an audio book listener? If you enjoy podcasts, I’m pretty sure you’re going to enjoy audio books. I’ve been a longtime subscriber to Audible, and if the book’s available in Audible, I’m going to listen to it rather than read it. I just really enjoy it that way. And I’m really happy to say that The Wellness Roadmap is now available on Audible. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AudioBook and get the book. Actually, when you sign up, the first book is free. So, just go to Audible through our link at 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AudioBook, and you can get The Wellness Roadmap. If you love the podcast, I know you’re going to love this book. And if you already have bought the book and don’t want an Audible copy, but you’ve already listened to or read the book, please do go out to Amazon and leave a rating and review. It means the world to me and it helps more people see that this is a good book that they should buy. So it does help the book a great deal if you’re leaving those ratings and reviews. So, please do go out to Amazon and leave a rating and review. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

December 17, 2018

Agi Kadar | Are you a gym mouse?

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Our guest today has been in the fitness industry for over 19 years as a personal trainer and gym manager. She is the author of the book Are You a Gym Mouse? With no further ado, here’s Agi Kadar.

Allan (0:58): Agi, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Agi Kadar (1:02): Thank you, Allan. It’s great to be here.

Allan (1:05): Your book is Are You a Gym Mouse? The title itself is cute and imaginative, and I really liked the messaging, taking it from being the gym rat to being the gym mouse. You covered a lot of things in the book that I see year in and year out in the gym. Someone comes in intimidated, they shun the free weights section. Often they won’t even go to the workout machines. They’re on the treadmills, on the ellipticals. I thought it was really good to put this kind of book out there for someone that knows they need to do the training, they just aren’t motivated to do it because of the intimidation factor, because of the lack of knowledge factor, all the different reasons that someone doesn’t want to go to a gym.

Agi Kadar (1:56): Yes, that was exactly the reason I wrote the book. I have been working in a gym for 19 years and have seen a lot of gym mice come and go. They are just too intimidated to do more than get on the treadmill or on a bike. And I want to show them that it is okay to be a gym mouse. You can still get all the benefits of moving, and get better, get healthier, get stronger, and not feel intimidated by others that might be fitter than them. They probably were a gym mouse at one point or another.

Allan(2:31): How would you go about defining a “gym mouse”? When you see someone, how do you say, “That’s a gym mouse.” What does that look like?

Agi Kadar (2:40): Someone who might actually take a while to even come into the gym and join. You can usually tell right away. Some people even told me that they sat in the car for 30 minutes before walking in. They’re usually scared of the machines, the free weights, especially heavy weights. They think they have to lift really heavy weights and be really fit to even start an exercise program. A lot of times I hear them say, “Okay, I will join the gym and I’ll get in shape on the treadmill. And then I’ll take a class or start using weights.” And even though they want to get stronger, feel better, look younger, they really lack the motivation to get over their fears.

Allan (3:28): I was an athlete in high school, so I was familiar with weight equipment and whatnot. But my first foray walking into a gym was, it was very broken up. You’ve got your treadmills, and nine times out of 10 those are going to be close to the door. And then you start working into the machines, and then in the back corner space – in this gym it happened to be a bigger part of the whole overall gym because it was more geared towards weightlifters and professional bodybuilders and that kind of thing – were the guys and the women in the back lifting the weights. I was 14 years old. I was in no way capable of doing what a lot of the other bigger guys were doing, and I can get that. You see this guy go over there, he’s got 500 pounds on the bar doing deadlifts or squats. And I’m thinking to myself, “I’m going to go do this bar, and that’s going to be enough for me.” But what I found was that they don’t care about me being in their space. It’s a shared space. We both paid for our membership. In a general sense, they’re there to get their workout and not to people-watch the mice, so to speak.

Agi Kadar (4:44): Exactly. I hear that from people: “I’m afraid to go back there with the weights because I just don’t belong there. People are going to look at me.” And it’s not true. If you look around in most gyms, you do find the regular people; a lot of gym mice out there. Even in the classes, not everybody is in perfect shape. They’re all there just to move, have fun and get healthier, and they really could not care less what you are doing.

Allan (5:14): We all started somewhere. I’m a trainer, and I’m into my workout, but if I see anybody, I’m only going to recognize one, people that are in the gym the same time every day and I see them every time, so I’m going to know who they are. And then I’m going to see the newbies, and the only reason I’m paying any attention at all is if I notice them doing something that I see the potential for them to really hurt themselves.

Agi Kadar (5:45): Yes. That’s one of the reasons I do recommend beginners to go to the gym instead of starting a workout by themselves at home – to get the guidance and get help and make sure that they do it right, so they can get the results so they don’t give up.

Allan (6:04): I have a book that just came out. In the book I talk about you can get strong doing body weight work. You can build a home gym, you can put things in your home and then add on equipment as you go. But there is the danger factor there because now you’re by yourself and if you drop weights on yourself, there might not be anybody else there to deal with that. The core advantages of the gym for me were the variety of equipment that you could never get in a home gym, the fact that you don’t have to pay to upkeep it, and you don’t have to pay to store it and keep it. I’m giving up half of one of my garages just to have my home gym, which works for me because my truck doesn’t even fit in my garage. So this is my gym. But what are some reasons why you think someone should venture? Why should the mouse venture into the gym?

Agi Kadar (6:56): My one reason – what you just said – not to get hurt. But a great, big reason is other people there that are just like them, so they won’t feel alone. They feel more confident, more motivated to actually do it,because if they see another person who’s maybe older or bigger or smaller or whatever their insecurities come from, and they see them doing it, they might feel better, that they can do this. Also, find another workout buddy that they can meet there and they can go together. So that will be, again, another motivation not to let someone else down. And another big thing is once you’re in the gym, chances are, you are going to work out. At home you might find another reason: “I’ve got to wash the dishes, I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that. I’ll do it later.”And then it never gets done. If you already made the trip to the gym, chances are, you will do something.

Allan (7:50): Yes, absolutely. Now, what I think a lot of folks don’t recognize is that not all gyms are created equal. There are some gyms that are dedicated to women alone, there are some that are dedicated to meatheads, and there are some that are all across the spectrum. Some of them are organized with all kinds of classes, some are not. Can you talk about how someone can go about it? With allt he choices that are out there, most of us, I think, live within a mile of at least one or two gyms. What are some things that I should look for when I’m looking at joining a gym?

Agi Kadar (8:28):That’s a great question. I do believe you have to find the right gym for you,otherwise you’re probably not going to go. I would definitely recommend that you look around first close to your home or maybe your work because it’s very unlikely that you will drive a great distance to a gym, especially if you are a gym mouse and that’s not one of your priorities. But definitely go visit the gym, find out what they offer, find out their policies. Look around, ask for a free pass. That’s I think the best advice I can give to anybody. All the gyms will give you at least a one-day pass, so go try it out. Take a class, or walkaround, talk to the members. See who is going to that gym. Look around and see if you feel comfortable. Go at the time that you would most likely go, so you see how busy it is at the gym. Some people like a busy gym, they like all the energy. So that’s great. Some people like a more quiet facility. Also, there are big, huge facilities that offer everything. If that’s what you like – great,then check those out. If you’d rather have a small boutique studio that specializes in certain things like yoga or Pilates or spinning, then check those out. Take a class and see if you like it. But definitely I would recommend visiting and not judging them by their price or their website or even a phone call. Just go there and feel it out. Feel the vibe, feel the whole atmosphere, because like you said, they are all different.

Allan (10:08): I think that first point you had – convenience is probably one of the keys. I had a membership with Anytime Fitness. And one of the reasons I kept that, even though I had other gyms… I had my own home gym, I had a gym membership near my work, and then I had an Anytime Fitness. The advantage of the Anytime Fitness was that they had gyms all around the world. So when I was in Calgary, I could go to the gym for free. When I was in Mississippi for a football game, I could go to a gym for free. So, look for some of those chains that will actually let you go in. And like you said, it needs to be close to your home. It needs to be something that you would almost have to drive by it on your way home.

Agi Kadar (10:55): That’s a good point. Or even close to your work, or whatever is more convenient for you. But definitely convenience will make it a lot easier to get there and stick to your routine.

Allan (11:09): Another thing to look at is some of the services they offer that might be those add-ons that are going to make this gym really special for you. Some of them have the special classes, so they’ll be doing some strength classes, some aerobic classes, spinning classes as a part of the whole service. Some of them have infrared saunas, swimming pools, those types of things. If those are services that you and your family would enjoy, those are really nice to have. And then the other is personal trainers. If they have a cadre of personal trainers available, particularly at the beginning when you’re trying to learn what these crazy-looking machines do and how you’re going to get over to those iron plates and the bars and how you’re going to do all that, it’s really good that they have trainers. In many cases the trainers will give you an orientation. They actually should demonstrate how to do the work. And if at any point in time you’re concerned about your form, typically you can go over and ask the trainer on duty, “Do you mind spotting me? Do you mind watching me and telling me if I’m doing this right? I don’t want to hurt myself.” And 99% of the time they’re going to be able to go over there and give you a hand and help you lift safer and lift better. So, don’t discount those add-ons, because even though you say, “I might not need to go to a gym in another town”, suddenly you’re going to visit your grandmother or your aunt and you’re like, “Do they have this gym there?” And when they do, it’s pretty cool that you don’t have to pay a walk-in fee for one of those other gyms.

Agi Kadar (12:43): Yes, definitely. That’s why I said just go to visit a couple of gyms and find out their policies. Like you mentioned, the chains – some of them you can just go anywhere. I work for a gym that’s a franchise, but you can still get a travel pass and go to other gyms and use them on vacation or anywhere in the world. And the other thing, like you mentioned, the trainers. When you go to a gym, find out if they offer a couple of free sessions to get you oriented with all the equipment and free weights or whatever else you want to use in the classes. We give two orientation sessions and we actually write up a workout routine for people to get started with.

Allan (13:29): That’s really cool, because a lot of people do go in and they don’t really have an idea of what they need to do. But sitting down with them and taking the time to show them the equipment and giving them something to get them started is really good. I think one reason that people get uncomfortable in the gym is it’s a foreign environment from their perspective, and it seems to have its own rules. We call it gym etiquette. To be honest, it actually changes from gym to gym, so some of them will be a little bit more stringent on these etiquette rules than others, and some members will ignore these etiquette rules, even when they’re experienced and been in the gym for a while. What are some of the etiquette rules a new person should know when they go in the gym?

Agi Kadar (14:18): Probably the biggest thing is, just like in life, be courteous and keep everything the way you would like to find it. Cleanliness; just clean up after yourself – that’s one big thing. And respect other people’s time and space. Some people are just there to work out and get to work, or they really don’t have a lot of time, so they don’t want to chat. They don’t want you to interrupt their workout, so you need to respect that. If you’re retired and you have the time and there are a lot of other people that stay for a while, that’s great. Go and talk to them at the juice bar or sit down and have a cup of coffee. But don’t interrupt others’ workout. I think that’s one of the biggest rules that people need to know. But at the same time, also share. Sometimes the gym mouse might feel like, “I can’t go over there, they’re using that machine.” But they’re just sitting on it and talking, or texting, or resting for a while. It’s okay to approach them then and ask them, “Can I share that machine with you?” Or that area. You can work in with others nicely. Sometimes it is also for the gym mouse to know their rights, not just the rules. That’s why I dedicated a whole chapter in my book to gym etiquette.

Allan (15:40): I think you could have written the whole book on it.

Agi Kadar (15:42): Probably. And I got a lot of feedback that I should print it out and post it inthe gym everywhere.

Allan (15:51): A few that I’ll mention that I think a lot of people miss, and it goes back to being courteous. If you pull a set of dumbbells or some equipment from a rack, return them to the rack. For the convenience of everybody, the dumbbells are typically laid out from smallest to biggest and lightest to heaviest. And that’s important because it keeps the big guys from having to stand over in your area if you’re using lighter weights, and vice versa – you’re not having to cross over. Typically if someone’s working in the heavier weights, they’re not going to be on the other end, where now you have the opportunity to work. So make sure you’re putting your weights away. Notice that a lot of people actually use the mirror to monitor their form, so try not to get between someone that’s working out and the mirror until they’re done with their set, because they’re entitled to that mirror for the time they’re doing the work. As soon as they’re finished with their work, you can cross over, but try to stay out of their mirror area. And then my biggest one is, we’re getting into the cold and flu season. If you have a cold or flu, this is a good time to actually work out at home.

Agi Kadar (17:00): Yes, definitely.

Allan (17:02): You’re going to wipe down your machines and your equipment when you’re done with it. Almost every gym’s going to have a bottle or something that you can wipe that off. And by all means, you can wipe off before you use it and after. They don’t mind you using their paper towels. We really don’t, because we want to keep the equipment clean and nice. But at the same time, if you come into the gym sick, we’re in a small enclosed space, typically with a lot of people. We’re just going to get more people sick, and they’re going to get more people sick. So, if you have a cold or flu, stay home. If it’s a flu and fever, probably not even a good idea to work out. If it’s a head cold, you could probably still do some exercise, but try to do that where you’re not compromising the health of other people.

Agi Kadar (17:50): Yeah, definitely. I always tell people, if you’re in doubt, just think about what you would want somebody else to do. Do you want to go in there and have someone sneeze on you? Definitely, that was my other thing I was going to tell you too, that we point out paper towels, spray bottles to everybody, and that’s another courtesy. Wipe off your sweat, not just when you’re sick. Keep the machines clean so somebody that comes after you can find it the same as you did.

Allan (18:20): One of the cool things about the gym, and you mentioned this a little bit –there’s this effect that happens when you’re around other people, that it makes you work a little harder and it makes the workout actually a little bit more enjoyable. So, group classes are a great way to get started if you’re really uncomfortable and you want to build some fitness before you really dive deep. But when you’re in the gym, realize that we’re all trying to do the same thing. You’re surrounding yourself with other people that are interested in their health and fitness. So, sometimes we help each other. And what I mean by that is, I might be doing a lift and I might be concerned that I’m not going to be able to complete the last rep. If it’s a bench press or squat or something like that, it might be difficult for me to do that last one, and I might ask you for a spot. If someone asks you for a spot and you know how to give the spot, then by all means. If you’re uncomfortable that you’re not going to be able to properly spot somebody, then don’t be afraid to tell them that you don’t feel like you’re strong enough or you don’t have the spotting technique. But as you get into this, realize that we’re all there to kind of help each other out. So, don’t be afraid to ask for a spot if you think you need one, because it’s better for you to have that spot – someone there to catch the bar so you don’t drop it on yourself than it is for you to try the lift and hurt yourself.

Agi Kadar (19:40): Yes. People will be surprised how helpful others can be. Even some of the meatheads or gym rat-looking people are usually very welcoming to new people and they encourage them. That’s a great feeling, when you see someone who is in great shape and they say, “Hey, you’re here again! Great, good for you. Keep going.”

Allan (20:04): We like it, because the gym needs to have members to stay open. If it’s three of us that are going in to work out in this whole big gym, they’re going to have to charge us a lot of money to make ends meet. The trainers need to get paid, the gym manager needs to get paid, and the gym owner needs to at least have enough money to keep the lights on. So yes, we’re very happy to have people in the gym, and we want them to stick past that resolution period. So, when you go into the gym – yes, that treadmill is going to call your name. It’s like, “I’m easy. You know how to use me. Let’s go.” But if it’s not just cardiovascular endurance that you’re trying to build, then the treadmill’s only going to take you so far. If you’re wanting to build fitness and really do somethings for yourself, you’re going to need to do some resistance training. The machines tend to be easier to understand on your own. But again, if there are trainers around, if there are experienced people there and you see them doing the leg press machine and you see them doing bench press with dumbbells, don’t be afraid to ask them for tips and pointers on how to do a particular exercise. Now, don’t interrupt their workout every single time you want to learn an exercise, but to occasionally sit there and say, “I noticed you doing that exercise and that was very interesting. What muscle part is that working?” Just watch their form, and then you can with much, much lighter weights, replicate that movement when you want to work that particular muscle group.

Agi Kadar (21:40): Yes, totally agree. Or just walk up to the front desk and ask them, “Is there a trainer available that can help me?” Chances are, they are just walking around and they’d be happy to help you. They want to keep busy. They want to show what they know and they all want to help you.

Allan (21:55): And that’s a part of their marketing shtick. If I have an opportunity to show you something, then you’re going to understand what kind of trainer I am, how skilled I am, and other people are going to see me helping you. I can tell you managers want their trainers on floor helping people all the time. Even if they’re not a client at the time, they want their trainers helping people as often as they can.

Agi Kadar (22:25): Yes. I always tell people to just ask instead of hurting themselves or doing it wrong. It’s much harder to unlearn a wrong move than do it right in the first place.

Allan (22:34): And we’re over 40, so more likely than not, doing it wrong is going to lead to some form of injury. You really don’t want that. That’s going to keep you out of the gym, and now you’re going to be an injured mouse at home.

Agi Kadar (22:51): We don’t want that.

Allan (22:53): So any other gym etiquette tips or things that someone should know? We talked about how there are certain gyms that will fit them better, there are certain etiquette tips that once you get comfortable with how that gym works are going to work for you. Anything else?

Agi Kadar (23:09): Definitely if you’re not sure, just ask around what’s expected of you. Just little things sometimes people don’t think about, like bringing your gym bag to the floor. If only one person does it, it’s not a big deal, but can you imagine 10, 15, 20 gym bags all over the place and people tripping over them? It’s really dangerous. Another thing is bringing a cell phone into a class, for instance, and texting or making phone calls, disturbing other people. That’s really one of my biggest pet peeves that I try to encourage people, not just for the benefit of others that you don’t disturb the class or the instructor, but also for your own enjoyment of your time. You are here to work out. If there is an emergency, I can understand some people want to keep their phone on them. That’s great, but if you don’t need to, don’t do it. Relax, recharge.

Allan (24:09): A lot of times the gyms will be playing music, and it might not be the music that you want to listen to. So, have some Bluetooth headphones, listen to your music. There are also applications that you might want to use to log your weight because they’ll give you all kinds of cool graphs and information that kind of helps motivate you. They make it like a game sometimes, trying to score points from doing your workouts. So if you’re using those types of things, great. Even beyond the class, if you’re using a machine and you’re going to do three sets, don’t sit on the machine between sets, texting. If you’re logging your workout, that’s one thing. But if you’re sitting there having a phone conversation, there’s another gym mouse that’s sitting over there looking at that machine saying, “Gee, I’d really love to do the chest press, but it looks like it’s taken.” So, just realize that some people are not going to feel comfortable asking you to work in. Those of us that have been around for a while, we’re going to walk up and say, “Hey, do you mind if I work in?” If they do and you still need to do what you’re doing with your logging, just let them go. Because typically when someone’s working out on the machine, they’re only going to be on there for 20-30 seconds.

Agi Kadar (25:21): Yeah, definitely sharing is a very good rule.

Allan (25:26): It’s a skill. Working in is a skill. You’ll see it and you’ll get more comfortable with it. You’ll get more comfortable asking to work in because time is the one finite resource that we all can’t get more of. When we’re in the gym, we want to make the most of that time. The gym etiquette thing, I think once you have that down, you’re going to feel so much more a part of that gym and the gym culture. You’re not necessarily going to go from being a mouse to a rat, but that said, you can just be a very good gym mouse.

Agi Kadar (25:59): Yes, exactly. I like that.

Allan (26:05): You don’t have to ever become a gym rat. You could stay a good gym mouse and still enjoy the health and fitness benefits of being in a gym or a fitness club. So, a question I’m asking all of my guests now and I want to ask you, Agi – I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Agi Kadar (26:33): I’m really happy that you mentioned happiness because I think it’s a very big part of it, and very important. One of my strategies that I would recommend is,find something you like to do. Do not make exercise a chore. Especially for a gym mouse or someone who feels like that’s not their biggest talent or skill – to move, but they know they need to do it and they want to do it. Don’t try todo something you hate or you really dislike. Find something you really enjoy. Take a class. They all the classes, see which one you like. Or try out training with a trainer. Try out working out with a buddy. Just really find something you like. You like dancing? Put on music and dance around the house, or take a Zumba class or some other type of dancing class. But really, really important that you enjoy what you do. You will stick to it more, you’re going to look forward to it, and you’re still going to get all the benefits of the gym or just the movement. That’s one of my tips. The second one is, create a habit and stick to it. We are creatures of habit, so it is a lot easier to stick to a habit than keep stopping and creating a new one. Find a time that works the best for you and stick to it. Make it as an appointment. Just really think about it as a very important thing, part of your life, something that you do every day or every other day or so many times a week, just like brushing your teeth or washing your face.

Allan (28:16): Or picking up your spouse from the airport.

Agi Kadar (28:18): Exactly. Don’t leave them stranded there. Of course, if something comes up, where you get sick, you might miss your workout. But if it’s maybe a matter of time, that you usually work out 30 minutes and you only have 15 minutes – go for 15 minutes. You’re still going to keep that habit, so you’re going to feel that accomplishment: “I did it. It was a harder day today, but I still did my workout, even if it’s 15 minutes.” Or if you have to, just do a little bit or move at home: “Okay, I missed the gym today. I’m going to go home and dance around while I’m making the bed and washing dishes.” Just anything, so you keep that habit of moving every day or at least sticking to your workout routine. I really think it’s very important. Even if you get maybe injured a little bit. I had a client who sprained her ankle, and my advice to her was, “It’s only your ankle. You have a lot more body parts and muscle groups there that you can work.” And she said she kept hearing my voice every day: “It’s only an ankle”, and that got her over that initial shock of, “Oh my God, I can’t do anything.” She came to the gym with a cane for a while, but she sat on some of the machines or sat on the bench and did upper body exercises. She did core exercises, and she was so happy that she didn’t have to stop her routine. So, keeping that habit I think is very, very important.

And the third one, I think probably the most important, is to supercharge your motivation. Most of us know that we need to move, we need to exercise, and we probably know all the benefits of exercise – our health, appearance, weight loss, a lot of other benefits. But sometimes it’s not enough to get us out on a cold, dark morning to get up earlier and go to the gym, or after work when you just want to go home and curl up in front of the TV. So you have to find a personal, maybe a more emotional reason to do it. What I mean with that is something that you really want, and you need to be in better shape for that, or keep your shape. Sometimes we think when we’re younger that we’re always going to be like that. Like you said, Allan, this is over 40 fitness and some of us are over 50. I’m guessing the older you get it’s just going to get harder. It’s a lot easier when you have a personal reason to do it. For example, one of my clients who is in her 60s now – her reason was to play with her grandchildren on the floor and be able to get up. She would get down and play with them, but she needed someone else to pull her up. And she got scared. She said, “What if my daughter asked me to watch my grandchildren and I want to play with them, but I can’t get off the floor and nobody else is home?” That was her motivation to come to the gym. And this is a lady who I’ve been training for years and years, and she always had an excuse not to get up, or miss the training, or do this or do that. She is there two-three times a week, 6:30 in the morning, because she wants to be in shape and she’s very proud of herself that she can carry around her two-year-old granddaughter in her arms without any problems. She can get not just off the floor, but she can get out of a bean chair, which was the biggest, most evil furniture for her. When her daughter bought that for her grandchildren’s room, she said, “Are you kidding me? I will never get out of that.” And she actually can do it. So that’s a great motivation for her and that keeps her going. So, it does not have to be even your health, and we all know it’s going to benefit you. Or even an athletic event, that you want to run a race, or you want to walk a charity walk. That’s a great reason, don’t get me wrong. It’s a great motivation and if that will motivate you, great. But sometimes you have to find something else. I have a 95-year-old client who just wanted to be able to walk down the stairs and not be horrified that she’s going to fall down. I’ve been working with her balance and she’s amazing. She goes swimming twice a week and she walks up and down the stairs and just keeps moving. And that’s really the secret. I really think you have to find that little bit of a personal, emotional reason that’s important for you, and it will keep you going when you don’t want to go.

Allan (32:56): Yes, absolutely. Those are wonderful. Thank you for sharing that. Now, you said you have a special gift for anyone that wants to come and check you out. Tell us about the gift and tell us where we can learn more about you and the book, Are You a Gym Mouse?

Agi Kadar (33:16): Yes. I created a “Have Fun Exercising” 30-day challenge that I recommend to every gym mouse to maybe commit to it. It’s just helping you get started and sticking to an exercise routine, just to commit to moving every day. And it doesn’t have to be in the gym every day, but just commit to even 15 minutes of movement every day. I included some tips, some fun and more unique ideas – how you can move even without going to the gym or doing a formal exercise, and little tips to motivate yourself and sticking to it, and then reward yourself for sticking to a 30-day plan. Once you stick to it, you will keep that habit going. And I’m betting on it that you will feel better and you’ll keep wanting those benefits. You can find my gift at GetFitGift.com. We’ll send you the free PDF and a surprise also with that, that I don’t want to tell you. You have togive that gift. And you can also find out more about my book and about me on my website at AreYouAGymMouse.com.

Allan (34:38): Awesome. This is episode 360, so in case you’re running or you’re out and about and you couldn’t write that down, just remember this is 360. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/360, and I’ll be sure to have the links there. Agi, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Agi Kadar (34:58): Thank you, Allan, for having me. It was great.

So, are you a gym mouse? If you are, or if you aren’t – either way, why don’t you let us know? You can go and leave a comment on the podcast page. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/360, and there you can go ahead and leave a comment. Are you a gym mouse and why do you think that? Or are you not a gym mouse and why do you think that? A very interesting conversation with Agi. I hope you enjoyed it.

I wanted to let you know if you do enjoy the podcast and you’re interested in checking out The Wellness Roadmap book, it is available on Audible and iTunes. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AudioBook. Actually, if you don’t have an Audible account yet, Audible will actually let you have the book for free. So, you can check it out and get it for free actually, by checking out Audible, going to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/AudioBook.

I also wanted to check in with you and see if you were potentially interested in helping to support the podcast. We do have a Patreon page. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, and there you can go ahead and leave a small monthly donation for the podcast. And I’ve got some levels in there. So if you want to get more involved with the podcast, learn more about what we’re doing here, really be more a part of it, a support for this podcast, it’ll help me keep paying for the audio production and the show notes. I’d really appreciate it. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Pateron. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

December 10, 2018

Dr Pat Luse – The 7 systems plan

Patreons

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

  • Judy Murphy

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Dr Pat Luse takes his 30+ years of practice and describes how The 7 Systems Plan can help you turn your health around and live an optimal life.

Allan (1:19):Dr. Luse, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Dr. Pat Luse (1:23): It’s nice to be here with you.

Allan (1:27): When we met at the writers’ conference and you were winning an award, I was like, “I definitely want to get this guy on the podcast. I want to find out what his book’s about.” Now that I’ve had an opportunity to read the book, The 7 Systems Plan, I can tell you, you definitely deserved every bit of the kudos you got for that award. That was a wonderfully written book. Thank you for sharing this with me.

Dr. Pat Luse (1:50): Thank you. It was a great honor. I was surprised that that happened, but I’m very pleased.

Allan (1:57): I think it’s well deserved, to be honest with you. It’s a really, really good book. Very well researched and obviously practiced. This was not just something that you’ve come up with over a course of a year saying, “I want to write a book. So what can I call it? And seven is a really good number to throw out there.” This is from years and years of practice, working with clients to help them optimize their health, lose weight, and get back to the way they should be living their lives.

Dr. Pat Luse (2:27): That’s right. Actually the book is 30 years in the making. I’ve been doing this with patients for that long and I’ve been refining my program. And I decided, “This is exciting. I want to help more people than just the ones in my office.” So, I wrote the book and have the course, and now I’m helping people all over regain their health and have amazing health transformations.

Allan (2:54): As humans, we tend to want very simple rules. Calories in / calories out sounds like a wonderful model for us to design our lives around if we want to lose weight. But then people forget that there are other systems in our body, and they don’t just operate independently. They all collaborate to bring about this human condition, to bring about what we’re able to do and what we can’t do, and how we age and how our health goes. You’ve identified seven systems that are all interrelated and related to our health. Can you define the seven systems that you use in the book and how each of those affects our health?

