Category Archives for "health"

January 17, 2022

How to build a strong immune system with Dr. Robert Lahita

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Now more than ever, we see the need to have a strong immune system. On episode 521, Dr. Robert Lahita (Dr. Bob) and I discuss his book, Immunity Strong.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:20.850] – Allan

Hey Ras, How are things going?

[00:02:22.980] – Rachel

Good Allan, how are you today?

[00:02:25.030] – Allan

I'm doing all right. Made it through the new year. Getting into this year. We're recording this. We're just getting into the new year. But now we're into January. And so this is kind of a busy time for a lot of people that are trying to change things. This is kind of the season. January tends for a lot of people to be a season of change, a season of renewal or season of doing something different to try to make the next year even better. But I'm guessing that some of the folks listening to this also probably already quit some of the resolutions, some of the things that they started because that's kind of the long tail of this is that people just start dropping off week three, week four, week five. The gym's packed in January.

[00:03:10.830] – Allan

In fact, the first day we were open this year was one of the busiest days we've ever had. And you and I are talking. It's not even half over, and we've already had more guests and more people sign up in the first 4 hours of being open than we would normally have in a whole week. So, yeah, this is the time that people get started. But I'm just here to encourage you to keep going. Keep going. You're on the right track. If you're moving forward, you're on the right track. Keep moving.

[00:03:41.250] – Rachel

Absolutely. Please keep moving. I think about this time of year. It's quit day. There's a day for quit day. And I can't remember what it is.

[00:03:48.970] – Allan

I think it's in February. I do think it's in February, but I can just tell you from years and years of being a gym goer, it tails off. A lot of people will sign up the week before New Year. More people will then sign up in the first week, and then it just they blast for the first week, and then it just starts adding down, particularly, like I was always in early morning. I was either in the gym early in the morning or in the middle of the day.

[00:04:17.450] – Allan

So that's not peak time. I try to go. And there's not a lot of people there. And so what you would see is 05:00 in the morning as a workout time, typically on a typical day in a normal day of the year, there's three of us in there. And we all know each other. We don't know, maybe not even by name, but it's that head nod as you walk into the gym. We know it's the same three guys and one girl occasionally comes in and gets on the treadmill.

[00:04:42.230] – Allan

But that's it. And then this time of year, 10, 15 people in there at 05:00 in the morning for about a week or so. To me, it's the people that overextend. It's like, are you really going to show up at 05:00 in the morning every day for the rest of the year? And the short answer for most people is, no, that's not sustainable. And so they kind of took that non-sustainable slam of, oh, I'm going to eat salads. I'm going to do this. I'll pack my lunch.

[00:05:13.750] – Allan

I'm going to do that. I'm not going to go out. I'm not going to drink. I'm not going to over and over and then boom, one thing goes south. It all just crumbles because it wasn't sustainable.

[00:05:23.350] – Rachel

Oh, it's too much. It's too much to make such drastic changes across your entire life and expect to hang on to every single one. We've talked about it before. Just take one thing. One change. Make it 5:30 in the morning. Gym day, a couple of days a week. Do it at noon or at night, the other couple of days a week. I mean, spread it out. You don't have to make so many drastic changes all at once. Don't do it.

[00:05:46.440] – Allan

But you did something drastic. Polar plunge.

[00:05:49.900] – Rachel

Oh, yeah. My local run club, run caledonia run. An incredible group of really brave, adventurous people. They decided to start a polar plunge. We did it last year.

[00:06:03.540] – Allan

I have different adjectives. I have different adjectives.

[00:06:07.570] – Rachel

Yes. I can imagine. It's a little chillier up here than it might have been in other parts of the country or the world. But, yeah, we met after a run. We did a run together, and we did a polar plunge in our little Lake. Luckily, there was not very much ice this year. We didn't have to hack through it like we did last year. But, yeah, it was still chilly, still icy and snowy up here. But, yeah, it was super fun. Super cold. But it's super fun.

[00:06:34.210] – Allan

All right. Anything else going on?

[00:06:37.190] – Rachel

No, just excited. I love the new year. I love getting a new calendar. I love planning out my goals. I've got goals that will last all year, and I'm still pondering what I want to do, but I just love this. This is an exciting time of year for me, so I hope that other people find the excitement and hold on to that because that's what's going to keep you motivated throughout the year.

[00:07:00.250] – Allan

All right, well, let's have a conversation with Dr. Lahita.

[00:07:03.670] – Rachel



[00:07:51.620] – Allan

Doctor Lahita, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:07:54.610] – Dr. Lahita

Thank you. My pleasure.

[00:07:56.370] – Allan

Now, I want you to step aside for a little while. Let me talk to Dr. Bob, because Dr. Bob is sort of more on my level of actually being able to explain these things in a way that I think is awesome. Now, don't get me wrong. Dr. Lahita is cool, and I really enjoy the science, the things I learned going through the book and the hard words and just kind of seeing it all pieced together and the science, obviously. But Doctor Bob he's my buddy right now.

[00:08:24.030] – Allan

I like Dr. Bob because he talks my language. And then your book is called Immunity Strong: Boost Your Natural Healing Power and Live to 100. Again, all of that is really important to me. We've gone through a few years where talking about the immune system is pretty much a daily thing. So I think a book like this is huge. Everybody needs to read this book because we have to be the Masters of our body. We have to be the Masters of where you put it  the city.

[00:08:56.830] – Allan

We have to be the ones in control, the government of ourselves. Thank you for writing this book.

[00:09:03.190] – Dr. Lahita

Thank you.

[00:09:04.300] – Allan

Now, when you look at the immune system and we'll see things in newspapers and magazines, and someone will say, Well, this works this way because of that. We were taught germ theory when we were in high school. Maybe some people even going into biology in College or at some level, we all kind of know. Okay, there's these parasites, bacteria and viruses, and they get in our system, and some of them are actually not too bad for us, actually, maybe even better for us. But some of them are actually pretty bad buggers criminals, as you put in the book, and they're not out to kill us. But sometimes they end up doing that and just trying to live their lives the way they do or live their existence the way they do.

[00:09:50.110] – Allan

Can you kind of take your first responders view of the immune system and just give us a general overview so that someone who is reading a newspaper article can kind of wrap their mind around it, maybe just a little easier when they start throwing out beta cells and T cells and cytokines and all those things.

[00:10:09.240] – Allan

Can you kind of talk about that in terms of how our immune system basically works?

[00:10:14.590] – Dr. Lahita

Yes. So I've been explaining the immune system for many years to lay audiences, and I found over the years that the best way to explain this very complicated system, which exists in all of us. And that's what's amazing and most people don't realize is we are so complicated. But the immune system is one of the most beautiful organ systems in the body. It's a protective network, so you can go to police departments or armies, and you can see the same kind of protection set up in many layers and tiers in society, as you see with our immune system.

[00:10:53.480] – Dr. Lahita

So we have basically two kinds of response. We have what we call an innate immune response, which I refer to as the SWAT team of the body. So when you have an injury or a bacterium enters you and it is not supposed to be in you, and we'll get into that in a minute. But like a virus, like influenza or a bacterium that goes into your foot because you stepped on a nail. This is all offensive to the body, and the immune system goes to the scene of the crime.

[00:11:24.270] – Dr. Lahita

And Interestingly enough, we have lymph nodes placed throughout the body in strategic locations. I like to refer to it as the TSA of the immune system. You have lymph nodes in your groin, around your neck, anywhere where there's a possibility even around the ears, where the possibility of a breach of your personal bodily security occurs. The immune system reacts and it reacts locally, first with the innate response and then about two to three days later with the adaptive immune response. Now, your listeners, I'm sure have all heard of antibodies, the proteins in the blood that are very specific at times and affect invaders.

[00:12:09.230] – Dr. Lahita

We call them neutralizing antibodies because they go and they neutralize the criminal. I think of the invaders of the body as criminals. I go into this in great detail in the book so that the criminals that are carried away by a police Department, if you will, specific cells designed to remove criminals and take them away either whole or in pieces to the spleen. The spleen, if you have one and if you don't have one, the lymph nodes then become the place where the criminals be they whole or in part are removed.

[00:12:43.300] – Dr. Lahita

This goes on every millisecond of the day in our bodies imperceptibly. You really don't know when this is happening unless you happen to step on a nail or slice your hand with a knife or you have a tree limb fall on you. Some major trauma. The immune system then jumps into action and plays a major role in keeping you protected and alive. So that's what happens. The foreign invaders are truly criminals. These are organisms, be they parasites, viruses or bacteria that the body has never seen before.

[00:13:23.200] – Dr. Lahita

Unrecognizable. And so they are called antigens versus antibodies. Antigens are foreign invaders. Now, antigens are very serious and can kill you if your immune system is challenged either by you overdrinking alcohol, by smoking cigarettes or by having an inborn that is a genetically inherited defect in your immune response, you can die. And there are other diseases like cancer, like diabetes, like a lot of other things that can challenge your immune system and make it somewhat dysfunctional. And hence the reason for the current vaccines being given to people either 65 and older, where your immune system is beginning to wane in its strength.

[00:14:10.990] – Dr. Lahita

We can talk about that in a second. But the other thing is that if you're on chemotherapy for either an autoimmune disease or some sort of cancer that you have, like prostate cancer or breast cancer, you are at risk because your immune system is having a heck of a time trying to deal with the malignancy. But it's now also being asked to deal with a foreign invader. And people with other viruses like hepatitis C or even HIV have a tough time because their immune systems may not be able to Mount an adequate protective response for their bodies.

[00:14:47.290] – Allan

Yeah. So again, I encourage everybody to get this book. If you want to learn how your immune system works and you're reading the newspapers and seeing the press and thinking, okay, none of this makes any sense to me. Get the book because he goes through it. It is fascinating the way you put this together. Like I said, I was blown away by how simple you made it seem. It's not simple, but you put together a really good analogy metaphor, if you will, of how this all works. So it can literally take away all the jargon and just say, okay, I understand my body has a police force.

[00:15:28.000] – Allan

There's different people on the police force doing different things. They're responding in different ways. Sometimes something's going to happen that's going to kind of confuse my SWAT team and my police force, and they might actually even attack my own body, like in an autoimmune disease. Like I said to me, it was brilliant, and I really appreciate that and want people to learn this. So do that.

[00:15:52.570] – Allan

I want to take the next step because you took the next step, which is something that is important to me, because as I get older, it's like, okay, how do I stay alive and beyond just doing some practical things that we'll talk about later, you brought up a concept of what kind of keeps a lot of people alive longer than others.

[00:16:12.030] – Allan

And it was the biological soul. But we have to give full credit to your wife because she came up with the term.

[00:16:21.050] – Dr. Lahita

She's a wonderful artist. That's why she came up with that term.

[00:16:24.890] – Allan

And I love it. So tell her that. But explain the biological soul and why that's important for us to maintain our health, particularly in this environment.

[00:16:36.130] – Dr. Lahita

Today, there are very few organs that span the entire body, including the brain. The brain shares characteristics with the peripheral. When I say peripheral, I mean, the rest of your body, your arms, your legs, your ovaries, your testicles, your heart, lung, et cetera. So there are very few organs that are that extensive. One other organ might be your skin, which is widespread and injuries to the skin can be very severe and actually kill you. For example, a bad burn of a certain percentage of your body. The immune system is throughout the body.

[00:17:14.490] – Dr. Lahita

So that is what is so important and it interacts with your body, your mind, your brain directs most of the immune system and your spirit. Now, I'm not one of these alternative doctors that does all of this Hocus Pocus stuff, but I'm a real immunologist. And I would say that she's onto something with regard to the mind, body and soul. The mind, if you're depressed, if you are stressed, if you have a divorce, if you sell a house and have to move out to some place, if you lose your job, all of this affects your immune system.

[00:17:54.820] – Dr. Lahita

And we know that from actual data, it's not something that is focused and made up by me. Whether you believe in God or have a religion or whatever, it doesn't really matter. The spirituality of your body, that's the essence of who you are as a person really runs what your immune system does. It really means a lot to be healthy, to exercise aerobically. That means outdoors, if you can, but to breathe oxygen on a daily basis in a big way and to really stress your body a little bit physically, not mentally, but the biological soul permeates everything it wants you.

[00:18:35.840] – Dr. Lahita

This soul wants you to live beyond the age of 100. And we have many people who are centenarians now. And the reason for that is good healthy living. People have taken up the idea that in order to live a long time, they have to do things like yoga, keep a good diet. Many people are vegetarians. Many people take vitamins every day. Many people take care of their bones with calcium and vitamin D and so on and so forth. We now know now more than we knew 50 years ago about how to stay healthy.

[00:19:10.610] – Dr. Lahita

And there are lots of things. And that's where the soul comes in, because the biological soul, which was the original thing I called the immune system. I called it the biological soul after she told me about this. And I said, wow, this is really amazing. This is true, because when you die, your soul dies. Your biological soul dies. Your spiritual soul, if you believe in that goes on and on and on into the ethers. But your biological soul is really there to protect you. And it does so in a very amazingly complex way.

[00:19:43.450] – Dr. Lahita

And so that's why I called it the biological soul. I think a soul is a duality in everybody spiritual biological. If you're an atheist, you can still be a spiritual person. You can go out and enjoy the sunset. You can enjoy the ocean or being in the middle of a forest with nobody but you and the animals. That's what I mean by spirituality. And the soul that we have. This biological soul is there to protect us implicitly. And another point is that we're not the only ones that have these biological souls.

[00:20:16.170] – Dr. Lahita

I mean, if you go to the average mouse or rat, which we experiment with, and by the way, this is where the data on the mind body soul came from experimenting with animals with regard to light cycles and stressing mice on treadmills and other things, and seeing that their resistance, their cell populations dropped, their neutralizing antibody disappeared, et cetera. So this comes from animal work, animal research, which is very basic and is about 30 to 40 years old. So we now can extrapolate it to human beings.

[00:20:47.150] – Dr. Lahita

And so that kind of without me going on and on and talking too much. When you read the book, you'll experience that kind of voila enlightenment about your own inner workings.

[00:20:58.580] – Allan

Yeah. And I think we all know we intrinsically know that there's this connection, this thing going on with us in the world around us, the people around us, and you see it all the time. Someone retires from their job. They are 65 years old, they seem to be in good general health. But two years later they're gone, or a spouse passes, and within two years, the other spouse passes. And it's just kind of that loss of connection, loss of spirit, if you will, that now their immune system has just decided to shut down and let them terminate.

[00:21:35.630] – Dr. Lahita

Right? Exactly. And that happens all too commonly. And it is important to understand what your body is all about and what's going on inside. You don't have to be a doctor to have an appreciation and respect for your system. And there are protective networks and other species, even flies, butterflies. When I go out now I look at animals differently. I look at plants which have their own protective system as well. We all have these biological souls, which may actually philosophically be the basis of religion entirely. Whoever the Creator was has imbued all of us, even the lowest species with protection, which is pretty amazing.

[00:22:23.150] – Allan

Now there is this one creature, if you will. It's a coronavirus we now call COVID-19, and there are various variations of it that have occurred over the last two years or so, and maybe even longer, much longer. As you said in the book, I would just say 1959. I think a lot of us thought this was just going to we would get the vaccine. Most of us would take the vaccine or we would get it survive, get it die. But at some point we were talking her immunity where we were talking about this being over.

[00:22:57.290] – Allan

And I don't think any of us, if you ask me in February, March of 2020, when I was shutting down my gym that I just bought in June, I reopened in February of this year, but at the same time, if you told me this was going to happen and last this long, I wouldn't have believed it. But now it's almost like, well, this might never end. I mean, we might always have COVID-19. I think we'll always have coronaviruses and rhinoviruses and those things because they just mutate come back as a slightly different variant.

[00:23:33.210] – Allan

We get it a cold again and we move on. It's a seasonal thing, mostly. But you get that the covid doesn't seem to follow the seasons as well as most of the things we've dealt with. And it seems to have its own little world going north and south and east and west and past here and past there. And this one's scary that one's not. Is covid endemic? Is this something we're always going to be dodging and dealing with?

[00:23:58.080] – Dr. Lahita

Well, it's not endemic yet. It will be shortly. It's pandemic right now because it involves and infects so many millions and millions of people. And this new Omicron variant, which came around around Thanksgiving holidays and is undoubtedly going to spread during the mixing of the Christmas holidays, results in another rush. Now, as I said in the book, these viruses up regulate and they down regulate because that's what viruses do now. Remember, viruses are not alive. They're particles. So they get into you and they use you to really replicate, to multiply.

[00:24:40.370] – Dr. Lahita

They don't have their own spirit. They don't have their own soul. They don't even have the soul of an earthworm. An Earthworm, at least has a nervous system and has an immune system of its own. The virus doesn't. So what our immune systems are doing essentially right now is they're learning to combat this virus as they do with every other virus. Once the virus is controlled by our collective meaning, collective being the world's immune systems with the help of vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and other now new medications that are coming out that I can talk to you about, these viruses will be controlled and will become endemic.

[00:25:22.820] – Dr. Lahita

But what do we mean by endemic? They're going to be with us forever because a coronavirus not the novel coronavirus, the COVID-19, but the regular coronavirus has been the cause of the common cold for the past five or 600 years in humans. And so it's around. And this virus is a first cousin to that coronavirus. So I suspect that we will get a shot every year with the inclusion of multiple variants and the beauty of molecular medicine now, unlike 1918, during the flu pandemic is we can look actually at the RNA that lives inside of this virus and we can tell where the glitches are, where the mutations are and how to overcome these mutations.

[00:26:05.630] – Dr. Lahita

Our bodies are doing the same thing. Our protective police network doing that via T cells and B cells, which you don't hear much about. All people talk about is neutralizing antibody. Well, neutralizing antibody comes and goes and it's not present in everybody. And some people have strong responses and some people don't. But I talk about that in the book that we have our own cellular immunity, which is long lasting. It's your ability of your police Department to know who the criminals are. It's basically be on the lookout for XYZ Bolo.

[00:26:39.830] – Dr. Lahita

The police use this term. Be on the lookout. And when you're exposed to coronaviruses, some of us have immune systems that already recognize it. Even the novel coronavirus. Many of us have immune systems that don't and they have to learn about it. Vis a vis vaccines. That's what a vaccine does. It teaches your immune system to recognize a foreign invader. So that was a long answer to your question, but I don't think we're at the endemic stage yet. We're still in the pandemic stage.

[00:27:10.860] – Allan

Okay, thank you for that. Now, I like practical, which is my thing. I don't want to necessarily depend on someone else to help me. If I can do something to help myself. And in the book, you shared some tips, some areas that we should focus on to maximize what our own immune system can do for us, because I think we've seen healthier people have better health outcomes with Corona. What are some things that we should be focused on right now for ourselves to have the best immune system possible?

[00:27:44.150] – Dr. Lahita

Well, aside from mitigating the current infection, which means wearing a mask, washing your hands, etc. For the way to really handle the coronavirus and to make sure you're in tip top shape. And this goes for older people as well. People that are in their 70s and 80s is to exercise every day in some way. And number two, if you can meditate even ten minutes a day to relax your brain, remember, the brain controls the immune system, and if you're super stressed, you're going to get a horrible infection, you will recover from it in all likelihood.

[00:28:21.260] – Dr. Lahita

But you may wind up regretting that you are so stressed out so that's important sexual relationships, intimacy doesn't have to have sexual relationships. But if you do, if you can great, it can be homosexual or heterosexual. But nevertheless, there are certain hormones that are elicited within our bodies that really promote immune function. I'll just mention two of them prolactin in women in particular and in men, but less so in men. And the hormone oxytocin, which comes about from intimate relationships. And those two neurohormones are very important to immune function.

[00:29:03.390] – Dr. Lahita

Now, we have communication molecules in our bodies called cytokines. That literally means cell communication. And we have chemokines that tell cells where to go. And most people don't know this. But in that complex police Department, which in real life in New York City, for example, they use two way radios to talk and say, Somebody's been shot. I need help. Well, in your immune system, the chemokines and cytokines are released immediately by your innate immune system. Certain cells T cells. And this tells your body that there's an invasion.

[00:29:37.990] – Dr. Lahita

And when the coronavirus comes in through your nasopharynx in your nose and through your mouth, that happens, there's an alarm that goes out, and your immune system not being familiar, will try to find the novel coronavirus in its library of criminals. And if the library of criminals doesn't include it, it sets up a new response so that if you're re challenged, you're recognizing this. So what the vaccine does is it teaches your immune system that this criminal is not unique and new. You can be infected with the coronavirus.

[00:30:14.340] – Dr. Lahita

Nauseum. People say, oh, I got vaccinated, and my test is positive. Well, that's okay. You got the virus residing in your nasopharynx. You can transmit it to somebody else. If you're not wearing a mask or you're sloppy, but you're not going to get sick and die. You're not going to be on the respirator because your immune system is already familiar. It recognizes this virus, and that's what's cool. It's really cool. That's the only term that I can think of to say this is a cool way to have your own body respond imperceptibly.

[00:30:44.820] – Dr. Lahita

I might add to your coronavirus. Now, one glitch there is that we all have what's called immunogenetics. We inherit how our systems work, like our hearts, our brains. We inherit how our lungs work from our forefathers, from our grandparents, from our great grandparents and so on. So if you're unlucky to have bad immunity through immunogenetics being not so great, that could be a problem and that we usually find to be very rare. And yet it does exist out there. And, for example, to give you an example of that would be a tennis player or some guy who's an athlete who gets the coronavirus and succumbs very quickly.

[00:31:30.060] – Dr. Lahita

And that's happened. We've seen these muscular guys who are in good health. They look like the picture of health. They get the coronavirus and three days later they're on a respirator, and then five days later they die. So you don't know. The biological soul is different in each individual, and it depends on a lot of factors. But in order to keep you healthy and to boost your immune system, exercise and I don't mean marathon running or triathlon. I mean simply jogging, bicycling, getting on the elliptical for like 30 minutes every other day.

[00:32:04.840] – Dr. Lahita

You don't even have to do it daily. Get yourselves in tip top shape, lose weight. This coronavirus is fat. We've known that it's been published this week last week in The New York Times. Fat is a wonderful substrate for the virus. It likes to live in fat. It hides itself in the fat cells. So get thin, lose weight. If you never did before, now is the time to do it. Once this thing becomes endemic, we're going to see it every year. We're not going to see as many cases, but we're going to see it from now until the end of time.

[00:32:39.430] – Dr. Lahita

So that's a long wind answer to your question.

[00:32:43.550] – Allan

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

[00:32:53.510] – Dr. Lahita

Okay. So I mentioned a few, but the way I see staying well is to exercise. Number one. Number two, there's moderation to everything. If you like to drink wine, great. Drink on the weekends. Have a glass of wine every day every other day, but don't have a bottle a day. If you're an alcohol drinker, drink very moderately. I think exercise is incredible for those who are religious out there. And I know in Latin America, religion is important. Prayer is extremely important and very strong force, very strong force.

[00:33:33.570] – Dr. Lahita

Even if you're not a religious person. Prayer, prayer is like a way of meditation, yoga. The Chinese have it in Tai Chi and Qigong. If you've been to China and you see the people doing Tai Chi every morning or Qigong every day, you see that they're extremely healthy. They keep themselves very thin. It's a good way to live. Again, if you're a jogger jog, you don't have to do, in fact, I say in my book that the data show that if you're a runner and you run marathons or triathlons, it's actually not a good thing because it does

[00:34:09.920] – Dr. Lahita

At some point you reach a curve where your immune system begins to be oppressed by over exercising. And then, of course, relationships is very important. Meditation is important, and of course, a good diet is critical.

[00:34:25.250] – Allan

Thank you. Dr. Bob, if someone wanted to learn more about you or more about the book, Immunity Strong, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:34:34.010] – Dr. Lahita

Well, they can pre order the book on Amazon. Now, if they want me, they can go to my website, which is doctorboblahita.com, and I'm there, and they can always write to me. Send me an email. Look at me on Twitter, I'm on Facebook, and I'm on Instagram. So I have many ways that you can see me. A lot of my TV appearances talking about the book or about the immune system are out there now, and I welcome people to come and contact me. And if I can, I will personally respond to them.

[00:35:07.060] – Allan

Great. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/521, and I'll be sure to have the links there. So, Dr. Bob, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:35:17.840] – Dr. Lahita

Thank you. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate talking to you. And I hope the listeners have gained some insight into how our immunity works. And the title of the book is Immunity Strong. And I mean that Immunity Strong, the biological soul in its full force today during the pandemic.

Post Show/Recap

[00:35:43.170] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:35:45.090] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, what a fascinating interview. I really need to read this book. I am fascinated about the immune system and all its complicated workings. This is a great interview.

[00:35:56.390] – Allan

Yeah, he did an outstanding job because I read a lot doing this podcast and just other things because this topic obviously interests me. Otherwise, I wouldn't be doing it for over six years. But the immune system is one of those things where it is so critical to us staying alive. And I remember this from when I was really young. There was a movie that John Travolta was in called Boy in a Bubble or something like that. And the kid didn't have an immune system. And so he had to live in a bubble his entire life and went through all the way to his teens because I guess his parents could afford to put him in a room in a suit and things like that, which a lot of people wouldn't have access to.

[00:36:40.210] – Allan

So that's just kind of one of those things of saying. Okay, what if you didn't have an immune system? Or now we're seeing more and more with autoimmune disease? What happens if you have an overactive immune system? And so if you're dealing with autoimmune issues or dealing with leaky gut or dealing with a lot of other things that all are related to your immune system, then this is a good book to get just so you can kind of pick up on what those words are, what they mean, what is a cytokine storm and what does that actually mean?

[00:37:09.400] – Allan

And what are these T cells and beta cells and all these different things that you hear about and more and more particularly with Covid. We're hearing these terms and so kind of at least understanding it so that you're making the right decisions for yourself and for your family and making sure that you're taking care of this system because it's not something you just stop taking care of and hope for the best.

[00:37:35.570] – Rachel

Right. Well, I appreciate how he broke it down and a really fun analogy using the term SWAT team and having TSA agents kind of monitoring things. And my other favorite term, BOLO be on the lookout so that your body has its own way to be on the lookout for certain invaders like Covid or any other flu and cold and other invaders.

[00:38:02.010] – Allan

Yeah. That's why when you'll hear something like they'll say, okay, because of the nature of this variant, your body, if you've already had it or you've been vaccinated, your body is better prepared for it when it happens, because it's got that Bolo going on versus a virus like typically a cold virus, it mutates so fast that by the time you get re exposed to another round of or another variant of even maybe the same cold, it is so very different. Your body doesn't respond to it. When we get flu shots, they're not giving you one flu shot.

[00:38:38.520] – Allan

I mean, it's not one thing. It's like three or four things that they think might be, because by the time they get it manufactured, they don't know who's going to mutate several times, but they're trying to get as close as possible to a few different types of variants that they think will give you that opportunity for your body to respond the right way.

[00:38:57.990] – Rachel

It's an interesting science watching how they monitor other parts of the world to determine what kind of threats we might have here. But you know what? That's kind of like you mentioned that's almost like being on the defense, like we're waiting for something to happen. We're being responsive. But on the other side of the coin, we could be a little bit more Proactive by paying better attention to the things that we do in our normal day to day lives. That kind of protect us from these types of situations.

[00:39:24.150] – Allan

Absolutely. And that's the takeaway of this is you can be passive and let science do what science does. They'll get your shots, do your thing, avoid people, lock yourself away. But if you want to live your life, which all of us do, then we can be Proactive in the way we approach these things. So instead of being passive, we're active. And that active is exercise, eating right, getting good sleep, stress management, having great relationships. If you listen to me for any time at all, what does that go back to?

[00:40:02.460] – Allan

That goes back to just being healthy. It goes back to weight loss. And we say weight loss is sort of a side effect, while a strong immune system is a side effect of living a healthy lifestyle.

[00:40:14.370] – Rachel

Absolutely. And to have a strong immune system means that we could manage all of these different types of illnesses a lot easier when the common cold comes around every summer or the flu every winter. Pneumonia. As long as we take good care of our bodies, our bodies will respond faster to these invaders, and then we won't have the side effects or the serious illness that often comes with these things.

[00:40:40.590] – Allan

Yeah. And the thing about this that I want to put out there that I think is really important to think about is this is not a point in time. It's just going to go away. We talked about covid being endemic, and what that means is that there's probably always going to be a version of this floating around somewhere, just not a lot of it. Meaning if you come back around and surge back up and be kind of dangerous. But we're always going to be dealing with flus.

[00:41:05.190] – Allan

We're always going to be dealing with colds. And there's many cancers that are forming viruses. And if you just think back, bird flu, H1N1, AIDS, like, every five to ten years, something kind of sparks up in the world. There's almost 8 billion of us right now. So something sparks up in the world that has the potential to be just another one of these things. Now, why does it not happen? Well, because some people have strong immune systems, and so it out. And so it's just kind of one of those things of saying you do have control, get vitamin D, get outside, get some Sunshine, get some vitamin D, make sure you're eating right.

[00:41:49.720] – Allan

Which means whole foods where you're getting good energy, good vitamins, good minerals, and then exercise. Basically, it puts a resilience in your body that nothing else can. It's a hormetic effect of push yourself and get stronger. And just that work, your body is getting better. And then stress management and sleep. Those are two hard ones. Don't get me wrong. I know, because I've been down that road before, and I know that sleep is hard because we have so much to do. And I know that stress management, which was the hardest and last thing I tackled as far as I was going, was, how do I do this?

[00:42:32.620] – Allan

And I did something pretty drastic that a lot of people can't do, but just having mitigating tools and knowing that's your issue and focusing on it. So a healthy lifestyle equals a healthy immune system and a lot of other downstream effects of weight loss, more energy, better everything.

[00:42:55.260] – Rachel

Oh, absolutely. That's absolutely perfect. Great tips.

[00:42:59.710] – Allan

All right. Well, Rachel, with that I'll bid you adue. And we will talk next week.

[00:43:05.680] – Rachel

Take care, Allan.

[00:43:06.770] – Allan

You too.

[00:43:07.670] – Rachel



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

– Anne Lynch– Eric More– Leigh Tanner
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


January 10, 2022

Tailor your brain for optimal mental performance with Dr. Emily Willingham

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

The brain is a very special organ that we are just beginning to understand. Dr. Emily Willingham provides a science-based roadmap to better mental performance in her book, The Tailored Brain. Avoid the useless, and sometimes dangerous brain performance hacks and focus on the key things to make your brain healthy.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:20.830] – Allan

Hey, Ras.

[00:02:21.950] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, how are you?

[00:02:23.680] – Allan

I'm good. So we did the recording of two episodes at once. Rachel and I were literally just sitting here five minutes ago wrapping up the other episode, I think, 519 that you just listened to last week. This episode, there's no real “Hello,” but we wanted to have this little “Hello” segment. So when I say welcome back, it doesn't sound so weird.

[00:02:46.090] – Allan

So let's go ahead and have this conversation with Dr. Willingham

[00:02:50.830] – Rachel



[00:03:18.910] – Allan

Dr. Willingham. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:03:22.090] – Dr. Willingham

Allan. Hi. It's nice to be here.

[00:03:24.480] – Allan

Your book is called The Tailored Brain, From Ketome to Keto to Companionship, a User's Guide to Feeling Better and Thinking Smarter. And as someone who's now in their mid 50s and hitting the second age in the second half of the 50s, I don't feel as smart as I did when I was younger. When I was 13, I knew everything.

[00:03:48.850] – Allan

Don't we all?


Then I got into College and it's like, okay, I got some things to learn. And now I feel like, okay, if I don't use my brain on a regular basis, it could turn to fat. It's already 60% fat, but it's like it could just stop working one day and I just wake up and not know my name. So I think a lot of us know dementia is a real thing. Some of these are real. You're really losing it. And other times it's just okay. So I forgot where I left my keys. That's not really dementia, but I don't want to forget where I left my keys. And so thinking of ways that I can improve my not necessarily intelligence but memory and the capacity to function well or at least feel like I'm still not losing it.

[00:04:34.540] – Allan

I think it's really important. So I appreciate the opportunity to have you want to talk about a book like this.

[00:04:39.140] – Dr. Willingham

I'm really glad to be here to talk about those things because it does address them all.

[00:04:43.690] – Allan

Good. So now I think a lot of times we go into this and it's like, okay, I want to be smarter. I want to maintain my brain. I want to do some things and we're kind of given these studies because the easiest way to know what works is to actually study it and then come back with these results. And so we know you kind of do have to use your brain for it to continue to function the way you want to. And you can get smarter at certain things.

[00:05:11.730] – Allan

Like, if you studies you do Sudoko puzzles, then your brain is going to learn how to do Sudoku puzzles really well. And I had a guy on before, and he said, Well, if you really want to challenge yourself, try to write a Sudoku puzzle, and I did it's not easy to actually do it reverse engineer Sudoku puzzle, but I did it. And actually, if you go to the show notes for this episode, I'll include a link to that if you want to do that. [Note: I'm looking for this puzzle. I found the solution PDF, but not the primary puzzle I did in 2016.]

[00:05:41.230] – Allan

But sometimes what we see as far as the press and the headlines and this and that is not that it's wrong. It's just sort of the pseudoscience as you put in the book, and you had a really cool checklist. So why is all this stuff out there that isn't true, actually out there? And what are some ways and you have ten questions. But what are some ways that we can look at it and kind of know. Ok, this is probably not true.

[00:06:11.830] – Dr. Willingham

Well, I first published this checklist. It was when I was being a Forbes contributor. Or maybe it was even earlier than that. But the aim of it was to get people to sort of critically analyze information as it was coming to them. And I think the first place that you can look and be analytical is who is giving you this information? Where is that information coming from? And so you want to look at the source and to think, well, what might their agenda be? And I don't mean in a conspiratorial way, but in a way of what motivation do they have to say, “Oh, you need to try this elixir of life. It's going to add ten years to your lifespan?”

[00:06:53.070] – Dr. Willingham

Okay. So go see who makes the elixir of life. Who is this person? And do they have any association with it. That doesn't immediately negate that it's effective, but it's a starting point for you to maybe think. Okay, well, that's a little weird. I should dig a little deeper.

[00:07:14.710] – Allan

I have to admit, I'm just as likely to fall for these things as anybody else because some of it just sounds so cool. You're listening to this one podcast and this guy's like, oh, you've got to try this one supplement. It's going to make you so much more focused, so much smarter, you're going to be so much more creative. And so you go out and you pay the $90 and you buy that bottle of supplements.

[00:07:44.460] – Allan

I don't know. But I felt like maybe it was working. But then at the same time, I also know I'm not someone who's immune from the placebo effect with things like that. So can we talk a little bit about supplements, particularly as we look at things like neurohacking?

[00:08:05.720] – Dr. Willingham

Sure. Yeah. And that plays into this list as well, because one of the things you want to look at is to claim something that's kind of exceptionally broad. Is it going to help your whole brain to do the same? Because the brain is a really complicated organ. It would be kind of odd for something to really have a huge global effect that way. The other thing is what you described, which is a testimonial. Somebody says, oh, this is the thing for me, but there's not an evidence base that is being provided when somebody says, oh, this just made me feel better.

[00:08:33.830] – Dr. Willingham

The other thing is if you spend $90 on something, you've sunk some cost into it. And we don't like to think that we wasted those costs. We don't like to think that we wasted our investment regardless of whether it's monetary or some other form of investment. And so then we kind of become invested in a kind of a more extended way, right?

[00:08:53.900] – Allan

It's a cognitive bias at that point.

[00:08:55.450] – Dr. Willingham

Yes. Exactly. We have this bias, man. I really hope this works. And then, yes, placebo effect is real. There's a physiological underpinnings to it. There's a study that they did with psychedelics with microdosing. And in some cases, they had the people dose with their own microdoses of psychedelics that they were using. But in some cases, they swap this out for just nothing, not the people taking them, but the researchers. And then later did the big unveiling. And the people were very surprised to find that they had these experiences that they thought were because they were microdosing psychedelics.

[00:09:34.120] – Dr. Willingham

And there was nothing. There was nothing in the pill at all. One of them literally said, wow, you've actually found some way to put spirituality into an empty pill. So that's something that's coming from within. It's a physiology that's saying, yes.

[00:09:48.010] – Allan

And the micro dosing just to kind of be clear on that. If anyone doesn't know what that is is basically where you take a psychedelic. And instead of taking what would be considered like a full trippy-trippy kind of dose where you're really going off the deep end of these things, it's a piece of it, maybe a 10th or 20th of a normal dose.

[00:10:09.340] – Dr. Willingham

That's right. You're not supposed to really trip on like you would if you did a big walloping dose of mushrooms or something like that. So, yeah, you're just supposed to just kind of feel, I guess, a little lifted, you know, if you take them.

[00:10:23.860] – Allan

Yeah. And so that's really popular with coders in Silicon Valley and some of the other creatives out there that think, okay, I can walk into the workplace and not look like I'm tripping and still kind of get some benefits from this drug that I'm taking.

[00:10:37.490] – Dr. Willingham

Right now.

[00:10:39.120] – Allan

Another two things you talk about, which is again, it's kind of that fascinating science fiction. Oh, wow. If we could do this, we could talk to animals. Kind of thing is DCS, which is using current and TMS, which is using magnetics. They're very similar. And you talk about a little bit about how there's a little crossover between one and the other. Can you talk about those technologies, how they're being used and what you're seeing about them?

[00:11:07.270] – Dr. Willingham

The Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation is the one that strikes me as kind of holding the danger because it's one that people even just order a kit. Please don't go do that because the evidence base for it's, doing anything that people want it to do is not as sparse from what I can find. I had one neurologist who has a lot of experience with this. Just say, please don't go experimenting with your brain. You order them, you put electrodes on you set up your brain and some place that allegedly is going to achieve the outcome you want, whether it's feeling smarter or having a greater attention or focus or whatever.