Dr. Pat Luse (3:37): Yes. I lay the chapters out similarly – I give you a brief overview of what the system is; I give you a patient story of a patient that had a problem with this system; I tell you how the system can be broken and how you can fix it; and then I give you simple steps. So the first system is the structural system. It is your most important system. That is your frame. It’s your bone, it is your muscle, and it is fat that hangs on that frame. Those are the three critical parts. And in America we have some significant problems with fat. In fact, we have made that fat angry and it’s now working against us. It’s attacking us rather than working for us. The second system is the digestive system. A lot of people are familiar with that, but they’re not mostly aware of how important your gut microbiome is, your gut bacteria. And over the next couple of years you are going to hear endless studies showing how critical that is to your health. Weight is just one of the things that that can affect, but everything else – diabetes, inflammatory problems, autoimmune disorders – all can have their origin in the gut. Third system is the delivery system, and this system picks up the nutrients from the digestive system and takes them to the cells. As you know, we have a lot of problems with this delivery system – the heart and blood vessels. Number one killer in America is heart disease at this time, and it is significantly reversible. We have some miraculous reversals of arterial disease. They’ve actually got imaging studies that show that this reversal of blockage and plaque begins in three weeks after following a plan like The 7 Systems Plan.

The fourth system is the energy system. So you’ve delivered the food to the cells, now the cells have to turn it into energy, and that’s where your mitochondria come in. Mitochondria are little power plants inside every cell of your body. What most people don’t know is that you can have a lot of these or you can have very few of these. And most people have very few, but there are some simple steps to increase their numbers and increase their productivity tremendously. In fact, studies show you can have 600% more energy if you optimize this system. The fifth system’s the communication system. All these seven systems have to be able to talk to each other, or you’re going to have problems. And they communicate by hormones – a few of them are critical to your health; nerves, and neurotransmitters. We show you how to identify problems with these and optimize them. The sixth one is your defense system. This system defends your body against outside and inside attacks. As you know with our problem with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and all kinds of other bacterial and viral problems, we need to have this system working for us. It is the system that is responsible for causing chronic inflammation, and chronic inflammation is the root of almost all disease. And the last system in your body is your detox system. This system just cleans up. There are some significant things you can do to make this system work for you instead of against you. And it needs to be, because we are overwhelmed with toxins today. There are more toxins for this generation than any other generation in thousands of years by far. So this system needs to be working correctly.

Allan (7:33): And like I said at the beginning of this, the reason I like this approach is, it looks at your body across the board. It doesn’t sit there and say, “This is just a food allergy” or, “This is high blood cholesterol, so take this pill.” This is a, “Let’s figure out which systems are being impacted that are causing this”, not, “Let’s get rid of the symptom.” I really like the way you approached each of these. Now, one of the protocols that you talked about in the book was fasting, or the fasting mimicking diets. I was familiar with Valter Longo. Currently he is selling a product line that’s what I would call low calorie, high nutrition plan, that you can mail order and he’ll ship it to you. As I understand it, it’s somewhere around 600-700 calories just to get you the basic nutrients that you’d need to go through a fasting mimicking diet. But the fasting mimicking diets that you were using were more of the intermittent fasting style and they’re mimicking what would happen in our body during an extended fast. Can you explain what are the benefits of fasting, and then the types of fasting mimicking diets that you use in your practice?

Dr. Pat Luse (8:57): Fasting is in an extremely powerful tool in regaining your health. I give you some simple fasting techniques in Chapter 1 of my book, and it kind of eases you into it. You don’t have to do water-only fast to have significant benefits. Now, water-only fasts are very powerful and I do use them in my office. But to kind of prepare for that, there are methods of eating that trick your brain into thinking you’re fasting, while you’re actually eating food. A simple one that I like to use is the 17-hour fast. All that means is skip breakfast. Start eating at noon, finish your eating by 7:00 at night. Restrict the time that you eat. Powerful benefits of doing that alone. A second method is the 23-hour fast. Now we’re going from eating in a seven-hour window to eating in a one-hour window. So you would skip breakfast and lunch. And in that one meal that you have, it’s important to have a nice, balanced meal. We don’t want to have a tremendous number of calories in one meal. Significant progress with patients using those methods. So those are two of the things that I personally do and I have all the patients that join my course and program try these things. I usually get them eating a good diet for a month, getting the main 10 food groups in, that I outline, and after that experiment with some of these fasting techniques. The third one that I really like is called the 5-2 plan. On the 5-2 plan two nonconsecutive days per week, you restrict the calories to 500 for women or 600 for men. And that alone has been shown to have significant health benefits.

So what are the benefits of fasting? You want to clean house; your body does it in a very powerful way when there’s not food coming in or there’s not food coming in all the time at least. So you get elimination of waste products. Your body doesn’t have food to eat, so it focuses on getting rid of dangerous cells, like cancer cells. It may get rid of some extra skin that you’ve got hanging on to you because you’ve been losing weight. Fasting has been shown to reset your metabolism higher. A lot of people have a slow metabolism. There aren’t many ways to boost that, but one of the powerful ways is to use one of these fasting techniques. And also, if you want to control your hunger hormone – the hunger hormone is ghrelin; that comes in waves in your body. If you want to make those waves smaller, so you have less waves and they’re less powerful, less cravings, less hunger – fasting is a powerful way to do that. And I could go on and on. There are just tremendous benefits from fasting.

Allan (12:01): My favorite is the autophagy aspects of it, because your body needs certain things. It’s going to need amino acids to rebuild muscle and to do the things that it’s doing. It can get those amino acids from weak cells, from cells that our bodies should be getting rid of, but because we’re eating in many cases too much food, we’re not giving our body that opportunity. And for me, the other side of it is, the reason that fasting seems to make sense, beyond the fact that from a religious perspective, religions have been doing fasting forever as a protocol of refreshment, as a protocol for life, is that our ancestors didn’t have refrigeration or preservatives. So, they would go without food for even a couple of days, while they were on a hunt or while they were foraging, looking for something, particularly in the colder months when it was less plentiful. To me it really fits with what I think our bodies were designed for.

Dr. Pat Luse (13:12): Yeah. Never in our history have we eaten so frequently or constantly. If I just look back to when I was young, we had three meals a day – that was basically it. And now we have snacks in between those meals and we have something to eat before we go to bed. We are eating constantly. And some people even get up in the night to eat. Eating in the late evening or in the night is very damaging to your mitochondria, or your energy system that boosts your energy.

Allan (13:51): I’ve brought this up before on the podcast, but there was this term that’s come up and it’s now actually a thing. It’s called “second breakfast”. So someone will eat their first breakfast, and then by 10:00 they’re feeling hungry or they believe they’re hungry. And McDonald’s and others have loved this, that’s why they offer breakfast all day long. They want you to have that second breakfast around 10:00, because that’s just more business for them. And I say that because I think we think we’re hungry often times when we’re actually not hungry. In the book you outline some physiological and some psychological sources for hunger. I want to go through these, if you don’t mind, real quickly, because I think if people really started assessing what they’re feeling that we associate as hunger, it could go a long way towards saying, “No, I just need to go do this and not eat as much as I probably would.” Can you go through those sources of hunger?

Dr. Pat Luse (14:57): Actually, each of these seven systems can cause problems with hunger and eating, and that’s why it’s important. If you’ve got weight problems, you don’t want to just focus on restricting calories and eating better. That’s important, but if you don’t address all the other things, you’re not going to maintain your progress. You won’t make as quick a progress and you won’t keep the weight off once you to do. That’s why 99% of people gain the weight back after they’ve lost it. So, some of the things that can cause hunger are ghrelin – that’s the hunger hormone. It is that growling you get. It’s the “grow me” hormone and it signals you to eat. Here’s what we now know about ghrelin. You can train that to be too active, to give you those waves of hunger more and more frequently and stronger, but you can also train it to get weaker. Ghrelin does come in waves in your body. So what happens if you ignore the wave? It goes away. What happens if you act on the wave and you eat? It goes away. That’s one of the first things I teach my patients, that it’ll pass. Just give it 10 minutes, drink a little water, have a little coffee, and that wave will pass. And again, I said, fasting helps reset that.

Your fat cells, we now know, when you make them angry – and I talk about angry fat in Chapter 1 of my book – those angry fat cells can make you hungry, can give you cravings, can make you want to eat more and more. And fat cells produce a powerful hormone called leptin, which is your weight control hormone. When you get too many fat cells sending out leptin to the brain, it stops working and your brain thinks, “We don’t have any food. We don’t have any fat. We better up the appetite and slow down the metabolism.” This is a hormone that we need to fix. We now know that bad bacteria in your gut can actually cause hunger cravings. The good bacteria in your gut make you have cravings for things that feed them, like vegetables and fiber-rich things. The bad bacteria – that’s not what feeds them. They like the junk food. So if you get a craving for junk food, it could be that bad bacteria in your gut.

We also have a volume sensor in our stomach. We have no calories sensor. You can eat all the calories you want; your stomach will never say, “Alright, I’ve had enough.” But volume is something that it does respond to. So, we want to put lots of high volume, high nutrient-dense foods into our stomach, not the things that have very little volume and a tremendous number of calories. Low blood sugar can cause cravings and hunger. Just being low on water. Imagine this; this pertains to a lot of your listeners. You just ate your evening meal. It was a nice meal, you’re full. And 30 minutes later you’re hungry. Well, that just can’t happen. So it’s not lack of food that’s causing that. It could be lack of water. That dehydration signal, that thirst signal can seem just the same as a hunger signal. So, drink a big glass of water, wait 5-10 minutes, and if it’s gone, that was a water signal, not a food signal. Food addiction can be a source of hunger. Stress and elevated cortisol in your body can cause an increase in hunger too. So, a good number of things. Figuring out which of these things are causing your hunger cravings can be helpful.

Allan (18:55): A lot of what you talk about there – one is, stay hydrated. To me that’s an easy one. If you stay hydrated, then you typically know that it’s not a thirst that’s going to signal this hinger. Eating high quality foods, so you’re feeding the good bacteria, you’re getting the nutrient density that you need. Actually vegetables and fruits, high fiber fruits particularly, have a good bit of water in them. So again, it’s that natural blend of, if you work to improve the quality of your food, you’re going to be touching on most of those systems one way or another. And then dealing with the stress and paying attention to the signals your body’s giving you over time, I think is going to give you a good barometer of knowing when enough is enough.

Dr. Pat Luse (19:45): That’s right. You can actually stretch and increase the size of your stomach, as we have done. When you eat large meals, you can increase your stomach size, so it takes more food to trip that volume sensor. So I encourage my patients to not really stuff their stomach. And most of my patients in a short period of time, their cravings go down, their appetite goes down, and they just cannot eat as much as they used to eat, which is a very good thing to have happen.

Allan (20:19): What I’ve found is, when I’m really focused on the nutritional density of the food, I just don’t eat as much. If I go out for a good meal in a restaurant, I order their steak. I know it’s not grass-fed, I know it’s not the best quality meat, but it’s delicious and I need to eat, so I eat it. But I end up eating the entire 8-12 ounce portion, which is really two or three portions of steak. When I’m at home and I’ve bought some high quality grass-fed meat, I could eat about four ounces and feel completely satiated. Pairing that up with some good vegetables, getting a good mix on my plate. So I think the higher quality foods may seem to cost more, but in the grand scheme of things from a health and illness perspective… But also you don’t eat as much because you’re getting the nutrition that your body needs.

Dr. Pat Luse (21:18): That’s correct.

Allan (21:20): Now, if we’re going to do some fasting and we’re going to not listen to the bad gut bacteria until we get rid of it, because it’s going to take a little bit of time for that stuff to go away, and we’re not going to necessarily eat until were full, and we’re going to remember to try the delay or the water tactic as a way of getting past the hunger, the surge of ghrelin or the wave that’s coming in, so we can make sure it is what it is – a lot of people will then have to depend on this finite resource we call “willpower”. And I say “finite”, because a lot of folks will notice as their day goes on and they have to make more and more decisions about things, they just get this fatigue. And it’s so much easier to have bad food, have a glass of wine when you told yourself you weren’t going to. Those types of decisions become harder and harder; our willpower becomes weaker and weaker. In the book you share six willpower helpers. Would you share those with us?

Dr. Pat Luse (22:29): Sure. I tell my patients from the start, if you are going to depend upon your willpower to succeed, you’re not going to make it. It just will not happen, so you cannot do that. Willpower actually comes from a part of your brain called the anterior cingulate cortex, and it is about one inch straight back from my finger. Pup your finger on your forehead, go back an inch – that part of your brain controls your willpower. But it also controls several other things – emotions, task performance, decision-making. So imagine using that part of your brain all day, and then getting home and expecting it to make your willpower work. It’s just not going to happen. You can get about 15 minutes of work out of that part of your brain for willpower, and then it’s going to fatigue and not work as correctly. So you need to have things to help your willpower. I mention six of them in my book. First of all, you’ve got to have a desire, you’ve got to have a want to. So, Mary – actually she’s on the poster right back here. She came in to me at age 60. She was diabetic, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, morbidly obese. But here’s what she said: “If I don’t do something, I’m not going to be here for my grandkids.” That was her desire, her want to, her “Why”, and that’s a very powerful one. When I hear that from a patient – alright, we’re going to help you make.

New skills and abilities are very helpful. This is actually the classroom where I teach. I’ll be teaching a class tonight. This is the same class that I teach online. I give my patients lots of new skills and abilities. The more that you have, the better health you’ll have. You need a cheering section. So in this room, this is my cheering section. They support each other and cheer each other along. But everybody needs someone who’s encouraging them and helping them along. You’ve got to find that. You need a coach. So, in this program, and in my book, I’m the coach. That’s very helpful. You need a coach in every part of your life; health is no different. Rewards and incentives. So when my patients begin my program, I say, “What’s your reward going to be? You get that first 10 pounds off – what’s your reward? When you hit 30 pounds off? When you finish the program, how are you going to reward yourself?” And it doesn’t have to be huge things, but those little things along the way help you to keep going. They support your willpower. And the last thing is a health-friendly environment. If you expect to succeed in gaining health, losing weight, and you’ve got junk food at home, it’s not going to happen. If you’ve got junk food in the car or at work, it’s going to make it much more difficult. So I have my patients, day one, purge their house, get all of that stuff out of there. So you don’t have to depend upon your willpower; there’s just nothing bad to get you in trouble around.

Allan (25:45): Because then you have to actually make the decision to get in your car and drive to the store to get those things. What you just said, I love the path of that because that really follows the way I work with a lot of my clients, and we’ve talked about it here on the podcast – you do have to have a powerful “Why”, a deep emotional, like you said for Mary. And you share Mary’s story in the book, and a lot of other stories that are all really compelling, to help us understand how people bridge this gap. For some of them it was really, really good. And others had some difficulties that they had to fight back from. I really appreciated those stories, because they really brought all this to life. But you have to want to do this. It has to be, like you said, a good desire. I use the word “Why” with my clients, and we go over it and over it and over it until it’s ingrained and I know it’s emotional and it’s deep and they’re fixed on it. That gives us such a good framework then to use these other tactics of, don’t have it in your house if you don’t have to. I know for a lot of folks the kids are going to want it, your spouse might want it. Segregate it. Put it in a different place where it’s going to be out of sight. You may know it’s there, but having to make the effort to go to a different pantry to get it is just that little stop that you could take and say, “I have a ‘Why’ I’m doing this.” For me, it always comes back to that one, but the others are great, great tactics. So, if you find you struggle with willpower, which I don’t think I’ve found anyone that has what I would call great willpower. I’ve seen people put up with a lot in my life, but at the same time we all have our weaknesses, and until we recognize those and address those, we’re not going to be as successful as we can be.

Dr. Pat Luse (27:48): That’s correct. So with that “Why”, the reason you’re doing it – actually write those out. I have my patients give me four or five “Why’s”, put it on a 3 by 5 card, and then put it somewhere where you’re going to see it all the time.

Allan (28:02): Absolutely. Make it your background on your phone and on your computer, so it’s there all the time. Now, Doctor, I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Dr. Pat Luse (28:22): That’s a very good definition of “wellness”. I would sum it all up in one thing, and that is your seven systems. So that would be the thing I would say, if you do that, you’re going to have significant improvement in your health in a very short period of time. If I had to list three things that were probably the most powerful things, the first one would be, eat real food and take some supplements. Real food is the most powerful thing that you can do to regain your health, and it’s not that difficult. There are 10 food groups that I teach about in my course and there are some very simple ways to get all of those groups in every day, and very tasty ways. And a few supplements are key. We won’t have time to get into that today, but everybody needs to take a good multiple, vitamin D, probiotic and Omega-3. Those things are extremely helpful for your systems function. So that’d be number one. Number two, I’d say protect your gut bacteria. Now, this one didn’t use to be in my top 10 things of importance for my patients. It is moving clear to the top. Your gut microbiome is extremely helpful and powerful if it’s working for you. If it’s working against you, you’re going to have difficulty making progress with any health problem. The third thing I would say is, balance your hormones. You’ve got 50 hormones in your body. You don’t have to worry about all of them, but there are a few of them that are key, like insulin. Your insulin has to be working correctly. Insulin is the fat storage hormone. It makes that fat go into the fat cells and it prevents it from getting out. So my patients that come in here and can’t lose weight, I always check their insulin, and every time I find that insulin is too high. We lower the insulin and their weight loss takes off. Cortisol – the stress hormone – that’s another key one. You’ve got to do things regularly, daily; just some simple techniques to lower that stress hormone. So, that’s the third part – keep your hormones working for you instead of against you.

Allan (30:37): Great. I love those. And The 7 Systems Plan, your book, lays out a lot of ways for us to methodically approach each and every one of those. Thank you so much for that, Dr. Luse. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book and all the things you’re doing, where would you like for me to send them?

Dr. Pat Luse (30:58): I have a website, DrPatLuse.com. I’ve got a lot of free resources for patients there. They can get my book there. My book’s available at Barnes & Noble; it’s called The 7 Systems Plan. It’s got some additional resources that are connected with it. And I also have an online course. My patient in life is helping patients have amazing health transformations. We get people off medications, we help them lose weight, we reverse diabetes. Every time that happens with the patients, I just get a buzz. I really enjoy that. I want to create more and more of these amazing health transformations.

Allan (31:46): They are. Every one of them in the book is a brilliant story of someone turning their life around. So, thank you so much for being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast.

Dr. Pat Luse (31:57): Thank you. It’s been great being here with you.

Allan (32:05): I want to thank you for helping to make The Wellness Roadmap an Amazon bestseller. It really is an honor that you’ve reached out and got the book, and the book has been so well received to make bestseller status in three different subcategories. That was a really big thrill for me, and an honor, so thank you so, so much. You can get The Wellness Roadmap book by going to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book. That’ll take you directly to the Amazon seller page, where you can get the book. And while you’re out there, consider buying it as a gift to your friends and family that are over the age of 40 and interested in regaining or maintaining their health. It makes an excellent Christmas gift. Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book. Thank you.

 

Another episode you may enjoy

Mitochondria and your health with Dr. Lee Know

 

December 3, 2018

Carol Clements on maintaining balance

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The statistics around falls for seniors is staggering. On todays episode, we meet Carol Clements and discus her book, Better Balance for Life. If we want to be well and maintain our independence, we must focus some effort on maintaining balance.

Allan (0:56): Carol, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Carol Clements (0:59): Thank you. Happy to be here.

Allan (1:02): I was so happy to see your book that when I reached out I was like, “Yes, we’re not talking about this enough.” Everybody’s talking about getting stronger, building endurance, being able to do what we want to do in our lives. But in my mind, and I’ve even said this on the podcast a couple of times, my balance is not what it needs to be. And I’ve always known that; it’s only now that I’m in my 50s that I’m starting to say I have to start doing some work on this, because it’s not going to get better by my acknowledging the problem. I actually have to do something about it.

Carol Clements (1:47): Right. It’s definitely trending in media; there’s lots of scary statistics about falling and aging and balance. Then of course in the fitness industry there’s a big trending balance. You’ve got the BOSU training balls, you have stability balls, and Stephen Curry standing on a wobble board and shooting baskets. So everyone knows that this balance training edge is very productive because of the unifying of the body to become stable on unstable apparatus, which is what they call it at the gym. But I didn’t want my book to be about what you would do at the gym, so I had to create the instability in the person’s daily life that would be safe and they could practice balancing.

Allan (2:53): A few of the statistics I saw when I was doing the research on the topic of balance, it was something like one in four people over the age of 65 fall each year.

Carol Clements (3:04): One in three.

Allan (3:05): One in three, okay. So it’s going up, I’m sure. And then the other problem is they end up going to the hospital. I think it was 300,000 in the United States per year, and 29,000 deaths attributed to falls.

Carol Clements (3:25): That’s what I mean about the scary statistics. It’s a phenomenon that needs to be addressed as a preventative.

Allan (3:38): Yes. I tell people this, that your likelihood of falling over the age of 65 is just astronomically high. Why do we fall?

Carol Clements (3:49): That’s very complicated, because it can be inner ear issues, it can be visual impairment, it can be medication, or disease, a pathology of some kind – in the most extreme examples Parkinson’s or MS. Actually my book does not encompass that kind of reason for fear of falling or balance issues. It really addresses more a physical, more straightforward situation, where as the person ages they become less active and maybe they sit more, their balance system isn’t turned on because they’re sitting in a stable position too much of the time. I can’t cover all the reasons for falling, because they’re beyond what my book really addresses. But even if you had medication or a condition –neuropathy in your feet or something – you could still do a lot of these activities and improve your balance.

Allan (5:13): That was what I liked about this, because when I’ve talked to a lot of people about falls, it typically comes down, like you said, to those medical style conditions that we have. The second stage of it is that we’ve lost some strength, and that’s going to contribute to the fall. And unfortunately without the muscle mass, we’re more likely to hurt ourselves when we fall. Then of course there’s the fact that when we’re afraid to fall, we’re more likely to fall because we shorten our gait, we get tighter, we tense our body. I’ve lived in the south for a vast majority of my life, and whenever I travel up north and there was ice, I’m walking like a duck. I know that’s not the right way to do it, but I can’t help myself because I’ve fallen before and there’s this fear of falling that’s in there. And then the fact is that we just don’t practice.

Carol Clements (6:18): Right. So, all of those things that you said are right on. It’s lower body strength. In terms of predictors for falling, according to the research, and they do an arbitrary test where, say, you have to stand up from sitting without using your arms. And then five years later the people who couldn’t do that have fallen. The studies were in some ways a little arbitrary, like they would do a test for agility, and the agility test was how quickly you could walk around a chair.

Allan (7:02): I’m a certified functional fitness specialist. That’s still the test that they teach us, is to get up, walk around the chair and sit back down. It is not a bad test. The problem is from somewhat of a liability perspective, you don’t want the client to fall. So you know that they’re going to walk slower when their perception of falling is worse, and typically their perception is correct. So really what you’re looking for is for that person to give you indicators that we need to spend time on gait and balance because they’ve given some of that up.

Carol Clements (7:46): Right. Then you’ve got the lower body strength, you have the coordination agility factor, we’ll just call it, and then as you pointed out, the fear of falling is an enormous indicator of whether you will fall in the future. So I thought as I was writing, how can I help the reader feel more confident so that they remain active and they get the opportunities of being active that provide balance practice, strength, all the things we’ve talked about, and the confidence so that they won’t be so fearful? Those are really the three major goals.

Allan (8:36): You’re right. The question I have now, in the book, you use what you call the “five principles of a body in balance”. I think in a sense for me, that created a really good framework to explain what we’re going to be able to actually do at home. We’ll talk about those activities in a moment, but this set a really good framework. I thought if someone actually sits down, goes through and understands these five things, they’re going to genuinely know the things they should be adding to their activity level. Can you talk through those five principles, because I do think they are fundamental for our move forward in understanding this?

Carol Clements (9:22): They’re in some ways postural connections, so that when the reader gets to the 10-week plan, they have some kind of functional way of aligning their body. For instance, I start at the top, with the head, and compare it to a helium balloon. It’s really lining up and finding the arms and the back, and your neck and chest, which would be a curved-over, hunched position. And then ways to stretch the front of the chest so that you can get your shoulders to be part of your back. By that I mean the shoulder blades and the, you and I would call them “lats”, but you can think of it as the side of the back. And then there’s this very difficult one, which I was labored to write, because it’s hard, about the abdomen and how there’s a connection between your upper body and your lower body. I want for the participant reader to feel like that comes from the front, because as you age you begin to be more lax about what we call the front body core, and use the back to kind of hold you up and keep you in stance. So, it was difficult and I’m hoping the reader doesn’t get too frustrated with that section, but it was too important to leave out. Then I move on to the hip, because as you age, you begin to hinge at the hip forward. Imagine someone with a cane – they’re bent over and then they can’t access the glutes, the buttocks muscles. So I’m trying to get linked in front of the hip. And then the feet, because your feet and shoes sometimes become less active. You’re not really using the foot in an articulate way to push off. So those are the five; I wanted to make sure there was a consciousness about those body parts and how they work together, because you’re going to need that when you get to the 10-week plan and do the balancing and strengthening.

Allan (12:03): Yes. Again, that’s where the light came on for me as I was going through the book, was I know the shorter, tighter gait is a problem, but I had not really put together the entirety of the whole system, which I should as a personal trainer. Actually, that’s what I should be thinking about all the time. It is when I’m working with my clients, but I didn’t turn that same logic onto myself, that it’s about your posture and your ability to hold good posture. And so, looking at those imbalances: Is your head leaning forward? Are your arms collapsed forward? And as your waist is leaning forward, your hips are now in a bad position because you can’t use your glutes when you’re walking. And now your feet are not strong enough and nimble enough. I know that we say this all the time, and I need to start practicing. I do walk barefoot a good bit here in Florida. I could probably pick up a marble with my toes, but I couldn’t do a lot of the things that I should be able to do from the top to the bottom. That’s where the light came on for me, that this is a whole body posture thing. It’s not just a practiced balance thing. It’s all of it.

Carol Clements (13:29): All of those principles I felt like were going to give a foundation from which to build the strength, the coordination and the balance that we’re going to work on. You can’t think of everything at once; that’s why I said that about getting frustrated. But it’s just a process. I even said in the book, “Be patient with yourself.” The whole idea that not being able to maintain the balance at first is really a success, because the whole point is to be in an unstable position and to recruit, like I said, all these sensory, physiological and musculoskeletal aspects of what makes a person centered within themselves to balance, and practice that. So it’s okay if you fall – not fall; I don’t mean the bad kind of fall – that you teeter out of your balance, because that’s an experience that you’ll be able to use. Say if you step on a curb and you feel like you’ve lost your balance, you’ve had practice with doing that. Your body knows more what to do.

Allan (14:59): Yes. It’s like just about anything you do. When you first got in the car to drive, there was this fear. I know it gripped me the first time I got behind a stick shift. The Driver’s Ed teacher wants to put you up on a hill and have you do the clutch gas thing. I don’t want the car to die. And when you’re in town and it’s doing it, the car behind you is kind of laughing at you. It says “Driver’s Ed” on the car, so he knows what you’re going through. But over time, you practice being in that position. It’s not dangerous, but you get more comfortable and less fear.

Carol Clements (15:40): Right. The natural automatic responses of driving – now you don’t even have to think about driving, right?

Allan (15:54): Which can get scary in and of itself when you get somewhere. It’s like, “My brain was somewhere else while we were doing this drive, but I’m glad I’m here safe.”

Carol Clements (16:03): The body remembers and will do it, so we’re trying to get that automatic response going in the person’s body with balancing.

Allan (16:17): I was completely open and honest that I know my balance is an area that I need to put more and more focus on going forward. Now, don’t do this if you’re driving, but when you’re home or at a certain place. Always do your balance test in a safe place, so if you do actually lose your balance, you’re not going to hurt yourself. But if someone wanted to do the basic balance test, what would you tell them to do?

Carol Clements (16:46): The one that I use in the book is really more an assessment personally of the person, not like I’m trying to rate how good is the person’s balance, but how do you feel when you’re wavering? So I have the person stand behind this very sturdy chair and place your hands on the chair back, and then put feet right next to each other so there’s a very narrow base. And then gradually let go of the chair and cross your arms over your chest. If you close one eye, and if you feel okay, the other eye – you will feel the wavering of the body, the body balancing going slightly forward and backward and sideways. How do you feel about that? Is it scary? Does it make you want to suddenly go stiff, or can you relax into that wavering motion, the instability, and be okay seeing it from the inside, experiencing it? For me that was the better test. We can’t see what everyone’s doing that’s using the book, but they can experience and see for themselves how they feel about balancing.