[00:11:48.150] – Dr. Willingham

And if you go and look at boards where people aggregate and discuss these effects, some of the things they say are really kind of frightening. I lost my second language. I can't spell anymore. I can't find words and all that is anecdotal as well, but balanced up against the fact that there doesn't seem to be a lot of data to support it. I would kind of steer clear of that. I would go for a walk before I would put an electrode on my head and just kind of zap my brain and hope I was getting the right spot.

[00:12:20.170] – Allan

Yeah, because that's crazy because I'm like looking at you and I don't wear the same hat. We bought a kit. It's like, okay, we're talking about trying to fire off particular neurons, and those are not like big things. They're little bitty things we're trying to find and specify, and we're trying to do it. I guess looking in a mirror.

[00:12:45.070] – Dr. Willingham

The whole thing strikes me just a little bit of a clue, so I would not run and spend however much it is $40. Some of them are quite inexpensive, which might also be a bit of a red flag, I don't know

[00:12:57.300] – Allan

Or the Burns on your head.

[00:12:59.000] – Dr. Willingham

Or those Burns on the head that they talked about as well. I'm just thinking, yes, I'm going to try walking first and see if I get anything from that.

[00:13:06.700] – Dr. Willingham

The other one, though, that you mentioned, is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and you cannot go and order. This is a very pricey thing to do. And they have done some trials with these where they, for example, apply the simulation and people see very transient improvements in how they perform on certain cognitively challenging tasks. And then it's also something that is used for depression, and that is a prescription and a version of it, so that one shows more promise, and there's also a more controlled exposure. You can't order yourself TMS.

[00:13:45.850] – Allan

I think the reality of these things is that you have doctors. If a doctor's working with you to solve a problem and they're using these therapies then they're coming from a place where they do this. They do this every year, every day, every week, and as a result, they have some experience with it. They know what not to do things. And as a result, as a part of a protocol or a treatment, you understand that and say, okay, but if this is something you're trying to do on your own, neither one of these, even if it's accessible, is not necessarily in your best interest.

[00:14:22.200] – Dr. Willingham

Exactly. Again, this is a situation where practice actually does make perfect, just like you get better at doing crossword puzzles and more of those that you do. You're right. Clinicians are going to have a level of expertise and understand how to map the brain and target the right place for something like TMS. That would be. So it would be like trying to cut your own hair almost, you know, to really get to the right place and get the kind of tailoring that you want for it.

[00:14:46.330] – Allan

And then the final one is games. And this one was kind of interesting to me because I've always thought if I learn how to do Sudoku, learn how to maybe play chess or learn a foreign language or those type of things that those stimulations are, there's definitely got to be some benefit to it. But when you get on those games that are specifically for cognitive enhancement and I'll even confess, I went to a doctor and part of his protocol for talking about aging was that he was going to make us cognitively better.

[00:15:20.030] – Allan

And after I played the game that he had me play for half an hour, I just knew if I came back and played that game, I now know things I didn't know going into it the first time that I was probably going to do better at that game just for the sake that I've played it before.

[00:15:36.530] – Allan

People like these games, they feel like you're doing something. But what you've seen out there is that maybe they're not giving us the enhancement that we think they are.

[00:15:46.530] – Dr. Willingham

Yes, they are video games. They are brain games. There are all kinds of things that people said, oh, this is going to give you this kind of globally improved thinking, right? But there are some researchers who have really gone granular with the data from the studies that have been done on these things, and it's a wash. So you don't see what they call far transfer effects away from this precise skill that you're building when you do a crossword puzzle or play chess, for example, one of them just said to me, you play chess because you enjoy it, and that's the best reason to do it.

[00:16:28.790] – Allan

Kind of one of those things of doing the crosswords and just staying a little bit sharp with them because you feel good sitting there on a Sunday doing The New York Times crossword puzzle is actually relaxing. It's comfortable, which being relaxing kind of takes us to the next topic that maybe you feel smarter because you've taken time to destress.

[00:16:49.610] – Dr. Willingham

Yeah, that's a big one.

[00:16:52.550] – Allan

Because I could tell you. Well, I'll tell you when I'm stressed, my brain works like I'm in kindergarten again, it's almost like I become a dumber person. Sorry, but that's not to say it.

[00:17:07.490] – Dr. Willingham

I feel sort of like it's a washing machine in there. Everything is just going to switch around. I can't, like, just capture the thing I'm trying to capture because there's just too much going on. And it is true that stress does do that. This is a cognitive burden on you on top of everything else. And yeah, if you're sitting there and you're doing The New York Times Crossword on a Sunday, and especially if you get that thing completed without cheating at all, you know, you get this little reward and you feel pretty good about yourself and everything feels kind of refreshed. And you took time away from everything else around you just. And that is relief. It lists a burden out of your mind, honed again.

[00:17:50.030] – Allan

Now we own a bed and breakfast. And so this guy came up yesterday and he was in a hurry, and he threw this math puzzle at me real quick. And so here's the deal. Basically, if they charge something on a credit card, I have to charge them 5% to cover the fees. And so he said, okay, well, how much do I'm like $130? He's like, okay. He said, I'll give you $40 in cash. And I said, okay, that's 90 left. And then the 5%. And I said $4.50. But then I sat down on my calculator and I calculated it came up to $3.60. And I'm like, okay. And so I just charged him $3.60.

[00:18:23.410] – Allan

And after he walked away, I was like, okay, I was stressed. I was pressured, and I knew it was $4.50. But then I let my brain turn off because of the stress of getting this guy done quickly, because now I've got to get it in the system. Then I got to charge the credit card. I turned my brain off. Why does stress affect us that way? Like you said, washing machine or for me, it's just I'm an accountant by trade before I became this. And I'm like, the math was in my head. But I didn't believe myself. I had to recalculate and made a mistake and then still didn't pick up on it. After he was gone.

[00:18:59.650] – Dr. Willingham

Right there's, a famous book called, Thinking Fast and Slow by Kahneman (https://amzn.to/3FgA8HM), in which he sort of talked about these two systems. We have. One of them is our snap decision system, and the other one is the more deliberative long-term system. But that second one takes a lot of resources for us to really take time and think through things. And when we're under stress, we kind of just default to that other one that maybe is not as filtered or as deliberative.

[00:19:24.410] – Dr. Willingham

There's a study that they did where people who were overtaxed with a lot of multiple tasks at once, if they were given an option to get some money now or wait a little while, like, a half hour or something and get double the money when they were overtaxed that way, kind of similarly to what you were experiencing, they're just, like, just give it to me. Now. I just don't have time to think about this. And either way, at least I guess I'm getting some money.

[00:19:47.860] – Dr. Willingham

Whereas if you had been deliberative, you're just sitting there doing your New York Times crossword and nothing else you'd be like, yeah, I'm going to wait get double, right?

[00:19:59.870] – Allan

So we've talked about that neurohacking and how that Stuff's not going to work. And obviously the stress is something that all of us are dealing with probably more now than any time in our lifetime with all the things that are going on in the world and more every day. What are some things? And I particularly want to dive into a couple of them. But what are some things that we can do to improve our cognition and effectively tailor our brain?

[00:20:25.490] – Dr. Willingham

Well, you actually mentioned one, and that is an activity that makes you feel better, right? But in the book, across all of the facets of what we do with our brains, I looked at physical activity is a big one. And if you engage in it with somebody else or you get out in nature while you're doing it, you add some dividends to it as well. Now you've got me. I'm thinking like using accounting terms because you mentioned accounting, but those two things feed off of each other and everything that we're doing when we do those kinds of things is we're giving away a little bit of our cognitive burden, right?

[00:21:08.440] – Dr. Willingham

When you do things with your body, when you do physical activity, the physiology that goes on there is, yes, you get more oxygen to your brain. There are some molecules in your brain that you can get higher levels of them that will help you kind of refresh neuronal connections and things like that. But you're also kind of using your body, which if you're having adrenaline from stress and anxiety and things like that helps you kind of fizz that away as well. There are all these things that go on that intersect that relieve that burden in our heads and give us some space to be more clear in our thinking.

[00:21:43.320] – Allan

Yeah. For me, when I was in major stress mode at work, when I was in corporate, it was okay. I got to go throw heavy weights around, go to the gym and just pick up heavy things. My co-host, Rachel, she's a runner. So for her, if she gets stressed, she's probably going to put on her running shoes and go do something long. But if you're looking at the types of exercises that are best for improving cognitive, are there some that are better than others?

[00:22:14.090] – Dr. Willingham

It is really what you just described. I mean, some people really that deep bodywork where you just feel it so deeply, they get a huge benefit out of that. And others get benefit about from the forward motion, along with just kind of, I think being outside and things. I have somebody in my house who has to do both pretty intensively so that their mood feels better for them and they feel kind of more at peace inside their own heads.

[00:22:40.380] – Dr. Willingham

So that's the tailoring part is how much do you do and what kind what the studies do show is it doesn't have to be a ton. It can be pretty moderate kind of according to the recommendations of the public health folks.

[00:22:54.090] – Allan

Okay. So this could be just going for a walk, particularly in nature. It can be doing some yoga, Tai Chi.

[00:23:00.890] – Dr. Willingham

Tai Chi.

[00:23:00.890] – Allan

Okay. There you go.

[00:23:03.470] – Dr. Willingham

Exactly as we get older. It's kind of harder for us to do some of the heavy things, right?

[00:23:09.430] – Allan


[00:23:09.940] – Dr. Willingham

The kind of more strenuous things. I also am in my mid 50s, and that's just kind of been my experience. And so you make adjustments for that. But there are all kinds of physical activities that seem to be effective.

[00:23:22.340] – Allan

Yeah. So this is just another benefit to exercise. So take that to heart, not just looking and feeling better, but actually being a little bit smarter.

[00:23:33.090] – Dr. Willingham

Thinking better, feeling a brain that I think is more comfortable with this.

[00:23:38.270] – Allan

Cool. And then another big one that was in the book that I think we all know this is important, but it used to be really woo-woo. And now it's kind of more mainstream. But mindfulness, and a mindfulness practice. Can you talk a little bit about how that helps us and kind of ways that we can think about using mindfulness to help.

[00:23:58.310] – Dr. Willingham

Right. I came to that as somebody who was a skeptic of it for lots of reasons. And it's a bias that I brought to it. And so one of the reasons I wanted to look at it for this book was, you know, I want to see what the evidence looks like for this. And then I came away. I wrote this book during the pandemic, and I came away using things that I had read about because I was like, oh…

[00:24:24.530] – Dr. Willingham

So I'm a knife when it comes to this kind of thing. And there are practitioners out there who are probably just going, yeah. Duh, right? But for someone like me, it was very effective to learn about that and to find an evidence base for it. What I found was that when you start to get into spiraling thinking, especially sort of self focus and not in a good way. But if you do practices that click you out of that so that you're using kind of an executive function to order yourself around and make yourself do the responsible thing, and you're co-opting your attention network in a really conscious way so that you're directing your attention very consciously that gets you away from those thought processes that are kind of internally and negatively oriented.

[00:25:11.420] – Dr. Willingham

It's been really useful. Spiraling anxiety. I use a lot for that because of what's going on in the world right now. I would almost say for me, it's been kind of life saving in a way good.

[00:25:27.410] – Allan

Dr. Willingham, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest. You can be what are three strategies or tactics to get and stay?

[00:25:35.420] – Dr. Willingham

Well, first of all, you can call me Emily. I should have mentioned that.

[00:25:40.130] – Allan

Now you earned that doctorate. I know that they do not just hand those out. There's a lot that goes into earning that Dr. So no, it's yours.

[00:25:51.120] – Dr. Willingham

I appreciate that acknowledgement. Thank you so much.

[00:25:53.980] – Dr. Willingham

I would say the three things that I took away from this book and that I am using are mindfulness that I really work on just clicking myself back into a moment. I think it helps me for a lot of things, including focus and memory and things like that.

[00:26:10.750] – Dr. Willingham

The other one is social engagement. I'm not an extrovert. So I'm not saying, especially right now that you should go to a big party and hang out with people. I mean, in a sense of that really kind of reciprocal sharing that you have with people with whom you're close and you help each other and you relieve burdens by talking with one another and recognizing each other's emotions and that kind of thing and providing that sort of support.

[00:26:38.650] – Dr. Willingham

And then the last thing is that physical exercise. I actually doubled my walking. I went up from I used to target 3 miles a day, and now I target five or six just because I kind of need more to keep things clear with the way the world is right now and the anxieties that you can have about it. So those are my three that I took away.

[00:26:58.630] – Allan

Great. Thank you. So, Dr. Willingham, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, The Tailored Brain. Where would you like for me to send them?

[00:27:07.500] – Dr. Willingham

They can find me on Twitter at Ejwillingham, and that's probably the best place to start.

[00:27:13.590] – Allan

Okay. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/520, and I'll be sure to have a link to the Twitter account you just mentioned. So thank you so much for that. Thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:27:26.750] – Dr. Willingham

It was really great to talk to you today. I appreciate you having me.

Post Show/Recap

[00:27:37.890] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:27:39.510] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. What a really interesting conversation you had with Dr. Willingham. The brain is such a mysterious organ. It really is.

[00:27:49.050] – Allan

Yeah. As she got into the brain, this is one of the things I think that's cool about this book. If you're interested in learning more about the brain, was she literally mapped the brain out in a similar fashion the way you would actually look at a globe as you start thinking about how the brain works. So she's got the whole world. And then she's got continents and countries and cities and using those as a metaphor for describing the parts of the brain and how the brain works.

[00:28:19.180] – Allan

And there's things that she brought up. I'd always heard, okay, there's the lizard brain, there's the mammal brain, then there's the human aspects of our brain. And she said, it's a lot more complex than that. It's not like there's layers of brain that do these things. It's certain parts of the brain fire. And if something's not working, then your brain can adapt a little bit and fire from different ways. And while they are getting better and better at kind of imaging how the brain works, everybody has a unique, their own thing, brain.

[00:28:52.840] – Allan

And so the way it works for me isn't always the way it works for you and then spend a lot of time talking about intelligence and how all these things, the pills, the electricity and magnetism, the games and all of that. How those biohacks, neurohacks, if you will, don't really, ever bear out. They make you like the games. You can be better at the games. If you do a crossword puzzle, you get better at crossword puzzles, but they've not yet shown where you can take that and take that over to say, okay, you're a smarter person because you did crossword puzzles, or you're a smarter, better person because you play a game where you were doing something, tagging, butterflies, whatever.

[00:29:40.590] – Allan

So there's these things out there, but people will sell them to you. You can buy one of those brain zappers for a couple of $100. Run some electricity through your brain. Maybe you feel better and feel like you learned something. Maybe you learned that you could actually mess up your brain pretty bad running electricity through it like some of the stories she's had in the book. And so just recognizing that really, there's not these quick fixes these little things. And I tried one of the neuro enhancer things.

[00:30:11.330] – Allan

That was just basically, it was not meant for long term. I'm going to be a smarter person. It was just okay. You're going to feel sharper. You're going to be more alert. Nootropics. And blah, blah, blah. I tried it and I felt like maybe it was giving me a little bit of an edge. I was feeling better, felt like I'm thinking better, but at the same time, it just could have been that I was on placebo effect and I don't know any better. And then I just didn't want to spend $90 for this stuff because again, it didn't do that much, $90 worth. But I felt a little bit. But that could have just been there was a stimulant and I was like, I'm awake.

[00:30:54.850] – Rachel


[00:30:55.990] – Allan

Really, when you boil this down with the premise of the total book is of all the things they ever shown that are measurable, measurable, intelligence, measurable, better brain lifespan, everything. It comes down to a few core things. Her favorite was exercise, but there was also sleep, nutrition and stress reduction. And I can tell you today through stress reduction, my brain works a lot better than it did when I was working a corporate job.

[00:31:32.770] – Allan

I can think circles around myself when I had that corporate job because I was chronically stressed all the time and I don't live that way now. And so my brain just works a little bit better. It's a little bit more creative. I mean, I can read a book in a day.

[00:31:53.030] – Rachel

That's awesome.

[00:31:55.670] – Allan

I mean, by reading in a day, I don't mean reading the whole day. I mean, I can literally now 250 page book read it in about four and a half 5 hours. And so yeah, standard kind of work day, taking breaks and a lunch. I get up in the morning, I start reading and 02:00 in the afternoon. I finished reading the book. I send the show plan over to the author and “Boom” done for the day. I had to be able to do that this week because I had five interviews

[00:32:24.830] – Rachel

For sure. Holy cow!

[00:32:26.610] – Allan

Yes, but exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress reduction. If you put those all together, what we're talking about is improving your health, improving your fitness. And so the moral of the story is healthy body, healthy brain.

[00:32:48.950] – Rachel

Yes. And be aware of those snake oil salesmen. Those get rich, quick schemes and train your brain schemes. It's just not proven out. But I think if I were to reorder those helpful tips, I'd start with sleep. Sleep is the most important time for your brain to rest and recover.

[00:33:10.220] – Rachel

And stress reduction cannot be emphasized enough and good food and good movement. I think those are the best ways to keep your whole body healthy, especially your brain.

[00:33:21.680] – Allan

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

[00:33:27.540] – Rachel

Great. Take care, Allan.

[00:33:29.100] – Allan

You too.

[00:33:30.030] – Rachel

Thank you.


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

– Anne Lynch– Eric More– Leigh Tanner
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


How to end the crash and burn cycle of food addiction with Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

Like drugs and alcohol, food addiction is real and because we can't just not eat, we have to go about addressing it differently. Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson shows us how in her book, Rezoom: The Powerful Reframe to End the Crash-and Burn Cycle of Food Addiction.

You can find the full show notes at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/519.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:55.750] – Allan

Ras, how are you doing?

[00:03:58.400] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:04:00.970] – Allan

I'm doing all right. It's been a hectic little week. Last week, I had five interviews. This week, I had Santa Claus duty. Dressing up at Santa Claus at Lula's. And so the kids came in. I think I've got another one on the agenda to do for the Rotary Club. And then both of our daughters got proposed to this week.

[00:04:25.550] – Rachel

Is that right? Congratulations. How exciting.

[00:04:29.950] – Allan

Yeah. One of them just turned 29 and the other is 28, and she'll turn 29 in July. So, yeah, they were getting around that age where I guess you start saying I'm old enough that I'm not a kid anymore. And I'm young enough that I can have kids. So they're right. And I think the sweet spot they should at this point, know themselves pretty well. They seem to like the guys they're with.

[00:04:55.570] – Rachel

Good. That's important. Wow that's so exciting.

[00:05:01.910] – Allan

That'll change.

[00:05:04.850] – Rachel

That's so exciting. What a wonderful time then for both of them. Very exciting. Congratulations to them both.

[00:05:11.330] – Allan

How are you doing?