Allan (18:09): Absolutely. Like I said before, your general perception when you’re in a situation like that is probably reality. If you’re not comfortable on your wavering more than you feel like you should, and you had that urge to want to tense up and grab that chair – those are indicators that this is a modality that you can start working on.

Carol Clements (18:31): Right. And it’s good to grab the chair because we don’t want you to fall. But it just gives you the experience to say, “Yes, I do feel tense about this.” And then maybe try it again and go, “Okay, I can stay with this a little bit longer until it really feels too threatening.” But definitely, always opening the eyes, or coming off of one leg, or whatever the balance situation is. You want to trust your instincts that you need to come out of that challenge when you need to.

Allan (19:13): Yes. I guess the tagline of this book in some lines should be, “You can fix it. You can get better at balance.” Now, you talked about the implements that are in the gym, and honestly a lot of folks don’t want the gym membership, and they don’t want to go over into the corner with that odd-looking contraption and try to figure out some exercises. Because they’re on a padded floor they fall over, and that’s not fun in a lot of cases. But we can do things to work on our mobility, our strength and our balance. We can do that in our own home. And what I like is that in the book you made this, I want to say, functional, but not exactly functional, but if fits within the lifestyle of what we’re probably already doing. We’re just double-dipping by doing these activities at the same time we would be doing something we were already going to be doing. Can you go through some of the types of activities and things that you would have them doing over the course of the 10-week plan?

Carol Clements (20:26): If the person can associate the activity with, we’ll call it an exercise, even though in the book I try not to call it an “exercise”.

Allan (20:37): Nobody likes the word “exercise”. So I’m glad you used the word “activity”.

Carol Clements (20:44): The association is like a reminder. For instance, one of the very first ones is “kitchen counter flat back”. So when you’re waiting for the toast or the microwave or the water to boil, you’re in the kitchen – you do this activity, which is really just creating traction though your spine. I won’t describe it; that is described in the book of course. And that’s really going to help with body awareness and the feeling of links, and to understand the opposing forces, which are what a lot of balance is made of. For instance, in this “flat back”, you go out through your scull, but you go the opposite direction, through your tail, the very end of the spine. So you’re lengthening in opposite directions, and when you balance, you really have to do that. You have to go down through your leg that you’re standing on and go up through your spine and head. Otherwise you have no dynamic; you’re just standing on your foot without the opposing force that gives a connection and a dynamic for balancing. I don’t really talk about that so much because it sounded too technical. I just try to give the experiences. When it’s associated with an activity, like brushing your teeth, I have five different “brushing your teeth” balances that are progressively more challenging. Everybody brushes their teeth, or at least we assume they do. So, they get to the first week, do brushing teeth balance number one. In the second week… Or maybe that didn’t happen until the second week because you have some other things to prepare first, I forgot. So those associations with activities, like getting dressed and talking on the phone or texting – I made sure that it was something I thought that most people would do, so that they’d go, “Oh yeah, when I do this, I stand this way and I do this experience.” That’s for a week. And by the end of that week, you’ve mastered it or gotten better at it, and you can go on to the next week. And then there’s usually a new activity, or a same one like the “brushing your teeth”, just with a new progression.

Allan (23:31): I liked it, because as you said, you’re brushing your teeth, you’re at the counter, you’re on the phone. All of those are normal daily activities. With this book, there’s not a ton of them; we’re talking I think no more than maybe four activities in any given week. But you practice those things – so a certain way that you’re going to work your back, or manage your glutes, or you’re going to work with your feet, or look and pay attention to your head, or at this point start balancing on one foot in a supported position – slightly supported, and then you’re going to reduce that support. It’s this progression that over the course of the 10 weeks you’ll feel and see that you are improving because you’re practicing.

Carol Clements (24:16): And hopefully feel more confident, go out more and do more things and not restrict yourself according to what you think you’re not capable of doing. Besides those four activities, there are also these sidebars, and one of them is “Your Striding Gait”. Not every week, but some of the weeks there’s a “Your Striding Gait” sidebar, which is some cue to use while you’re walking, which is going to help connect and strengthen. For instance, one is that big toe push-off I was talking about. So you cue yourself while you’re walking to push off with your big toe to fall forward from one foot to the next. And just to be aware of that and practice it when you’re walking. The other sidebar is “Relax and Reward”. Some of the weeks have a “Relax and Reward”, where you do a very passive kind of stretch situation, like have your legs up the wall so that your hamstrings get a little feeling of spaciousness. So besides the four activities per week, there are these sidebars that crop up. All of that works together.

Allan (25:51): Putting your sock on while you’re still standing up – that was maybe one of my favorites, along with, you call it something else – when you criss-cross your legs as you walk side to side.

Carol Clements (26:05): You mean “tight rope walking”?

Allan (26:07): No, you were crossing over sideways. You’re moving sideways, so your right foot goes slightly over…

Carol Clements (26:12): Lateral, yes. People lose their ability to step sideways, because think about it – we’re always going forward. Then when you do have a stumble, you are so inexperienced in stepping sideways or having to step backwards. So again, it’s practice. There’s a little thing where every time you get to a certain hallway in your home, you step to the side, meaning laterally, and then you get more comfortable with that and you’ve increased your range of transferring your center of gravity sideways, not just forward like we do when we walk, as we’re accustomed to.

Allan (27:03): You talked about things you do and don’t do. If you’re walking through a grocery store or a Walmart parking lot, and the car just doesn’t see you and you’re walking forward, your only choice perhaps is to move to the side. And so you need to be generally confident and competent that you can take that side step so the driver hopefully sees you, but you don’t fall, because that’s maybe the worst case. We have these obstacles in our lives and we don’t want to limit our lives. This is great if you’re working on your balance, if you’re doing these exercises. Every one of them is great. Like I said, I had a couple of favorites. I won’t ask you what your favorite is, because I know people don’t like picking between their babies. But I do have a question I want to ask, and it can be from the book or it can be from anywhere. I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Carol Clements (28:08): I wish I had some cute slogan or some inventive quick fix, but really it’s about building a lifestyle around healthy living. If you wanted to be a farmer, you’d live on a farm. People think in theory, they want to be healthier, they want to have a better diet, or they want to have more activity. But if it’s a theory, you have to change the real circumstances of your life. For instance, if you like to dine out, find the healthier places to go; maybe not the salty, fatty pizza place or something like that, and make that part of even your social life. In the book at the end I give this little pep talk and say, try a marching band, try croquet. It’s a little tongue in cheek. Basically I’m saying, find something that engages you, that’s active, so that you can get your balance practice. Tai chi is the perfect example because they’ve done so many studies with tai chi. This improves your balance because you’re standing, you’re moving. It really doesn’t take much. Ping pong would be great. Just find something that makes a fun, engaging thing and then cultivate your friends and relationships around that framework. Really make a lifestyle change, if that’s what’s necessary.

Allan (29:58): Thank you for that, really. The book is Better Balance for Life. Carol, if someone wanted to learn more about the book, learn more about you, where would you like for me to send them?

Carol Clements (30:10): I’m having a meeting with someone tomorrow about creating a website for the book and myself. So I don’t have that yet. The book actually is released on November 20th. You can order it on Amazon or Indie Books or Barnes & Noble, but it won’t actually go out until November 20th, which is right around the corner. Right now I would say, wait a while and try the website or contact me through the publisher.

Allan (30:48): Okay. Carol, we’ll do this. We’ll stay in touch and when the book is available, I’ll have a link to the book for sure. When your website’s available, I’ll have a link to your website, www.carolclements.com.

Carol Clements (31:02): That would be great.

Allan (31:04): Go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/357, and I’ll be sure to have those links there as soon as they’re available. Carol, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Carol Clements (31:18): Thank you so much. Have a great day.

Allan (31:21): You too.

I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Carol. Balance is something that I’m going to be focusing much more time on, as far as my fitness routines go. And I hope you do too. Falling, hurting ourselves, the numbers are just astronomical. So it is something that you need to be aware of and something that we do need to focus on as we get older.

I wanted to give you an opportunity I had originally only offered to my mailing list and then to my clients, but I thought you might be on the fence and thinking maybe you want to try some online personal training. So, through December 25th, Christmas, I will be offering you an opportunity to train as a part of our group training for just $1. Yes, your first month is only a dollar. Normally $75, so that’s a pretty steep little discount there, a Christmas gift from me to you. I want to be a part of your health and fitness routines. I want to be a part of you getting well as we get into the New Year. And there’s no better time to start than now. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training. When you click on the button to go to the signup page, there you’ll use coupon code: podcast. Again, you go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training, and then from there, when you go in to buy, use the coupon code: podcast. It’ll save you $74, so basically you’re going to get your first month of training for just a dollar. And that’s full access to everything that my group trainings have – the portal, the exercises, the programming, the weekly Q&A calls, all of it. You’ll be a part of that; just check it out. You don’t have to continue if you don’t want to, but I believe you’re going to see I’m giving you enough value that it’s well, well worth the cost, the investment. So again, 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Group-Training. Use coupon code podcast at checkout.

Also wanted to let you know that the book, The Wellness Roadmap, is just about to drop live. This goes live on December 3rd. The book will go live tomorrow. So you can go ahead and pre-order the ebook. You can order the other ones and get them as well. Right now there is hardbound and a paperback. The audiobook is submitted and it should be out there really, really soon. So you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book, or you can just go to Amazon and search for Allan Misner or The Wellness Roadmap and you can find the book that way. But if you just want an easy way to get there – 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Book. Thank you.

November 29, 2018

Michele Stanford talks about food quality and health

 

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  • Judy Murphy

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Today, we meet Michele Stanford and I discuss her new book, Informed Consent: Critical Truths Essential to Your Health and the Health of Future Generations. The quality of food and health are closely linked. You'll learn more about why that's so during today's interview.

Allan (1:33): Michele, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Michele Stanford (1:38): Thank you, Allan. I’m very happy to be here.

Allan (1:41): The book we’re going to talk about today is called Informed Consent. It’s interesting when I see the title; it seems very serious and very legal. And some of the history you taught in there, you’ve done your research, I have to admit. You have really impressed me with the research that went into this book to not only understand what is going on today, but why and where it came from. So the history all the way up to today to bring someone all the way into what has happened to our healthcare system, what has happened to our food, why are we unwell, why are we all sick, and what we can do about it? Excellent book, and like I said, it comes off very, very serious because it is a very, very serious topic.

Michele Stanford (2:35): Yes, it is. It really was a labor of love and it began with my own health issues and trying to find answers on my own, because my doctors just were not able to help me. I was at a point where I really had to figure out what is wrong with me and how do I fix it. As I began researching, I went down all these different rabbit holes and began learning. As a former educator, I love learning anyway. So, I was just fascinated and I thought if I didn’t know all this, there are many other people who don’t know this either. That was the catalyst for writing the book.

Allan (3:23): I really enjoyed your story part of it. I guess I’m not going to say “enjoy”; that was probably the wrong word to say, but I felt what was going on with you and how you were going through a difficult time and you were trying to find the answers. In some cases your doctor really wasn’t all that helpful. But you knew there was something out there. And what I find almost somewhat appalling is that there’ll be a study that will tell us that bacon causes cancer or something causes cancer, but then we have another study that comes back and says, “No, we actually studied it again and it’s fine.” The problem is that this is not new stuff. The things that we’re learning about nutrition or supposed to be learning about nutrition now with the studies, a lot of the information that’s truly coming out as being the end-all answer, came out of a doctor who was actually a dentist named Dr. Weston A. Price. This was back in the ‘30s that he was doing the bulk of his work initially. Can you tell us a little bit about Dr. Price – what he was doing, why he was doing it and what some of his findings were?

Michele Stanford (4:42): Yes. I found that completely fascinating as well. Dr. Weston A. Price was a dentist, and in the ‘20s particularly, he noticed that there was a huge rise in the amount of cavities in individuals, and he couldn’t figure out why. He wanted to know why this was happening all of a sudden. So, what he did was he used his own monies because he didn’t want to be influenced. Other people and companies offered to finance him on his trips and he refused their monies because he wanted a completely unbiased research and discovery of what was going on. So his hypothesis was that it was the food and the nutritional deficiencies that were causing the rise in the cavities, and deformities too, of the shape of the mouth and the arch.

And so, he visited indigenous peoples around the world, in Switzerland, Alaska, Australia, Africa, South America, and all of these people groups that visited were isolated from modern society. Their only food sources were what they sourced locally. They did not have any industrialized foods, so everything that they consumed was what he considered nutrient-dense. And what he found was they were healthy, they had no cavities. These are people who are not visiting a dentist regularly. So they had no cavities, they had perfect vision, they had perfect arches, their teeth were perfectly formed, they were vibrant and healthy. And what he also observed was that as these people groups began to incorporate modern foods, industrialized foods into their diet, within a generation, they began to have cavities, their arches were becoming deformed, they began to form diseases and there was all this degeneration that was happening, within one generation, which to me is amazing.

He wrote a book – it’s really a tome – and he completely lays out all of his findings. It’s very detailed. He was a scientist along with being a dentist. What he found was that nutritional deficiencies are really the cause of degeneration, and not genetics. We think of genetics as being a cause of why we have diseases, but it was more nutrition, or lack of nutrition, that was the cause.

Allan (7:42): It’s fascinating. He didn’t necessarily step into the whole model, because that model didn’t exist, of epigenetics, but we now know that we turn on and off genes that are going to make us well or make us unwell, and we pass on that setting set to our offspring. If we’re not eating well as we grow up – so we’re growing up eating Twinkies, Big Macs, Coca-Colas and Dr Peppers – then you end up basically passing on not just a genetic scheme but the epigenetics settings for an unhealthy child. And then that goes to the next generation. When you break it on down and look at the incidents of diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s – we’re creating that with our food.

Michele Stanford (8:41): Correct. And not just food; toxins too. Skincare, cleaning products, anything that goes on our skin, things we breathe in, the toxins in our food too. It all creates those metabolic changes that you talk about, epigenetic changes. And they are transgenerational, which means that for a woman of childbearing age, what she eats today and what she uses on her skin and the cleaning products that she uses today, can affect her great grandchildren, because of the changes that happen that are caused. What happens is that one gene may get turned on that normally would have been turned off, or vice versa – a gene that would have been turned off gets turned on that causes disease. So, all of the things that we’re doing are detrimental to our health.

Allan (9:44): Now, there is hope in all this. Actually one of the stories you said in the book was that a woman was effectively not living a good lifestyle; had a child and her daughter had issues. And she cleaned up her nutrition, cleaned up some of the toxicity in her life. Her second child was much healthier.

Michele Stanford (10:10): Yes. He relates that story as proof it can happen within a generation, meaning she had been deficient nutritionally on her first child. She had terrible labor. It took her a long time to recover from labor. The child was anxious and stooping and had all of these physical deformities. Four years later, she had changed her diet, she had gone back to a nutrient-dense diet. She was in labor for three hours. She recovered very quickly and her child was very healthy; much healthier than the older sibling. So, while these changes do happen in a generation, they can happen within a generation. It speaks to the power of food and nutrient-dense foods to promote health.

Allan (11:08): I can’t agree more. The message of hope is that we can make changes today and that’s going to help us in the future. While most of us are past our child-rearing years, this is a message we can pass on to the next generation – let’s fix these things and make things better. So if they start seeing the changes in us, then hopefully that will start it. Plus, if we just change our shopping habits, which I want to get into in a moment, that’s going to change a lot as well.

Michele Stanford (11:39): Absolutely.

Allan (11:45): When I walk into a grocery store, I just see shelf after shelf after shelf of “not food”. I’ve come to recognize that those shelves, all the way from one end to the other, 90% of the stuff that’s in there, it may all be dishwashing liquid as far as I’m concerned, and dish powder, and laundry powder for you to wash, because I don’t want to eat any of it now. That’s all fake food. In your book you go through and you pick one thing that you used to really like, but you did a very good detailed breakdown of what was in these Cheez-Its. I don’t want you to go through all that, because that was pretty deep and dark, but can you go through and talk about what is this fake food stuff that we’re being fed now, and fed mass quantities and advertised to?

Michele Stanford (12:46): First of all, a lot of the ingredients are inferior, that they begin with. And then they take those ingredients and they denature them. They take what was real food and strip it of everything that was good about it. And then they add those things back in in a synthetic form, which our bodies do not recognize. A lot of the ingredients are GMO ingredients, which I think we’re going to talk about later. A lot of the ingredients come from factory farmed animals, which are sick and dying animals. They’re just full of chemicals. The way that they create these processes, for instance, the way that they create the flour and the oils – they have to use chemicals. They use bleach, they use hexane, which is a neurotoxin. The EPA monitors the release of hexane into our environment. So all the residue of these chemicals are left into the food. When they get finished, it’s not even real food at all. It’s just an industrialized product that is marketed as food.

Allan (14:05): And as I said, that makes up 90% of what’s in most grocery stores today. We instruct people to shop around the perimeter of the store, because that’s where you’re going to find regular food. But even that, 90% or more of that is industrialized farming and other things that we’re doing to the animals, to the plants that are kind of stripping it of any true value as a food. I call it “industrial food”. I’m sure there are a lot of different names we can throw out there about it. Some of the practices are quite horrific. Could you take some time to go through and explain to me why when I walk into my vegetable section, most of those vegetables are not actually good for me, or might actually be harmful to me? And when I get over to the meat section, why most of that is a problem? And of course when I get to dairy and I’ve got the milk and eggs and cheese, and again, another set of problems. Can you talk through those? As I’m walking around my grocery store, I’m kind of visualizing where things are. What am I actually looking at that’s keeping it from being real food?

Michele Stanford (15:19): Okay. We’ll start in the produce section because that’s usually the first section people walk into in a grocery store. Farming has become kind of a monoculture. So you’ll have one particular farmer and all he farms and all he grows is one particular vegetable. There’s no crop rotation. He sprays his vegetable with pesticides and herbicides. The soil has been depleted of any nutrients, so they have to put all these fertilizers in the soil to get it to grow. And so, the vegetables are not nutrient-dense like what Dr. Price talked about, because if the soil is not full of nutrients and teaming with all the beneficial enzymes and minerals, then the plants are also deficient. So there’s that.

When we get to the meat section, those animals in factory farms – it’s deplorable conditions. I go into some detail about that in the book. I don’t give all the details, because it’s horrific. It is horrific, the way these animals are treated. They’re not in their natural environment. They’re inside buildings. They are in tins that they can’t even turn around in. They are sick. They’ve been given hormones. They are fed food that is not natural to them. For instance, cows are herbivores. They thrive on grasses, but they’re given grains and they have trouble digesting those grains. So, they’re constantly given antibiotics and hormones to make them grow faster. When the female cows give birth, their calves are immediately taken from them. So there’s a lot of stress, and as you know, stress causes an inflammatory response, so they get more infections and they’re just sick. Poultry – please don’t be deceived by the labels of “cage-free”, because all that means is that they’re not in a cage. It does not mean that they actually have grass. There might be an opening in the chicken house for them to get outside, but there are hundreds of thousands of chickens in one house. If you’re at the opposite end of the door, that chicken’s never going to make it outside. They live in cramped conditions. It’s just horrific; it is absolutely horrific. They do everything they can to make sure that animal is alive, to make it to the truck, to make it to slaughter. So we’re eating sick animals. How can we expect to be healthy and receive proper nutrition from animals that are sick and dying?

The dairy industry, as I talked about cows a minute ago – they’re sick. They’re just sick. And then they pasteurize the milk, which denatures the proteins in the milk. Raw milk from pastured cows is full of enzymes and bacteria that help us break down those proteins that are typically harmful and people have trouble digesting. But the animals are just sick. Our vegetables are deficient in any kind of nutrients. And we’re not even talking about the processed foods that are in the grocery store – those are industrial, they’re full of chemicals, if they’re even food at all. Everything that we’re eating is just deficient in what we need to be healthy and vibrant in our lives.

Allan (19:39): Like I said, 90% of the food in there that was supposed to be food is this fake food in boxes, cans, jars and whatnot. And then even if you try to walk the perimeter, now you’re getting food that’s not as nutritious. It was effectively bred to be resistant to the herbicides, be resistant to the pesticides. It was made such that it could be hauled long distances, and then ripens right there, before they get it to the store. So basically a big wholesale system of moving this food that now lacks a lot of what we need.

It’s funny because like you, I grew up in the country, so we had chickens, we had plum trees and we grew a garden. We did the weeding – the kids got down and we pulled the weeds. If we saw some bugs in there, we would treat a little bit for the bugs, but not unless we noticed something. Whereas today they just go ahead and spray, assuming they have bugs and they don’t want to even bother with it. And then the plums that come off a tree… I go in now and look at these plums, the plums are three times bigger, they’re three times or four times or 10 times sweeter, and they’re perfect. Whereas the plums we used to get, all looked a little different, almost none of them were pretty, but we didn’t care because they were going to go into a jam or they were going to go into my mouth right there as I was picking them. The chickens were providing us eggs. We named the chickens and we knew everything that went into those chickens as they were eating around the yard. They were pecking and getting what they needed. But they were never stressed; they were just allowed to be chickens. We just don’t have that. When I would think of a cow and I think anyone would think you have this open field, a few acres, and there are maybe a couple of cows on it. But that’s not what’s happening with the industrialization of our food and trying to get food to us. I’ve said this on the podcast many, many times – the farmers’ market and some co-ops are your best opportunity to fix this by getting real food. So, in a nutshell, Michele, if you had to define “real food”, what would that mean to you?

Michele Stanford (22:15): Real food. My favorite day of the week is the day that I go to the farmers’ market. I have gotten to know my farmers, they’re my friends. To me real food first of all is not processed, it’s not been refined in any way whatsoever. It is in the natural state of that food as it comes out of the ground, or from a healthy, happy animal. The vegetables have been grown in soil that has been amended and has been taken care of, it has been tended to in such a way that it is completely full of all the nutrients and the vitamins that we need, so they’re nutrient-dense. Real food is what I call nutrient-dense food. Now it really is important. You have to seek that out. Even some of the organic food in the grocery store is not as nutrient-dense. I mean, it’s a better option than some of the other things in the grocery store and if that’s all you can do, then please do that. But real food is the ingredient, and we’ve got to get back to sourcing our food. And it’s worth every amount of energy that you can put into to source locally produced foods. That was one of the things that Dr. Price emphasized too. And like you’ve said, the food was not shipped from another country or across the country. It’s whatever is grown locally, that’s what you need. That’s what your body needs. It’s so important to find locally sourced foods, and it’s worth it to even travel an hour to find a local farmers’ market. You can ask them, “What are your farming practices? Do you use any chemicals? If so, what are you using?” They are more than happy to talk about what they do and to tell you and explain to you. But real food that’s not been stripped, that’s not been processed in any way whatsoever – that’s real food.

Allan (24:43): I think the more this message gets out there and the more we, as the consumer, it’s our wallet. And unfortunately there’s no advertising to sell zucchinis. The farmers’ market that’s selling the zucchinis that they picked this morning before they went out there – there’s no advertising for that. But they’ve got multimillion dollar budgets to advertise Pringles or Cheez-Its, and they’re buying Super Bowl commercials. So you see the money that’s in this food product that they’re able to spend to get you to buy it. Most of the commercials you see on the Super Bowl are car commercials and food commercials.

Michele Stanford (25:31): Right. And we’ve been conditioned to believe that these companies have our best interests at heart. They show us these warm, fuzzy commercials, families sitting around eating whatever processed food they brought home from the grocery store, and they’re happy and they’re healthy. It’s just not the case. We’ve been conditioned also to believe that allergies are normal. It’s not normal. If you have a skin condition – cczema or psoriasis – that these things just happen and it’s okay, and we’ll just take this pill or that pill and it makes it better. These things are not normal. We’re just conditioned to accept whatever comes our way physically as being normal. These companies are in the business to make money. They’re not in the business to make sure that you’re healthy. It’s up to us as individuals, it’s up to us as women, as moms and dads to make sure that we are nourishing our families with nutrient-dense foods. We’ve got to stop the deception and wake up and realize that these companies are not about what’s good for us. They are only about what’s good for their bottom line.

Allan (27:05): Yes. That’s why there’s not going to be a ton of experimentation, unless it’s happening in a university setting where they’re going to look at food in a way that we really need them to look at food. And even then, the influence that study will have over the policy makers isn’t necessarily as strong as the lobbying effects of what big food can do. So we talk about experiments and I’ll say today we are all subjects of probably the largest food experiment of all time. The sad part of it is, most of the time when a study goes wrong, they pull it, they say, “Oh my God, we’re killing people. We’ve got to stop.” Ethics just say “Stop”. But we’re going through something now with a product called Roundup. They came up with seeds that could survive Roundup. We don’t know what the seed will do to us, and we actually do now know a little bit more about what Roundup will do to us. But we’re ingesting this stuff every single day. Our children are ingesting this stuff, our grandchildren are ingesting this stuff. Can you take a few minutes to talk about the whole thing about Roundup and why it’s so insidious?

Michele Stanford (28:32): Yes. The active ingredient in Roundup is called glyphosate, and it originally was created as a chelator. What a chelator does is it binds in the ingredients and metals and minerals and pulls them out. Let’s back up a little bit. We’ll just go ahead and call them out – Monsanto wanted to create seeds that they could spray, because they have these huge fields, let’s just say of corn, and they’re overrun with weeds and it’s too costly to hire people to come in and weed. So, they created genetically modified organisms, or genetically engineered organisms is really the more appropriate term, that could resist being sprayed. And they found a bacterium in their waste dump that was resistant to the glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. And so they took that bacteria and they spliced it into the DNA of the plant, so that when the plant grows, it’s now resistant to the glyphosate. So it’s sprayed on everything. And it’s not just the glyphosate. We talk a lot about glyphosate. Recently, when I wrote the book, there were hundreds of lawsuits being filed. Since having written the book, one of those lawsuits has actually gone to trial out in California. The plaintiff’s name was Lee Johnson. He was a custodian at a school and he used glyphosate on the playground there and he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When they won, it was an amazing victory. Monsanto for all these years knew that it was cancer-causing. The World Health Organization in 2015, after some studies had come out and said that glyphosate was a probable human carcinogen. And Monsanto have known this all along. It’s horrible, but it’s not just the glyphosate. The surfactants that are also in Roundup, open up the cell membranes, so that the glyphosate can actually get into the individual cells. So when the glyphosate in Roundup is sprayed onto the plants, you can’t wash it off because it’s been driven into the actual cells. So it’s not like it’s just on the surface of the plant. It can’t be washed off, so we are constantly ingesting it. And it doesn’t just cause one kind of problem. It causes about 14 different processes to happen simultaneously. It’s not like maybe this one will happen, or this will happen. No, it’s all 14 of these processes that it disrupts in the body simultaneously, which is why we have so much cancer.

Allan (32:25): I agree. I want to take a step back to the chelation, because that’s the one you really have to wrap your head around what that means. And I want to slow you down there, because when something binds to something else, basically it means it’s unavailable. So I just ate, say, an apple, or some corn, and I expect to get certain minerals from that meal. My body needs those minerals. But because of the glyphosate attaching and binding to those minerals, I’m not getting those in my food. So if I have the corn and then I’m also trying to get calcium from something else I eat that night, that’s now all in my system and they’re going to bind, and that calcium is going to leave my system.

Michele Stanford (33:21): Right. The glyphosate that’s sprayed on to whatever vegetable, whatever product, it binds with the minerals that we are getting, the few of the minerals that are in the foods we’re eating, and it’s pulling them out of the body. So it acts as a chelator in our bodies when we ingest it. It’s also an antibiotic. So, we’re ingesting that.

Allan (33:46): So it’s messing up with our gut biome. Every one of those processes is important. Cancer is a big, big thing, but there’s so much more to it. What I try to tell people is, if you look at nutrition and you truly understand, most people say, “I can’t afford organic.” And I’ll say, one, you look at what the healthcare costs are. I know that’s really hard to wrap your mind around, but here’s the other side of it. When you’re eating nutritionally-dense food, you don’t have to eat as much of it.

Michele Stanford (34:21): Correct.

Allan (34:25): If I walked into a normal steakhouse, I’m not going to say “No” to the stake they’re serving. It is what it is. I’m there to eat; I’m with friends or whatever. I’m not going to sit there and say, “I can’t eat this.” I’m going to eat it, but I know for me to get the nutrition out of that steak, I’m going to have to eat the whole 12-ounce or 16-ounce steak. And I am.