[00:05:12.680] – Rachel

Great. I'm doing good up here. Enjoying the up and down weather up here in Michigan. Sunny days, a little bit of snow, little bit of rain. You never know what you're going to get. But things are good. I just wrapped up a week of my marathon training plan, had a great week, good runs. It's really been a lot of fun.

[00:05:31.090] – Allan

Well, good. You know, this is also a time of the year where you kind of have to watch your health because the changing weather and everything else kind of beats up your immune system. You're inside a bit more than you normally would be. So we're exposed to a little bit more of this and that. Obviously when those the main virus Corona going around, but cold and flu season and a whole bit. So take care of yourself. Eat well, get plenty of rest and follow the basic protocols.

[00:05:58.820] – Allan

Wash your hands. Avoid sick people.

[00:06:02.270] – Rachel

Yes. Do the best you can.

[00:06:04.910] – Allan

Do the best you can with what you got. All right. Are you ready to have a talk with Susan?

[00:06:10.590] – Rachel



[00:06:50.830] – Allan

Susan, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:53.810] – Susan

Allan, so good to be here with you.

[00:06:56.010] – Allan

So your new book, Rezoom: The Powerful Reframe to End the Crash and Burn Cycle of Food Addiction. And while I scored a three out of your range of how really susceptible I am, just a three with food, there's other things that I wouldn't score as well on. I think this is a really important concept because so many people think of food as just eat better, just eat better, eat less. And for a lot of people, their brain just doesn't work that way. And that's what I thought was really cool about your book.

[00:07:34.540] – Allan

It's like, okay, now let's actually call it what it is, even though clinically, I guess the Association and all those folks, they don't want to call it that

[00:07:45.050] – Susan

Yet. They're going to have to because it is. Right.

[00:07:49.370] – Allan

But the whole point is if we don't treat it the way it needs to be treated. We don't get better.

[00:07:55.500] – Susan

That's right. You can't treat a condition that you don't know that you have or that you refuse to believe that you have. So food addiction is very real. And that's one of the big thrusts of this book it's actually the title of chapter two, food addiction is real. If we don't know that by now, sort of, Hello next live. Look around. Right. And the thing is that I think food addiction these days is an intuitive obvious thing for people, right? Either they experience it or they see people they know who experience cravings, who experience repeated attempts to cut back with no lasting success, who experience unintended use this slippery slope where you intended to eat a little bit, and then you find yourself eating more and more and more who experience real consequences.

[00:08:43.710] – Susan

I mean, 130,000 people in the United States this year prior year, right. Had their leg amputated because of the way they were eating 130,000 people. Now, if that's not shocking enough, 55% of them will have their second leg amputated within two years because having one leg amputated wasn't enough of a cue to cut back on sugar with their type two diabetes. Right. So if you don't think that that's sort of hazardous use or using beyond the beyond, it just it is right. Food is so addictive.

[00:09:17.430] – Susan

So that's what this book is about. And it's about a different approach to managing the treatment or the recovery. Or like, how do you lose weight and handle food addiction in a way that actually works and is actually sustainable? So that's what the book is about.

[00:09:33.380] – Allan

And this is not just some textbook. This is how you treat addiction. This is the way we've always treated addiction. You've lived and breathed addiction, not just food, but other things in your life. And that's where you're coming from in this book. And I really appreciate the opening up the vulnerability that you had to have a book like this where you're saying, no, I'm not some hottie taughty PhD that's going to tell you how to beat addiction. I talk from experience of successes and failure.

[00:10:04.850] – Susan

Yeah, totally. And that's I think why food addiction was so obvious to me. I mean, I knew food addiction was real when I was 21 because I had gotten clean from crack cocaine and Crystal meth. I got clean. Finally, at the age of 20, I spent my teenage years doing drugs and progressing to harder and harder and harder drugs, culminating in dropping out of high school, prostitution and just repeated cycles of going out to prostitute and then going into the Crack house to smoke cracks. So living like that without a place to live except the crack house.

[00:10:36.930] – Susan

Is that's a pretty serious case of addiction? And when I got clean, I never went back to drugs or alcohol after that moment, I just got clean. And yet within a year, my weight had started to pack on. And I was eating in a way that just looked felt and was just like my drug addiction. And food was harder to kick, Allan. That's the creepy thing. Food was harder to kick. I was not able to just kick food the way I had drugs. I mean, obviously you have to eat to live.

[00:11:10.210] – Susan

But there were a lot of things that made food harder. And before I knew it, I was obese and really struggling with food. And my weight has been the story of my life. I mean, I could say, in a way, I started using drugs at the age of 14 already to start to manage my food. I already had a weight problem. I already had a food problem, and that's why I turned to stimulants like Crystal meth to manage my food and my weight problem. So it went all the way back for me.

[00:11:34.530] – Susan

So, yeah, I don't come to this. I do have an academic background. I have the PhD and all that. But that's not the high mountain top from which I speak. I speak from the gutters of, like, here I am eating a pint of ice cream with tears streaming down my face. Why am I doing this again? Kind of place. So I get it at a visceral level.

[00:11:51.750] – Allan

Yeah. And as I said, I went through and I looked at your susceptibility chart and took the quiz and I said, okay, I scored a three, which for food

[00:12:03.380] – Allan

That makes sense for me because..

[00:12:05.120] – Susan

Just so people know on a scale from one to ten, ten is highly susceptible to food addiction. So it's a measure of how susceptible your brain is to food addiction. And, Allan, you're just a three, which means food isn't your thing.

[00:12:16.170] – Allan


[00:12:16.420] – Susan

It either means you're not susceptible to addiction at all, or it means you might be susceptible to other addictions. But food isn't your thing.

[00:12:22.660] – Allan

Right. And so, like I said for me, it was okay if I just say I'm not going to eat dessert. I don't eat dessert, and it's not like I leave that table after I said no to dessert and stop by the convenience store and buy some ice cream to eat at home in private. Because I really sugar. I wanted that sugar. I was addicted to that sugar. I just said no because that was the visual of me being at the dinner table and no one else wants dessert.

[00:12:53.150] – Allan

Why is it so hard for us to beat food addiction?

[00:12:57.230] – Susan

Food is the hardest addiction to kick. And I say that both as a hope to die addict in every way. But also clinically speaking, food has some very unique things about it. First of all, it is socially pushed, like no other drug, not just accepted, but pushed and pushed and pushed. Which means when you're trying to, let's say, abstain from sugar, right? Good luck getting through Thanksgiving or Valentine's Day or whatever without people actually pushing it on you. So that's one challenge you have to eat to live, which you have to eat to live.

[00:13:37.900] – Susan

But you don't have to eat Donuts to live, right? This is one of the things that bright line eating does well, is it helps people figure out the line between what you're eating and not eating, right? When you're an alcoholic. When you're a crack addict, the line is really clear. Don't drink, right? Don't smoke crack. It's not ambiguous. Generally speaking, I mean, with alcohol, Benadryl or whatever. There are some slight NyQuil, whatever. But generally speaking, the line is pretty clear with food. It's a minefield. And I spent eight and a half years after I got cleaned from drugs, trying to figure out where the first bite was.

[00:14:16.660] – Susan

I couldn't tell what I was eating. That was tripping me up, right? And finally I came to sugar and flour. That's what it seems to be. Sugar and flour. It's essentially the processed foods. But if you just abstain from sugar and flour, that's a good demarcation point. But, Allan, I could go on, and probably I should. I just don't want to soliloquise here for ten minutes on you. But there are a couple of other really fascinating reasons why food is harder than any other drug. It is the hardest.

[00:14:44.400] – Susan

It's the hardest.

[00:14:45.140] – Allan

Please do. I want to get into this topic because again, I think if you don't recognize the problem, you'll never find a solution. And if you think just forcing yourself to try something, another diet, another thing, and you don't get to the root cause of why this is so hard, then you're never going to solve the problem, particularly not solve it long term.

[00:15:09.960] – Susan

That's right. And here we are, early January, right. All these people have made resolutions to lose weight is always the number one resolution, and we probably have people listening who've made that resolution before. Right. So here's another reason why food is harder than anything else to kick, and it has to do with something that I think most people lump together with food addiction. But if you think about it, it's actually an entirely separate problem. And so to illustrate, I have an analogy that I like to give.

[00:15:43.470] – Susan

I call it the acne analogy. Imagine the universe, this is just a little thought experiment. Imagine a universe in which drinking alcohol over time caused acne to develop all over your skin and not just acne, but really bad disfiguring acne and not just really bad disfiguring acne, but fatal acne. Acne that research suddenly showed would kill you 10,15, maybe even 20 years before your time. So you learn this, you know this and like people will, because alcohol is fun to party with. Right and relax with, you start to drink, so you start to drink.

[00:16:30.780] – Susan

And at first it's not a problem. You start to develop a little bit of acne, but it's not that bad. And over time you drank more, you develop alcoholism, and the acne comes on hard and fast. So years go on. Your body is now covered with really bad acne, and you know it's going to kill you before your time. You try quitting drinking over and over and over again. You finally succeed, you get sober, but the acne persists. You still have it. And now your job is to figure out what to do with this acne because it's terribly unsightly.

[00:17:06.270] – Susan

You don't want to live with it, and it's going to kill you 5, 10, 20 years before your time. So you go to search for a solution to the acne, and you find one. There actually is only one solution to the acne, and you start to adopt this solution. But the problem is, it's got a side effect, and the side effect is powerfully driving urges to drink alcohol. And so in your life, you get stuck in this loop of drinking alcohol, quitting drinking alcohol, trying to solve the acne problem being driven back to drink alcohol.

[00:17:46.110] – Susan

This is the relationship of food addiction and excess weight. The problem with excess weight is the brain fights prolonged weight loss by driving you to eat, even if you're still maintaining 100 or 200 extra pounds on your body. If you've lost weight over any significant period of time, your brain makes hormonal adjustments to force you to regain weight, and it drives you back to your food addiction. So this is the maddening loop that people get stuck in. And that is, in my opinion, the biggest reason that food is the hardest addiction to kick.

[00:18:25.970] – Allan

Yeah, the hormones are really a big part of this because if you're constantly hungry, then you're going to struggle to stay away from food and then staying away from food makes you constantly hungry. It's a bad cycle. Now, one of the things I really liked about your book was you didn't just jump into a diet or a program and say, this is what you eat. These are your because you did talk about lines, but we're going to get to that. But the first thing we have to get into and we're going to talk about this is that selfwork.

[00:18:57.430] – Allan

That self awareness and not just this casual self awareness of. Oh, great. I have a sugar addiction. It's a much deeper awareness of that at points in time. And I don't mean from a schizophrenia perspective, but we're different people in the fact that at some point in time, the voice in our head is telling us, Well, go ahead and have that doughnut. And then there's another voice in our head, it's the controller. It says, no, you shouldn't have that. And they might be going back and forth.

[00:19:30.630] – Allan

And when they are, we find ourselves now obsessed with thoughts of food because we told ourselves no. And we've also told ourselves, yes. Can we talk a little bit about this parts work and how there's different voices and then kind of go into a couple of examples, like the one I just started about how that works dynamically within our brain.

[00:19:50.450] – Susan

Yes. Totally. Well, just to say, first of all, this perspective on human beings is spreading rapidly because it's so effective. It's called internal family systems, or IFS and more easily called parts work. Like you just referred to it as. And what's so helpful about it is that it allows us to create change really rapidly by relating to these different sort of selves that we all seem to embody. And I'm not talking about dissociative identity disorder or multiple personality disorder. I'm talking about every healthy psyche has multiple parts to it.

[00:20:33.330] – Susan

And this notion goes way back there's Egyptian hieroglyphs that have a parts dialogue on ancient tombs. Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato all talked about parts. Socrates said it best. And actually it pertains to the food idea like that you just mentioned Socrates said one mind cannot both want and not want at the same time. Therefore, we are all at least two. And so just bringing up this idea that there's different parts of us. So in bright line eating, we invoke this parts notion to help people heal at really, really deep levels.

[00:21:18.670] – Susan

Anyone really who wants to be healthy. I would wager even a three on the susceptibility scale of food addiction. Like you, Allan will have developed some version of these parts, the food indulger part and the food controller part. The food indulger says some version of, hey, why not? It's a special occasion. It's an important day or I deserve it. Or I feel like eating or whatever and gives us license to indulge a bit, right? Whatever that means to us.

[00:21:50.750] – Allan

It'S the devil on this shoulder and angel on this shoulder, and they're like, oh, come on. No. You said you were going to do this.

[00:21:59.050] – Susan

And the angel is the food controller that's trying to manage it, right? The food manager, and we have different versions of it. Some people just have a healthy version that's like, you don't want to do that because you'll feel a little yucky tomorrow morning. And, you know, you're getting up early for a run, and some people have a really perfectionistic and wickedly critical food controller that's really mean or really sets up a high standard that's almost impossible to live to, right? Super perfectionistic. But anyway, most of us have some version of that angel on the shoulder.

[00:22:36.990] – Susan

That's saying, no. And what we get into in the book Rezoom is we also introduce people to their authentic self, their highest self. I don't mean self like, ego, self. I mean self, as in grounded, centered self. You know, you're there when you're calm, clear, connected, curious, compassionate, like, in that kind of place, you can make decisions for yourself that are really empowered and not really driven by either of those voices. I think that's a really interesting awareness from this perspective is you're not actually trying to create a world where you're always siding with the angel, with the food controller, you're trying to settle into a truer version of yourself that is actually a step back from the control, right.

[00:23:28.230] – Susan

Anyway. Yeah. It's something we get into in the book a lot is what's the inner work you have to do in order to sort of transcend the war, the polarization between the food indulger and the food controller, because for people who are high on the food addiction susceptibility scale, it has become a full on war.

[00:23:46.990] – Allan

Yeah. And I think that's the key. If you do this self awareness work and you really think about it and it blends into your Rezoom process of okay, why did this happen? What were the voices? Who was I talking to when I did this? And why did I react the way then? You know, it's like, oh, well, I was just being a food rebel because I've been so strict on myself for so long and drill sergeanty, if you will. That okay. I just kind of popped a gasket and said, Damn it, I'm having a piece of pizza didn't kill me, didn't really throw me over the edge.

[00:24:18.800] – Allan

But just enough where I said, okay, maybe I just need to be kinder to myself instead of being so mean and rigid and thinking of myself as bad just for thinking about the pizza because it's creating that dynamic in yourself where either the rebel comes out and you have all these different characters

[00:24:37.430] – Susan

sort of archetypes. Yeah.

[00:24:41.090] – Allan

Who was I when I made this decision? Who was I when this happened? And every one of them and I think this is really important that you say in the book, every one of them is actually looking out for your best interests.

[00:24:53.940] – Allan

They're just doing it from their own paradigm.

[00:24:56.460] – Susan

Right. Totally. And Allan, this is the thing. So on the food addiction susceptibility scale, I'm a ten. And that's not surprising. Maybe hearing my addiction background. But here's the thing, Allan, is for people like me who are much higher on that scale, we're talking seven, eight, nine, tens. Once you get into certain territory on that scale, it might actually be true that the best path to peace to food neutrality, where food thoughts aren't dominating your day to physical health and weight loss. The best path to that might actually be a path that involves some form of abstinence.

[00:25:42.050] – Susan

Right. I abstained from sugar and flour, because when I include them in my diet at all, it's the sort of classic example of addiction. It's the same reason I don't try to smoke one cigarette. I tried that experiment again about four years ago and thus started about two years of trying to quit cigarettes. Quitting restarting again. I don't need to run the one cigarette experiment. It goes badly for me, right. And I just got to say the one cookie experiment goes just as badly. So I don't run that experiment anymore.

[00:26:11.790] – Susan

But the key is that I'm not doing it from a punishing food controller place. And so the Genesis of this book was really how do we present a reframe on food recovery for people who've gotten trapped in a Yoyo dieting cycle or in a food addiction recovery cycle? Because there's a lot of twelve step programs that talk about abstinence from certain foods as well. And people often get trapped in a relapse cycle. And I had gotten trapped in that cycle again myself, after many, many years of peace and being in my bright body, which is like what I call sort of a right sized body without carrying around all sorts of excess fat and stuff like that.

[00:26:53.350] – Susan

I've been there for a long time, and then I got trapped again in a relapse cycle. And coming out of that, I've been out of that for a few years now. Coming out of that, I got the awarenesses that I put into this book. It's a reframe on the perfectionistic tendencies that can naturally go along with an abstinence framework. But the kicker is, for some people, the abstinence is still necessary, right? It still doesn't mean that trying to eat the one piece of pizza for some people is going to be the right thing to do, because if you've run that experiment enough times, you know that for you, it might not work.

[00:27:27.500] – Susan

So this book is for people who are in that category and who need a reframe to get out of the crash and burn cycle because it's very painful.

[00:27:36.330] – Allan

Yeah. Because the quicker you get back on the road, the less damage you've done. I don't want to say the easier, but it just makes it you feel more in control because you didn't completely crash. You're sort of easing yourself back into traffic and moving forward.

[00:27:52.310] – Susan

Totally and this book helps people who have brains more like mine to actually avoid the crash before it happens. Coming from a place of more healing, more self compassion. It's really the shame and the self flagellation on the way to picking up the excess food, right? That accelerates the tragedy of it. And so this book is sort of the prescription of getting off of that horrible cycle altogether.

[00:28:23.570] – Allan

Now, one of the things you do in the book, which I think is really important. I'm a big fan of commitment. I would not have been successful in changing my health and fitness if it didn't start with a commitment to myself. You've done something, I think that's pretty special is you're looking at it from making a daily commitment. So when you wake up because you do have that structure, you do have that abstract mindset. You have these bright lines. And so right now, four, probably you have more because there are others.

[00:28:54.970] – Allan

We'll talk about those. But there are at least four base bright lines. And we're not talking about a line in the sand because a line in the sand you can easily miss over and not see you're talking about bright lines for a daily commitment, you actually write out exactly what you're going to eat the next day each day, and then you're able to report back to yourself on your commitment that I follow through with exactly what I told myself I should do today. Can you talk a little bit about bright lines eating and what the four core ones are and then go into some of the others because I think those can be equally as important.

[00:29:32.930] – Susan

Yeah. So in bright line eating, there are four essential bright lines with the food, and two of them have to do with the substance addiction, right? No sugar, no flour. That's keeping the alcohol, the nicotine, the crack cocaine out of our system, no sugar, no flour. The other two handle the process. Addiction, the behavioral addiction to just eating. And they are meals. So eating just meals, no grazing, no snacking. And typically we start people off three meals a day. There are some exceptions, like people who had bariatric surgery recently can't eat that much food at one meal and that sort of thing.

[00:30:10.590] – Susan

But generally speaking, it's three meals a day and then quantities. So we actually bound our food with a digital food scale. Yes. I weigh my food. And it's so funny because I just had a visitor who is a one on the susceptibility scale, literally a one. And he was visiting my house and we ate all our meals together for a few days. And he just kept talking about how he's like, okay, you told me you weighed your food, but you eat more than I do at every meal.