Michele Stanford (34:46): That’s a lot.

Allan (34:47): It is. That’s three to four servings, is what it actually is. Versus I can cook four ounces of grass-fed steak and feel satiated, because I got the nutrition I needed from that stake. Everything about your hunger hormones and everything that’s going on in your body, it gives you that message because it turns on and says, “We’re getting good nutrition here, so let’s pay more attention.” Whereas, “He’s chewing, but I’m not getting any signals that we’re getting what we need.” That’s a big, big chunk of this.

Michele Stanford (35:26): Right. And so, as it’s chelating, it’s pulling out the minerals. The body’s not getting those minerals, vitamins and the things that we need. So that hunger mechanism is still in process and it’s telling us that it needs more nutrition. And so, it’s never satiated, as you say. We still feel hungry even after we’ve eaten a big meal.

Allan (35:49): I think that’s a core element here as we look at overall health. It’s making us eat more of the foods that we shouldn’t be eating, because we’re looking for things that we need, which we know we can get from nutritionally-dense real food. It really is upsetting that we have to actually now use the term “real food”.

Michele Stanford (36:08): Yes, that we have to take the adjective. And also a lot of the processed foods are intentionally created to be addictive.

Allan (36:21): I was talking about a Super Bowl commercial and I’ll just deflect to this for a second. The guy is eating Pringles; it’s pizza Pringles. He says, “Mmm, pizza.” I’m going to call him the victim. He had two friends with him and they each had their own flavor. So one of the other guys has chicken flavor and he hands it to him. He puts two of them together and he says, “Mmm, chicken pizza.” The other friend hands him the barbecue chip. And he puts them all together and says, “Mmm, barbecue chicken pizza.” And I’m thinking the lesson of this is not to tell you that they have three different flavors. The lesson here is to tell you you need to be eating multiple chips at one time to create your own taste experiment. And I’m thinking this is insane, that they’re teaching people to eat three chips at a time. But again, they’ve got the money to do it.

Michele Stanford (37:18): It’s a whole industry. The food creating flavor is an entire industry.

Allan (37:22): Yeah. So Michele, 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 Stanford (37:35): Only three. Nutrient-dense foods. As Dr. Weston A. Price said, the biggest driver of disease is our food is lacking in nutrient density. So, seeking out the most nutrient-dense foods you can find is probably the number one thing you can do for your health. It is the number one driver of everything else. Sleep is not something that we think about a lot of times as something that we should be doing for our health, but receiving adequate sleep, restorative sleep is so, so important for our health. Daylight saving time is an absolute menace to society, because it’s disruptive. It disrupts our circadian rhythms, and that is the time when our bodies detoxify. It is the time when the body repairs itself. So many people are sleep deprived or they’re not getting really good restorative sleep.

So that’s the second thing I think that’s really important that we overlook quite often. There are other things, but I want to mention this one thing that some people don’t think about, and that’s trauma. Anytime we’ve been through any kind of trauma, particularly as children, and it can be physical trauma, it can be emotional trauma – our bodies hold on to that. And if you’ve done all kinds of things to get well and you’re still struggling and you’re still having some problems, that’s another area to look into to see, did you suffer any kind of adverse childhood experience, or even as an adult? Have you suffered any kind of extreme physical trauma or extreme emotional trauma? Working through that is a huge piece of wellness. If you’ve done all of the other things that you needed to do, but you’re still not quite where you want to be, that’s one more area that we can look at to bring you into wellness.

Allan (39:55): Excellent. Michele, if someone wanted to get in touch with you or learn more about the book Informed Consent, where would you like for me to send them?

Michele Stanford (40:05): They can go to my website. It’s MicheleStanford.com. There is a “Get In Touch With Me” button there. There’s also the social media, where they can follow me on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn. So they can use that to get in touch with me.

Allan (40:27): Alright. You can go 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/356, and I’ll be sure to have links there for you to find Michele and be a part of what she’s doing over there. Michele, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Michele Stanford (40:43): Thank you for having me. I’m really happy to be here and I’m very grateful for this opportunity. Thank you so much.

 

Allan (40:56): I hope you took something valuable away from today’s program. It’s a very important topic for us to understand our food supply and understand our healthcare system and how that impacts our wellness. If you did enjoy today’s episode, would you please leave us a rating and review on whatever application you’re listening to this podcast on? It really does help the podcast, so I really appreciate each and every review that’s out there. I read each one and I do take them to heart to make the show better for you. So thank you for that.

We are just now starting to see the first bits of winter here, even down in sunny Florida. I was up in North Carolina for Thanksgiving week with my mother and my family. It was really nice to have that family time. And now we’re settling back into getting the house ready for Christmas and actually getting ready to put it on the market, which is a little scary, that we might actually sell our house out from under ourselves and not really have anywhere else to go for a little while. But we’ll figure that out. Obviously, a move to Panama like we’re planning, has a lot of ups and downs, little things going on here and there. Not to mention that I’m trying to launch a book, The Wellness Roadmap, so lots of moving parts. We’re less than a week away from the book going live, so another big, exciting thing going on in my life. Lots going on in my life, but it’ll all settle down soon enough.

If you haven’t checked out The Wellness Roadmap, you can go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com. We also have pre-orders on the ebook. I’m offering it for $0.99 on Kindle for a limited time. We’ll launch the book, we’ll leave it up for probably five, seven days maybe, let some folks have the book for next to nothing, leave some ratings and reviews. Amazon is one of those interesting companies that quite frankly will not show your book to other people if there aren’t any ratings and reviews. So, this book could die on the vine if it doesn’t have the support of readers like you. So, thank you so much for all the ratings and reviews that you’re going to leave on The Wellness Roadmap. I really do appreciate it. It’s been a labor of love. It’s definitely been a labor, but it’s been something I’ve enjoyed learning from and doing. So, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness and thank you for all of your support.

Another episode you may enjoy

Food sanity with Dr David Friedman

November 26, 2018

Chris Wark beat cancer and you can too

 

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Our guest today was diagnosed with cancer and a doctor's recommendation to undergo heavy chemotherapy. In his book, Chris Beat Cancer, Chris Wark explains why he didn't follow his doctor's recommendation and still beat cancer.

Allan (1:14): Chris, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Chris Wark (1:18): Allan, good to be with you.

Allan (1:22): When we look at cancer, it’s probably one of the scariest words in the English language. And it’s getting bigger, so more and more of us are getting that diagnosis at some point in our life. I think I actually read a statistic that everybody gets cancer, but some of us don’t live long enough to die of cancer.

Chris Wark (1:44): That’s basically true. Cancers come and go in life without us realizing it, and almost everyone has cancer cells in their body. Cancer cells are simply mutated cells, cells that mutate for a variety of reasons. Your immune system is designed to identify and eliminate those cells, but what can happen and what is happening is that many of us – one out of every two men and almost one out of every two women now are on track to develop cancer because of our diet, lifestyle, environmental choices, and stress. And I can dig into those as we talk more of how those elements are causing cancer and what can be done to prevent and even heal cancer. But we’re already at epidemic levels of cancer.

Allan (2:42): I think now at my age – I’m 53 – I need to be monitoring myself. I need to be doing the things I’m supposed to do at the age-related times I’m supposed to do them, whether I want to or not. And I think women are so much better at this than men. But in your book, Chris Beat Cancer, you did a couple of different things. One that I want to get into is your story, which is extremely compelling, because I could hardly wrap my mind around my 26-year-old self finding out that I had cancer. But you took a step back and you titled the blog originally and now the book Chris Beat Cancer. But you don’t think of it now in terms of actually winning or beating something. It has a different flavor or idea to you.

Chris Wark (3:41): Yeah, that’s right. When people think about cancer, they definitely think about beating it, winning it, fighting it, it’s a battle. And that’s all terminology that was created by the cancer industry. They had to do that in order to convince people to suffer, because the treatments are so brutal that if you can convince someone that it’s going to be a fight, you get them in this mentality where they accept that suffering is involved in the cancer battle. But it doesn’t have to be that way. So, Chris Beat Cancer is the name of my book and the name of my website, but as I’ve thought about it more over the years, it’s not about beating cancer. It’s not about a battle. It’s about healing the body. That’s really what it’s about. And unfortunately, the medical industry, pharmaceutical industry, they’re not interested in healing. They’re more interested in treating a disease. There are over 200 types of cancer. There will never be a pharmaceutical cure for all cancers. So, there’s a lot of misunderstanding in the public eye, thanks to the pharmaceutical / medical industry and the media about what cancer really is and the way you should approach it.

Allan (4:53): I think that’s really important, because as we look at this thing, the C-word, it is hard to sit there and say, “I’ve got to make certain decisions. My doctor’s going to tell me things and I’m going to have read or heard things.” It can be confusing. Like I said, I can’t even wrap my mind around my 26-year-old self making decisions that you made and having I guess the epiphany or the kind of faith – it was probably a little bit of both – to have done what you did. If you don’t mind, can you take us back there and talk through this? You were, like I said, 26 years old, had been married for two years, had your whole life in front of you, until you didn’t.

Chris Wark (5:43): Yeah. So, I’d been having abdominal pain for the better part of a year and I thought maybe I had an ulcer or something. Unfortunately, the pain got progressively worse and I went to the doctor. They did a colonoscopy after a series of other tests and found a golf ball sized tumor in my large intestine. And when I woke up they said, “You got this tumor and we took a biopsy, we’re sending it to the lab. Fingers crossed, hopefully it’s just a benign tumor and it isn’t cancerous.” But it was. This was two days before Christmas, when I found out I had colon cancer, and they said, “We’ve got to get this thing out of you right away, before it spreads and kills you.” And that’s the kind of conversation that every cancer patient has pretty much with their doctors. There’s a lot of fear and urgency, and they’re often rushed into treatment that they don’t understand; treatments that can have life-threatening side effects and long-term debilitating side effects. But because it’s so urgent, or they’re led to believe that it’s urgent, they say “Yes”. It’s sort of a tragedy. When people find out they have cancer, a lot of times they don’t even have pain. Something came up on a scan or a mammogram, a lump, a bump or whatever. They don’t feel sick, they don’t look sick, until treatment starts. That’s actually what makes them sick, is treatment.

So, I said “Yes” to surgery. I didn’t know anything at the time. And surgery, by the way, is not that big a deal for a lot of cancers, so I’m not anti-surgery or anything like that. But I was able to postpone them about a week to 10 days. They wanted to have me in surgery before Christmas. I was diagnosed two days before Christmas; they were trying to get me in there before Christmas. And so I said, “I really don’t want to be in the hospital over Christmas. Can we just postpone it until after?” So I went in on December 30th, they took out a third of my large intestine, they took out the tumor, a bunch of lymph nodes. And when I woke up they said, “Look, it’s worse than we thought. You’re stage 3C.” And stage 4 means it’s in two organs. So the cancer had left the primary tumor site, it was in the lymph nodes, it was on its way to my liver. So they said, “Your next step is 9 to 12 months of chemotherapy if you want to live and survive, because at your stage, we can’t cure your cancer with surgery.” So, I initially accepted that that was my fate. My future was the chemo patient at 26. But a couple of things happened in the hospital, and faith was a big part of my journey. From the very beginning I was just praying and saying, “God, help. What do I do? What’s wrong in my life? Why am I sick?” There’s a verse in Romans that says, “God works all things for the good of those who love Him.” I chose to believe that, that God was going to work this for my good somehow. But I didn’t like it. I definitely would’ve traded places with anybody, but I had no choice. What else do I have to believe in? Luck? “I hope I’m lucky enough to survive!” So I really put my faith, hope and trust in God first and foremost, to lead me in the process.

So I’m in the hospital. They took out the tumor, and then the first meal that they serve me after taking out a third of my large intestines was a Sloppy Joe. The Sloppy Joe is a funny kind of food item. Nobody likes Sloppy Joes, restaurants don’t serve Sloppy Joes. It’s the best worst example of cafeteria food, right? The main place you would find the Sloppy Joe is if you’re at summer camp or in the military or maybe prison. And to my surprise, they’re serving Sloppy Joes to cancer patients in the hospital right after surgery. Even more ironic is the fact that red meat, beef, is a group to human carcinogen, specifically known to cause colon cancer. It’s like giving the guy that has open heart surgery some barbecue when he wakes up. So, I thought that was very strange. Of course, I didn’t know any of this, but I still knew, “Why are they serving this terrible food in the hospital to sick people?” I knew there was a difference between health food and junk food. And that was a little clue; the first little crack in the foundation of the medical industry from my perspective.

And then the day I was told I could go home, my surgeon came in to check on me and we were having a conversation about what was going to happen next. And I said, “Are there any foods I need to avoid?” And he said, “No. Just don’t lift anything heavier than a beer.” So I’m like, “Okay.” Clearly, my abdominal surgeon, who I thought might have some expertise on digestive health, optimal nutrition for healing your gut or something, had nothing to say about it. So again, another little crack in the foundation. My faith, hope and trust in the medical system, which I was placing some there too, was starting to erode. I got home and I was thinking about my life, my future and chemotherapy and what I would become, what chemotherapy would do to me. And it was a scary thought. It was scary feeling to know that in less than a month, we’re going to start injecting you with some very, very toxic drugs that are going to make you sick. Your hair’s going to fall out. You’re going to lose your appetite, you’re going to lose weight. I was already borderline underweight.

Allan (12:14): I think you said you were like 6’2’’ and 155 pounds or something like that. And that was full healthy; generally healthy. Now you were going to get to this emaciated state.

Chris Wark (12:33): At that time I was probably closer to 150, maybe even a little under 150. I had lost weight because I had not been eating very much because eating was causing this pain. So I was already really thin, and my instincts were telling me this is not what I need to do, this is wrong for me. But I didn’t know what else to do. Just the idea of poisoning my way back to health didn’t really make sense to me. So, I prayed about it. My wife and I were sitting on the couch and I said, “God, if there’s another way besides chemotherapy, please show me. I don’t know what to do.” It was just a humble prayer, asking for help. Desperately asking for help. Sincerely, desperately asking for help.

And a couple of days later I got a book that came to my house, that was mailed to me from a friend of my dad’s who lives in Alaska. The guy who wrote this book had found out he had colon cancer, and instead of having surgery, chemo and whatever treatment was offered to him, because he had seen family and friends suffer and die from cancer treatment – he decided to not do it. And happened to have a friend who was a health nut who said, “What you should do is you should go back to the Garden of Eden. You should start eating fruits and vegetables only, just raw fruits and vegetables as your primary source of food. And you should probably drink a lot of carrot juice too.” So that’s what this guy did and a year later his tumor was gone. His name is George Malkmus, and he had written a bunch of books and stuff. I started reading this one book he wrote, where he’s telling his story, and it just blew my mind. I was like, “This is exactly what I’m looking for. I can’t believe this showed up. This is the answer to my prayer. I need to change my diet.”

I had this big epiphany, which was, the way you’re living is killing you. Most of us don’t realize, and we’re not told that only 5% roughly of cancers are genetic. What that means is that up to 95% of cancers, based on available studies, are caused by our diet, lifestyle, environment, like environmental factors, environmental pollution. Those three factors. And stress is underneath them, and I can talk about that as well, but it’s a root cause of cancer. Stress is hard to measure, but it’s easy to measure diet, it’s easy to measure lifestyle, and it’s easy to measure environmental toxic exposure. Those are the main drivers of cancer. The way we’re living, what we’re putting in our mouth and the choices we’re making every day are leading us down the path of health or down the path of disease. There’s a recipe for health and there’s also a recipe for disease. And most people are following the recipe for disease. And I was.

One of the first big light bulbs was in the diet category. In America and most industrialized countries, we’re eating a diet that’s very different than our ancestors and that’s very different than some of the healthiest populations around the world with the lowest rates of cancer. But a lot of people don’t think about things that I think about and researched in great detail in my book. The fact is that there are countries all over the world with much lower cancer rates than us. And it’s not genetic; it’s their diet, lifestyle and environment. So, what’s wrong with our diet? It’s way too much processed food, junk food and fast food. Way too much sugary garbage, artificial processed colors, flavors, additives, preservatives. Soft drinks. Way too much meat, dairy, oils, sugar, salt. All of this stuff is really not natural. I mean you could make a case that meat and dairy is natural, but the high levels of processed sugar and salt, oils and artificial foods – we’re consuming them at unprecedented levels in human history. And our meat and dairy consumption is far in excess of healthy populations around the world. In fact, the populations with the lowest rates of cancer and the longest lifespans…

This is really what’s most important – who’s living the longest. And on every continent, if you look at the isolated pockets of people that have the longest lifespans, they have a lot of things in common. One of them is they eat a diet that’s about 95% plant-based. So they’re not pure vegan, but they eat mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains. Food from the earth; unadulterated whole foods. And the animal foods they eat are very minimal, because they have lack of access to animal food. Just think about poor villages in remote parts of the world. The animals they’re eating are not coming from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, KFC. They’re not even coming from the supermarket. They’re coming because they either caught and killed something, which is not happening every day, or because they raised an animal and killed it. And usually when they’re killing an animal they raised, it’s for a feast, and the whole village is enjoying the cow or the goat or the pig. So, in practical terms, they’re only eating animal products a few times a week, like three times a week. Sometimes in some regions it’s like three times a month, versus in the US it’s three times a day. Huge difference there. So that’s the dietary part.

I was reading this book, and I didn’t learn all that from this book, but I learned some really basic stuff that got me excited about changing my life. And I loved the idea of going back to a diet that was just fruits and vegetables from the earth, organic of course, and eliminating everything from my life that could be toxic and disease-promoting. So I turned my life upside down because I wanted to restore my health, and I took full responsibility for it. The problem in the cancer community, of which there are many, but one huge problem is when a patient is diagnosed with cancer, they’re always like, “Doc, why do you think I got cancer? What caused my cancer? I’m too young to have cancer.” Even if they’re 30 or 40 or 50 or whatever. And the doctors almost always say, “We don’t know what caused your cancer, but it might be genetic. Do you have family history?” “Well, yes. So-and-so, my aunt, my uncle, my mom, somebody had cancer.” “Well, that’s probably why you have cancer. It’s genetic, unfortunately.” Or if you say, “No, I don’t have any family history”, they say, “Well, it may just be bad luck. We’re so sorry about that, but we’ll do our best to take care of you and treat you”, and all this kind of stuff.

Allan (19:44): Quick question though. As I look at it, when someone gets into the medical profession, I have to give them some kudos there because they’re not walking an easy path, particularly when they start going to become an oncologist, because they’re stepping into a career field where their success rate is never going to be high enough. They’re always going to be losing patients to cancer and they’re going to be facing some terrible, terrible things. I have to believe they go into this with a noble intention and saying, “I see this young man. I want to help him.” But your doctor’s trying to talk you in a direction, and of course most of the doctors are in the hospital, so they know what you’re eating. Then you ask for advice and they say they can’t give you nutrition advice, is effectively what he was saying. He just said it, in his mind, in a little bit more of a comical way. Why do you feel that we’re trapped in this thing? Why do you feel that doctors get into this thing and then really don’t have the tools?

Chris Wark (21:00): I cover this in great detail in the book, but to try to summarize it quickly – most doctors I think pursue a career in medicine with noble intentions because they want to help someone. Because so-and-so, “My grandmother, my dad, somebody I know died of cancer, and I want to help people.” That’s great. I love that. But medical school is absolutely soul-crushing. Doctors and med students have the highest rates of suicide of any profession, because the current medical system is like a meat grinder. It takes courageous, loving, empathetic, wonderful people that want to serve humanity, and basically like bootcamp destroys their spirits and turns them into compliant, assimilated cogs in a machine. They’re only trained how to do surgery, chemo, radiation – that’s about it for oncology. They’re not trained in nutrition, they’re not trained in lifestyle medicine, they’re not trained in prevention. And because the pharmaceutical industry has such a stranglehold on medicine, they dictate what doctors are taught. So, what happens is a young person goes into med school and it takes them 15 years to get through med school to get their residency, to go into private practice, to build up their practice and start treating patients, before they realize that the treatments they are giving people don’t really work. Most of their patients are not alive. And by that time they’re trapped in a system that pays them really well, that doesn’t work. And when I say “doesn’t work”, it’s not curing most cancers.

I have great empathy and sympathy for physicians. They’re not the bad guys. There are a few bad ones out there, for sure. You’ve got to keep in mind, doctors are just humans, and there are some awful humans in the world. Some of them are doctors. There are awful plumbers, electricians, flight attendants. There are bad people in every profession. But giving them the benefit of the doubt, most doctors are really good people and they want to help, but they’re trapped. They have a very small number of tools at their disposal and they don’t have training in nutrition, prevention, and true healing modalities. They just are trained, “This patient has this type of cancer – this is the drug you give them. This is how many treatments of the drug they get. This is the dose they get based on their body weight. And cross your fingers and hope for the best.” That’s the way it works. And the system is, like I said, a huge machine. Anybody who’s ever been to the doctor knows you sit in a waiting room for an hour or more, and then you go and see the doctor for 15 minutes. I mean, how much can you help somebody in 15 minutes or 20 minutes? They don’t get enough time because of the way the compensation structure is. They don’t have enough time to really dig into your life and help you solve problems and help you get to the root causes of your disease. They’re not even trained how to do that anyway. So, it’s a vastly poorly constructed system. And I say “poorly constructed”. It’s actually constructed very well to make as much money as possible, but the problem is that doctors and patients are suffering under the weight of this really terrible system.

Allan (24:35): Yes. I recently got this review, because I refuse to take statins, and that’s a personal choice. My doctor continually wants me to manage my LDL. I’m looking at other components in my cardiovascular risk. I don’t think that singular number is worth me dealing with the other things that those medications would do to me, so I don’t want to be on those medications. And so, there was a little bit of flak from a reviewer that I was telling people to not take statins, and that was not my intention. My intention was, just understand in my situation as in your situation, there typically is never just one path. If the doctor is pushing you down a singular path that you’ve seen where that leads for a lot of people, just realize there likely are other alternatives out there.

Chris Wark (25:33): Yeah. It’s the only path they know. It’s the only path they’re trained in and it’s the only path they’re allowed to talk about.

Allan (25:41): The standards of care.

Chris Wark (25:43): It’s the standard of care. Physicians risk losing their reputation, risk losing their license to practice medicine if they deviate from the standard of care. Who wrote the standards? The pharmaceutical industry. Cholesterol is a great example, and we can rabbit on this for a minute. The body produces cholesterol, your liver produces cholesterol, but the biggest source of cholesterol in the body doesn’t come from your liver; it comes from our diets. And so, most people have high cholesterol because they’re eating it. They’re eating cholesterol. When you eat cholesterol, it raises your cholesterol. And the only way to eat cholesterol is to eat animals. If you don’t eat any animal food, then your consumption of cholesterol goes to zero, and then the only source of cholesterol in your body comes from your liver.

There have been two landmark studies on advanced heart disease patients. And of course your doctor is not talking about this, but anyone can easily Google this, read the studies. First one was done by Dr. Dean Ornish, and then it was duplicated by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, both MDs. And they both proved that you can take advanced heart disease patients, and reverse the progression of their heart disease, stop their heart disease, prevent future heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular events, and open their veins back up by putting them on a plant-based diet. And this is a very strict plant-based diet, so it’s no animal food and also no oils. The reason for no oils is because saturated fat also sends signals, triggers the liver to produce cholesterol.

You might try this as a fun experiment, but if you eliminate all animal foods and oils for 30 days – 30 to 90 days, but 30 days minimum – get your blood checked again and look at your cholesterol numbers, you will likely see a significant drop. And the drop will continue for the better part of a year. It’ll keep going down and down and down as your body adapts and starts to self-regulate. Another driver of high cholesterol is heavy metal toxicity – so lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. There’ve been studies that show that when you have high levels of those metals in your body, it triggers the production of cholesterol. So cholesterol is a defense mechanism that your body is producing to protect itself. The more injurious elements, toxic elements circulating in your body on a daily basis, the more your body has to protect itself. So, high cholesterol can also be the result of your body trying to protect you. Just interesting, fascinating kind of rabbit trail stuff, but fun to talk about nonetheless.

Allan (28:37): You made those huge, drastic changes to what you eat and how you manage your environment and those other things. Again, kudos to you for taking that path and putting yourself in that motive of thought, “I am doing this. There’s not another option. I’m not taking this other option.” But in the book, you also talked a lot about mindset and the things you did to basically, for a lack of a better word, positive attitude yourself through this. Can you talk a little bit about some of those mindset changes that you went through to basically have a mindset of health?

Chris Wark (29:20): I call it the “beat cancer” mindset, because cancer is not so much a battle in the body as it is in the mind, and because taking a holistic approach to health is very different than taking a passive approach to cancer treatment. What I was saying earlier about when doctors tell the patients it’s either bad luck or bad genes – that’s some of the most egregious, borderline malpractice advice a doctor can tell a person. What they’ve effectively done is said, “There’s nothing you did to contribute to your disease, therefore there’s nothing you can do to help yourself. We are your only hope.” And what that does is it makes the patient into a powerless victim of disease. It could not be further from the truth. What we have to do is accept responsibility for our health.

So, having a “beat cancer” mindset starts with accepting responsibility for your life, your health and your situation, and that your decisions have led you to where you are today. We all make decisions, those decisions have consequences. Sometimes we make smart decisions and have good things happen, and sometimes we make not so smart decisions and not so good things happen. Sometimes things that happen to us are the result of decisions of others, but most of what happens to us is the result of the decisions we make. There’s an expression: “Everything happens for a reason.” But I like the expanded version of that expression, which is, “Everything happens for a reason, and most of the time the reason is you.” You’re the reason. So, when you start there, you realize, “I’ve got a part to play in my life, in my health, in my disease. I want to take an active role. I want to help my body heal. What can I do to help myself?” And that starts the healing adventure – this process of reeducation on health and nutrition and healing cancer. I went down this deep rabbit hole, trying to figure out who has healed cancer naturally, what do these people do, what are the experts saying, like natural health and wellness experts, cancer healing experts, alternative therapy experts. Who are the players, what are they saying, what do I need to be doing? And I just embarked on this journey of changing my entire life.

The diet was a huge component, but detoxification is huge; removing all the toxic stuff from my home environment – body care products, cleaning products, and cleaning out all that stuff. This was January 2004. Now it’s kind of hip and cool to buy organic body care products, organic cleaning products, non-toxic, environmentally-friendly products. It’s really come a long way in the last 14 years, but back then it was pretty fringe and there were very limited options in terms of non-toxic products and things, and even finding organic food. But I just made a decision I was willing to do whatever it took to get well. And that’s part of the mindset as well: I’m taking responsibility for this and I’m going to do everything in my power to change my life, and I’m not going to make any excuses. I’m going to change my whole life. That meant I was willing to stop eating the food that I liked. I was willing to stop eating cheeseburgers and pizza and drinking Cokes and Dr Pepper. Because my health was more important to me.

There was nothing I was willing to hold on to that was more important than life and health. And I had several people; I had a strong reason to live. Again, it goes back to mindset. Why are you doing what you’re doing? What’s your motivation? For me, it was my wife and my parents. I was a newlywed, been married two years. I’m an only child. So, the idea of my parents and my wife standing at my grave side was so absolutely painful to me, to think about my parents burying their only child, my wife burying me. We’d been together eight years. We dated for six years and we’d been married for two, so we were pretty close. So, those were my reasons to live. I had to organize all this stuff in my head, like, do I want to live? Why? Why do I want to live? And if so, what am I going to do about it? Am I going to cross my fingers and hope for the best, or am I going to take massive action to change my life and help my body heal? And obviously I took massive action. We’ve been conditioned though in our culture to look for the quick fix, the magic bullet, the hack. Biohacking – what a crock.

Allan (34:16): I’m glad you said that, because I thought I might be the only person on earth that actually kind of felt that way.

Chris Wark (34:24): I hope it’s not just us two Allan, really.

Allan (34:30): My book is coming out. I talk about an experiment where you use big rocks, little rocks and sand.

Chris Wark (34:36): Yeah, I know it.

Allan (34:38): Just do the big rocks first. There are so many big rocks in front of us that you don’t have to be worried about the sand right now. That’s not going to help you at this point of your journey. Particularly if you’re dealing with an illness, you need to find that big rock as fast as you can and implement that in your life. You don’t need to be focused on the sand. The big rock is there staring you right in the face and you have to, like you said, take massive action and get that big rock in your jar.