[00:30:38.340] – Susan

This is like a full grown man. Right. So we're weighing our food not to make for tiny quantities, but actually to make sure that we eat enough of a lot of foods, because people who have a history of dieting typically will not eat enough at each meal unless you make them actually account for it. Those are the four bright lines. A bright line is a legal term. Originally, it just means a clear, unambiguous boundary that you just don't cross. Right. So this is like the bright line that the alcoholic puts up for alcohol, right?

[00:31:09.760] – Susan

I'm just not going to drink no matter what. And then the other things I would count more as habits or behaviors or tools or whatever, like writing down your food the night before. That is a practice that people start when they start doing bright line eating. And, yes, committing it right. In some kind of way. I often recommend people even commit it to someone else, which can be very powerful. Like, this is what I'm eating and then circle around the next 24 hours and say, yes, I ate only in exactly that.

[00:31:35.080] – Susan

And here's what I'm eating tomorrow.

[00:31:38.570] – Allan

Well, that's why we have a ceremony. When we get married, we wear a ring when we get married. That's the public commitment. And you're like, okay, here I am. I'm committed to this relationship, and that's deeper meaning than you just saying to yourself before you go to bed. This is all I'm going to eat tomorrow, and no one else on Earth knows. So it does hold you a little bit more accountable to what you're doing, which again, if you need that support is really important.

[00:32:05.210] – Allan

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?

[00:32:16.910] – Susan

Oh, my gosh. Say it again. You define wellness as being the healthiest,  fittest

[00:32:23.570] – Allan

healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be

[00:32:25.990] – Susan

Healthiest, fittest, happiest.

[00:32:28.170] – Allan

In my mind, you have to have all three.

[00:32:30.710] – Susan

All right. Healthiest, fittest, happiest. So I'll just share from my expertise, right. Because I'm sure people come on here and can say all kinds of things. Anyone can sort of spout off on that. But from my vantage point, one of the big ones is going to be look at and honestly face the amount of food addiction that you actually have on board with the brain you've got right now. Like, assess it like, Allan, you took the quiz, right? People should take the quiz, find out what kind of brain they've got, because if you're a one, two or three, it's a whole different ballgame.

[00:33:08.270] – Susan

Right? You don't need to worry about a little bit of sugar. You can have that recover really quickly. And absolutely. Research shows that being 90% to 95% true to a food plan is enough, right? When you're higher on the scale, that little bit of sugar turns into more and more, and also creates a lot of psychological chatter where you're thinking about what you've eaten or not eating, whether you're on your plan or off your plan, how many miles, how many calories, how many pounds to burn off that thing that you just ate in?

[00:33:37.080] – Susan

That's a state of mind that is not. Well, that's not healthy, right? That's not happy. It may or may not be fit, but it's definitely not healthy and it's not happy. So there's one right there. Like take a look. And if people want to take the quiz, they can go to Foodaddictionquiz.com. Foodaddictionquiz.com. So acknowledge however much food addiction you have on board, because it really does change the landscape of the type of food approach that will work for you. If you're trying to be well, you're trying to be fit and you're trying to be healthy.

[00:34:09.320] – Susan

Everyone who's trying to be fit knows that you can't out exercise a bad diet. Right. And if the diet piece is the piece that keeps slipping in your wellness regimen, take a look at that. And Allan, I don't know if we're going to have time to talk about it, but I just want to say because this is a podcast for people over a certain age, right? Is that sort of theme?

[00:34:29.640] – Allan

over 40. Yes.

[00:34:31.080] – Susan

All right. Well, maybe let me just mention it now, if I may. When you're over 40 and especially over 50, your diet impacts your body differently. And this is true whether you're male or female. And the reason is lowering estrogen. And as your estrogen becomes more probabilistic and lower, this is true for men, too. Don't be fooled. It's not just men have testosterone, women have estrogen, men and women have both. And as your estrogen goes down, you stop getting the synergistic and protective effects it has on your insulin response.

[00:35:10.630] – Susan

And that means that your body now responds very differently to the junk food that you might be eating. You don't get away with it anymore, and that is the source of the weight creep in the middle that people experience past a certain age. Now, we did a research study that we published in a peer reviewed scientific outlet that showed that doing bright line eating, which means eliminating sugar and flour on our program. In the first two months, people at every age category lost an equivalent amount of weight, which means that this type of approach to eating turned a 60 year old woman's body into a 30 or 20 year old woman's body.

[00:35:48.300] – Susan

Which is shocking, but just saying the older you get, the more you need to acknowledge the amount that the degree to which addiction to certain processed foods might be playing. Right. So there's that.

[00:36:02.510] – Susan

The second thing I would say is really note your meal timing in relation to your circadian rhythm. So here's something that I used to experience. I'm a night owl by Constitution like wickedly so. Like, left to my own devices. I'm up till three, four or five in the morning and I'm sleeping past noon every day since I started eating this way, which I did 18 years ago.

[00:36:26.660] – Susan

I've been eating this way now since I was 28 years old. I'm 47 now it's 18 years that I've been eating this way. I now go to bed and I'm like eyes drooping full melatonin at 09:00 p.m. Like last night I went to bed, I went to sleep at 08:39 p.m. And I was up easily at five. But I'm not that way constitutionally. The difference is I started changing my meal time since I started eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. It turns out that the timing of your meal has as big or a bigger impact on your circadian rhythm as light exposure.

[00:37:05.430] – Susan

So don't be fooled. Any calories you're putting into your system after dinner, they're mucking up your circadian rhythm. So really consider returning to breakfast, lunch and dinner, or at least watching your meal timing as it relates to your circadian rhythm. That also had a huge impact on my mood by giving up sugar and flour and changing my meal times the way I have. I used to have clinical depression really badly and I don't have it anymore. And then the third thing I think is make sure that you feel deeply supported and connected in life.

[00:37:43.370] – Susan

I used to teach, so I'm still a professor at the University of Rochester, but I don't teach as much anymore because I do so much research and with this bright line eating thing. But I used to teach positive psychology at the College level. And a few years ago researchers discovered that human connection is more potent for well being than the combination of diet and exercise put together. That's how important it is to not feel lonely. It's so important to be well supported and connected. And if you think you're an introvert, just saying in the book Rezoom, we've got a category or a part called the Isolator, right?

[00:38:23.980] – Susan

Which is different than healthy alone time. Introverts and all people really need a healthy amount of alone time. Isolation is a different thing. Isolation is keeping yourself from support that would actually be helpful. And research shows that introverts and extroverts alike experience the same degree of uplift when they add something to their schedule, like lunch with a good friend once a week. Right. So introverts just need fewer people and fewer superficial connections, but a few deep ones are absolutely necessary. So however you roll, just make sure that you would answer, oh heck yeah.

[00:39:02.010] – Susan

To a question like right now in your life, are you feeling deeply supported and connected? Those are my three.

[00:39:09.510] – Allan

Thank you, Doctor. If someone wanted to learn more about you or learn more about the book, Rezoom or your program bright lines Eating, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:39:20.690] – Susan

I would say probably the first step would be to take that quiz, go to foodaddictionquiz.com, but also Bright Line eating (brightlineeating.com) and you can get started with Bright Line eating for just $20 a month. So if you just want to give it a try and see, you were mentioning hunger earlier. We publish findings in the Journal of Nutrition and Weight Loss. Two years out, people haven't regained any of their weight. It's shocking the results that we're getting around here.

[00:39:54.070] – Susan

But also within the first two months, people's hunger and food cravings have gone away completely on our program. On average, literally hunger and craving levels down to below one and a half out of five. Like little to no hunger or cravings anymore ever. So. Yeah, brightlineeating.com people can give it a try for just $20 a month. It's probably the best deal in weight loss.

[00:40:15.270] – Allan

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/519. And I'll be sure to have the links there. So, Dr. Thompson, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:40:26.190] – Susan

Thank you so much, Allan. It's been a pleasure.

Post Show/Recap

[00:40:35.950] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:40:37.580] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, what a really fascinating interview you had with Susan. I'm really excited to get the chance to talk about food addiction because it's something a little bit different than your standard dieting type situation.

[00:40:51.850] – Allan

Yeah, I've had people on we've talked about how food can be used as kind of this emotional bridge, if you will, a best friend, something that takes the pain away. And I've never felt that compulsion with food as using food to do that adrenaline absolutely. I'll do something crazy, like jump off a building or something like that.

[00:41:23.050] – Rachel

No, thank you.

[00:41:28.370] – Allan

Select certain number of people that are susceptible to food actually becoming a problem if they're using it for the wrong reasons. And you and I were talking before we got on here, you took the quiz that I took and encouraged people to get out there and try it. I was a three. You were a two, and it's this self awareness thing. What is your relationship with food? And you really have to break that down to a core component of what does food mean to me. Now, I know you and I, we think it's fuel.

[00:42:10.140] – Allan

We're going to go for a run. It's fuel. And there's food that I just love that I know I'll eat more of than I should or that I need, especially when I can't get them all the time and then they're available. I kind of go a little bit overboard on it, but it's not that kind of food. It's pretty much moved away from the sugars and that. But I never really was. I would say I might have been addicted to bread, but the only reason I say that is when I went paleo the first time I would have dreams about bread.

[00:42:54.670] – Rachel

Wow, that's interesting.

[00:42:56.580] – Allan

Like smelling it, like in my sleep someone was cooking bread and I could smell it in the oven and just dreaming about bread. And I thought, this is so weird. I quit bread a week ago and I'm dreaming about bread. So maybe there was a little something there with bread. I don't know, but talk a little bit about from your experience, because again, you're too. So that's not how you look at food?

[00:43:23.980] – Rachel

No. Like you said, I definitely look at food as fuel. And I'm aware of the addictive nature of my personality, and I say potential addictive nature. When I was a kid, my grandmother, who I love and adore and respect and was crushed when she died from breast cancer. She was a smoker. And whenever we went to her house, her curtains and her couches and the blankets on her couch, everything reeked of cigarette smoke. When we drove in a car, she would smoke in the car. And even in the dead of winter, it could be 20 below.

[00:44:03.840] – Rachel

I just needed that little bit of window down so I could get some fresh air to get some relief. That smell was just so overpowering and influential to me that I knew I would never want to smoke ever in all of my life. And to this day, I've never even tried cigarettes or any other thing that you might smoke. I've never done it because I was so repulsed by that. But people who smoke it's an addiction. It's like Susan mentioned, she had a more serious drug addiction than cigarettes, but there is an addictive part to that whole thing.

[00:44:40.170] – Rachel

And I can see how food can become similar, whether you're physically in need of having that sugar rush, because, you know, carbs and sugar can be very addicting. Or is it more of her personality? Like Susan mentioned, she had a drug addiction. She replaced that compulsion with food. So there's something to that personality component as well. But being aware of that, having that self awareness like you mentioned, food never crossed my radar as being something that I was compelled to have. I don't hide food in my pantry and eat it later in the closet.

[00:45:18.560] – Rachel

Although the one thing I will admit to is coffee. If anybody knows me, I am a definite coffee addict. I have it every day. But even with that, I know that I don't have to have it to live. If I woke up tomorrow and was camping, like when I go to Isle Royal next year and I can't have my pureed coffee pot with me. I know I could go a couple of days without having it. I know I'll have some consequences, but it's a different type of addiction than I think sugar or flour is, like Susan had mentioned.

[00:45:52.990] – Allan

And we've had guests on Rosie was on, and the woman Cheryl was Sharon. I've had a couple of guests on that really had emotional, deep issues with food and the way they thought about their body, the way they thought about their food. And it was that relationship with food that was the problem. And so as you go through self awareness of your journey in health and fitness, it's critical for you to have that conversation with yourself and say, what kind of relationship do I have with food?

[00:46:35.010] – Allan

And why would I feel compelled if I went to the grocery store to go down the cookie aisle when I know that the cookie aisle is just not going to serve me in what I need for what I'm trying to do? And so as you look at that, if you feel compelled or take the test to probably give you some information there. But most of us, if we take a moment and we're honest, we can say I am a moderation person or I'm an all or none person.

[00:47:05.760] – Allan

And I can tell you I am an all or none person. Even though I scored very low on that test, it was really because it was just related to food. And I can say no to any food, and I can have a little of something and then not have any more. But there are other things that I'm all or none. And when it's all, I mean all until it's all gone, that kind of thing. And maybe I used to be with that. Like I talked about Girl Scout cookies, and I'd buy the thin ments, and the box would be gone the first day.

[00:47:43.690] – Allan

even if I was trying to be good, I'd go to the grocery store and go to the freezer because we'd put them in the freezer and I would take a serving, which I think was like three cookies and I'd eat a serving. And then I'd go sit down. I'd eat the three cookies. I'd get back up. I'd walk there, I'd get another three cookies and go sit down. And then I'm just standing in the freezer eating the rest of the cookies.

[00:48:05.630] – Rachel

Wrap them up, finish off, can't eat any if they're not there.

[00:48:09.800] – Allan

Yeah. And so I had to come up with some strategies that worked for Girl Scout cookies until it was just a point where I no longer thought of Girl Scout cookies as something that I needed. I actually would give the Girl Scout money and not take the cookies.

[00:48:25.170] – Rachel

Sure, that's wonderful.

[00:48:26.380] – Allan

I just say, okay, you're trying to raise money. I get it. Back then, okay. Again, to kind of date. This is a box of cookies was like 250. Someone's telling me that they're like $5 because I don't stop by the booth anymore if I came out of a grocery store in the United States in February, which I haven't done in three years. But you walk by. They're there and wants cookies here's 250. No, just buy yourself a box or give a box away or whatever. And then I just move on.

[00:48:58.470] – Allan

So this is a very important concept, and that self awareness is critical. Otherwise you're setting yourself up to fail because this stuff is everywhere. It is the flour and the sugar is in every single thing out there. It's just almost impossible to avoid. And there are going to be times when you go in and you're like, okay, I want something to eat. And what's this? How is it prepared? It's breaded. It's like, okay, can you make it not breaded? And sometimes they can. Sometimes they can't.

[00:49:31.030] – Allan

But then even then, there's sugar in the sauce or there's this and that. It's really hard to avoid these foods. And if they trigger you, like, Susan said she tried to smoke a cigarette, just one. And then, boom, she was right back to smoking, and it was just really she knows she can't even have a little bit or she's going to go off. And if that's you, then you have to be honest with yourself. And yes, cold Turkey, you're out. There is no moderation. There is no trying it. There is no detour with this stuff.

[00:50:08.980] – Allan

It's all or none. And you have to get that into your head if you care about your health and fitness.

[00:50:17.230] – Rachel

Susan mentioned the word abstinence, and I just want to keep that word in bold prints right front and center, because for some people, abstinence is absolutely necessary. And for her, with her type of an addiction, personality or physical addiction to food, she cannot allow herself a bite of sugar or a bite of flour because that could send her back down the spiral to where she was overweight and unhappy. And I think that there are a lot of people out there that need to come to terms with that word abstinence.

[00:50:49.870] – Rachel

For people like you or me moderation, we can live with that. We can have a couple of Girl Scout cookies and then wait until next season when Girl Scout cookies are sold again. But for people who have more of an addictive personality or that physical need for food, chips are in the grocery store every day. Cookies are in the grocery store every day. And sometimes abstinence would be the tool, the main tool to break that habit. I just want to keep that front and center.

[00:51:19.770] – Allan

And there's a reason in these grocery stores in these convenience stores that things are where they are. If you want to walk down to the milk aisle, you're probably going to have to walk through an aisle that's going to have sugar laden foods or chips or something. And you're going to turn around when you stop to buy something like bottled water. And there's the chips. And it's literally set up that way you get up to the counter and there's on both sides, candy lining both rows. But it's done on purpose.

[00:51:51.850] – Allan

They study that stuff. They literally studied the traffic flow and optimize their sales. They're putting that stuff in your way. So you see it, and then you buy it. Yeah. So you have to know yourself. You have to go back to your commitment. And if you do that, then yes, abstinence. And it's that point of saying abstinence is the only way. And then you have that relationship with yourself, and you have to say, okay, I'm not going to cheat. And you wouldn't cheat on your relationship and say, oh, that person looks really fine.

[00:52:27.400] – Allan

I'm going to go do that. No, you don't. But you have to have the same self love. You have to have the same self awareness and not put yourself in those situations if you don't need to be. And most of us, if we're trying to lose weight, trying to get more fit, we don't need that stuff.

[00:52:46.150] – Rachel

Absolutely. Yeah. You said the other word that I would like to highlight and bold. And that's commitment. And whether you're committed to moderation or committed to abstinence or whatever it is, just be committed to yourself for sure and make the best choices for you.

[00:53:01.420] – Allan

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

[00:53:03.750] – Rachel

Take care.

[00:53:04.700] – Allan


[00:53:05.320] – Rachel

Bye now.


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Another episode you may enjoy


December 27, 2021

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Tara Garrison breaks out of the tribalism of keto forever with her motto, Do Keto. Not Forever. On this episode, we discuss her book, Short-Term Keto.



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Let's Say Hello

[00:04:14.130] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are things?

[00:04:15.970] – Rachel

Good. How are you today, Allan?

[00:04:17.870] – Allan

I'm doing all right. Really interesting weekend.

[00:04:21.530] – Rachel


[00:04:24.330] – Allan

We had our Christmas parade here. So you're listening to this? It's just now past Christmas, but we're recording this a couple of weeks in advance, and we had the Christmas parade. And one of the things that kind of came about, and I was sort of side-swiped by this is my wife decided that I was going to wear a Santa suit and sit in the back of her golf cart and pass out candy and toys to the kids. And it was insane. Thousands of kids out there screaming “Santa! It's Santa!”

[00:04:59.130] – Allan

And then they're sitting on my lap and I'm taking pictures.

[00:05:02.910] – Rachel

How sweet. That's so cool.

[00:05:05.680] – Allan

It was just bizarre. I'll post a picture on the Facebook group. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group, and you'll see a picture of me sitting in the back of a golf cart as Santa.

[00:05:20.250] – Allan

And then the parade. We were told to get there at a certain time, and they weren't even ready to near ready to start that thing until about 2 hours later. And then we're on the parade for over an hour, and I was like, okay, I've got to go to the bathroom, so I hopped out and I'm running.

[00:05:34.500] – Allan

So you got to stand on running through the streets to get to the bathroom. And then I got to go run back and find where we are in this parade to get back on the golf cart. So some funny moments. And you walk into a place that everybody knows me. Except now I'm dressed like Santa. And as soon as I get close and they start to recognize me, I say, “Don't say a word. Don't.”

[00:05:55.170] – Rachel

That's so sweet. That's Wonderful.

[00:05:58.050] – Allan

So not something I expected, but I did the best Santa I could.

[00:06:03.190] – Rachel

That's awesome. What a fun weekend.

[00:06:05.610] – Allan

So how are things with you?

[00:06:07.320] – Rachel

Good. Really good. I'm pretty excited today. I just hired a trainer to help me get through a marathon. I've got a spring marathon already scheduled, and I've been thinking about it for a while, and I thought, you know, I do want to set a goal time for this full marathon, and I think a trainer is going to help me see my training in a whole new light. So I'm pretty excited to get started with her real soon.

[00:06:32.120] – Allan

Yeah. Is this one you've run before?

[00:06:34.350] – Rachel

No, it'll be a new marathon. It's actually one of the two runcations I've already scheduled for next year, and it's the St. Louis Marathon, and that will be in early April.

[00:06:45.270] – Allan

Ok. So based on what you know, of that course, is it similar to one you've run before?

[00:06:49.840] – Rachel

Actually, I don't have a profile yet. There's not a profile on their website that I found yet, but I'm asking around, so I'm hoping to get some insight. I hear it's hilly in that area, but I don't anticipate it being crazy hilly.

[00:07:06.400] – Allan

Yeah, but that's going to help set your expectations if you go into it. And this thing's, like Big Sur. You're like that was not what I was expecting. And then you get there. So you're not really that satisfied with your training and your time. But yeah, because if you're going to run hills, you need to do a little bit of training on hills, just know that you're getting the best you can out of your training. So I'll be interested to hear how this all goes about, because having a coach, that's what a lot of people don't recognize is how beneficial having someone there that knows the ropes, that knows what's going on to just kind of push you a little harder.

[00:07:44.250] – Allan

And yes, as a coach, at times, I hire coaches and you hire coaches, and that's what we do because we want to win. We want to do better, even if winning is just winning being better at ourselves.

[00:07:56.640] – Rachel

Sure. Sometimes it's nice to have another set of eyes on what I'm doing and how I'm progressing. It'll be interesting to see I'm sure she will push me harder than what I might push myself. And I'll have some solid accountability, too. So it should be really interesting to see how this plays out.

[00:08:15.890] – Allan

Good. And I'm pretty excited. I'm launching my new program in January, Win at Weight Loss, and you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/win and get on the waitlist for that. There are going to be limited slots because I can only handle so many clients. I don't pass my clients off to anybody else. I handle each and every one of them. This is a program, a six week program that basically teaches you everything you need to know for yourself, for your body.

[00:08:49.220] – Allan

This is not a cookie cutter, here's the four things I want you to do. I've done those before, but for most people, yeah, it works. But a lot of people, they need more. They need that next step because they plateau and they stop and it doesn't work. And so when things stop working, you need tools to get through that as well. So that's what this 6-week program win. It weight loss is. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/win. And you can get on the list. And then we'll have a conversation to see if this program is right for you.

[00:09:21.370] – Rachel

That sounds awesome. It'll be great. Good luck to everybody who signs up. Do it quick.

[00:09:26.730] – Allan

Please. Yeah. Because once I get to a number, I'm like that's all I can handle. I will have to turn that off. And then the waitlist won't be for January. It'll likely be for April. So just realize now I'm going to do these in classes or cohorts if you will. So we'll go through with a group of people, and then I'll be done. And then I'll maybe start another one. But they're going to be points of the year where I just take time off.

[00:09:49.020] – Allan

So if you miss this one, it's going to be probably two, three, four months before I do another one. And so you want to get into this one while the iron strike while the iron is hot, if you will.

[00:09:59.060] – Rachel

That's right. Do it.

[00:10:00.250] – Rachel

All right. Tara is a coach, and she was a Keto coach until she decided that maybe keto wasn't the right way for her to manage her health long-term? Are you ready to talk about Short-Term Keto with Tara Garrison?

[00:10:16.890] – Rachel



[00:11:12.750] – Allan

Tara, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:11:15.190] – Tara

Yeah. Thanks for having me excited to be here.

[00:11:17.470] – Allan

So we're going to talk about your book, Short-Term Keto: A Four Week Plan to Find Your Unique Carb Threshold. And what I like about this. And it's what I tell a lot of people because, like, oh, you do Keto, but you don't do it all the time. Why don't you do it all the time? All the other Keto guys, they want to do it all the time, and you say I'm going to do it.

[00:11:37.590] – Allan

I told you, who's going to bark?

[00:11:40.230] – Tara

He's like, on camera. It's my time to shine.

[00:11:44.310] – Allan

Yes, it's my time to shine. So sorry about that. But I'm going to leave that in.

[00:11:51.570] – Allan

But the principle of this is that I look at and similar to you, I think look at keto as a tool.

[00:11:58.830] – Tara

Yeah, absolutely. And a powerful one. Short-term keto. I don't know if I'm jumping ahead.

[00:12:06.580] – Allan

No. Yeah. Go ahead.

[00:12:08.610] – Tara

Short-term keto. I've had a program for many years now called Keto In and Out, right? That was a precursor to this book. And really what it was born out of was seeing what a powerful tool Keto is in our day and age pretty much. I'm not going to say everybody should do keto, because I definitely have times, I just told a woman yesterday I'm like, I don't really don't think you need to do keto. I already think you're metabolically flexible, you're thin, you're healthy, you're thriving. I don't see any for it.

[00:12:39.040] – Tara

But most of us, we literally get into our car. We, like, sit down in a seat while we're still in our house. Like our garage is still our house. We sit in a seat, we drive to the grocery store and we sit in a seat, come back and we have endless access to food. And guess what happens over time at that lifestyle very sedentary and overeating. We are not forced to be in a situation in which our bodies need to run off their own body fat for fuel.

[00:13:05.340] – Tara

But if we lived in the wild and this is where it kind of gets to what you're saying here about not always being if we lived in the wild, if we lived in nature, which unless things go real bad in the next few years here, which hopefully they don't. But most likely we're not ever going to be in that situation again. We're just living out in the woods and trying to hunt for food. But that is our natural state. That is what our bodies. That's what they evolved upon over many thousands of years was not always having endless access to food and having to move even when you don't really feel like it so that you can have food. And guess what happens as a result of that, our bodies would go into ketosis naturally.

[00:13:46.740] – Tara

So what does this mean? It means when you run out of enough incoming carbohydrate to support your bodily functions, your body will turn your own body fat. Or now it's dietary fat often because we have so much food available to us. But your body will turn fat into these things called ketones. And you will run off of those as your energy source. And so many cool things happen in our bodies. As a result of that, we drop inflammation. It's more easy for us to focus. Without food, we can go longer without food without feeling hangry and angry and shaky and hypoglycemic. And all of these things.

[00:14:21.450] – Tara

Gut healing benefits. It's really powerful for the body. Our brain gets a boost. They go through our blood brain barrier. We have more mental energy, and some people hypothesize that maybe that was to help us go hunt and find more food. You know, we want to be mentally clear. So we don't do this. Why would you do this? Why would you do this? Why would you, like sit there and be uncomfortably hungry and you have everything you could ever imagine sitting in your pantry just waiting for you to eat it.

[00:14:45.710] – Tara

We're just not going to because we don't have to. Here comes keto. This intervention in which all we do is intentionally remove most of the carbohydrates from our diet, and we get this adaptation in our body. To me, the point is the adaptation and going back to this living in nature analogy, like, if you're freaking starving and you're living out in nature and you come across whatever food, whether that's potatoes or berries or whatever or animal, you're just going to eat whatever you can. Right.

[00:15:18.040] – Tara

And so a lot of people get in the mentality of carbs are bad for you. And carbs make you fat. And it's like, no, it's just an abundance and over consumption of carbohydrates all the time in which your body never, ever gets to explore this other half of its capacity, which is ketosis that can become, quote, unquote bad for you over time, because now you are kind of dependent on glucose for energy and you get hangry and shaky and all of these things if you don't have it. So keto is a powerful tool that allows us to come in and get our metabolism to be doing what it was always meant to do in the first place.

[00:15:55.770] – Allan

I do something I call Seasonal Ketosis. And so it's basically I know there's seasons of the years when I'm going to want to eat certain things or drink certain things and do certain things, usually around the holidays and football season and that kind of thing. And so I was just like, okay, I can be in ketosis. And I feel great in ketosis. But I was like, I don't want to live my life this way 24/7. So I would cycle out, and then I would cycle back in.

[00:16:24.170] – Allan

And what I found was for me, it works very well. And then I've had other people that I've worked with, and they can't necessarily bring back the carbs because the way they process carbs and the way they eat carbs just doesn't work. Can we talk a little bit about this bio-individuality I've heard used. Why are some of us wired to be fine with keto most of the time? And then others were wired more with the threshold of being able to take in more carbs?

[00:16:57.030] – Tara

Yeah, that's a great question. Any good nutrition coach, I think they're first going to want to know, where are we starting? What's going on? What's the starting point? And so if you have let's say, for example, you have type II diabetes. I'm not recommending that you bring carbs back in. Actually, the research is kind of starting to shift over the years. We used to say this is not we're not healing type II diabetes with this, we're just managing it depending on how far progressive is. We're seeing that it might be possible, at least to be able to increase the carb threshold a little bit. But we're talking years of doing keto, right.

[00:17:36.500] – Tara

So if you have prediabetes type II diabetes, you're using keto to manage something like epilepsy or some sort of therapeutic approach. It might be a long-term thing for you. For women who are perimenopausal or post menopausal, they may have higher estrogens, and that doesn't mean that they have to just live with that and be like that forever. A lot of things can be changed and shifted. But I'm saying if that's where you're starting, you might need to be keto for a long time.

[00:18:06.730] – Tara

If you're very obese, I'm just blunt with it, the more obese you are, more likely, the better keto is going to work for you, because that means you likely are not metabolically flexible. Your body has a hard time going into its own fat source and using that for fuel without you becoming extremely uncomfortable and hungry and cravings and all those things. So you do something like keto, you might do it for years. There's so many different things that could be happening in the body to cause this.

[00:18:33.920] – Tara

There's even DNA. I do DNA work with my clients. There's even predispositions that certain people have to have less normal, like impaired glucose metabolism. Right. We look at people with Alzheimer's. If you have Alzheimer's in your family, you may be possibly have some genetic predispositions to not manage glucose as well. A lot of these things can be completely changed by lifestyle, right. But it takes time.

[00:19:01.830] – Tara

And then I've had clients where they're extremely fit. They're extremely active. Their blood sugar regulation is great. They have good muscle mass. They're already quote unquote fat adapted, meaning their body can run off fat just as well as carbs. They might not even need to do keto. Everyone doesn't need to do it. And then there are some people that actually really it's probably going to be a life changing intervention for them.

[00:19:26.060] – Tara

And so I would say that the biggest hitters are if you have high blood sugar, this is going to be a winner-winner chicken dinner for you. It's just for me, people who they feel like finally, because when you have blood sugar cravings for food and your body is saying you're going to die if you don't eat like something sugary right now because it doesn't know how to go into ketosis.

[00:19:50.190] – Tara

It's pretty much it that's going to be a life changing experience for you left in your satiation hormone goes up. That's life changing for people. I've had clients that are 400 pounds plus and just lost hundreds of pounds, it's life changing for them, so it really depends on where your starting point is and for the sake of time, I won't go too far into that, but we go into detail on that of reasons you might want to try to do keto and possibly do it longer term in my book.


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[00:22:02.790] – Allan

And then the other side of it because I work with clients too, and we'll go low carb with their eating and they feel really good. They're losing the weight 40 lbs, 50 lbs gone and they feel great. And they're like, this is incredible. And then they're like, but I want to introduce carbs, but I'm afraid.

[00:22:20.020] – Tara


[00:22:20.830] – Allan

So what are some signs? They're like, this works so well, but they're like, I know a holiday, I know a vacation is coming. We're going to Disney. We're doing this and it's like, can I? And I'm like, Well, you need permission first, right? I know you have some signs, okay. It's probably okay for you to start reintroducing carbs.

[00:22:41.410] – Tara

Yeah. I love this question. This is one of the main reasons I even started talking about this at the time in 2018, when I started sharing this message, kind of developed this little tagline of ‘Do Keto. Not Forever.'

[00:22:52.170] – Tara

That was very rebellious of me. Very. Because I was very involved in the leaders of the keto movement, where all my friends and colleagues and this was just like an abomination at that time. In 2018, keto was like, the end. All be all. If you are a smart person, you understand that ketones are better than glucose and like that was just the mentality.

[00:23:12.780] – Tara

And I had recently gotten off of keto, so I came into it very lean, very athletic. I just qualified for the Boston Marathon, was lifting weights. Did keto. I appreciated some of the benefits that I got in terms of mental clarity. I think I needed a little more fat, so just hormonally felt better. I could go longer between meals, which was super cool without feeling hungry. I really got tapped into physiological hunger versus blood sugar hunger. And that was cool. But for me personally, I lost muscle and gained body fat.

[00:23:43.980] – Tara

And at the time I was dating one of the leaders of the keto movement, so I know I was optimizing it. I'm a trainer and nutritionist myself, but my body just wasn't loving it from a body composition or athletic performance perspective. And I had just brought carbs back in and everything was going back up for me. And I still maintained those benefits that I had received during keto. I've been able to go between meals for a long time. And so here I was like talking to all these women at conferences and they're terrified of carbohydrates, right?

[00:24:11.000] – Tara

They're terrified. They've been taught these will make you fat. These will inflame you. Even people saying they're going to kill you. There's like a lot of fear. And the clients that I've worked with. Sometimes my clients come to me and they've lost over 100 lbs on keto already. And I'm like the carb savior or something because I teach the message. They're like, Girl, are you serious? Are you telling me I can really have carbohydrates again? Because I'm terrified. And what I like to tell people is like if you've experienced a big weight loss on keto, remember that you are not in the same body right now that you started with.

[00:24:41.510] – Tara

It's hard emotionally for us to get there sometimes, right? We still see ourselves as a 200, 300, 400 pound person, but you're not. You lost 200 lbs. You lost 100 lbs. Your body is different now. The physiological processes are different. So what I say is, look, check your blood sugar management when you wake up in the morning. If you're under 90 in the morning, even if you ate some carbs the day before, that's a really good sign that you've achieved better blood sugar management. If you're starting to just gain weight back, maybe you've turned into lazy keto and you're not actually in ketosis anymore and you're gaining weight back.

[00:25:15.820] – Tara

You're just not feeling as good. You're not getting the same results because once your blood sugar management is good, you're not going to get the same drastic result from keto that you did when your blood sugar was poor. If your sleep isn't good, if you feel like you're crying a lot like that could be low serotonin. If your gut health isn't good, you just chronically have watery stools or constipation. Those are all signs that maybe it's time to just explore bringing cars back in.

[00:25:39.580] – Tara

And I just want to say one thing real quick. And that is please remember that when you first bring carbs back in, your insulin response will not be as high. And we've seen that is a rat study. But for about two weeks after getting off keto and bringing carbs back in, you may have higher blood sugar spikes than you would after those two weeks are over. Once your body gets regulated on how much insulin to produce, I say that because so many people, they're like, I try to eat one carb and my blood sugar shot through the roof.

[00:26:07.280] – Tara

I'm like, I know that's because you've been keto for so long. I've had times when I was keto and I ate carbs, and I literally fell asleep like I was in a coma. And so it's that please remember that. And the types of carbohydrates you eat are super important as well, and make a tremendous difference.

[00:26:25.080] – Allan

Yeah. Because just like, we often have that problem, they call it keto flu. I call it carb withdrawals. When you go into ketosis about a two week period of time that your body is trying to figure out. Whoa, what is this way of eating? What's going on here? Why don't I have this? It works the other way when you're trying to go back in. It's like, okay, Whoa. I've got a sugar rush just having a little bit of ice cream or a cookie,

[00:26:50.980] – Tara


[00:26:51.490] – Allan

Whoa. Where did that come from? And then your body will adapt, and we get this metabolic flexibility, where our body is able to easier go back and forth. If you said, okay, I'm going to take the weekend off or take a month off, and I'm going to go and start reintroducing carbs, and then it's not really what you want. It's not really working out. You're not feeling it. Then you just do that transition back. And it's actually not hard. It's not as hard as it was the first time.

[00:27:18.520] – Tara


[00:27:19.070] – Speaker 1

If you get yourself into a really good state with how your insulin responses, how your pancreas is working. And like you said the other things, like Ghellin and Leptin, and just kind of making sure that you actually know what hunger is and just eating sugar for the sake of sugar.

[00:27:35.330] – Tara

I appreciate you saying that because I think you're the first person I've heard say that. I'm like, I feel like the lone wolf over here. Everyone's teaching, hey, when you go to keto, it sucks. And your gut is going to get all messed up because your enzyme regulation is off because you're not used to making that much lipase to break down fats and all these things. And it's okay. Just hang in there. But nobody's breaching that. I felt like. I've been like, I'm like, hey, also, when you bring carbs back in, some things have to get up regulated in the body to the amount of amylase you produce to break down carbohydrates in your gut, your ability to manage and process that much fiber.

[00:28:09.090] – Tara

And that's why I slowly reintroduce carbs in the book, because sometimes people are like, oh, I ate carbs, and I got really bloated. My body just hates them. I'm like, no, you're just not used to producing enough enzymes to break it down. It takes time. So I appreciate you sharing that message. It's also a transition out.

[00:28:26.760] – Allan

I actually put it in my book that I published in 2018. So in December of 2018, I had the same message that you don't have to be in keto forever. But you want to have a reason. You want to have a strategy as you go into these types of things. And so one of the most important strategies, I think, is people are looking at carbohydrates and trying to get past that fear or that phobia, which I guess carb phobia is now going to be a word if it's not, I just made it up.

[00:28:55.680] – Tara

I say it all the time.

[00:28:59.350] – Allan

Okay. Not all carbs are the same. Yeah, but we have this in our mindset. It's like I look on the label and that's mistake probably number one. But I'm looking on the label and the label says it's got this many carbs. And can you kind of go through and talk about how we can look at carbohydrates and how we can prioritize them as we begin to reintroduce?

[00:29:22.820] – Tara

Yeah. I love this question. And the reason this is one of the main reasons I wrote this book is because I noticed because I'm a keto specialist in my regular everyday life. Everyone feels the need to talk to me about keto, right? I'm sure you noticed the same. Right. And I get these people they're eating pizza and chips and whatever and fast food, and they'll say, oh, man, I know. I just got to go back to keto, and I'm like, wait a minute. That's not the only way to be healthy.

[00:29:49.390] – Tara

There's another place that's not junk food or keto that's, like, all in or all out thinking. I almost forget sometimes that when I'm telling people that it's okay to eat carbs, I don't like calling anything good or bad. It's just you're not going to get as optimal results when you're eating processed carbohydrates full of canola oil and processed white flour and sugars. And that's not going to be the same experience of what I'm talking about. And the way I like to prioritize it is non starchy vegetables.

[00:30:21.470] – Tara

So the things that we actually kind of consider vegetables, right? Broccoli asparagus cauliflower have at it, because sometimes even keto, you have to actually limit that. For some people who are really sensitive, it's like, oh, you can have carrots again. You can have any vegetable you want, and that brings us into starchy vegetables. Right. So that's kind of the next step is like potatoes, sweet potatoes. If your gut can tolerate it, it depends on the person. But some people manage beans really well. Some people have sensitivities and can't have those things.