Chris Wark (35:09): That’s awesome. I say something very similar to that often to my group. We have people in a coaching program and I have a large community of people that follow me that I’m trying to constantly encourage and inspire. One of the things that I found myself saying, because I saw these obvious, sort of glaring problems in people’s lives… Or not problems, it was more like stumbling blocks. I don’t even know how I came to this conclusion exactly, but anyway, the expression is, “Don’t let the little things get in the way of the big things.” So many people get caught up in some dumb little detail and they get hung up on it and they can’t take action because they have some kind of confusion or they need an answer on some little quibbling question that just doesn’t matter. Feel free to use that in your book and give me a quote: “Don’t let the little things get in the way of the big things.” You can Google it and make sure no one else said it first. But that’s the truth.

And this thing about hacking, it’s like everybody is looking for a quick fix and a magic bullet. And the medical industry, the pharmaceutical industry and the supplement industry is ready to take advantage of anyone with that mentality. And the truth is, health is not caused by a hack. You can’t hack your way to health. What you have to do is you have to change everything. You have to take massive action. It’s not about, what’s the minimum effective dose? That’s a recipe for failure. Now, having said that, I love it when small changes produce big results, but the reality of it is, massive action produces massive results. Small changes usually produce small results. But if you make enough small changes, they add up to a big result. So all those little changes that I made in my life – removing every toxic thing in my home, replacing my body care products, eating all organic food, cutting out all the junk food, fast food, processed food, all that stuff, exercising every day.

Exercise is so amazing. I mentioned what’s causing and contributing to cancer and what you can do to reverse it. My life’s mission and work is to educate people on this, to help patients take care of themselves and increase their odds of survival and help people that want to prevent it decrease their odds of ever getting cancer. A plant-based diet is a huge part, but exercise is the other big part. It’s this really complicated idea, diet and exercise. But this is the 40+ Fitness podcast. I’m 41 years old. Spoiler alert – I didn’t die. I’m almost 15 years out. My 15 year Cancerversary is in December, and I’m the strongest I’ve ever been in my life. I’m in the best shape, I’m the most fit I’ve ever been, and exercise is the reason. But beyond just being strong and fit, exercise actually flips genetic switches in your body. It flips genes that are anti-cancer genes, cancer-protective genes. It turns them on and it turns cancer-promoting genes off. It doesn’t matter if you inherited some cancer gene. Exercise can keep that gene off – that’s how powerful it is. We know based on numerous studies, which are referenced in the book, you need at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week, up to 60 minutes. So somewhere in that range – 30 to 60 minutes a day of exercise – aerobic exercise, strength training. But get in there, get sweaty, huff and puff, run, walk, do yoga, do karate, rock climbing. Move your body. Sweaty exercise really is the best, because sweating detoxifies your body of heavy metals, namely the big four – mercury, arsenic, cadmium and lead. So, exercise is huge.

The plant-based diet – tons of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have all these amazing anti-cancer compounds. Americans are only eating one to two servings of fruits and vegetables per day on average, which is terrible. Terrible. It’s abysmal. And when you look at the healthiest populations around the world, they’re eating a minimum of 10 servings per day. That’s actually the new recommended dietary minimum, is 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It sounds like a lot and people think 10 servings are 10 meals. A serving is only half a cup. So, a plate of veggies is going to be three or four servings. It’s easy to eat three or four servings of fruits and vegetables.

Allan (40:02): And when you’re eating predominantly plants, from a volume perspective, it feels like it’s more. There’s a lot of water, some fiber in there, and all the good stuff. You look at a serving of broccoli – it is going to look about the same as probably the chicken breast you have sitting there. If the chicken breast wasn’t there, and instead you had quinoa, the broccoli, and some beans or maybe a salad, or just even a big salad – you’re looking at picking up, like you said, three to four servings of those vegetables pretty easily, pretty quickly.

Chris Wark (40:39): Easily. Oatmeal for breakfast, a big salad for lunch, cooked veggies for dinner – rice, beans, potatoes. The good starches that have unfortunately been demonized by so many health gurus and weight loss gurus, that starches are the enemy and you need to eat chicken breast and kale or whatever. But the truth is the healthiest, longest living populations subsist on starches. That’s their staple food. They’re eating about 65% of their calories from carbohydrates – so rice, potatoes, and lots of beans, especially beans.

Allan (41:17): But we’re not talking the instant kind. We’re talking they’re growing them, they’re sprouting them, they’re doing their food the traditional ways. It’s a little different than walking in and buying a box of instant oatmeal or instant oats, and calling that your starch. You do have to look at the quality.

Chris Wark (41:36): Quality matters, absolutely. Organic matters. If you can find it and afford it, organic is best because you’re reducing your exposure to toxic pesticides, especially Roundup glyphosate, which is a probable human carcinogen. There’s a really fascinating study that just came out of France where they followed tens of thousands of people over five years and they found that those who ate an organic diet had a 34% reduced risk of breast cancer – obviously women, and had a 70% to 80% reduced risk of Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas. That’s huge. What does that tell you? That tells you that the pesticides used in non-organic food are causing a percentage of those cancers. There are multiple studies linking lymphomas to pesticides as well.

Allan (42:32): In my next episode, I’m actually talking to a woman that wrote a book called Informed Consent, and she deep dives into that topic as well. So, stay tuned. We’re going to be talking about Roundup in the next episode. Another big, I’m not going to call it a major action, but it was something that came across your path, and you’ve been using this successfully in your wellness journey since you were diagnosed. You’ve been doing some fasting. I know that there’s an aspect of apoptosis that’s called “programmed cell death”. Basically a cancer cell doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be doing other than replicating and it gets really, really good at that. That’s where the cancer is, and that’s the growth factor of it. But fasting can help with that process. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Chris Wark (43:27): Fasting is an amazing practice that we’ve gotten away from. Fasting has been used as a religious practice for centuries. It’s also been sort of involuntary; in other words, cultures where they have food scarcity end up fasting, not by choice, going several days without food at a time. It’s wonderful for your body to go without food, which sounds counterintuitive, right? What we know now is the ideal fast is three to five days on water. When you stop eating, your body goes into repair mode and protection mode, and it starts breaking down all this unused accumulated crap that’s built up in your body. Your cells sort of throw up these force field-like defenses that protect them and they start a process called autophagy, which is where they, again, break down parts of them that are not useful and they burn those things for energy.

It’s like if you were trapped in a cabin in a blizzard, and you only had a fireplace for heat and you ran out of firewood. What would you do? You’d start breaking down the table, the chairs, the cabinets. You’d start burning everything in there that was non-essential to survival. You would burn for heat to survive. You wouldn’t throw your food in the fire. That’s the last thing you’d throw in there. You wouldn’t throw your blankets in there, but you would throw everything else in there. Your cells are doing the same kind of process. Healthy cells are really good at this process, autophagy, but cancer cells are bad at it. So, fasting actually weakens cancer cells. During a fast, old and damaged cells in your body, which are known as senescent cells, die off. And this is good, because you have a lot of cells in your body that are senile, and senile cells, especially senile immune cells are not good at their job anymore. So, imagine an army full of senior citizens. That’s not a good army, right? During a fast, all these old and damaged cells – immune cells are the ones that we’re particularly interested in – die.

Again, you want to fast between three and five days. When you start eating again at the end of the fast, your body ramps up production of new immune cells. It’s called stem cell activation. Fasting triggers stem cell activation and regeneration. So, it produces all of these brand new, young, healthy immune cells that are like the 18, 19, 20-year-old soldiers that are like, “Let me at them!” They’re cancer scavengers. That’s what those cells are doing. There are a lot of different types of immune cells – we won’t go into all that – but the point is, just for simplicity’s sake, fasting regenerates your immune system. So, so, so powerful; and among a lot of other benefits in the body. So yeah, I’m a huge fan of fasting. Juice fasting is wonderful. It doesn’t accomplish quite the same thing; it’s great for weight loss and detoxification. But a pure water fast or the Fasting Mimicking Diet, which is developed by a company called ProLon – those are two of the most powerful things you can do for yourself. And fasting costs you nothing.

Allan (47:15): It’ll actually save you money in food. That’s basically 1/10 of the month, so your food budget just went down by 1/10 and you can afford to buy higher quality food.

Chris Wark (47:26): That’s right. You save three to five days’ worth of groceries. That’s significant for some people. That’s hundreds of dollars.

Allan (47:33): I’m definitely going to be doing some more experimentation with fasting in the coming year. I have to leave you with one last question. I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Chris Wark (47:49): That’s good. I like your definition. The big takeaways here, I think… And I hope your audience will read my book because it really goes deep and there’s tons of science in there. But what I think based on the available evidence and research and all these wonderful studies – number one is a plant-based diet. You don’t have to be pure vegan, but if you can cut your animal product consumption… I didn’t get into all the ways that animal protein fuels cancer growth. It’s in the book. But if you can cut it down from three times a day to three times a week, you’re doing a huge favor for yourself. You’re doing yourself so much good. Trust me on this. Number two is going to be exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day. And then the third thing, which I didn’t get to get into, but I know we’ve got a couple of minutes, so I’ll touch on it here – it’s stress.

Stress is a root cause of many diseases. It’s one of those concepts that most people don’t have a great handle on it. They know what stress feels like, but they don’t know what’s causing the stress. They don’t know why they feel stressed. Sometimes they do, but sometimes they don’t, and there’s a lot more to it than they realize. So, stress is a state in the body that is caused by conflict – emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical conflict. To put it very simply, all negative thoughts produce negative emotions, which produce a negative stress response in the body, which is elevated adrenaline and cortisol. When those hormones are elevated, they suppress your immune function and they increase inflammation in the body. And when you have increased inflammation and suppressed immune function, your body is a place where cancer can thrive.

I said earlier at the very beginning, it’s not about killing cancer, beating cancer, fighting cancer. It’s about healing the body and creating an environment where cancer cannot thrive. That involves nutrition, detoxification, and repair and regeneration. Improving your immune function is such a huge part of cancer healing, survival and prevention. So, stress suppresses your immunity. If you have anger, jealousy, envy, prejudice, shame and guilt, if you’re carrying bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness – all these negative thoughts and emotions – if you’re carrying these things through life, what it does is it keeps you in a state of chronic stress. Not to mention work stress, family stress, the problems that come and go in life. It just piles on top of the baggage that you’re already carrying.

I heard a great analogy that I think everyone can understand. If I gave you a five-pound dumbbell and I said to hold it out to your side, just hold it up in the air, and I said, “Is that heavy?” You would say, “No.” If I said we’ll keep holding it; five minutes go by. Is it heavy now? You’d say it’s a little heavy. It’s starting to feel a little heavy now. If you held it for an hour, at some point you’ve got to put it down. It’s too heavy. The weight didn’t change. That’s what bitterness, unforgiveness and all of these negative emotions and thoughts that we’re carrying with us do to us. The longer we hold on to bitterness, the heavier it gets, the more it weighs us down and the more pain it causes us.

I talk about this in great detail in the book, but I want to at least leave your audience with this one thing they can do right now. There’s a lot more you can do to remove stress from your life and you really should make it a priority, but forgiveness is the most powerful stress reducer in your life. The most powerful thing you can do is make a decision to forgive every person who has ever hurt you. That means going back in time and thinking through your life. You have to sit down and focus on this, and let those people come up and let those memories come up. And the painful ones. And one by one, choose to forgive. The way you choose to forgive is pretty simple. Forgiveness is not a feeling. You can still be mad and you can still forgive, even if you’re mad. And you should, because if you’re waiting until you’re not mad, you’re probably waiting a long time. There is an expression: “Time heals all wounds”, and that’s fine, but the longer you wait, the more pain you cause yourself.

So, the way I did it and the way I think everyone should do it is you say, “Okay God, You know what they did. You know how I feel about it. And I’m so mad, but I’m giving it to You. I’m choosing to forgive them and I’m giving it to You. They’re all Yours. You can deal with them. I am not going to carry this. I’m not going to hold it against them anymore.” And we’re doing it by name. Now, I’m not saying, “I forgive everybody” at once. That doesn’t work. You have to forgive John for calling you an idiot or whatever. So, one by one I would give these people to God and just say, “I’m forgiving them. I’m letting it go. They’re all yours. And I’m asking you to bless them.” Which sounds crazy, like, “I don’t want blessing. I want a lightning bolt.” By the way, you’re not being insincere. God knows your heart. He knows you don’t want Him to bless them. He knows, but the fact that you’re asking Him to bless them despite your feelings is so powerful. I’m telling you, it heals your heart. It just opens your heart up to healing like nothing else. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Some of the best life advice, period.

Allan (54:16): Absolutely, and thank you for sharing those. Really, thank you for that. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about your book, Chris Beat Cancer, where would you like for me to send them?

Chris Wark (54:28): It’s easy to find. It’s on Amazon, it’s in Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million. It’s pretty much anywhere books are sold. If you love bookstores and you want to support your local bookstore, I want to encourage you to call up your favorite bookstore and ask them if they have it or ask them to order it for you. They can all get it. But if you don’t care and you want it right now, you can just get on Amazon and have it in two clicks and have it tomorrow. Or download the audio book, which is read by me. Or the e-book or whatever. So it’s pretty easy to get. My site is ChrisBeatCancer.com. The cool thing about the site is I’ve interviewed I guess over 70 people now, who’ve healed all types and stages of cancer. So, it’s an incredible resource of encouragement, inspiration and support that I’ve built over the last eight years. Tons of articles and videos, interviews with doctors and experts and people who’ve healed. It’s just something I am so proud of and excited about, and I feel like it’s doing a lot of good in the world.

Allan (55:30): Good, good. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/355, and I’ll have the links there in the show notes. Chris, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Chris Wark (55:42): Thanks, Allan. It’s a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Chris is a pretty inspirational guy and I really enjoyed that conversation with him. The book is excellent. A lot of us are dealing with cancer. I think the last statistic I saw was that pretty much every human being on earth at some point in their life is going to have cancer, a diagnosable cancer, and we talked about that. So this is a very important issue. Chris’s approach, while not down mainstream medicine’s bailiwick for the most part, actually is kind of a message of hope. If you are dealing with cancer or someone in your family is dealing with cancer, I think Chris and what he has to offer are great and you should check him out more. So please do that.

The question I’ve got before I cut out here is, have you got your pre-order on The Wellness Roadmap book yet? What are you waiting for? It’s in Amazon right now. You can go to Amazon and you can search for “Wellness Roadmap” and it’s going to come up first. Good, because now people are in there paying attention to it. So, Amazon sees it and they value it. Last time I tried to search my name on there, it still wants to send me to an audio mixer. Maybe that’s just me. I know Amazon’s pretty smart and probably knows that I’m doing a podcast because I buy all my equipment through them. So, they’re thinking I want a mixer, but I’m not a mixer. It’s not an Allen mixer; it’s Allan Misner. So, I have to tell them “No, not mixer. Yes, I actually meant to search for Allan Misner.”

So, if you type in “Allan Misner” and don’t see the book – go ahead… And even if you put “book”, it’s going to put books about mixers, which is bizarre. But anyway, you go in and you can type in my name, Allan Misner, and then actually click on “Allan Misner” and it’ll take you to the book. You can pre-order the ebook right now at an insanely low price. It’s actually the lowest price that Amazon will let me offer the book. I cannot offer it for free at this point. So $0.99 is as low as I can offer it.

It’s probably going to be different in different markets. I know I was hearing from India and the UK that they couldn’t actually pre-order it yet, and I’m sorry. That’s Amazon being Amazon. We’ve done everything on our side to make sure that the book was available, but I guess that’s just their way. It’ll be available December 4th, I think for everybody else. So please do go out, get a copy of the book. I really do think if you enjoy what we’re doing on this podcast, you’re going to love this book.

And please, once you get it, when you’ve had an opportunity to look at it, go give me an honest rating and review. Amazon is that weird, weird one. When I say Apple really cares about reviews, and Google really cares about reviews – Amazon will not show my book for much longer if they don’t see these ratings and reviews. If you’ve been on Amazon, you go to buy a book, you look at a book, you see people who bought this book also bought that book, or people who liked this book also liked that book. That algorithm, that whole recommendation thing – that is all based on those ratings and reviews that you do. So please, please, please, if you enjoy the book, go out and give me an honest rating and review. That’s really going to help boost this book and let me help as many people as possible. Thank you for that.

 

Another episode you may enjoy

Keto for cancer with Miriam Kalamian

 

November 22, 2018

Gina LaRoche – You have enough

 

Patreons

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You have enough. Our guest today is cofounder of Seven Stones Leadership Group and a leading organizational consultant, executive coach, speaker, author, and artist. With no further ado, here’s Gina LaRoche.

Allan (1:00): Gina, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Gina LaRoche (1:05): Thank you, Allan.

Allan (1:08): The book we’re going to talk about today is called The 7 Laws of Enough. When I got into the book, I was thinking, I’ve lived most of my whole life trying to get more – wanting to be the football star and the baseball star and the track star, and doing as much as I could possibly do in there, and then shifting my emphasis to something else. And then when I got into my career, I was completely singularly focused on more, bigger, better. And that stopped serving me. I just have started making the choices in the last year – some not by my choice, but others definitely by my choice once things started rolling, of what it felt like to let that stuff go. The peace that it’s brought me and the joy that it’s bringing me to not have to worry about stuff.

Gina LaRoche (2:10): Yeah.

Allan (2:11): So I think there’s a lot of power in that word, “enough”.

Gina LaRoche (2:18): Yes. It sounds to me that you’ve taken this journey, what we call from the “scarcity story” to the “story of enough” on your own. And you’re not the only; many folks we’ve come across have been on this journey, whether they use the exact same language as we do or not. And I think we can surprise ourselves when we get to the other side that we find this joy or peace, contentment that we didn’t even know was missing in our lives.

Allan (2:53): You called the book The 7 Laws of Enough. Do you mind going through those seven laws and briefly describing each one?

Gina LaRoche (3:02): Sure. First I’ll say the book does start with a chapter about scarcity, so we understand where we’re coming from. And the laws are this bridge from the story of scarcity to the story of enough. And the seven laws are as follows. Law number one is, “Stories matter”. Essentially we are all shaped by the stories of who we are, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. And these stories arise from the neighborhoods we grew up in, the religion we’ve practiced or not practiced, the countries we were born in. These shape our context, and we like to say that context is decisive. So that’s law number one, is to really understand the power of those stories. Law number two is, “I am enough”. And the truth is, Allan, you are enough and you do enough and you have enough. I know that you are enough, do enough and have enough because I’m constantly with clients and friends who are so busy that they don’t even have time to have a phone call with me. And if you’re an American, living in this country, even if you are one of the resource-poor Americans living in this country, you have more than most people do in the rest of the planet. Law number three is, “I belong”. And I like to say you belong, period, full stop; regardless of the stories you tell yourself and regardless of the stories of where you come from. So we have, again, those stories that have shaped us as children, could have this belief that we don’t belong. Either we don’t belong because of our gender or our race or our economic status. We believe that. And what we’re saying in this book is, that is not true. Law number four is, “No one is exempt”. Essentially we cannot insulate ourselves from life’s ups and downs. The key to this law is that there is freedom when we stop trying. Law number five is, “Resting is required”. Resting deeply in ourselves allows us to remember really the truth of the rest of the laws. Finding a place in our nervous system for rest and relaxation changes our experience of life. Law number six – you actually referred to it in sharing your story about your journey. Law six is, “Joy is available.” This law reminds us, me in particular, to lighten up and not take things too seriously. There’s a peace, a contentment that we’ve discussed available. That leads us to law number seven, and often times, Allan, I will say it’s really the only law. And that is, “Love is the answer”. So those are the seven laws.

Allan (6:21): I like every single one of them. A few of them are a little bit more top on my list, but in a general sense, as I go through those, I’m kind of struck with this. It’s almost un-American. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but the American dream. The American dream is that you’re working towards that C-Suite. I tell folks that I worked towards the C-Suite, I made it to the C-Suite. And when I got there and I started looking around, I quickly realized that I had left some of the most important things behind. And it was joy and happiness.

Gina LaRoche (7:01): What I would say is, the American dream is at what cost? Not only at what cost to you personally, for your family and professionally, but also at what cost for our society and for our world? So we could hit that on a number of levels, but there’s usually a cost associated with our dreams; all dreams, not just the C-Suite dreams, that we don’t notice sometimes that there is a cost. Or when we see someone, when we compare ourselves to someone who quote, unquote has “made it”, “had it” – we don’t necessarily see what they’ve lost and the costs that they gave up to “arrive” – and I’m using quotations – to wherever they are. But there’s always a cost.

Allan (7:53): How does someone go through, for lack of better words… I’m an accountant by trade, so I’m going to use words that come out in my head – that cost-benefit of, “What I really need to do is find that level, that enough.” What is enough and how do I do the cost-benefit to balance that out?

Gina LaRoche (8:18): It’s interesting. I think that “enough’s” definition is incredibly personal. But if you’re in a relationship or in a family, it’s also a family conversation, and potentially a community conversation. I think if we were willing to have a national conversation and an international conversation, that would be interesting, but let’s just start with the personal. We say that enough is a declaration, it’s a possibility, it’s a truth, it’s an experience. It’s not a single right definition, it’s not necessarily a number even. And it might be a number – you might decide that four pairs of shoes is enough. You might decide that 500 square foot per person a house is enough. And it might be more of a personal definition, like what’s enough dinner. What’s enough dinner for me is not going to be the same as what’s enough dinner for you. So how I think of it is this “enough” line, because what I’ve seen in my life is that I’ve drawn a really narrow line, and then I was constantly crossing over from “not enough” to “too much”. There was this thin place to stand on “enough”. And I joke that I would rather have too much to eat and have too much dinner than have not enough dinner. But there was never this concept of what’s enough dinner. I think “enough” is personal and maybe even a spiritual conversation for some of us.

Allan (10:04): Initially I struggled with my journey and I was trying to flip things around, because I was – the way I call it – the fat bastard. I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t a nice person, because I was constantly fighting with myself. It wasn’t wanting what the Joneses had. It was more of scoring a higher score next year than I scored this year. I remember this point succinctly, and I’ve never told anyone this story before so I’m getting a little out there on this one. But I was breaking up with a girlfriend that I had had for a while, and it was a very toxic relationship. And I hired a mover friend. He and I connected straight away because he had moved me into this house and now I was asking him to move my stuff out and take it back to where I had come from. But he knew I wasn’t going there. He knew she was taking the stuff because I had just told her, “Look, you take what you need. I don’t want any of it. I don’t need any of it.” I said, “You pick what you need and you take it with you.” And she pretty much took it all. So he called me because he’s flagging everything that they’re going to load in the truck and he’s like, “Are you sure about this? Because she’s pretty much taking everything.” He said, “The only thing she’s not taking is your motorcycle.” And I said, “Yeah, that’s probably about right.” If she had said she wanted that, that was off the list. But I told him, “You’re basically removing a cage and you’re setting me free. Because it’s too much.” It was odd to have 1,500 square foot worth of furniture in a 5,100 square foot house, but I had it. I literally didn’t buy light bulbs. I just took light bulbs from the other rooms when I needed a light bulb, until I got to the point where I realized I now have to actually buy light bulbs because I don’t have light in any other part of the house but the part that I’m actually using. Then I was like, “I just need to sell this place because it’s too much.” It was not an easy transition for me to do that, but once I started doing it, it just felt so right.

Gina LaRoche (12:39): That story is so rich, with so many ways I could go. My one thought is, this a simple journey but not an easy one. Simple in that if you follow your own intuition and needs, it’s all we’re really saying. And it’s not easy because society is telling us to keep score, to track, to hit the C-Suite or whatever it is in our industry. Your journey was, I assume, a downsizing, moving from the larger house to something smaller, and for some people it might be moving from a smaller house to a larger house, because that’s enough. I lived in a very small cottage when my children were young, and then I realized I was going to have essentially three men over six feet tall living with me and I thought we probably could use a little bigger space and more than one bathroom. We moved to a bigger place, and then the children left and now my husband and I are in a smaller place. So we’re kind of expanding and contracting with the needs and what’s enough in the moment. The other thing about your story, which I want to highlight is this “keeping score”. We like to keep score. We like to play sports, we like to keep score, whether it’s with ourselves or with others. One of our dear colleagues, Alan Rosenblith, who made the movie called The Money Fix – he said to us this phrase: “We measure what we treasure and we treasure what we measure.” What I like to offer to my clients and I’ll offer to you and your listeners, is if you want to know where your values lie, where you may have too much or not enough, look at what you are measuring. Like you said, you were having this internal score card that you were kind of beating yourself with, and that wasn’t serving you. And I love that phrase, we use that phrase too – “It wasn’t serving you.” And so, you made some important shifts in your life.

Allan (15:04): I think that’s where I went off-kilter early in my life. I was sort of raised in a scarce situation. We never had everything we wanted. We had everything we needed. But once I got set off on my own, I had this drive to get out of what I felt was scarcity. And then I lost the balance when I got into excess. It took me a while to turn that around and recognize that I don’t have to always have more. Sometimes having less feels good; and getting that balance. So, when we’re looking at this scarcity mindset which you alluded to earlier, and then this, I’m going to call it a “drive” towards excess that I think a lot of us have, it takes us away from the joy and what we can have in our lives in other ways, typically. I worked the hours, I moved wherever the job took me. I’ve lived in 13 different states and I haven’t lived in the same state my daughter lives in since, I would say, ‘95. Since she was three, I’ve lived in a different state. And those are choices that I look back on now and wish I could take back in a sense. I know that those lessons were valuable to me for a lot of other reasons and I shouldn’t want that. But how does someone balance that scarcity and excess story that we’re telling ourselves?

Gina LaRoche (16:41): First I just want to say that you did grow up in scarcity in your childhood because you grew up in America. And America’s story is a story of scarcity. I do feel like we have a societal story, that there’s not enough, and that we need to manifest our own destiny by ourselves with no one helping us to achieve, quote, “the great American dream”. You drink that story in from the time you were born, and I know you drink that story in because there are statistics that a two-year-old knows more than 200 different brand logos and icons, and the two-year-old can’t even read. That’s what I mean by “we’re drinking in the scarcity story”, even if we know it or not. One of my mentors and the person who introduced me to this conversation would say to all of us that we are swimming in a sea of scarcity and we don’t even know it. I think what you’ve also talked about, we call the “myth”. Lynne Twist is another colleague and mentor of ours who wrote this book called The Soul of Money, where she distinguished the toxic myths of scarcity. You’ve actually touched on them, Allan. The first is that there is not enough. There are not enough C-Suite jobs. There are so not enough jobs that you moved to 13 different states, right?

Allan (18:12): Yeah.

Gina LaRoche (18:12): Myth number two: “More is better.” More is always better, and quite frankly more money is always, always, always, always, always, always better. Her myth number three is, “That’s just the way it is.” I don’t want to project onto you, but I’m sure at one point you were like, “Well, this is how life is. I got a promotion, I have to move to this next city to get the next job, because I need to get to the C-Suite because that’s what I’m supposed to do. That’s just how the way life is.”

Allan (18:45): Yeah. I remember sitting in California, and I got the promotion. They were initially putting the job out there saying it’ll either be in California or in Massachusetts; they were not sure yet. They made the offer and I said, “Is there any chance this job’s going to stay here in California?” And they’re like, “No, you’re going to Massachusetts.” And I’m like, “I don’t really want to go to Massachusetts, but it’s a 30% increase in pay.”

Gina LaRoche (19:10): And that’s just the way it is.

Allan (19:12): Who says “No” to that?

Gina LaRoche (19:14): That’s right. And the flip side of the myths of scarcity, Jen and I distinguish in the book, is these myths of excess. And you’ve talked about it so beautifully. It’s this flip flopping, I think we all do it. And the myths of excess – number one is, “You can have it all.” Particularly it’s a Western philosophy, where we deserve it all, we’re allowed to have it all. Number two: “Having it all will make you happy.” This myth of excess is my favorite one. Number three: “If you do not have it all or you are not happy, it is your fault. There’s something wrong with you.” I think we all flip flop from scarcity to excess like that. I wrote the book with Jen really to have the seven laws be a bridge to this life, Allan, that you’ve described – this life of peace, of contentment, this life of enough. Unfortunately there isn’t a magic pill that I can give you for you to know what that’s going to look like for yourself. All of us need to experiment, be an inquiry, practice, to see what is right for us. By the way, the vicissitudes of life are going to be hitting us at the same time. I’ll give you an example. My husband just got a new job. On the day he got offered a new job, his father was hospitalized. That happens to all of us – the joy and sorrow. We can’t fight against that; we have to embrace that. That’s really law number four. So that’s what I would say – this pathway is through these laws. And you said some laws resonate with you, and others less so. I have found that there are people who will come up to me and say, “Law number three. I just care about law number three.” And I have other people who say, “Law number five. You wrote law number five for me.” And the truth is, all of those seven laws we have worked with ourselves and our clients, and at different points in my own life have the laws been more or less pertinent, depending on what was happening, as the winds of change were coming toward me.

Allan (21:54): That’s exactly how I would put it. Where I am in my journey today, some of the laws really, truly resonate with me. Some of them I don’t know that I fully need to embrace that or use that today. It’s a great tool. Another great tool that you had in the book, and this was probably one of my favorite ones – you call it “future to future”. It’s a future story. I guess the reason I put it in my head was, if you tell yourself what you want your future to be…. So we’ve told ourselves this story of who we are and being in this scarce world, but if we tell ourselves what we actually want our future to be, in my mind it does a couple of different things. One is, it sets what this future looks like. And then it tells you it’s a story. So you don’t just get it; you have some things that are going to happen. And more than likely, like all stories, there are going to be those ups and downs and the things that happen to get you to that. But I think that’s a very powerful tool. Can you explain how you put that together and how someone can make that work for themselves?

Gina LaRoche (23:04): Yeah, absolutely. First of all, the declaration of “I am enough.” The law of “I am enough” is a declaration. That “enough story” of “How do I get to enough?” can be created, and the key tool to creation is through language. I see us creating the future from the future as a powerful declaration of where we want to be. And we make bold declarations all the time. When you get married and say the words “I do.” Marriage only existed in the language of “I do.” Before you said “I do”, you weren’t married. You said the words “I do”, and then you were married. That’s how powerful language is, and so we’ve really encouraged our clients and the reader to use that power of declaration and language to create this future, whether it’s a future of enough or a future you want to live into. And how I would do that exercise is I would encourage you to sit down and pretend maybe it’s next November, 2019, and you’re sitting at a coffee shop with me or you or someone that you know. And you describe what has happened in your life like it’s already happened. So, if you wanted to train for a sprint triathlon and you’re thinking in 2019 you want to do a sprint triathlon, how you do this exercise is you would sit down and say, “I’ve completed the sprint triathlon in June. I was satisfied with my time, really happy with how I trained, and felt pride when I crossed the finish line and so-and-so was there to greet me.” So you would write that like it’s already happened. And then obviously once you write how you see your life, then you line up your actions and commitments to fulfill on that. So then you say, “If I want to complete a sprint triathlon in June, that means I have to register for that in February. That means I’m going to have to start training and, I don’t know…

Allan (25:35): Learn how to swim.

Gina LaRoche (25:37): Learn how to swim, join a pool. I do happen to live in Massachusetts, so I need an indoor bike trainer or I’m going to join the gym. You’ll start to line up the actions, but not from this place of obligation, but from a place of creation. It’s an exercise we use. It’s the first thing we do with every client that walks in the door. And I often do it with family members, often big corporations. I’ll look 10 years out. But that practice using language to create the future like it’s already happened, is very powerful.

Allan (26:21): It is. I practice something similar to that with my clients. It’s interesting you say the “I do”, because we do take it to the point of a verbal vow, where we say, “Where do you want to be? What does your vision look like?” And once you have that vision in your head, “Why do you want to be there? Why is this important to you?” It might be not just that you want to complete the sprint triathlon, but that you want to do it with your daughter. Your daughter wants to do the race, the race is in June, and you want to be able to do the race with her. That was a lot about my journey, was setting that intention, visualizing what that looks like, what that’s going to be, and then the actions that need to happen between then and there. I didn’t articulate it exactly the way you guys did in the book, but it’s a very similar approach. That’s why I think it resonated with me so well.

Gina LaRoche (27:20): And remember, again, even though it’s a great goal, it will cost you something. You might not be able to go drinking with your buddies, or you might not be able to go on a vacation you wanted to go on. If you’re really committed to this future, you might have to do things that you wanted to do. And that’s okay, but just notice it.

Allan (27:42): Yes. I think that’s another critical point here, because if you have habits that aren’t serving that vision, that future self with the story, you’re going to have to eliminate those habits and potentially encourage new ones. You do talk about that in the book – the three elements of breaking old habits and crafting new ones. Could you go through those three elements?

Gina LaRoche (28:07): Yeah, sure. We’re very big proponents of practice. Just FYI, in each chapter of the book we’ve got several practices. Not to say you have to do them all, but really for the reader to pick and choose what would serve them in the moment. The three elements to breaking old habits are awareness – number one; two – unwinding; and three is capacity-building. So, awareness is noticing that you have a habit. For us, tracking and sensations, thoughts, images that arise in our day-to-day life that we might not even be aware of. And the way to notice is through self-reflection and inquiry. What I always say is ask the people who see you the most of what you might not be aware of. If you went that direction, it can be as simple as, “I’m noticing I’m stuck in this domain in my life. Have you noticed that?” You’re asking your husband or your daughter, “Have you noticed that I’m stuck?” “Yeah, I have noticed you’re stuck.” “What do you see?” “Well, I see that you eat nachos every night. That’s why you haven’t lost weight.” “Oh, I didn’t notice I was snacking.”

Allan (29:37): Or you think, “I’m forgetful.” It’s one of the things I tell people. I found that if I didn’t pack my gym bag the night before – and I used to go to the gym at lunch time – I invariably would get into my gym bag to change clothes and realize I forgot my shorts, and another day I forgot my shoes or socks. I’m not going to wear my black work socks with shorts and tennis shoes; that would look hilarious. I’ll be that guy. I don’t know if I was mentally sabotaging myself by being forgetful. But I didn’t want to say, “Maybe I’m just forgetful. I want to use that as an excuse.” So my self-awareness was, I need to put a strategy in place to make sure that doesn’t happen. So I packed my bag the night before. I’d do a full inventory and I’d leave it at the front door so I would have to trip over it to actually walk out the door to get in my car.

Gina LaRoche (30:38): Right. And some people would say, maybe you even have a checklist, that inventory checklist. So you say, “The shorts, the socks.” And you are basically checking it off. I remember I had this issue a long time ago – mine was leaving the bag. So, I would go out and put the bag in the trunk of the car the night before, because putting it by the door wasn’t even enough for me. But those strategies really help.

The second element to breaking old habits is unwinding and interrupting the behaviors. And that’s what you were doing – you interrupted your normal behavior of just getting up and shoving things in the bag on your way out the door. You interrupted that. What I offer to people, if you want to start a new habit or interrupt a habit, is tie it to a habit that you already are strong. For example, I like to teach people to bring mindfulness and meditation practice into their lives. One of the things I do is I attach that to a habit they have. So if they’re going to meditate at work, I might say, “You get to work, you park the car, and you take the key out of the car. Between the time you take the key out of the car and the time you open the door, sit and breathe, and do three or four conscious breaths.” Or if they have an office, I might say, “Go into your office, but between the door of the office and the computer, put your bag down, sit on the couch, set your timer for five minutes.” So I like to put habits in, I call it a sandwich. Put the new habit in between two habits you’re already really good at. And that’s what you’ve done. You were good at going to the gym, and you had a nighttime routine. So you put this habit of packing your bag like a sandwich in between of your nighttime routine and getting to the gym.

Allan (32:37): Yeah.

Gina LaRoche (32:38): Does that make sense?

Allan (32:39): Yes, it does.

Gina LaRoche (32:41): And then finally it’s capacity-building. And you might need to hire somebody to help you to do the capacity-building. This is more if you really wanted to create a habit of fitness and wellness. Let’s say you were really good at cardio, but you were horrible at strength training. So you were aware, you scheduled the strength training in your calendar and you actually were going, but the truth is, you really don’t know enough about strength training. You might have to hire someone to build the capacity to do that strength training. And that could be a one-time session or for a week or a month, or you might hire someone to work with you over time. But it really takes patience and repetition to produce those lasting results. The capacity-building could also be a buddy. You don’t have to hire someone, but it could also be a buddy, like you meet somebody and you work with them.

Allan (33:49): There is a level of accountability and trust that happens when you either have a workout buddy or you hire a trainer. There were points in time where I knew I wanted to accelerate in one fitness modality or another. When I get in those moments, I’m like, “I’m going to go faster, smarter, and I’m not going to be self-limiting if I hire a coach.” There have been periods where I didn’t need a coach to tell me how to do what I was going to do, but it was really good for me to have that person there.

Gina LaRoche (34:22): Exactly. I’ll use an example from my own life. I started going to yoga. People were doing yoga practice, I went to yoga. I moved and I actually went to a yoga studio. And about two years in, the yoga teacher would be correcting me and saying things. I was like, “Why don’t I hire the yoga teacher for a couple of private one-on-one yoga sessions?” It wasn’t forever, but I realized that I had this interest in this domain of yoga. I was going to it. And I never really had someone take the opportunity to fit it to my body, my shape, my moves, and do some correction and to build my capacity to be a yogi. That was a desire of mine. Actually now I don’t even go to a yoga studio, and at some point in time I’ll probably pick that back up again, and maybe I’ll hire someone else and maybe I won’t. But this is back to how you started our call. It’s like, what is serving you in this moment of your life?

Allan (35:30): Yes. 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?

Gina LaRoche (35:42): Allan, it’s an interesting question. I think I’m going to go a little esoteric on you. I think the first is actually to declare that you deserve to be well. I am a mother, a wife, a business partner, sister, daughter, granddaughter, etcetera. And notice that I often sacrifice my wellness to care for the people I love. I don’t know if it’s mostly in the domain of women, but I know a lot of women who do that. They will sacrifice their own wellbeing for others. So, I would say first just to declare that you deserve it. And then actually investigate what works for you. I notice a lot of times people say, I” don’t like to go to the gym” or, “I don’t like to run” or, “I hate this.” If you hate it, why are you doing it? If wellness includes movement or healthy eating or sleeping – define it for yourself and don’t leave things out. To me wellness also includes intimacy, sleeping, water intake. Start small as you figure out where to go. I never tell my clients to go work out; all I offer for them is, “Maybe you can move.” And movement could be dancing, it could be yoga, Nia, running, walking, biking, it could be an elliptical. Move your body and find out what you love. And then third is what we already talked about. It’s build the capacity slowly, with right action and a support network. I don’t believe any of us are self-made, and we can’t do it alone. Community is really important. So, declare you deserve it, figure out what works for you, and then do it with right action and support.

Allan (37:52): I really, really like those. Gina, if someone wanted to learn more about you and Jen and the book The 7 Laws of Enough, where would you like for me to send them?

Gina LaRoche (38:04): Great. You can come to our website, SevenStonesLeadership.com. We have a scarcity assessment on there, so you can see where you are. And we also have Seven Stones Leadership Instagram and Facebook.

Allan (38:17): Okay. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/354, and I’ll be sure to have the links there. Gina, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Gina LaRoche (38:30): Allan, you’re welcome. It was my pleasure.

Allan (38:37): I imagine at this point you have no doubt whatsoever that Gina’s message really does resonate with me. We’re going through some things here in the Misner household, with my wife effectively retiring, and we’re going to move down to Panama soon. We’re probably about two, three weeks away from putting our house on the market. We’ve been in the process of selling a lot of our stuff, and it actually feels great. I mean, she can put her car in the garage. How crazy is that? Yeah, we’re those folks. And I still have my gym, so that’s win-win for us.

But anyway, as we look at what “enough” means for us, we’re getting into the season of Thanksgiving. That’s part of the reason why I was really happy to be able to bring Gina on now to talk about The 7 Laws of Enough. We’re fast approaching that time of year, at least in the United States, where we do the Black Friday sales and people are buying gifts for themselves and for others. It’s this very big commercial season. In fact, most commercial brands make or break their season in the next six weeks or so. And so, as you go into this year’s season, I really want you to think about going into it with more of an aspect of gratitude and experiences. I know there are going to be people in your life that need a new TV, or a new blender, or this new doodad or the new iPhone. I get that; I’m not poo-pooing that at all. But really, start doing a little bit of mindfulness and gratitude and thinking about how you can make this season of commercial, a little less commercial and a little more personal. It’s our personal relationships that are a big part of the longevity formula. If you read The Blue Zones and The Longevity Plan and some of the other books that are out there that have really done the deep dive studies into why people live a long time, particularly to become centenarians, it’s because they have connection, it’s because they have these things. It’s not because they have the new iPhone or the newest video game. I know that’s something that’s out there, I know it’s something we do. But really, use this season as a time for reflection of how you have what you have and that you’re very happy to have it. I know that’s what I’m doing. Selling my stuff is kind of freeing and I’m feeling really good about it. I’m feeling really good about this move. Our house is going to go on the market and that’s going to be another thing that’s not there for us to worry about. And that’s a huge, huge stress reduction from us.

So, as you’re thinking about this season, think about your health, think about your wellness. And if you need a guide to help you, there’s no better time than right now to go out and buy The Wellness Roadmap, because I do talk about some of these things, particularly during the Tactics portion of the book. I strongly encourage you to go out and buy it. If you have a Kindle, you can pre-order it right now for $0.99, and all I ask is that you leave a rating and review when it’s available. The book goes live December 4th, and it’s my goal and I’m working very hard towards that goal of having the paperback, hardbound, e-book, and the audio book all available for that December 4th launch. I’m doing my best with that. Immediately, as soon as I know that I’ve gotten all my ducks in a row with Amazon, I’ll be turning around and trying to make this available on some of the other e-readers and audio book vendors. So, bear with me. It may not be available on Apple Books. It’ll be on Audible, but there are going to be probably some places where you get audio books or e-books that it might not be there. Please bear with me. Send me an email – allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com. Let me know if there’s a particular e-reader or audio book vendor that you use. If you want to go help me do a little bit of research and getting some of this stuff done, that’d be great too. I’m working towards getting that done. I’m finding some vendors that help do that stuff as well. So, I’m doing my research, but I’ve got to get it all in a row with the Amazon platform first, because that’s the big gorilla in the room. Once I get them settled and I know that everything’s in place there, I’ll be shifting. So, if there’s a particular source you need it from, please let me know and I’ll do my very, very best to get it there for you. I really do appreciate you being a part of the 40+ Fitness podcast. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t know I was reaching you and helping you, so thank you for that.

That’s my gratitude going into this season, is you. You listen to this podcast and I can’t say “Thank you” enough for that time, for you giving that time to me, because I know that your time is the most valuable asset you have. For you to spend that with me, it really does mean a lot to me. So, whether you’re from the United States or not, have a Happy Thanksgiving or a thankful period of time, at least for the next week or so. Try to avoid the commercialism and use this time of year for more connection and more personal involvement with the lives of others. You’re going to feel a lot better by doing so. Thank you.

 

 

 

Another episode you may enjoy

Heal yourself with Kelly Noonan and Adam Schomer

November 15, 2018

KJ Landis – Being happy and healthy

 

Patreons

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

  • Judy Murphy

Thank you!

 

In Happy Healthy You, KJ Landis shares us how to break free of the constraints we have today and be happy and healthy.

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

J. Landis (1:14): Thank you kindly. Happy to be here.

Allan (1:16): Your book is called Happy Healthy You. I actually think this is the perfect time for folks to be writing books about being happy. One of the big things I’ve put forward in the whole wellness journey was that if you don’t have the trifecta of health, fitness and happiness, then you’re missing a big part of this thing if you think that health and fitness is all that’s really there. You’ve got to enjoy what’s going on, you’ve got to have some joy in your life. There’s so much negativity, and I want to relate a quick little story. I’m a fan of a college football team called Southern Miss and we’re having a particularly bad season. As I go onto Facebook or whatever, already we’ve got the political negativity, we’ve got the violence negativity, and now I have the college football negativity. So, it was actually refreshing to have a book like yours that I could just turn all that stuff off for a little while and enjoy Happy Healthy You.

J. Landis (2:21): Thank you. So grateful that people read it and get it. And words of wisdom don’t have to come from the greats; they can come from everyday people – the person on the bus next to you, the cashier at the coffee shop.

Allan (2:39): You had a previous book, so you brought up the concept of “superior self”. I like that, because it’s not comparing yourself to someone else or really worrying about anything else; just saying, “I want to be the best me I can be.” You have nine steps that you use to lead us to being our superior self. Could you talk about those nine steps?

J. Landis (3:05): Yes. Superior Self: Reaching Superior Health For A Superior Self was my first book, and in it I describe a protocol that I had created after reading tons of different food protocols. It’s really important for me to take your time when you want something, to do your best at each step of the way. And there’s no time in the beginning or end. So, step one for me was increasing water to a gallon a day. I’ve experimented on these with my fat loss coaching clients. If we increase our water slowly to a gallon a day, we give ourselves the opportunity to realize when we’re hungry and when we’re just socially and emotionally hungry. I lost 50 pounds six years ago before I wrote the book, and that was for me a big issue. When I started losing the weight, I maintained my water, and even now I have to get my gallon of water in a day. I will be upset with my husband or my boss or a coworker and I would eat a $40 piece of cheese. I would put my thumb at work in a piece of cake and be like, “I can’t serve that, so I’m just going to nibble on it.” We add electrolytes – either as powder or adding a little bit of electrolyte, like a diet Gatorade or something. Just a little bit, and that way you don’t ruin the balance. Or you could put pink Himalayan salt. I also add lemon for the awake feeling that citrus gives us.

Allan (4:47): I want to take one little detour real quick because we didn’t actually explain necessarily that you work in the restaurant business. So, when you talk about putting your thumb in the cake, it’s not someone else’s cake. Here’s a cake that’s ruined and therefore free food for the staff.

J. Landis (5:04): I have to eat it. In the evenings I work at a restaurant; in the daytime I do my wellness coaching, my writing, my blogging, my YouTube videos, my research. I go to universities because I’m always trying to up my game on my certifications and the latest science of nutrition. And I take care of kids – I’ve got two kids. Life is a blessing every day I wake up, but I like it to be busy.

Allan (5:30): Good. So the first one is water, and I’ll let you continue.

J. Landis (5:36): I think that our fat cells decrease or increase in size, but we always have the same number of fat cells, and the way our body releases the fat cells is through urine and sweat. So as you’re changing your life and shifting, and you increase the water, you’re exercising more, you’re eating healthy and you’re getting your water in – that’s how the fat leaves our body. You don’t want it to be stuck and we don’t want to be socially and emotionally attached to the food. If I’m not really sure if I’m hungry, I’ll drink a couple of glasses of water and then I’ll be like, “I was just thirsty.” Also, increasing our water helps with headaches. The number one cause of headache is dehydration, and if you drink a few cups of water, you’ll realize in 20 minutes that most headaches go away. Do you want me to go to step two?

Allan (6:25): Please, yes.

J. Landis (6:27): Step two was used to be called “week two”, but now I realize it can take people a month or six months in order to master step one. So I call it “steps”. We give up all wheat products and all gluten-containing products while still maintaining that gallon of water a day. Gluten is a protein and it’s found in wheat, rye, barley and some oats. Ancient wheat is not really the way wheat is grown now. There’s a lot of hybridization, and it’s GMO, and it’s found in everything that is processed and packaged. So, the best opportunity for us in step two is to give up wheat because it causes inflammation. Not inflammation like it hurts my arm, my arm is sore, but inflammation systemically. And that’s where diseases come in. Dis-ease – your body is at ease, or it is at dis-ease. If you’re not comfortable with what’s going on inside the body systemically, that’s inflammation. A lot of it is caused by gluten, and people don’t even know that they have a sensitivity to gluten. I’m not saying an allergy, which is celiac disease, but you can see the difference in your body, your health, your skin and your sleep when you give up gluten-containing products. That’s step two.

Step three – giving up all grains. And remember, these are just for a period of time until you master it. Step three – give up all grains, and that is to shift into a grain-free lifestyle. Once you’ve given up the wheat and you’ve mastered it, however long that takes, then you can keep on experimenting. So now I will make sugar-free cakes. I’ll use coconut flour, almond flour, rice flour, tapioca flour. I’ll even make a southern dish like fried green tomatoes or fried pickles by rolling them in tapioca flour and egg, and it tastes just as delicious as the wheat ones. And onion rings. Foods that you think you’re going to miss – once you practice and have fun experimenting, you won’t miss it.

Week four – reduce fruits to one to two times a day, always keeping your previous changes. And that can be week four or month four. And the reason is that there’s a lot of sugar in fruits and fruits are not grown the way they were years ago. There’s so much sugar in an apricot – about seven times as much as there was 70 years ago. The growers do it on purpose, so we’ll buy more delicious, sweet fruit. And they’re all uniform. Typically the smaller and bruised fruit used to be the most delicious in the old days, but now our fruit has to look perfect, feel perfect, have the wax on the outside. There are so many grams of sugar in fruit. All plant matter turns into starch in the bloodstream, glucose, and it goes to the brain for power. But I can get just as much glucose from a bag of spinach, which has much less sugar. So this is just to teach us to get off that sugar wagon, because most of us love sweets, especially females. It’s part of our hormonal system.

Then once you do that, week five or step five – reduce fruits to one to two servings a week. So you can have that as your dessert. Once you’re able to conquer that you don’t have to have sweet at every meal, then we can reduce it even more.

Step six – change the oils to only healthy fats. People think canola oil is healthy. The reason why canola oil got its name, because the plant that it comes from is called rapeseed and Canada did not want the word “rape” on their largest export. So years ago they changed it to Canada oil, which then became canola oil. They have to spin these tiny seeds so fast to get the oil out, that it heats up the seeds and the oil and changes the level of the molecules from a healthy oil to a toxic oil. I’m not saying you’re going to get sick, because we don’t drink gallons of canola oil, but it is one of the most used oils in the United States.

Allan (11:08): What you’re talking about is oxidation, which effectively means that when you get this into your body, it’s going to cause inflammation.

J. Landis (11:19): Yes. So if you’re having your gluten and canola oil or partially hydrogenated oils, which make oils more shelf-stable, that means Crisco, those sorts of things. Oils that naturally are liquid, they’re turning into a solid in order to have a longer shelf life in packaged products. I stay away from those and I opt for grape seed oil, which is molecularly even small enough to use on the skin. I use butter and coconut oil for my frying in the pan, and I use olive oil after the vegetables are done or on my salads. And the reason being that there’s a low temperature that olive oil should be kept at in comparison to the other oils. All these oils have smoke points and when it starts to fume, that’s when you should stop using it, because that’s when the molecules change and oxidize. And dairy – raw cheeses, we can have that. That’s a good fat – raw butter, raw cheeses, raw dairy – if you do eat dairy, if you’re not allergic to the casein in milk proteins. The raw fats in those are so good for the body and there’s so much vitamin K in raw, unpasteurized cheeses.

Week seven or step seven – no more added sugar in any products. So, no honey, no agave. I have a bone to pick with agave. Once again, the process to get agave out of the plant and make it very sweet is, the heat element to extract it changes it, and also the amount of sugar that it adds to the bloodstream is very high. So when you’re using it as an alternative, it’s not very healthy if you have diabetes or prediabetes, or you’re just watching your glucose levels. I recommend something, and I don’t work for this company – Lakanto. I use the Golden brown variety. It’s the only natural sweetener made from monk fruit, coming from Japan and now it’s important in the United States. It looks, tastes and smells like brown sugar, but it is cool on the tongue. It’s amazing. It’s zero calories, zero on the glycemic index. In Asia they have been using it for centuries, because the monks would sit under the tree and the monk fruit would fall and be super hot and crack, and they would boil it and make it into a sweet tea that they would use for lung issues, joint issues, colds, flues. It’s very amazing. I really enjoy it and I use it when I have my tea or when I’m baking. And it’s very reasonable. Of course it’s very expensive compared to sugar, but it’s very reasonable compared to what it was a few years ago. It was $44.95 for one pound; now it’s $24 for three pounds. For the white sugar substitute, I recommend Xyla, because it’s less expensive than the Lakanto white. It’s $14.99 for two pounds at your local health food store or a high-end store like Whole Foods. So it’s just to give you the opportunity to release yourself from the indulgence, but you can still sweeten with dates or figs or dried fruit.

Step eight – try to purchase unpasteurized raw dairy and pastured eggs. People always mix up the two words, pasteurized and pastured. Pasteurized means the product is heat-treated to kill germs and bacteria that were seen as harmful back in the late 1800s. Pastured names an animal was kept outside freely, with no cages, and they were not given food that’s not natural to their habitat. For example, if I buy pastured eggs at Whole Foods, they’re $8.99 a dozen – very expensive, but the chicken that laid them were not kept in cages, they were not kept in a free-range area, which is usually just a few feet more. They’re actually roaming the woods and they’re eating bugs, berries and insects. So when you see eggs that say “Omega-3”, that’s not in their natural habitat. Or vegetarian-fed – chickens aren’t vegetarians; they eat birds, worms and insects. So those are words that are branding words, but those aren’t words that will actually help you enjoy the pastured chicken or the pastured eggs, which are the most healthful. They’re smaller, but they’re more beautiful in color and they’re way more flavorful. I think raw dairy is important, because our government has told us we need pasteurized dairy, pasteurized milk. But once again, the amount of fat and natural healing properties of unpasteurized dairy is so helpful to our body, especially the vitamin K. I no longer suffer from constipation or rashes when I eat raw milk, raw cream and raw cheeses. I’ve never had a sensitivity to eggs, but my skin is so much better if I have the pastured eggs. And yes, it’s more expensive, but I want to compare this to the health issue in America. If you spend a little more money and you have these sorts of healthy foods in your home on a regular basis, you will save so much money in doctor’s visits, in medication, in hospitalization, in obesity and the chronic conditions caused by that.

Allan (17:26): I’ll even take that one step further. One of the conversation points that I’ve come across with my clients and with different people over the years is, people who eat real whole food eat less, because we’re getting the nutrition our body needs, so we don’t have the cravings. I think when they factor in their total food cost, they’re saying, “I can get eggs for two thirds of the price if I just buy the middle-of-the-road eggs and not the pastured eggs.” So their breakfast is $2 cheaper, but they’re not counting the fact that they’re also then going to spend $3 on a box of Twinkies that they’re going to kill later that evening, because their body is not getting the nutrition it needs. They’re going on binges because their body’s saying, “You need to eat more because we’re just not getting what we need.” If you’re getting good nutrition, you’re very likely to eat a lot less.

J. Landis (18:22): Absolutely. And you’re full faster.

Allan (18:26): Especially the way you put it together there. We’re focusing on getting good, healthy fats. We’re moving the simple carbs and the processed foods out of our diet, and it’s not, “Let’s do it all today.” It’s in a very methodical stage. Let’s focus on one thing first – the easiest and first one being water, and then you’re factoring in these other things. And as you start feeling better and getting comfortable with that, you step into that next one.

J. Landis (18:54): Yes, because to be honest, the first three weeks that you increase your water and you get that gallon in, you will be using the restroom a lot more, especially at night. But then in the fourth week, when you don’t get that gallon of water in, by 10:00 in the evening, you’ll be like, “I’m going to hit somebody if I don’t get a glass of water right now.” Your body will crave what it needs. It’s amazing. That’s a great shift.

Allan (19:20): I think that’s why so many people really struggle with the food thing, is that they’re not getting proper nutrition. And that’s their body basically yelling at them, “Hey, feed me, Seymour. Feed me!” I do think it’s a symptom of us not getting good quality food. If you do these nine steps and think through the quality of your food, actually in the end, medical conditions aside, I think I spend less on food now than I did before I started eating healthy.

J. Landis (19:57): Yes, because you’re not craving more and more of the junk stuff, so you’re not running to the 7-Eleven at 2:00 a.m. for a quart of ice cream that has a lot of crap in it.

Allan (20:07): Or I’m driving home late – I’m not going to have to pull off to Whataburger or into McDonald’s and say, “I just need something.” Or I’m not going to stop when the girl scouts are selling the cookies; I’ll just give them a $5 donation and say, “Keep the cookies”, that kind of thing. Now, one of the things I really liked in the book was – and I’ve talked about the endocrine system here, but I think you put it down really, really well. It’s very simple, sustained – this is our endocrine system and this is what it’s doing to us or against us, for us. We have to figure that out based on how we treat our endocrine system. Can you take a little bit of time to walk us through the basics of the endocrine system?