[00:30:50.600] – Tara

But if your body processes the well, go for it. Start eating more things from nature. And then my next on my list is fruits, you know, and you could alternate that you could put fruit up there with starchy vegetables to start eating fruits again. See how your body does see how you tolerate them. There's so much fear around these foods, especially in the keto world. It's like, don't eat bananas. I just saw a share the other day and it was like, oatmeal is unhealthy. And I'm like, no for some people, maybe, but not for everyone.

[00:31:20.100] – Tara

So question some of these dogmatic beliefs that you've gotten and look at the actual research if you want to, it's not there. We're taking something that might be true for some people and trying to make it true for everyone. And so that's like, it's something to be mindful of in the nutrition world right now in our information age. And also, I am not opposed to whole grains like quinoa. And so granted, if you have leaky gut, you don't want to be eating these things, they're probably going to exacerbate it, right.

[00:31:48.180] – Tara

If you don't cook your foods like this might affect it. Right. But if you look at the actual research, there's so much in support of some of these whole grains, even oatmeal, helping with cholesterol, helping with LDL levels, helping be heart protective. And I have to go so against my programming and the keto world to say stuff like this because we've been taught for so long. Like grains are bad, like beans are horrible. Definitely don't eat those. Don't eat bananas. Those are fake foods. And I'm like, I've come to a place in my journey where I'm like, if nature is allowing it to be grown and you ask your body, how does my body actually feel when I eat these things?

[00:32:29.060] – Tara

When I eat quinoa, I feel like, amazing. My body loves quinoa as you bring these things back in, start to experiment. How do I feel? Especially after kind of that two week mark is gone. And I bet for most of you, at least it's been most of my clients experience after a phase of keto when everything's regulated in the body and they start bringing these things back in and let go of their beliefs that it's hurting them, they start to feel really good.

[00:32:51.280] – Allan

Yeah. And that's what I like with your plan is that basically it's not this. Okay, turn the switch. And now I go carb crazy. It's okay. We're going to go in and we're going to have some spinach and we're going to have some broccoli and we're going to have some cauliflower and we're going to slowly introduce these vegetables and see how our body responds.

[00:33:11.970] – Allan

It might be a little hard. At first, you might not be digesting. It the way your body needs to, and you might be gassy feel a little bloated, but give it a shot, give it a legitimate shot. And then once you kind of adapt and your body is performing well with that, you can go to the next step saying, okay, I want some sweet potato, and it's not like you eat one whole sweet potato. You have a little bit of sweet potato with dinner and see how you feel.

[00:33:34.890] – Tara

I like how your plan is kind of putting that together in a structure. So there's not a whole lot of questions of okay, do I go out for Thanksgiving dinner and that be my break, my keto thing. No, you're not going to feel well if you do that.

[00:33:49.940] – Tara

Right. And the intention is if you slam on your gut and to your blood sugar, because keto is a restrictive diet, it is. And so sometimes there's an emotional component of, oh, my gosh. I think why people get stuck in it, possibly because they're like, I like this restriction because I don't trust myself to be not, like, off the rails. Once I do eat carbs and I'm trying to show a different way of, like, honoring…

[00:34:17.640] – Tara

The way I like to put it is this imagine that you're still keto with healthy carbs as part of keto. If you kind of look at it like that instead of just like, I'm going to eat whatever the freak I want. Pizza time, soda time. That's not it. It's still eating whole foods from nature. And I'm really just trying to help people get the experience of what it can feel like when you eat carbs to support healthy functions of your body. But not so many carbs that you go into a diabetic coma being theoretical. But you know what I mean, because that deters people from understanding what it can feel like to live a balanced life again after a phase of keto.

[00:34:54.750] – Allan

Right. And once again going back to the metabolic flexibility, you might find that your carb threshold has gone up substantially. And so whereas before, when you were insulin resistant, when you were obese and when you were really struggling, 25 grams was all you could handle. And when you start looking at what, 25 grams of carbs equates to it's almost no carbs that you're eating. And then you say, okay, now I'm going to push this up. And maybe now you're eating 50, you might find yourself still in ketosis most of the day if you're doing any measurements at all.

[00:35:28.080] – Allan

Some people I've seen particularly very fit, very athletic, moving people when they're doing a lot of movement, they're doing a lot of work cleaning out their glycogen stores and doing those types of things. They can eat 100-150 and still maintain ketosis most of the day.

[00:35:45.410] – Tara

Yeah. Even Dominic Agastino shared this. I think on I believe it was on Dave Asprey's podcast or maybe Joe Rogan or something. But he was saying that he eats about 150 grams of carbs a day, and he called it more ketogenic than ketosis. And I think what he means by that is he's helping to support some probably most of you. If you're keto nerds, you've heard there's parts of your brain that really want glucose. There are certain parts of your body that do want glucose. So you're supporting those organs, you're supporting those things.

[00:36:13.160] – Tara

But you're still active enough. I mean, Dom, like, he deadlifts, like 500 lbs. It's dude strong. Right. So just like you're saying, he's using that glycogen and then intermittent fasting so that he's able to go back into ketosis easily. And I think that's become my lifestyle. I probably eat, I would say, between 100 and 200 grams of carbs. I crush it in the gym every morning. I am like, scary, almost beast mode. And that's why I can do stuff. And then I pair that with intermittent fasting.

[00:36:39.960] – Tara

It's such an easy lifestyle, and you don't have to not have any carbs, which for me, especially someone like me who's athletic. It really limits for me that kind of intensity in the gym. Right. And so it can become an easier flow of life if you're willing to add some activity into your routine as well. But the less active you are, probably the less carbs you need, I'd say across the board for human beings.

[00:37:08.430] – Allan

Yeah. And that kind of goes to the next thing. I really haven't seen anybody else that's spent a lot of time talking about this. But part of the reason that you do want to make sure you're eating those non starchy vegetables and sometimes some starchy vegetables and definitely fruits is your neurotransmitters. They're basic components. And if you're just going strict keto for a long period of time, you're probably going to have some issues with your GABA and your dopamine and serotonin and those types of things which are going to affect your sleep.

[00:37:42.900] – Allan

They're going to affect how you feel. And when your body gets stressed. Now we're talking about adrenaline and things like that. So can you talk a little bit about those neurotransmitters? Because this is a conversation that a lot of people aren't having about why carbs are actually an important component of what we eat. We got to do it right with regards to how we process. But you'll know, it because your brain will turn on when you get the formula right.

[00:38:12.410] – Tara

Right. And I love talking about this. And thank you for asking, because there's such a lack of awareness of how much nutrition impacts our mental health. And so often I see people go into these blame and shame cycles of what's wrong with me. I don't know what's wrong with me. And I'm like, actually, okay. So you had something traumatic happen and you're sleepdeprived and you're sad and you've been keto. And maybe you don't even know you have a genetic predisposition for low serotonin. And so your serotonin is in the crapper.

[00:38:40.610] – Tara

And you're feeling so just down. And guess what? Actually eating carbs is smart. Your body is probably telling you to go eat some carbs because it's like, we need to get serotonin up. So you're not so sad, friend. And then people are like, I don't know what's wrong with me. I just don't have any willpower. And I'm like, hold on on. Let's look into this. So let me give some basic information. I'd say the biggest impact that keto has on certain air transmitters would be dopamine, serotonin and GABA.

[00:39:08.020] – Tara

So when your keto, your dopamine will be higher. So when you eat a diet that's mostly fat and protein, you're going to favor dopamine production. That's because tyrosine the building block of dopamine and tryptophan the building block of serotonin, they compete to get across the blood brain barrier. So if you're eating more fats and proteins, the tyrosine is going to win. You're going to be more dopamine or making more dopamine. And then if you are eating more carbs and protein as the majority of your diet, you'll favor serotonin production.

[00:39:40.390] – Tara

So what does this mean? If you are somebody who has really low dopamine and you go, keto, you may all of a sudden start. You may have a life changing experience on your mood. You're like, all of a sudden I'm driven and I'm making my dreams come true, and I'm nice to everybody and confident and like, wow! That's where I think a lot of the zealots of keto come from these deeper biological processes they're having. They don't understand. They're like, all I know is, I got better. Things got better. Like, I felt a lot better.

[00:40:13.430] – Tara

But let's say somebody has they already have good dopamine levels, but they have low serotonin, and then they go keto, and they get higher dopamine. But they might like that a little bit, but didn't really need it that much. But they needed a little bit of serotonin that they were getting. And now all of a sudden, it's dropped. And they're in a place where they are sad and crying a lot and just feeling really emotional. And then they're likely to put more pressure on themselves.

[00:40:37.940] – Tara

Come on. Why can't you just do this thing? And it's like, you need to know that there could be a biochemistry aspect to this process for you. And so I always honor people. I'm like, Listen, if you don't feel better on keto, and you've been doing it for, like, a month and you just don't feel better. It's okay to honor that it's not the only way to be healthy. You can also eat a balanced diet and exercise and get many of similar benefits.

[00:41:02.850] – Tara

And then GABA, I really like to share about. So ketone bodies have been found to be GABAergic. So what's GABA? GABA is like, the breaks on our brain. So a lot of people who are overthinkers, they just can't stop, can't stop, can't stop, can't stop. They may like being in a ketogenic state because that overthinking is usually indicative of, well, it can also be maybe you need to meditate and work on some things like that. But glutamate is a neurotransmitter that causes it's excitatory. It's like go go in our minds. And if that conversion, it turns into GABA.

[00:41:39.470] – Tara

So if it doesn't turn into the breaks in the brain, we're just like chronically obsessing over these little things. And it makes people feel crazy. And so ketone bodies can help increase your GABA levels and help that to stop. So that can be really enjoyable experience for some people. But if you already have good GABA levels, you're not going to feel that you're not going to really need that. I like to go into this in the book of some different things you might be feeling and experiencing on keto and why.

[00:42:10.500] – Tara

And then the last one will be adrenaline. This is something that honestly concerns me. Dr Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney did a study on this because a lot of people were concerned that keto might just be this high on ketones, might actually just be high on adrenaline, which feels great and helps you lose weight in the beginning. But over time it increases cortisol and can actually cause you to gain weight and have health problems. And so they showed that as long as you have adequate salt intake on keto, that you can offset the overproduction of adrenaline on keto.

[00:42:41.910] – Tara

But if you don't, which I say is pretty like you don't know exactly what your sodium levels are and what your needs are that day. So I get concerned about people who may not have adequate salt levels on keto, and they're going into this high adrenaline state for years on end, and that can cause problems in the long run. So just something to be aware of. I share all the details of that in the book, but the impact of our how are you feeling?

[00:43:07.020] – Tara

Are you really feeling better? Are you feeling kind of crazy? Are you feeling kind of like manic and overly busy or uber-confident? Too confident, like you don't care about anybody anymore. Maybe your dopamine is through the roof. I just like to create awareness of these things so people don't have this shame and stigma of what's wrong with me, and they actually have some understanding behind it.

[00:43:26.560] – Allan

And I think this speaks to when we say food is information. Movement is information. This is how it happens. It's the neurotransmitters. It's the hormones. All those things have to balance out. All those things have to work for you. And if you're out of balance because the food you're taking in isn't serving you or your movement patterns aren't serving you, then you're giving yourself bad information and your body is responding the only way it can.

[00:43:55.880] – Tara


[00:43:56.810] – Allan

Doing these experiments getting out there and experiment of one. You know, you're the most important sample size there is. And just saying, I'm going to try this four-week plan and I'm going to find my carb-lite, keto and I'm going to get into keto. And then when I'm ready to come out, I'll follow this four week plan to reintroduce and really Journal and pay attention to your mood, pay attention to how your skin looks, how you feel, how your workouts. Like you said, if you start going beast mode in the gym, something good is happening.

[00:44:26.470] – Tara

Yeah. And sleep and digestion and all those things. I love that those are the questions I have as you go through that process. And ideally, it's a four-week plan. I'd love for you to make it like twelve weeks and do one week for a whole month. But be aware. And one of the cool things. And I'm sure you're aware of this with you all the time is you might not need as many carbohydrates after doing a phase of keto to give you that get up and go, which is kind of cool.

[00:44:54.440] – Tara

So you're exactly right. Please honor your body and what your body is asking for and give things time, though. One day you ate cupcakes yesterday. My body hates carbs. No. All right. Give yourself a little bit more time to experiment than that.

[00:45:09.900] – Allan

Tara, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be what are three strategies or tactics to get well?

[00:45:18.190] – Tara

Yes. Number one, sleep so big. I don't know how to say it, but you guys know you're worthy of sleep, right? Remember that. Nothing is more important than that. Everything in the body goes up when you have adequate sleep. And I think so many people are depressed and anxious because they literally just need sleep. And all those neurotransmitters I talked about the production all goes down if you don't have enough sleep, so biochemically, you're in a bad mood and that's hard to get out of. So sleep is, I'd say the core the key stone of wellness. It's the healer.

[00:45:50.950] – Tara

Next is having a consistent routine for success. Have a consistent routine. So it's not so hard all the time. Like, I got to get to the gym some time today. I got to figure out something healthy to eat at some point like that's very stressful. So you can eliminate this decision fatigue by having I have a morning routine. I have a consistent gym time with actual times on it. I have my clutch, go to meals and I have an evening routine. I have boundaries for myself. Right. And that is like it makes it so easy. Your body knows what to expect and you know what to expect, and then you just get in flow that gets you results.

[00:46:22.090] – Tara

And I'd say the last thing is showing up for yourself and having boundaries, saying no to things that you don't want to do, doing things that bring you joy, saying no to relationships that drag you down, spending time in relationships that nourish you. Like that. It's having happiness, like prioritizing kind of that inner child saying, I'm here for you and continuing to show up for yourself in a way that you need. I'd say between that having a flow of a fit, healthy lifestyle that you can stick with with ease, sleeping and nourishing your soul, it's good stuff.

[00:46:57.250] – Allan

Thank you for that. Tara, if someone wanted to learn more about the book, Short-Term Keto or the things you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:47:06.310] – Tara

You know what I would say? Go to my website, Taragarrison.com and you can click on the book link there because I am giving away my Top 100 Keto recipes for free with anybody who orders the books. So all the info for that is just right there. It's quick, easy, instant download because I want to make sure if you read the first chapter and you're like, wow, keto sounds really cool, and I actually want to try it and use Tara's recipes. I wanted to make sure people were supported on that. So my favorite Top 100 Keto recipes that I've used with clients and boot camps and all these things over the years are all condensed into that.

[00:47:35.460] – Tara

And then you can find links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble and all these websites where you can purchase the book.

[00:47:40.260] – Allan

Okay, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/518 and I'll be sure to have the links there. So, Tara, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:47:50.190] – Tara

Thanks so much for having me.

Post Show/Recap

[00:47:56.270] – Allan

Hey, Ras, welcome back.

[00:47:57.990] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, what a great interview. There's a lot I'd like to talk about, but why don't we start with the idea of using keto as a short term fix?

[00:48:06.410] – Allan

Yeah, most of the people in the keto space love keto and then therefore, it's the only way to eat. And the short of it is. And anyone that's listening to this podcast more than a week knows that I don't buy into that. I'm not into the dogma of there's only one way for you to eat. There's an optimal way for you to eat where you are right now, and there are certain things you probably want to accomplish that eating the right way for that is going to serve you better.

[00:48:40.910] – Allan

I can tell you from my experience, keto is the best way for me to drop body fat. If I try to do it any other way, I tend to overeat. I don't feel satiated, and I don't enjoy myself enough to stick with it. And then there's just shortcuts. I can't say, okay, I'm going to lose weight and continue to consume beer or bread or those types of things because my body just puffs up. Now. I love beer. Don't get me wrong. And I really am kind of fond of bread, but they don't serve my body, particularly if I'm trying to lose weight.

[00:49:16.550] – Allan

And so if I'm looking to try to lose body fat, I have to go rather strict with keto, but I also have in the back of my mind. Yes, it's not permanent, but it could be if it needed to be. And so the flipping back and forth, which I do as a part of what I call seasonal ketosis is really just that thing to say. Okay, if it's a good time for me to start cutting body fat, which I'll tell you right now, it is. I'm looking for that Tough Mudder in August, so I would love to be 25 lbs less when I do that run because it's that much less weight I have to carry.

[00:49:52.940] – Allan

Now, the weight service me well right now. And if I want to lift heavy and do the things I'm doing, walk and lift heavy, I'm fine. It doesn't cause me any issues at all. But if I want to do something intense and long like the Tough Mudder, I'm going to need to do make some changes to me physically, which includes losing some body fat to perform the way I want to perform for that. So keto is a great way to improve your health. It's an elimination diet, so strictly you're eliminating whole food groups. Yeah, you are.

[00:50:26.990] – Allan

But same thing. If you're a vegan, same thing, you're vegetarian, same thing. If you're a carnivore, all those ways of eating, you're eliminating something. Even if you do the FODMAP diet, even if you do the Mediterranean diet, you're eliminating certain foods. And so elimination is what diets are. Almost none of them are just eat what you're normally eating and just eat less of it, because everybody knows that doesn't work, right? I'm starving all the time and I'm craving foods. So the eating less and moving more by itself doesn't work.

[00:51:00.990] – Allan

You've got to find a structure to how you're eating that helps you feel satiated. That lets you eat less and have the energy to move more. But you can't start with the eat less move more model. You have to think about the foods that are serving you and then go from there.

[00:51:20.030] – Rachel

Absolutely. I thought that was the greatest part about this being a short-term fix is that it's just one test, really. It's one experiment to see how your body responds when you take certain foods out of your diet and add other foods back into it and see how you feel in response. And it's pretty quick that you'll see some changes. But just like she said, you don't have to live on it forever. Once you reach maybe your body composition goal that you're trying to get through, or once you get through your Tough Mudder, maybe you can reassess your relationship with carbs.

[00:51:56.690] – Rachel

which brought me to the next point was that let's talk about carbs because carbs are not all created equal. And like I've mentioned in the past, if anybody says carbs, I instantly think of a giant baguette of bread or the pastries we eat at breakfast. I always default to bread, but that's not all the carbs. That's not it.

[00:52:17.280] – Allan

No, because carbs are going to range everywhere from the leafy greens that have almost no real usable carb. It's fiber and water. Mostly you look at celery, and everybody will say, Well, that's almost a negative in the calories, because there's so much fiber to digest that and get it to chew it, you're almost burning more calories than you are eating. That's not entirely true, but it is full of water. And so from that perspective, to say that celery is the equivalent of potatoes is the equivalent of bread is the equivalent of Twinkies. It's just not true.

[00:53:00.040] – Allan

There's a whole range of them and how your body utilizes them. That's so different. And we talked to Dr. Yeo a week or so ago, and the basic principle is that fiber is not going to be digested by you. It's going to get all the way down deep into your small intestine before bacteria are going to start hitting at it. And then it gets into your large intestine. And that's where they're going to start doing their breakdowns and stuff. So the fiber is going to go all the way through you, and you're not technically going to get any calorie load from it.