J. Landis (20:50): Yes. But I’d like to start with step nine, which is giving up beans and legumes.

Allan (20:56): I’m sorry, I cut you off. Go ahead.

J. Landis (20:58): That’s okay. So, beans and legumes are a high source of protein, but they’re only a high source of protein if your body can absorb the nutrition. When you absorb nutrition from foods you eat, it is called bioavailability. I suggest giving up beans and legumes because they have antinutrients in them which cause us to have gas. The outside covering on all beans is called the “endosperm”, and in order to be able to absorb the nutrition from it, we have to cook it. It’s better to actually soak it overnight before you cook it, and certain nuts also. Therefore as a practice – I’m not saying give these up forever. I’m saying, build on this and have your beans and legumes once in a while, once you stop that craving. People who are vegetarian can switch to other sorts of proteins, like nuts and seeds, and vegetables that are high protein. And then you can live on the 80 / 20, which is 80% eat clean and green and 20% party like a rock star. That’s what I practice in my life and I’ve maintained the 50-pound weight loss since I was 46, and I just turned 53 last week. And people think I’m 30.

Allan (22:09): Cool.

J. Landis (22:10): Alright, now let’s talk about the endocrine system. The endocrine system is the system of hormones that run our body. It rules everything, from your growth to your sexuality to your food cravings, and it also rules your sleep. When we go to sleep, our body is releasing right before you go to bed, with the sunset actually, it starts releasing melatonin. With the onset of electricity in the past 100 and some years, we have so much less melatonin that our brain is producing and releasing. That’s why we have melatonin capsules. But if you practice certain prevention, you won’t need the melatonin and you’ll sleep better. You can put all the shades down, you can wear computer blocker glasses that make everything very yellow and warm. You can also have f.lux – it’s an app, and your computer and your phone will turn to that warm, amber light. And just getting rid of the electronics in your bedroom, so that your natural hormone system can do its job.

In relation to food, the endocrine system, the system of the hormones, allows us to eat well, and when we’re full, the hormones tell us to stop eating. When we eat tons of food that our government has said is great for us, like these processed, packaged foods that claim to be heart-healthy and whole grain – because of all the additives and chemicals, and the deliciousness of those additives and chemicals, the hormones get mixed up and they don’t know when to say “Stop”. It’s a vicious cycle until you break that cycle, and then your endocrine system can begin to act normal again, and you’ll get full when you’re supposed to, and you will be hungry when you’re supposed to. I also am against the government and the Dietary Association of America and the AMA, who are being paid for by the government telling us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Once you get healthy, you will learn to live by your own hunger signals, and sometimes you have a natural fasting that goes on for part of the day. For example, in my personal history, I never was a breakfast eater, but because of all the TV commercials saying breakfast is the most important meal of the day, my mother wanted me to eat breakfast. So, I would be kind and I would have something, but not much. And then when I became a grownup, I stopped eating breakfast and I listened to my own hunger signals. Naturally, now that I’m healthy and eating real food, typically I’ll have a non-caffeinated tea with breakfast. I won’t eat breakfast. I’ll have my gallon of water when I’m training clients or when I’m exercising myself, and then I’m not hungry until dinner. It’s amazing.

So, the different glands in our body rule our hormones. The brain is the master planner, and the pituitary gland, which is in the back of the brain at the base of the hypothalamus, sends out a lot of hormones as well. One hormone that’s really important is the thyroid gland and the parathyroid gland. We have a thyroid-stimulating hormone that everyone has that is running throughout the body, but some of them are active and some are non-active, so they call it active T3, active T4, and non-active T3. You want them to become active, because if you have a lot of the thyroid-stimulating hormone and it’s not active, you will feel sluggish, you will gain weight, you will be cross with your family. It also touches upon the emotion. The intestinal, the adrenal gland, even the placenta when a woman is pregnant, is a temporary endocrine gland. And during pregnancy this gland makes hormones that are important for the growth and development of the fetus. The sexual glands, which are the balls or the testes in gentleman, and in women the ovaries and uterus also release hormones. In men it keeps them muscular and desiring to procreate, and in women it creates that beautiful softness of no matter how strong and fit a woman gets, she’s never going to be as muscular as a gentleman. That’s just the way it is. And it also helps with puberty and growth. It’s inherited as well. Some of the hormones running through our body, we inherit in the same style as our parents and grandparents. For example, my mother, who just passed away recently, didn’t have her period until 18, and she had her period until 70. I said to her, “Gosh, I wish you’d have a baby at 70 so you could get on the Oprah Show.” Because I wanted to hug Oprah – that’s on my bucket list. I want to hug Oprah before I die. I don’t have to be on her show; I just want to hug her. And the same thing with me – I hit puberty very late, so I’m also probably going to go into perimenopause and menopause late. The hormone system can physically and emotionally heal us as well. So the food we eat affects the hormone system, and then the hormone system affects our overall happiness and wellness. It’s really, really important to participate in our own health, because of our hormones.

Allan (28:15): There was a concept you had in the book that I actually think is brilliant. People can really wrap their head around this. I tend to be sometimes a little bit more of a realist, and when I get into my head, I think I can take a negative thought and just beat it out of me. I’m going to sometimes use that negative talk in a sense to prove it wrong, in effect. I guess it goes back to my military upbringing and being in the military myself. If someone yells at me, I’ll actually move faster. Now, I don’t really want them to be mean about it, but in a general sense if someone’s pushing me, that actually helps me. I like aggressive trainers, I like that kind of thing. I was a football player, and again, maybe it’s the testosterone, I don’t know. But you have this concept for folks that need a little bit more self-empathy when they’re not that kind of person, when their internal dialogue can be bad self-talk and can actually hold them back. You have a concept called the “negative thought pot”. Can you talk about that?

J. Landis (29:23): Yes. I bring it to every workshop and I start every workshop. Even if I’m doing a chocolate workshop or an essential oil workshop, I bring the negative thought pot. I picked up a flower pot at the dollar store, and it spontaneously came to me one day because I left the front door open when my daughter and I to the mall. She was about nine. When we came home, she believed somebody had broken into the house and was hiding in the house and was going to kill us. And I told her, “It’s just your mother’s forgetful. It’s okay. We’re fine. Come with me and look everywhere.” And she was so afraid. So I took a permanent magic marker, I took that dollar store flower pot, and I wrote “negative thought pot”. And then I told her, “Let’s tear up strips of notebook paper, and let us write down our negative thoughts.” Whatever fears, whatever self-doubt. I don’t care if it’s about food. “I’m never going to be smart in math”, “I’m never going to get that career I want”, “I’ll never be a millionaire”, “My whole family is fat. We’re Italian. It’s just the way it is.” Write whatever negative self-thoughts you have now, and you put it on that strip of paper. It could be current or it could be a long-term negative. I call it the “Negative Nancy” in my head. And we scroll it up into a little scroll, and we throw it in the pot and we light it on fire. You do that anytime you have a negative thought that’s blocking you and keeping you from being your most amazing superior self. I do this over and over with myself and my kids, and the next time that negative thought comes into your head, you remember that moment of burning it up, and mentally or out loud I say, “You no longer have power over me. I destroyed you, remember?” And it dissipates. I’m the winner. I’m the superwoman. You’re the superman. It’s magic. It’s more than magic, because you’re creating an energy that is more powerful than the negativity, which we need in our lives every day because we all have challenges. We’re busier than ever.

Allan (31:32): I like how it sort of puts a line in the sand, for a lack of a better word, to say, “I’m stepping away from this thought pattern because it’s not serving me.”

J. Landis (31:43): Yes. And if you can’t meditate, if you don’t have time for this or that, everybody has time to burn a little piece of paper.

Allan (31:52): Just make sure that the flame goes out before you leave the house.

J. Landis (31:56): Oh yeah. Or do it outside, in the back yard.

Allan (32:01): So, I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

J. Landis (32:14): For me the number one strategy to get well and stay well is increasing your water. Everybody needs to drink water. And it doesn’t have to be expensive or bottled. You can always put a filter in. Increase your water and you will see life-changing health. One tactic is, I always fill up my water in the morning, and on the water bottle – I have a giant one that’s eight cups – I will write the word “eight cups” and I’ll put little lines in it so I can see as it’s going down. It’s a reward to see the water go down and hit that lower line and hit that lower line. It’s a gift to myself. It’s like I get a gold star in the middle of my forehead. The second tactic or strategy that I enjoy is movement. We must move. Our bodies were meant to move. Our ancient ancestors, the hunters and gatherers moved about 12 to 14 hours a day; we’re not doing that anymore. So, move as much as possible. Have a standing desk – they’re inexpensive, or have a desk and then you put the desk extension up if you have a desk job. I’m lucky I move six hours a day as a server, and then I train people so I’m exercising for myself and with my clients. Movement is so powerful. The way to add that into your day when you’re super busy is to set your clock 10 minutes early. I have a fault. My biggest fault, or my biggest flaw is, I’m always paranoid about being late, so I try and get everywhere early. If you do that, you have time to do quiet movement, whether it’s in the car, outside, take the stairs. Give yourself that time. Get everywhere early and give yourself that time to have some sort of movement. And movement in nature is even more powerful because you enhance all five senses. The third strategy that I use is silence. Recently I learned how to meditate at a free 12-day meditation retreat. It was very, very meaningful for me to learn how not to react as much as I had been. The power of silence is so healing. Whether you are in nature, whether you’re sitting in your car, whether you’re sitting in the bathroom – shutting up is beautiful, and we all need it because most of us talk too much.

Allan (34:40): Well, I’m a podcaster; I have to talk. Those were wonderful. I really enjoyed those, so thank you for that. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book, where would you like for them to go?

J. Landis (34:52): SuperiorSelfWithKJLandis.com.

Allan (34:58): Okay. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/352, and I’ll be sure to have a link to that in the show notes of this podcast. K.J., thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

J. Landis (35:13): Thank you for having me. I’m so grateful. It’s a beautiful day inside and outside when we share this sort of knowledge and our own discoveries. And it’s exponential – the more you learn, the more you’ve got to share. Thank you.

Allan (35:32): Isn’t K.J. pretty cool? Yeah, I really did enjoy that conversation and I hope you did too. This week I want to announce to the podcast listener – you – that my book, The Wellness Roadmap is now available on Amazon. You can go to Amazon and you can get the ebook at a really good discounted price. I’m marking it down because I want to make sure that this is not something that’s out of the reach of people on a budget. So I’ve marked it down and all I ask is while it’s on this discounted price, which is only going to last a little after the book goes live – while it’s on this discounted price, please go back to Amazon when you get the book and you’ve read it, and please leave an honest rating and review of the book. That’s extremely important. Of all the services out there, Amazon cares about ratings and reviews. They will not show my book anywhere on their pages if they don’t feel like I’ve provided a substantive work, so they need to see those ratings and reviews. So, it is out there. You can go out to Amazon and get the book. You can also buy it through the website once it goes live, but going out to Amazon and buying the electronic version now, it will be available to you December 4th. You can download it to your Kindle Reader any time after that, but it will be available to you. Read the book, leave me an honest rating and review – tremendous help to the show. Please, please. Tremendous help to the book and helping me get it out there. So, go out to Amazon, get the book today.

And there’s still time for you to get onto the launch team. I’m still providing bonus information and bonus support and extra little goodies out there for the launch team. You don’t want to miss this because I want to put the information where people want it. I’m not going to spend a ton of time on the show talking about where we are with the book. That’s why you’re just now hearing about the ebook, because the ebook’s been out for a little while now. So, the ebook’s out there, the other books are going to start to populate soon, as soon as people can start talking to each other, which they don’t want to do, but that’s a whole another story. You’d know more of that story if you were actually a part of the launch team. You can go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and there you’ll find a signup form to be on the launch team. Roughly, I’m sending them one email a week, so this is not inundating you with all kinds of stuff. This is important, telling you what’s going on with the book so you’re in the know; giving you some goodies and some extras, things like that. So please do go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and join the launch team. And if you just don’t want to be a part of the launch team, I get it – it’s another responsibility, right? But please do go out to Amazon, search for the book under my name, Allan Misner, or The Wellness Roadmap. You’ll find the book, buy the ebook on pre-order. It’ll be available to you first thing December 4th. You’ll be able to download it to your Kindle. And then you got it for a discount – please go out to Amazon and leave me an honest rating and review. Thank you.

 

Another episode you may enjoy

The four tendencies with Gretchen Rubin

November 12, 2018

Jimmy and Christine Moore – Keto with real food

 

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In Real Food Keto, Jimmy and Christine Moore provide an in-depth look at nutrition and how you can get the most out of the ketogenic diet.

Allan (1:47): Christine, Jimmy, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Christine Moore (1:55): Thank you.

Jimmy Moore (1:55): Hey, hey, man. What’s up?

Allan (1:58): Jimmy, you are the guest that I’ve had on the most. For pretty much every book that you’ve written, I’ve had this opportunity to have wonderful conversations with you. I truly appreciate and honor what you’ve done to educate people. And I’m really glad that you’ve now brought on Christine with her education and what she’s doing. This was an excellent book, it’s called Real Food Keto. And I love the title, which we’ll get into in a minute.

Jimmy Moore (2:26): Thank you. When we’re 90, I’m going to be, “This is my 67th book, Allan. We’re going to talk about it today.”

Allan (2:36): I am working on my own book, so I’m doing a lot of reading into how to market a book and all the different things you’re supposed to do. And I’m reading out there, some authors are putting out a book a month, and I’m thinking, “Oh my God.”

Jimmy Moore (2:47): That’s crazy.

Allan (2:49): But they’re managing to make money, because they constantly have this flow. Someone reads their first book and they’re hooked, so now they’re buying every book. Insatiable appetite’s for fiction – it works really, really well. Non-fiction – I think you’ve got to do a little bit more research and work to put out something really, really good.

Jimmy Moore (3:07): Yeah, I think it would be overwhelming as non-fiction. I don’t think the product would be very good if you put out a book a month. I know a lot of stuff. I don’t think I could do a book a month. I thought I was doing well with a book a year, Christine.

Allan (3:22): Having gone through the process now myself, it’s quite… I never really got it when people said when they were done they were just exhausted. But I get it, because it is such a draining experience.

Jimmy Moore (3:33): Allan gets it too.

Christine Moore (3:35): Yeah, I’m sure.

Allan (3:36): I think that’s the cool thing though. This is not a flimsy little pamphlet or manual. You did some really deep research for this book and it goes deep, deep, deep into nutrition, I think further than any other keto book I’ve read has done. It’s very deep, but you explain things in a really cool way. So, it’s deep but good. You know what I mean?

Jimmy Moore (4:01): Yeah, thanks for that. And that was one of the things when Christine was going through the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner program – I was like, “Wow, why don’t I know this stuff? This is really relevant information for a keto dieter that’s not out there in the mainstream.” So when I approached my publisher about collaborating on this book with Christine, they were like, “Absolutely.” And now it is our publisher’s favorite keto book, which is saying a lot because they do all the big keto books.

Allan (4:30): They do. I’ve talked to them. I’ve been talking to Victory Belt for quite some time. The books that are coming out in keto are really center and front of the market. So, really enjoy working with them to get wonderful guests like you.

Jimmy Moore (4:47): Thank you.

Christine Moore (4:48): And they do such a good job with the books; they’re beautiful. When we received our author copy of Real Food Keto, we were flipping through it, and just the time that the design team put into the charts and the graphs and everything – it’s so easy to understand and it flows so well. So, great job, Victory Belt design team, for putting together such a good book.

Allan (5:11): It is, all the way across. The content and the quality of the book are, bar none, great. I want to turn the conversation about the book a little bit, because this is something I’ve really been struggling with over the course of the last couple of years as I’ve done these different interviews. I’m approaching 200 interviews, so I think I’m picking up a few things here. It’s the fact that we have to use the term “real food”, because if our grandmothers, our great grandmothers walked into a grocery store today, they wouldn’t even know what it was, they wouldn’t call most of what’s in their food. What is real food and why is it so hard for people to understand what real food is?

Jimmy Moore (5:50): Allan, you and I are blood brothers, because this is the exact reason I wanted this book to get out there, because I was noticing the trend in the keto world was that people weren’t putting an emphasis on real food. It’s disgusting that we have to put a qualifier in front of the word food. They used to just call it food, but we have to qualify it these days because there’s a whole lot of food like disease agents out there, that’s not real food, that we have to call it real food. That was the heart of what we wanted to do. What would you say would be the definition of real food, Chris?

Christine Moore (6:24): Really anything that doesn’t have a label on it that has ingredients on it that you can’t pronounce. I mean things that you grow in your garden. We have 26 backyard chickens that lay us wonderful free-range eggs every day. So, things that aren’t chemically processed, that are natural.

Jimmy Moore (6:47): It doesn’t get realer than that, Allan.

Allan (6:50): But it’s getting harder and harder I think to find real food, because I walk in the grocery store and probably 100 years ago, someone on keto could eat an apple and the amount of sweetness from an apple wouldn’t take them out of ketosis. Today they’re so sweet. They’ve been bred to be something else, so the nutrition’s not there. I think you even said something about an orange – that everybody equates an orange to vitamin C.

Jimmy Moore (7:20): Yeah. And bananas to potassium.

Christine Moore (7:24): Here’s the thing. Back 100 years ago, what was the prevalence of obesity? People weren’t as metabolically damaged as they are today. For a lot of people today, eating an apple will kick them out of ketosis, not only because of its extra sweetness, but just because a lot of us are metabolically damaged through poor diet choices early in life. That’s why when I look at a client, if they can handle a sweet potato here and there, then I will recommend that. Most of those people tend to be athletes or more active, but for the majority of my clients, they can’t have even what would be considered real food. A sweet potato is real food, but not all of us can handle that.

Jimmy Moore (8:11): To your point, you’re right, the food has changed. And because the food has changed, so have our metabolisms. My last book we talked about the prevalence of insulin resistance, and it’s higher than people think it is. Upwards of 70% of the population are walking around with some level of insulin resistance, where their bodies aren’t responding to carbohydrates anymore in the same way, which is why restricting them is the answer.

Allan (8:41): I completely agree. I always encourage folks to just go down to their farmers market. There you’re going to meet the guy who’s raising the chickens when you get the eggs, you’re going to meet the lady who runs the farm where they picked that produce that morning. This is not industrial, fertilizers and all this stuff, and that’s why the tomatoes aren’t as pretty or as firm or able to take things, because they’re just the way tomatoes are supposed to be.

Jimmy Moore (9:10): I love ugly produce.

Christine Moore (9:12): I do too.

Jimmy Moore (9:13): It’s got character. We grew a bunch of different kinds of vegetables in our garden this year. The heirloom tomatoes grow off the charts. They’re amazing.

Allan (9:24): That’s why I think, get to know your food and what real food is, and then start putting more and more of that into your diet, and you’re going to feel better.

Christine Moore (9:34): I agree.

Allan (9:36): I was really interested when we started talking about gallbladder as I got into this stuff. My mother was not feeling well and her health was starting to fail her and I was like, “Mom, I think you should check out this low-carb, high-fat diet.” And she’s like, “They took out my gallbladder so I can’t eat that way.” But you’ve done something, because you’re keto, you’re low-carb, and you don’t have a gallbladder. Let’s talk about the process for how you managed that transition. I know what keto flu is for me, but for you it must have been an entirely different experience.

Christine Moore (10:17): Yeah. I had my gallbladder taken out in 2006. Usually gallbladder problems happen because you do a low-fat diet, you’re not consuming enough fat, so the bile becomes thick, sludgy and there’s no movement of the bile. That’s what causes the stones and the sludge to form in the gallbladder, and that’s what happened with me. So after I had my gallbladder taken out, what I had to do was at first stick with butter, coconut oil, things like that, because they don’t require the bile to break them down. When I see my clients, I tell them that I want to have them have a healthy mix of fats. We need that to have a healthy immune system, and for other reasons. What I tell my clients is 60% monounsaturated fats, 30% saturated fats and 10% polyunsaturated fats. When I had my gallbladder taken out, I had to stick with mostly the butter and coconut oil, which are your saturated fats. But I did include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated in small amounts. Over time my liver learned how much bile to produce, so I could add more and more of those things. Once I graduated from the NTP program, while going through it, I learned the importance of digestive enzymes and even HCl supplementation. So that’s what I do now as well – I take digestive enzymes and bile salts to aid in the digestion of those fats, because it can be difficult. It took me about a year before I was able to get my fat to where I like to have it in my diet.

Jimmy Moore (12:03): And now she eats more than I do.

Allan (12:06): And you had all that detailed in the book, at least as far as saying you knew you needed the stomach acid problem. But you had ulcers, so you had to heal the whole ulcers first. I think a lot of times people get ahead of themselves and they want to solve the problem, but they’ve got to look at the whole underlying structure of what got us here and maybe even the order with which we find those little healthy steps. I really liked that you shared that part of your story. It wasn’t just an “A to B” step. You had to go through a lot of incremental steps to get to a point where you could fix your health.

Jimmy Moore (12:42): And Allan, what happens too often is people start keto and then they experience some of these digestive health problems and they go, “Man, that keto thing sucks”, not realizing they had an underlying issue that needed to be resolved for keto to work well. So, hopefully this book helps clear up some of those misconceptions about keto not working. Maybe keto worked fine; it was just that they didn’t fix their digestion first.

Christine Moore (13:09): One thing that I like to tell my clients too is, when we’re making changes, specifically in the keto diet, often times they will experience these things, but these are reactions that your body’s going to have. It’s perfectly normal for some of these things to happen. You just have to get past those things. Like Jimmy said, a lot of times there are underlying conditions, and most of the time it’s a digestive disorder that needs to be addressed before they can properly absorb and digest these fats that they’re eating.

Allan (13:42): Okay. And like I said, you had all this in the book. It’s really cool I think to use this book as the start of your research, to understand your digestion, understand how you can go about getting into keto if you have issues like this. So, really, really cool. I loved all of that.

Christine Moore (14:00): Thank you.

Allan (14:01): Now, one of the things you had in the book, and as I went through it, I was like, “I want to print this out and post this on my wall” – it was the 17 ways to optimize your diet and lifestyle right now. Would you mind going through those?

Christine Moore (14:15): I’ll go through some, because I think there’s quite a few here. One of them is to eat seasonally. We don’t think about eating our food in season. I’m a big strawberry lover, and those strawberries are not usually available in the wintertime; they naturally grow in warmer time. So, eat your food seasonally. Our bodies were not meant to have certain foods year round. So, that’s a big one. And then we like to tell people to purchase their food from local sources. So, support your local farmers. That will help get the word out about real food and it supports these people that are growing real food. So many micronutrients are in these real whole foods, and we need to be eating more of this to get our bodies to be more healthy, get the nutrients that it needs. Include some raw veggies in your diet. Now, if you have digestive issues, this may be a problem because raw vegetables can be a little bit harder on the digestive system. If you do have digestive issues, then what I suggest you do is cook your vegetables in a slow cooker, so that way it’s not as hard on the digestive system. But once you heal your digestive system, try to incorporate some raw vegetables in your diet.

Jimmy Moore (15:45): By the way, we made this list of 17 things, Allan, because we know some people’s personality is, “I don’t want to get through the whole book before I figure out what I have to do, so give me some things I can start working on now, and then maybe I’ll learn about why I’m doing those things later.”

Christine Moore (16:01): Yep. So, another one, if you have it available in your state like we do – we live in South Carolina, so we’re very fortunate to have access to raw dairy. Raw dairy is much easier on the system. There’s a lot of misinformation about raw dairy out there, saying that you might get sick from it, but in actuality raw dairy is the best for you. I have heard from other people that their blood sugars don’t respond the same way to raw dairy as it does to the dairy that’s been pasteurized.

Jimmy Moore (16:35): Mine was flatline. It’s thicker than heavy whipping cream, raw dairy. It’s pretty amazing. Have you ever had raw dairy?

Allan (16:42): I have, yeah. We’ve gone to the farmers market. Of course they half market it for dogs. I’m like, “Yeah, absolutely. I’m going to give this to the dog. No.”

Christine Moore (16:58): Oh, goodness. You want to hear a few more?

Allan (17:01): Yeah, please.

Christine Moore (17:03): Okay. So, another thing that we like to recommend is, switch from manmade salt to sea salt. This salt that you get with the little girl with the umbrella on the packaging – that isn’t salt. Sorry. Because there’s an iodine deficiency running rampant, that’s why a lot of people get this salt. But what I tell people to do is get the kelp drops that you can put in your water and supplement with iodine that way, or to eat more sea vegetables. We like to use the sea salt instead, especially if you can find the different color ones because each one of those salts has a different preponderance of a certain mineral in it that gives it its color. These sea salts are really rich in micronutrients. Fermented foods is another big thing. For most people probably fermented food seems very intimidating, and that’s why when we teamed up with Maria Emmerich, we wanted her to include a couple of recipes on how to make fermented foods in this book, because it can be really easy and you only need a small amount with each meal to help improve your gut health. If you have gut health issues, I would recommend starting out very slowly, because this can increase some of the symptoms that you have, like bloating and extra gas, things like that. If you know you have digestive issues, then start out slow with these things. These things are not just involving food, so we like to implement exercise into our routine. We have a very good friend, Darryl Edwards, who does the Primal Play movement and he basically teaches you to get outside and play like you did when you were a kid.

Jimmy Moore (18:56): Have you ever interviewed him, Allan?

Allan (18:58): I have not, but he’s now on my list.

Jimmy Moore (19:01): Okay. Let me know how I can help connect you, because he is an amazing guy. Amazing interview.

Christine Moore (19:06): Yes. He doesn’t like the word “exercise”.

Jimmy Moore (19:09): He’s British, so he sounds cool.

Allan (19:14): I actually don’t like the word “exercise” either. I’m a personal trainer. I tell people exercise sounds like when we were kids and we had to get underneath our desks because there was a nuclear attack. “Get under your desks! Nuclear attack!” I’m like, “This is pointless. I’ve seen videos of what this does to buildings, and we’re not going to be safe under our desks.”

Christine Moore (19:34): Right, exactly.

Jimmy Moore (19:36): I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that felt that way.

Allan (19:41): That’s what exercise sounds like to me. Whereas if I say “training”, then at least at that point it has some purpose. You want to keep your strength, your agility, your speed, your endurance, all those different things. That’s the purpose. I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I’m 105. I’m going to have to do some training if I want that to happen. To me it’s more purpose-driven training, rather than calling it “exercise” or a “workout”.

Christine Moore (20:10): Right. And the moment that it becomes not fun, then you need to switch things up.

Allan (20:15): Yes, absolutely.

Christine Moore (20:20): I guess one other one would be sleep; making sure you get adequate sleep. We kind of give tips in there – wearing blue blockers and taking melatonin or magnesium to help you sleep. Keep the temperature of your room colder, because that tends to be better for you. As I said, these tips deal more than just with diet. It’s lifestyle things as well.

Allan (20:44): That’s what I really liked about it. This is a book about food, real food, but you went a little bit further and giving someone an overall basis of how to live a more healthy life and deal with your health issues. Before I let you go though, I define “wellness” as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Christine Moore (21:11): I can let Jimmy give you a couple too, but one of them I think is to take your health back into your own hands. We rely too much on doctors to tell us how to be healthy. Jimmy and I have experienced this in our own lives, where I was having symptoms of thyroid issues, so I went to my doctor and I asked him to run a full panel. He didn’t see the need with a full panel, so Jimmy and I did that on our own and we found out that my reverse T4 was off and my antibodies were elevated. These things wouldn’t have been found out had they just run the typical panel that they do – TSH, T3 and T4. So, one big one for me is taking your health back into your own hands. Do you have one that you think?

Jimmy Moore (22:01): That’s my favorite one, the one you took. I call that being an empowered patient. I think one thing that’s been impressed on me more and more, Allan, in the last few years, watching the way our culture has shifted over to this ugliness, the contentiousness that’s out there, be it in the nutrition world, even politics, wherever you are in your facets of life – people are unkind to each other, and that bleeds over into being unkind to themselves. I’m becoming more and more convinced that this stress that’s coming on from all of that contentiousness is having a negative effect on people’s lives. So, my tip would be to start loving yourself and to start being overly kind to your fellow neighbors. I find that when I do this and I make a conscious effort – and trust me, it is so hard, especially online where people are being really, really ugly towards each other – it’s really hard to take the higher road, but in the end your stress level will come down and you’ll be healthier as a result.

Christine Moore (23:05): And I guess one final one would kind of go along with what you said, Jimmy, is be kind to yourself. Because of this ugliness that is on social media nowadays, people are so quick to say if you’re not eating grass-fed, grass-finished beef, or free-range eggs, or organic this, organic that, then you’re doing keto wrong and you’re a failure. No. We understand, and this is one thing that we stress big time in Real Food Keto – do the best you can in the situation that you’re in. If you cannot afford grass-fed, grass-finished beef – no sweat. Just do best you can and try not to listen to these people online that are being ugly, because they just don’t have a sense of reality. They’re not in the real world. We understand that life happens. Jimmy and I use keto products out there, but we read the label and make sure that they are up to standard, like these DropAnFBomb nut butter packets. It’s great for traveling. And Paleovalley beef sticks; Pili Nuts. They come in a package, but it’s still real food at its core. So, just do your research and be kind to yourself.

Allan (24:21): Excellent. I declared myself a diet agnostic, and what I mean by that is that I’m going to let everybody eat the way they feel like they need to eat, and I’ll tell you my experiences and we’ll have conversations like this, which is wonderful. But the one thing that I’ve noticed from all sides of this battle, that people are throwing all this stuff around, like, “That’s wrong. This is wrong.” Every single one of them comes down to one core fact – just eat real food. It doesn’t matter if you go keto or you decide to go the entire different direction and go completely vegetarian or vegan, or actually combine both of them, which is something that’s happening. Dr. Will Cole wrote his book Ketotarian, and I’ve had him on. And it’s that same thing – just eat real food. What you’ve done here with Real Food Keto is give us this great resource to learn about the food, learn what it’s doing in our bodies, and make better choices and decisions for ourselves. So, thank you so much for that, Christine and Jimmy.

Christine Moore (25:27): Thank you.

Jimmy Moore (25:28): Dude, you are in my head, because I have hammered this message over the past few years, that we have more in common – Paleo, Primal, locavore, vegan, vegetarian, and keto – we all have more in common than we have disagreement. And yet, who argues the most about which diet is better. Meanwhile, all of these sad diet eaters just sit back and go, “Yeah, I’m going to eat my popcorn watching the show, you guys. This is not interesting to me at all.” I think if we coalesced around the real food message and brought people in, it would be so much more attractive. Then we could make people more healthy in the end.

Allan (26:06): Absolutely. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, they wanted to learn more about what you’re doing over there, where would you guys want me to send them?

Christine Moore (26:15): I have a website – RebootingYourNutrition.com. You can send me a message there and I’ll write back to you. And Jimmy has lots of places.

Jimmy Moore (26:26): We have a website for the book – RealFoodKeto.com, where we’re going to update various interviews we’re doing, like this one. And a book tour that we hope to do in early 2019. And of course I’m at LivinLaVidaLowCarb.com, or you could Google Jimmy Moore. The first three pages is all my stuff.

Allan (26:44): They can also go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/351, and I’ll be sure to have all of those links there. Christine, Jimmy, again, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Christine Moore (26:56): Thank you for having us.

Jimmy Moore (26:58): Thanks, Allan. I’ll see you at the next book.

Allan (27:00): Absolutely.

Now, wasn’t that great? I really enjoy having conversations with Jimmy. He’s extremely knowledgeable, and his wife, Christine, is just off the charts with this stuff, her education with the Nutritional Therapy Association. Really, she knows her stuff. And this is a really, really deep book; really cool book. It is a keto book, but you’ll learn so much about nutrition in this book. It’s like a college class in and of itself. So, really well done book, and I hope you’ll check it out.

If you enjoyed today’s show, would you do me a big favor? Would you become a patron of the show through our Patreon page? Basically works like this: you pledge whatever – $1, $2, $4, whatever. I’ve got other tiers up there where I’m offering little perks. So you get something for being a part of this thing; it’s not just a, “Thank you for your money, see you later” thing. There are some perks to this thing that I really want you to check out. If you’ll go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, and just pledge what you can – a dollar, a couple of dollars. I put $4 as a base level because that works out to a dollar or less per show. And I hope you do think that the value of this show is there. The money I’m getting off this is not going to make me rich. Obviously, you can see it’s not a huge amount of money anyway. It’s enough money to help me pay the people that help me do this show. I do pay an audio processor a monthly fee, I pay for the transcripts to be done, and that’s on a per hour basis. I pay for hosting of both the media files and the website. I pay for email services and a lot of other things. A lot of what’s built around this is all a part of the funding of this show, and it adds up. It really isn’t as cheap as I thought it was when I was going to get into this. But I love doing it, I’m going to keep doing it, but I really would like to have you as a part of the team to support the show and help it keep getting better and better. Again, that’s 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon. Thank you.

 

 

Another episode you may enjoy

Fasting for weight loss with Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore

November 8, 2018

Gillian Goerzen – Elephant in the Gym

 

Patreons

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

  • Judy Murphy

Thank you!

 

In her book, The Elephant in the Gym, Gillian Goerzen helps us understand how our mindset can make or break our fitness goals.

Allan (1:14): Gillian, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Gillian Goerzen (1:18): Hello. Thank you so much for having me. What a delight.

Allan (1:23): Your book is called The Elephant in the Gym, and I had two thoughts when I first saw the title. One of these, I don’t like the connotation, and the other one I was like, “That would actually be a good book.” I’m glad you went with the good book route.

Gillian Goerzen (1:42): Yay! That was one of my biggest concerns when I came up with the title. I was trail running actually and I came up with this title. We were having this conversation and it’s like, “The elephant in the room that nobody’s talking about. Hey, it’s the elephant in the gym!” I was with my running mates, and the first thing that comes up was, “Am I the elephant in the gym?” Of course I was like, “No, no. Oh gosh, the subtitle’s going to have to be really clear that they are not the elephant in the gym.”

Allan (2:12): I do want to talk to that for a moment, because I think a lot of people are going to find this podcast probably in January when they’re making these decisions, and they’re going to go into the gym and feel a little uncomfortable with it. The people in the gym – other than the fact the gym gets really crowded in in January, so the people that are there all the time might be a little frustrated that they have to wait on a machine they’ve never had to wait on – but they want you in the gym. They want the gym to be successful, the gym owner to be doing what they’re doing and changing lives. And more than likely that person you see over there by the weight rack that somewhat intimidates you – at one point, they either walked in there as a scrawny 14-year-old kid, or they came in there feeling like they were an elephant. And now they’ve done this hard work over a period of time and they’ve changed. So I would look at that. I would hope people going into the gym for the first time – I know you feel intimidated and I know you want to run over and get on that treadmill – fight that urge. Get into the culture of the gym. It’s a culture of change. It’s actually a culture of comradery. The gym is a wonderful place to be once you get over that hurdle and you start getting comfortable in your own skin.

Gillian Goerzen (3:30): Really finding the right gym for you. You might come into one facility and think… We’re all so caught up in our own stories, in our own head, we make up these stories about what we think other people are thinking about us, but they’re 99.9% of the time wrong, because we actually are perceiving things that aren’t there. Most people, when they see other people just getting started, they think, “Gosh, way to go! Good for them. I’m so glad to see more people coming in.” So one is, get past that idea that we have in our head, but secondly, finding a facility that really resonates with you and has a similar philosophy to you, that you feel really welcomed in. I always like to say that we want to find that Cheers experience. You come in and everybody knows your name, and you feel really welcomed. It’s that community and collaboration that you were talking about.

Allan (4:27): And that happens; it’s just going to take a little bit of time, because when you first walk in the gym, we kind of expect that you’re only going to be there for three weeks and then you’re going to be gone. A lot of people aren’t going to invest. And people are not staring at you. They’re just watching to make sure you don’t do something to hurt yourself, because they’ve been there and done that. Fortunately though, that’s not what this book is about.

Gillian Goerzen (4:51): No, it’s not.

Allan (4:53): This is about the conversations that you have with yourself, and how we actually get in our own way.

Gillian Goerzen (5:02): Amen. Sure do.

Allan (5:07): You start out in the early part in the book and you told this story of the two wolves. Would you mind sharing that? I really think that if people can wrap their head around this story and remind themselves of this story on a regular basis, this is going to solve a lot of problems.

Gillian Goerzen (5:27): I agree. It’s a beautiful story. It’s a First Nations story, for those who aren’t familiar with it. And as the story goes, a grandfather is telling his grandson about a battle he has going on within himself. So there are two wolves – there’s one good and there’s one evil. And the grandson asks, “Which one will win, Grandfather?” And he replies, “The one I feed.” As the story goes, it’s not really about eliminating the evil wolf; it’s about nourishing the wolf you want to thrive. So if we take that metaphor into the health conversation, into how we treat ourselves, it’s not about getting rid of the struggle; it’s about nourishing the ways that we’re being successful. It’s about nourishing the ways we are building ourselves up. It’s about nourishing what we need to grow, shift and develop. So instead of fighting against the things that aren’t working, focusing on the things that are working, the wonderful things that we are already doing, because there’s always some. When I talk to clients, it’s always that we tend to focus on the things we aren’t doing instead of the things we are doing. And when reframe and turn people around to the, “But tell me about what you are doing. What did you do this past week to help yourself, to move yourself forward to health?” – there are always way more things than they even realized. And once they see those, they’re like, “I actually did quite a bit for myself this week. Awesome. Let’s build from there.” And that’s what creates more momentum. That magical motivation that we all seek is seeing that we’re actually already doing things. And you get to develop belief in yourself, the self-efficacy, the self-confidence in your capabilities.

Allan (7:18): I think when you’re going through something, you need to take that slight step back and say, “Is this a good wolf or a bad wolf?” More than likely, if you have a negative feeling, if you’re feeling down, if you’re not feeling good about yourself, you’re probably feeding the bad wolf, and it’s time to stop. So, take that step back and say, “There’s a reason why I’m not satisfied with what’s going on with my life, or my health, or my fitness.” You’ve got to take that step back and figure out what’s the wolf you need to feed to move this thing forward.

Gillian Goerzen (7:52): Absolutely.

Allan (7:54): You have a concept in the book that I really, really liked and I think a lot of people will. Again, we’re getting close to January, so people are probably getting into that premise of thinking, “I’ve got to set a resolution. I’m going to go to the gym five days a week and I’m going to cut out processed foods and try to sleep eight hours a night.” They set these standards of what they’re going to do, and actually some of them work for about three weeks, and then they miss a day at the gym. And that missing the day at the gym, they feed the bad wolf and they say, “Well, I missed Thursday. I may as well just skip Friday.” So, you have this concept called the “health zone”, which I think is going to set people into a really good state of mind, to constantly be feeding the good wolf. Can you talk about the health zone?

Gillian Goerzen (9:01): Totally. You really hit it on the head. Why I developed the health zone was that I kept having these conversations with my clients about, they’d map out this criteria for themselves, this very black-and-white, very binary relationship with what they needed to do to, in their heads, be successful with their health – whether that was going to the gym three times a week, whether that was not eating processed foods, whatever. It’s similar examples to what you were mentioning. What I noticed was when they made one choice that took them out of that very black-and-white, very binary criteria, they decided that they’d failed. And when they decided that they failed and fed that evil wolf, what ends up happening is this domino effect, but not in the direction we want. We skipped the gym, so then we think, “Today’s kind of a write-off. I’m going to have an indulgent lunch.” And then indulgent lunch leads to mid-afternoon coffee with a special treat, it leads to drive-through for dinner, it leads to not getting to bed on time, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And then start fresh tomorrow. That domino effect leads us down a path that’s not really conducive to our health, when all it was was that we maybe needed to sleep in a little bit that morning and skip the gym. One workout off doesn’t negate the two workouts that person had already done in the week.

So the idea of the health zone was to get people out of that binary, black-and-white thinking, was to really look at our lives and give ourselves more flexibility, more room, more grace to live in a range of activities. For example, instead of having a quota of, “I’m going to exercise three days per week for this much time”, or whenever I’m going to do – saying instead, “I’m going to move my body two to four days per week for a minimum of 15 minutes, and I’m going to be happy no matter where I fall in that range. No matter where I fall in that range, I’m actually still being successful.” So, it comes down to looking at that whole health range and thinking what are our, I call them, “non-negotiables”. The bottom of the range is this idea of, what are the non-negotiable health habits I’m going to maintain no matter what? Think brushing your teeth. No matter how busy we get, most of us, 90% of the time, brush our teeth twice a day. We don’t even really think about it. It’s a health habit we maintain because we see the value in doing that. So, what are the other health habits we can maintain at the bottom end of that health zone no matter what, and engage and feeling successful, and feeding the good wolf? And then at the other end of the range would be your optimal habits. Not like the sunshine and rainbows optimal habits, where it’s not going to work with your actual real life, but what’s going to work with your real life if things were swimming along in a reasonable fashion – no major bumps in life, but regular life. What would you be doing on the other end of that spectrum? And so, finding that kind of range and no matter where you fall in that, feeling really successful about the choices you’ve made.

Allan (12:31): The thing I like about this is, if you’re doing anything positive, even a small step in the right direction can make a huge difference over time. We don’t realize we were potentially living very, very unhealthy lives, and now we’re not doing that anymore. We’re better. But if you set this bar and say, “I have to be at this level” and you don’t reach that, is that going to be the thing that knocks you off permanently? And so, it’s just a function of setting that bottom level and that top level, and then trying to make sure that you have strategies in your life that keep you accountable and successful within that range.

Gillian Goerzen (13:12): Totally. I always tell my clients, something is better than nothing. If you can even do 10 minutes of a workout and just go for a 10 minute walk, isn’t that better than doing nothing? If we actually step back and objectively look at it, we’re all going to go, “Of course.” Isn’t two servings of vegetables better than none? Yeah, absolutely it is. One glass of water is better than no glasses of water, or three is better than two. All of these steps in the right direction help us, and again, doing them consistently, of course, is what is the big, big clincher.

Allan (13:52): With the book, The Elephant in the Gym, you set 10, what you call “Super You” principles, and you have a chapter about each one. We have a lot of information about each one of these so we can’t dive deep into each one. But I would like, if you don’t mind sharing the ten, and just giving us a general overview of what that means in context to our health and fitness.

Gillian Goerzen (14:15): Absolutely. I really wanted a way to wrap up each chapter, and the key message I want you to walk away from the chapter with. It becomes, in essence, a summary of the book. The first one is really about, be you. You’re unique, and so is your health, is the principle. The big thing I always want people to take away is, there’s no other person on the planet that’s exactly like you. There’s no one right way to be healthy either, because everybody is different. We all have different genetics, interests, priorities, values. We need to find the way that works for us and our lives. That’s the first one. The second one is to really embrace our humanity. There’s unfortunately this misconception that there’s a “perfect” out there, that if I just follow this program perfectly and I will do this, then I will be healthy. But it doesn’t work that way. It’s about really focusing on being human, embracing the fact that you are human, and that you will ebb and flow and you will make mistakes. It’s about learning to give yourself some compassion in those moments and learning from those changes. The third one is to show up, to really trust the process, whatever process you choose, and actually take action and move yourself forward. The fourth one is to unlock your potential. That one’s really about knowing and acknowledging that you are both your loudest critic and your biggest cheerleader. Again, that’s that evil wolf, good wolf. You can feed the loudest critic or you can be your biggest cheerleader. But part of that is that mindfulness, becoming aware of where you’re being very hard on yourself, and then how you shift that tide. And I talk about some really tangible strategies in that chapter. Number five is practicing patience and perseverance. One of guiding things in the fitness industry and the health industry is, everybody wants that quick fix, but quick doesn’t usually equal sustainable, unfortunately. We all want that dramatic result, but the dramatic result usually requires extreme measures, and those are rarely sustainable in anybody’s real life. So, understanding that things will take time, change isn’t easy. Be willing to put the work in and acknowledge that it will be tough, that there will be a struggle, and it’s very human to struggle and that’s okay.

The next one is to really explore the science and practice the art. I come from a background of a degree in Kinesiology, and I’ve done a lot of work and study over the years of the science, the physiology of exercise and how do we be healthy. There’s a tremendous amount of science to all of this – to health and to fitness. And how you apply it in your life is an art. So I say, “Explore the science, practice the art.” It’s about acknowledging what the actual science is – not the pseudo-science, the actual science. And then understanding how you apply it to your life is an art. The next one is to reclaim your relationship with food. Of course, I couldn’t have a health book without an acknowledgement around the nutrition piece. Again, nutrition science – super complex topic, but I think we’ve overcomplicated it in a lot of ways. I have 10 tips that I offer in that chapter to really reconnect to our relationship with food. We talk about, “Fly the white flag.” Let’s stop having this really intense battle with food. Food is what we need to nourish our bodies, but also to nourish our souls. And then, yawning your way to success. The other piece that we often don’t talk about in this health conversation is sleep. I call it the “unsung hero of health”. We need to be as a culture shifting our conversation and really putting more value back to sleep, because it’s really huge. And I talk about the science behind that as well. And the final one is, own it – your health, your fitness, and your life. Own that you’re going to have a unique vision, and then create that for yourself. Create a plan and an approach to health and fitness that really feels good and grounded in your life right now as it is, so that you can evolve and grow your health and wellness throughout the course of your life. Because what my health and wellness looked like when I was 20 is different than it looks like at 40.

Allan (18:56): Absolutely. I think anyone that’s hearing these “Super You” principles that you have, that resonates with us. That’s the message that I’ve had on this podcast since the beginning, almost three years ago, and this is episode 350. We’ve been having this conversation, so these principles are not new to us, but the base point is, we have to take that step back and remind ourselves why we’re doing this and what’s going on. Each of these principles is addressing a different part of both our mental reflection of our lives, and then the actions we take after we have made these decisions and we’re making these choices.

Gillian Goerzen (19:44): Absolutely. I would say the first part of the book is really addressing what you’ve been up against – all the struggle that we’ve been facing and what’s actually holding you back. And then the second half of the book is really about, where do we go from here? Where do we go now that we’ve become aware of this? We see the elephant in the gym; now, how do we address it? How do we move forward in a powerful and empowered way, so that we feel we are in the driver’s seat in our own life? And not feeling like we’re looking outside of ourselves to someone else to tell us this magic solution, that if we just follow this magic solution that this individual with lots of likes on Facebook is going to tell me what to do; and really putting the power back on ourselves. It’s like, “I get to choose. Actually, it’s up to me to choose what’s going to work for me.”

Allan (20:34): Yes, absolutely. I do want to take one step backwards. You have all kinds of actionable tips, so I don’t want anyone to think that this book is just principles-based. The principles are important, but you follow up each of the principles with some homework, action items, some things we need to do. Again, I’m very action-oriented. Give me something and then tell me what to do. You can pick and choose how you apply these things in your life. But you’ve got to take it back to this one seed, and the one seed is that you have to have a desire to change, because if you don’t truly have the desire to change, then when you actually start going up against the work ahead of you… I know this might sound strange, but getting better sleep is hard work. You’ve got to say “No” to some things that you probably don’t want to say “No” to, like Words With Friends or Netflix. It’s time to go to bed. So, it’s not going to be easy. I would love to say that it’s easy, but it’s never going to be completely easy. It gets easier, but it’s never going to be easy. So, with that hard work in front of us, can you talk a little bit about that thing we need, the desire to change and how we can embrace that?

Gillian Goerzen (21:59): I think one of the pieces around that that I really want people to hear is that we have to choose our “hard”. When you’re feeling uncomfortable in your skin, when you’re not happy with the level of health you currently have, when you feel like there are things you can’t do with your body that you’d really like to do – the example I give in the book is, you watch your child on a ride at Disneyland that you’d really liked to be in, but you don’t fit in the seat – my gosh, that is hard. So, It’s really embracing the fact that that work is worth it, because the alternative is hard too. It’s about choosing which hard do you want to live with. Do you want to live with the hard of feeling uncomfortable in your skin, not feeling like your body is in its best shape for you, not being able to do the things you want to do, not feeling vibrant, vital and alive and able to live your life the way you want to live it? Or do you want to make the other hard decision, which is to make a few sacrifices, to have to say “No” sometimes, to put yourself first, to say “Yes” to yourself and say “No” to others? I think that is hard too, but understanding that the thing that’s going to push you through is really that reverence for the alternative, which is also hard, and knowing what’s in it for you on the other side of hard.

What I talk about a lot is really connecting to, not the, “How I want to look in my body”; “How do I want to feel in my body?” What’s the “Why”? What’s in it for me to do this work and get past the hard? And that’s connecting to a really powerful, really deep, meaningful “Why”? What’s in it for you? Why do you want to do this? Not just because I know I’ll fit in my clothes. That’s nice, to fit in your clothes, if it’s about weight loss, or to be able to run a 10K – that’s also great. But what’s in it for you to be able to do those things? I talk to a lot of moms and a lot of parents. For a lot of them it’s, “I want to be a great role model for my kids. I don’t want my kids to feel like this in their body.” Okay, now we’re talking. That’s a more powerful and more motivating “Why”. So when that alarm goes off in the morning and you want to stay in bed, but you know you should get up and go and do your workout, or go for your walk, or make time to make a healthy lunch – you’re going to think of that reason and it’s going to give you the impetus you need to get out of bed and go and do it.

Allan (24:26): Yes. Part of what you’re talking here, like I said, does resonate with us. I’ve always talked about it in terms of what I call “commitment”, and that commitment is the combination of your vision – what does a healthy, fit and happy person mean to you personally? Because what it means to me is something entirely different. And when I get older, I’ve used the phrase, “When I’m 105, I want to be able to wipe my own butt.” I say that because I know how many people get into their 70s, 80s and 90s and they lose their independence, and I don’t want to be that person. I know I don’t have to be that person, because I have role models I see that are 80s, 90s, 100, well into their 100s, still living active lifestyles. I just know I need to do the things to do that. Today, my vision is, I not only want to enjoy time with my kids or grandkids, when they come around. It’s if one of them tells me they want to go do a Tough Mudder, I want to be able to go do that with them. It’s not that I want to do a Tough Mudder for the sake of saying I did a Tough Mudder. I was like that when I was young and competitive. Now it’s just I don’t want my daughter to be waiting on me. I want to finish the race with her, and I want to enjoy myself and not hurt myself while I’m doing it. So, I train that way. That’s your vision. And then the “Why” part is the quality time with my family. It’s knowing that if I want to be around, I’ve got to take care of myself. I put it in slightly different terms, but it was funny as I went through the book, I kept seeing my words in your book.

Gillian Goerzen (26:13): You’ve got to love it when find that, which gives me so much hope, because I think the more of us that are having these conversations, I see the shift in the tides of the conversation around health and fitness. I see things shifting and it gives me a lot of hope because I think for a lot of years it was the blood, sweat and tears, and look a certain way. There’s still a tremendous amount of that; and still, I’m hearing more and more people having these conversations, more and more people saying, “I just want to be able to wipe my butt when I’m 90.” One of the common ones I hear from my clients with grandkids: “I want to get down on the floor and play with my grandkids, or I want to be able to take them to the park and actively play with them.” That’s really empowering, when you start talking about that vision, as opposed to being able to look good in a bikini, which is neither here nor there at the end of the day. What did you do in your bikini? That’s what I want to talk about. Did you go surfing? Did you go play with your kids in the sand and feel fantastic? Because that’s what the people in your life are going to remember. Nobody gets to their deathbed and thinks, “Gosh, I wish I’d looked better in a bikini.” They think of all the things they did; they think of all the relationships they had. Again, it’s that step back – what’s important to me, what do I value? At the end of the day, what do I hold close to my heart? That’s the core message here.

Allan (27:42): Cool. Now, I’m introducing a new, I guess I’ll call it a “segment”, for lack of better words, to this show. I’d like to ask you, what are three strategies or tactics to get healthy, fit, and happy, which is what I define “wellness”? What are three of your strategies or tactics for wellness?

Gillian Goerzen (28:06): Okay. So number one – before you embark on anything, the first thing that always comes to mind – are you willing to do this for the rest of your life? I just got a message from a client earlier today and she was curious about a supplement. And I said, “From a scientific perspective, here’s some information about it. But I want you to take a step back. If you take this supplement, are you willing to take it for the rest of your life? Is this something that resonates with you and feels like it connects to you?” Trust your instincts around, is this something you want to do for the rest of your life? If the answer to that is “No”, what’s the point of doing it short-term? Is this a sustainable thing I can do? So, trusting your instincts, really asking the questions before you jump all in. So that’s number one, is really listening to that. Number two – I really, truly believe whatever you choose to do around your health and fitness – do it, and do it consistently. There is no magic pill, there is no magic solution or program. It’s just the things we do with consistency that really add up to creating more impact in our lives and more change in our health. And the third thing is to not judge failure. So when you fall off that blessed wagon, to not look at it as you failing. If you fell off the wagon or you keep falling off the wagon, maybe you’re just on the wrong track. Maybe you just need to find a different wagon to be on and find a different way of doing things. The other analogy I like to use is, before you wipe the slate clean, take a look at the chalk marks. What can you learn from what you tried there? Get up and try again. It’s the whole, “Failure isn’t falling. Failure is choosing not to get back up.” So, get back up, try again, learn from what didn’t work. Those are higher level mental strategies, not tactical strategies, but there you have it.

Allan (30:10): That’s totally cool. That’s exactly what I think we needed to hear. If you haven’t caught it from me, I love your message.

Gillian Goerzen (30:18): Thank you.

Allan (30:18): If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?

Gillian Goerzen (30:25): There are two places they could go. They could go to ElephantInTheGym.com, all one word; or they can head to SuperYou.ca. I have those two places that they could head, and they’ll be able to find me in one of those.

Allan (30:40): Excellent. This is going to be episode 350, so you can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/350, and I’ll be sure to have those links in the show notes. Gillian, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Gillian Goerzen (30:54): Oh, such a delight. I’m brand new to the 40+ club, and I’m really happy to be here.

Allan (31:01): Welcome! We’re glad to have you.

Gillian Goerzen (31:04): So many of my friends were nervous about turning 40 and I’m like, “Bring it on. I just feel like this is going to be the best decades of our lives. It’s great.”

Allan (31:13): Cool.

I hope you enjoyed that conversation as much as I enjoyed having it. Gillian’s a pretty special person, and her book, The Elephant in the Gym, is a really cool book. I love the cover, I love the concepts in the book. As I was reading the book, it pretty much mirrored what we’re doing here on this podcast and what I’ve done with The Wellness Roadmap. It was really nice to see that this conversation is starting to make a good role, that more and more people are starting to recognize that the mindset we take into the gym, the mindset we take into the food choices, the mindset we take into all of our health choices, really does drive how successful we’re going to be. So, The Elephant in the Gym is a great book. I do encourage you to step out and get that.

If you do enjoy the podcast, I want to ask you, if you don’t mind, helping to support the podcast. A lot goes into making a podcast and putting it together. I pay for audio processing, so I can get the most decent quality my voice will let me have. I pay for someone to do the transcripts and put them out for show notes so you have that available to you. If you thought you misheard something, you can always go out to the show notes and read it for yourself. It’s always going to be there on the website. I pay for hosting of that website, so again, that content is always available to you. All the back episodes are available to you through the website. I pay for audio files to be stored, so there’s a host for that. And then all the other costs that go into the making of a podcast; it’s a lot more than I thought when I first got started. I thought this would be a pretty cheap endeavor. You start looking at those $5 here, $10 there, $100 there, and after a while you realize this a lot more expensive, and each of these episodes does cost a good bit to put out. I want to keep doing that and I’m just asking for a little support. A few dollars a month is going to go a long way towards helping me cover the cost of the show and continue to work to improve it and invest in it and make it better. You can go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon. There are multiple levels of support you can provide there, some with really, really cool add-ons, some pluses that you’ll get for being a part of the podcast, for being on the team and helping us get this podcast produced. So, go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon, and that will take you to the Patreon page, where you’ll be able to read about the benefits and the different things you can get by being a part of the team. I really do want you on my team. I think this podcast is a team sport. Fitness and health are a team sport and we need to be in this together, trying to get our message out there. I want you to be a part of that. So go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/Patreon. Thank you.

 

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