[00:53:33.060] – Allan

You're going to feel full or longer because it's not being taken up. Whereas bread and sugar and the Coca Cola and stuff that you want to drink, those things are hitting your bloodstream almost immediately. They've been almost completely digested in some cases again, if they're processed, they've been digested before you even put them in your mouth because of the processing. And so when it hits your digestive tract, they become sugar in your system. And then there's an insulin response. And there's all the other things that go along with that.

[00:54:06.390] – Allan

Different carbs are going to work differently for you. And there was an Israeli study a few years back, and they put the long-term monitors and continuous monitoring of blood glucose that you see people with typically with type II diabetes and type I diabetes. They wear this so they can constantly be monitoring their blood sugar. And they had this thing set up to basically just continually just check their glucose, check their glucose, check their glucose. And then they said, when you get ready to eat something, whatever you want to eat, a banana, a baguette, as you said or anything like that, a donut.

[00:54:46.410] – Allan

Then you go ahead and just log what you ate when you ate it, and they would say, okay, well, one person's blood sugar would just shoot up when they ate a banana, and someone else's wouldn't. And then there's the other aspects of this. If you eat a green banana, like, really green, like, hard to open. It doesn't peel, you basically cut it. That's almost entirely non-digestible starch. It's almost all fiber, and it's basically a prebiotic that's going to feed your intestinal flora, your microbes in your intestine, because you're not going to digest that as sugar.

[00:55:26.920] – Allan

Now, if you let it get ripe, and now it's a yellow or slightly browning, it's a high dose of sugar. It's changed. Same thing with a potato. If you eat a raw potato, it's almost all nondigestible-fiber. If you thecook it and eat it, it's now something that's going to boost up your blood sugar relatively quickly. If you then refrigerate it and eat it later, you've now turned it into a resistant starch. So that's all with the potato.

[00:56:01.780] – Allan

So there's a lot of variation there in the foods that we eat. And there's a lot of variation in individuals. And really, the only way, you'll know, if the food is serving you or not is trial and error. And that's what's great about keto is keto is that elimination diet that takes you off of all of that. And the other thing that at least it was great with keto was that it was all whole foods, because before the keto was really a big thing, they didn't have all the keto snacks and the keto fake recipe stuff. I still want my pizza. So make a keto pizza, which is fine. Except now you're introducing some processed foods, even with the almond flour and the coconut flour and eating a lot of cheese. So if you have a dairy problem, that's just another thing where it might not serve you to be doing this.

[00:56:57.830] – Allan

That stuff didn't exist early on in this whole drive to keto. And I approached it from a paleo perspective. And I'm like well, my ancestors would not have eaten keto pizza. And so it's just those kind of things of saying, think about food as nourishment for your body. And if the food isn't serving you towards the goals that you have for your health and fitness, then it's not the right food for you.

[00:57:27.050] – Allan

And that's kind of the message that Tara came into this was she was a fit young person trying to be competitive and athletic and get stronger and have a certain body fat percentage. And those things were really important to her. And keto was a tool that got her to a point. And then she's like, well, I'm not getting there. And I know I'm doing it right because I have the right resources there's just something about keto that's not working for me right now. And she transitioned off of keto.

[00:57:57.010] – Allan

And then she got to her body composition level. She got stronger. And that's Tara, that's perfect for her. And if you're struggling with something, consider trying keto and see how it goes. You don't have to think of it as, oh, well, once I go on it, then I'm locked in for the rest of my life but you might get there like you have Rachel and say, this does actually serve me very well. This way of eating serves me very well.

[00:58:24.920] – Allan

And if I want a beer after a race, I'll have a beer. That works perfect for you. And for Mike.

[00:58:33.830] – Rachel

Yes, it does. That's our Mo. Mike has an iron gut, so he's able to eat more non keto foods, and I'm able to eat. But that's just it is that we do enjoy certain foods when we feel like we can do that. So a beer every now and then. That's fine. I'm actually going to be experimenting with the sweet potatoes. You had mentioned this to me before about baking them and refrigerating them and baking them again to make them more insulin resistant. That's something I'll be experimenting with as I get ready for my marathon coming up.

[00:59:10.300] – Allan

And I've heard it done mostly with white potatoes. So you might want to do a little bit of reading on that. I'm not sure if it's the sweet potatoes that do that same way because they are slightly different. They're a little less starchy than the white potatoes. So I haven't looked into the sweet potatoes. But if you do that, then report back what you learn about it, because that would be very interesting.

[00:59:31.250] – Rachel

Well, you know, I'd like to choose foods that have a little bit more punch, nutrient wise. And I feel like a sweet potato might have a few extra nutrients that I could probably use in my diet, whereas a plain white potato may not. But I'll definitely try both experiments.

[00:59:46.120] – Allan

You might be surprised if you start really looking into what's in the potato. Besides the insulin response for standard potato, there's still some good nutrients in the potato, so give it a shot.

[00:59:57.940] – Rachel

Yeah, I'll check into that and let you know.

[00:59:59.990] – Allan

All right, Ras, I guess I'll talk to you again next week, then.

[01:00:03.060] – Rachel

Sure. Take care.

[01:00:04.350] – Allan

You too.

[01:00:05.220] – Rachel



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Another episode you may enjoy


December 20, 2021

How to know you have mineral deficiencies and what to do about it with Thomas DeLauer

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On episode 517 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, Thomas DeLauer and I discuss how to know when you have a mineral deficiency and what you can do about it.



This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is brought to you by Pushrs.

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This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Organifi.

Organifi is a line of organic superfood blends that offers plant based nutrition made with high quality ingredients. Each Organifi blend is science backed to craft the most effective doses with ingredients that are organic, free of fillers and contain less than 3g of sugar per serving. They won’t take you out of ketosis, if that’s your way of eating.

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Let's Say Hello

[00:04:08.440] – Allan

Hello, Ras. How are things?

[00:04:10.480] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:04:12.450] – Allan

I'm doing all right. I've been kind of busy with the challenge. We're doing the Crush the Holidays challenge. That's been a ton of fun. I kind of push myself outside my comfort zone, doing daily videos. I've never done that before. I've done daily audios, and I'm very comfortable behind the microphone, recording and doing my thing. But then when I have to think about how does the lamp behind me look? Because one of you is OCD and had to bring up, like, fix the lamp for the love of God.

[00:04:44.830] – Rachel

Oh, goodness.

[00:04:47.470] – Allan

But it's been good. It's been a good opportunity for me to push myself a little bit outside the comfort zone that I had, and it's pushing the others. It's one of the things as we get into the holidays, it's just really easy to just say, okay, I'm on the coast for this last six weeks of the year, and then January, I'm going to hit it. But you just lost six weeks to do something different. And so they're doing things different. They're really thinking through the mindset parts of fitness and health, and they're setting plans.

[00:05:20.530] – Allan

They're setting structure. They're building habits now that will serve them tenfold next year. So I'm really excited about the people that are going through the challenge. And then, yeah, what I'm going to do is in January, I'm going to launch a new program because I had a twelve week program and it was a really good program. Don't get me wrong. I love it. But what I found was that that's a long time to be coaching someone on mindset. And so I'm working to compress that into a six week program.

[00:05:50.310] – Allan

I'm going to call Win at Weight Loss and launch that in January. So if you're interested in learning about my weight loss program, it's guarantee. It's money back guarantee. We're going to talk about mindset a lot. There'll be some standard workouts and things like that that you can do depending on what your fitness goals are. We're going to really dive in deep to what makes us overeat what makes us bend, what makes us go off plan. And what are all those saboteur things that we do and other people do that keep us from losing the weight that we deserve to lose.

[00:06:22.690] – Allan

So if you're interested in that, go to 40Plusfitness.com/win. Again, that's not 40PlusFitnesspodcast. It's 40plusfitness.com/win. W-I-N and you'll see a little form there you can fill out to get on the waiting list, and then we can have a conversation and see if this program is right for you.

[00:06:42.970] – Rachel

That sounds awesome. Sounds like a fun program.

[00:06:45.570] – Allan

Yeah. And I'm so excited with the Facebook group. It's going to the challenges, the weekly challenges and the different things that we're doing in there. I'm going to be posting more excerpts, clips, video clips. If you've ever wondered what it's like to be recording an interview with, say, Tony Horton or all these other guys like, we're going to talk about Thomas DeLauer today, you'll be able to see clips of them on the doing parts of the interview. That kind of what I call the highlights. I'm going to be posting those clips in the Facebook group.

[00:07:18.090] – Allan

So if you're interested in seeing those clips and kind of connecting more with what we're doing here on the podcast, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group. And that'll take you to our Facebook group and request entry. As long as you're cool, you can be a member.

[00:07:34.810] – Rachel


[00:07:36.430] – Allan

Well, there's some people who decide to not be cool and they decide they want to sell you their services or they want to show you some things that aren't really in our realm, and it's fine. There are groups for that. There's people that are interested in that. But that's not what we do. What we do is encourage you. We give you guidance and help you. And it's a very supportive, active community for individuals that are looking to lose weight, get fit. And knowing that being over 40, we got to do it a little bit differently than we did when we were kids.

[00:08:12.330] – Rachel

Yeah, it's a great group, that's for sure.

[00:08:14.950] – Allan

So what about you? What have you been up to?

[00:08:17.650] – Rachel

Trying to get my head screwed on tight as we close out this year? I can't believe the year is just about over.

[00:08:25.330] – Allan

Yeah, it's going quick. And that's what I'm saying for a lot of people to take six weeks off and they just look at it and say, it's Thanksgiving and then it's Christmas, and then it's New Year, and it happens like that. So this is not taking some time right now to get into your head and have the right conversations about mindset, things that have held you back in the past and how you're going to do things differently and starting now doing those things differently rather than waiting until January 1st.

[00:08:58.450] – Allan

If you're going to join a gym, you think you're going to join gym. I know that's not for everybody, but do it now. Don't wait till January 1st when the gyms are just packed with people and you're just a number coming through the Turnstall. Go in there. Now, get familiar, get with the trainer, learn how the equipment works and then do your thing. But don't wait because you're losing an opportunity, losing days, and it just drives me crazy.

[00:09:24.120] – Rachel

Yeah, exactly. I'm already planning out my next year. I've got a couple of races on the calendar, so just doing my homework right now so that I can start the year off with a bang.

[00:09:35.960] – Allan

Good. Excellent.

[00:09:36.950] – Rachel

Good stuff.

[00:09:38.110] – Allan

All right. Well, you're ready to have this conversation with Thomas on Mineral Deficiencies?

[00:09:43.040] – Rachel



[00:10:06.850] – Allan

Thomas, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:10:09.910] – Thomas

Thanks for having me, Allan.

[00:10:11.210] – Allan

Now, I've actually been following you for a number of years, watching some of your stuff at this point on YouTube, you have nearly 2.9 million subscribers, which is over half the size of the country I live in and nearly 1800 hundred videos. So I think if someone sat down and sat down and tried to watch your whole library, it would probably take them about a year to do it, assuming they slept 8 hours a night. So it's a lot of stuff a lot.

[00:10:41.450] – Thomas

And I usually tell people if they're first coming to my channel and saying, like, hey, just go easy. Don't binge a bunch of videos because it's just going to you're going to lose your mind. This is way too much and definitely start small.

[00:10:55.170] – Allan

But no. But the point is you have a library now. And so someone has a question around keto, around minerals, around a lot of different things. You're worth going and checking out because you're probably going to have a video on it and it's going to be very informative and it's quick. It's not a 30 minutes or an hour long video. It's 9-10 minutes, eight minutes, whatever minutes it needs to be, and you just boil it down and it's very well done. And the information is there. The research is there.

[00:11:27.240] – Allan

So again, really good stuff. I appreciate the opportunity to have you here.

[00:11:31.750] – Thomas

Thank you. And it's awesome to just be able to have a good conversation rather than just talking to a camera.

[00:11:37.060] – Allan

Yeah, I get it. We talk about minerals, and I think everybody generally knows minerals are a micronutrient of food that we get from various things we eat, and if we don't get enough of them, sometimes our body lets us know. Sometimes it doesn't, but we don't perform well. We don't feel well, if we're not nourished, and part of nourishment is making sure that we have adequate minerals. What got you so interested in mineral deficiencies?

[00:12:11.410] – Thomas

The first thing that got me really into it was magnesium just flat out. I just started reading a lot of the research on magnesium, how I stumbled across that. I don't even remember how I stumbled across so much the initial research there. But that's what fascinated me. And with magnesium, which I know we'll get into some more depth, but it opened up so many different cans of worms because I found that, wow one mineral deficiency leads to another one chelates, another, too much of this one leads to not enough of this one or too much to this one.

[00:12:42.930] – Thomas

And it was like, this never ending thing. It was just like, oh, my gosh. Mineral balance is so important. So I kind of became a little bit obsessed. If you want to call that, I ended up on the clinical advisory board for some magnesium groups. And there's some studies, Scottsdale magnesium study. And then from there, it was like, okay, I'm sitting in this magnesium world. Maybe this is a little bit biased for me to only be focusing so much on magnesium. So then from there, that kind of branched into.

[00:13:10.420] – Thomas

Okay, well, what about sort of the ugly duckling of the bunch? Let's talk about zinc and potassium. I just realized that as far as low hanging fruit, for what people can do for quicker optimization, better ultimate brain performance, minerals really are that they are a low hanging fruit that you can feel almost immediately with micronutrients such as vitamins, those kinds of micronutrients, you might feel a deficiency, but it's going to take a little while to fix it. You're not going to go and think, okay. I must hypothetically say, deficient in vitamin C, load up on vitamin C.

[00:13:45.360] – Thomas

It's going to take days for you to kind of recoup that minerals. It's one of those things where if you're deficient and you're having an issue within seconds of taking that mineral in, the issue, I don't want to say is resolved, but it's on its way to becoming resolved. And I just love that for someone who has a short attention span like myself.

[00:14:00.800] – Thomas

It was like, this is cool.

[00:14:03.790] – Allan

Yeah. And I think magnesium, as important as it is, is actually a mineral we don't talk about a lot. We talk about sodium getting too much, getting too little. Someone starts to get a little bit of a cramp as they're running and media is like, eat avocados, eat some bananas, get your potassium up. But magnesium actually plays maybe one of the biggest roles in our body's function, including cramps. Why is it so important?

[00:14:34.270] – Thomas

First of all, we used to say it's involved in, quote, over 350 different enzymatic functions within the body. Well, now that's looking to be more like 650 to 700, and it's probably growing. Like magnesium is, it is what's called a cofactor. So it is either directly involved or indirectly involved in different enzymatic reactions, which just means all kinds of different cellular processes within the body, also involved in different gene expression, meaning allowing us to literally live up to our genetic potential. Also find that it's one of the minerals that we are most efficient in as a human population, not just in any one region of the world, but in general.

[00:15:11.560] – Thomas

So that really just illuminates the issues that we face with it. And so being that it's a mineral that we are generally pretty deficient in, there's a lot of research surrounding it. So is it the most important? Maybe, maybe not. But when you look at the data because it is the most abundant in terms of that data, it certainly looks like it is.

[00:15:34.810] – Allan

So how would I know that I was deficient in magnesium?

[00:15:38.950] – Thomas

The way that I usually describe it is the first one is kind of vague. Okay, lower energy. Magnesium is absolutely critical for the formation of what is called ATP, which I know you talk about on your show a lot. But ATP adenosine triphosphate, what ultimately is the energy currency within our body without ATP cannot function. It is required for the formation of ATP. So without magnesium, we slow down the production of ATP. One of the first things you feel, which, again, is vague, is fatigue, general fatigue.

[00:16:12.290] – Thomas

And you find that. Okay, my brain just isn't firing the way that it should be. I feel like my muscles aren't contracting the way they should be. I just feel generally sluggish, although, again, that's such a vague one it's hard to really describe. So one of the other ones I talk about is if you feel like you're more reactive and almost more stressed than you ordinarily would be, that can sometimes be an acute sort of symptom of deficiency in magnesium. Or it can even be a more chronic, longer term thing.

[00:16:40.580] – Thomas

I like to recognize it as more of an acute thing, because if it's happening out of the norm, it's one of the first things that you can recognize. Personally, I'll give kind of my own anecdotal thing. I'm already a fairly high strung guy. It's just how I'm pretty wired. But if I notice that I'm over the top anxious or over the top stressed, and I like to use the example of, like, when you're driving down the freeway and you're going a little bit too fast and you catch a cop out of the corner of your eye and you get that quick surge of what feels like almost six stomach acid going into your stomach and you're like, oh, no, wasn't going too fast.

[00:17:15.910] – Thomas

If you find yourself having those kind of instances multiple times per day, that's very strong indicator that magnesium should be playing a factor there, because it's such an important role with NMDA receptors. And kind of what allows a stress response to actually hit a muscle and more than just the muscle, but the rest of our body, too. So that's a big one. And then aside with that goes right in line with sleep. Having trouble sleeping, again, magnesium is critical for what's called GABA gamma aminobutyric acid, which is like the cycle of the brain that we need to be more relaxed, to be able to sleep and to be able to get that restorative sleep that we need.

[00:17:55.070] – Thomas

So if you find really those well, the one other one we can add in there is muscle cramping, but that's going to be one that again, as we discuss a little bit more, I think we'll see come up a couple of times, so it's hard to pinpoint. But what I will say is if you're cramping in the middle of the night, not during a workout or not during an activity that's usually more indicative of a magnesium cramp versus a potassium cramp, which we'll talk a little bit more about.

[00:18:22.260] – Allan

Yes. And one of the other symptoms I see with a lot of my clients when we start talking about their magnesium intake is when they have difficulty going to the bathroom. So if you find yourself a little constipated, actually, Magnesia the medicine that you would get over the counter to clear that up. It's magnesium. Pretty good dose of it.

[00:18:42.370] – Thomas

Yeah, without a doubt.

[00:18:43.910] – Allan

So beyond what are the ways? Because if we're not getting it from the food we typically eat, is this something we need to supplement with when we notice these things? Or other different foods, we could be choosing to get a better mix of magnesium in our diet?

[00:18:59.300] – Thomas

Yeah. So magnesium is one of these, it's quite difficult to get a copious amount of it from food. I shouldn't say that you can get it from food, but what ends up happening is for people, we'll post little infographics on Instagram top magnesium rich foods. 1oz of almonds has X number of milligrams of magnesium. How many almonds you would have to eat to actually get an adequate amount would put you at eating three 4000 calories of almonds. So you have to kind of weigh these things out.

[00:19:33.390] – Thomas

I would say by far the best food source of magnesium is going to be like dark leafy Greens, Collard Greens, bok choy is really the deep leafy Greens. So the more dark green that you can get, the better. However, it is one of those supplements that I feel like because our soil is so just deprived of minerals now, like our soil is just not nearly as rich in minerals as it used to be even 50 years ago. I don't like recommending supplements. I mean, I will preface that like it's not who I am.

[00:20:03.230] – Thomas

I don't like to say, hey, just go take a pill. But magnesium is one of those that makes my list of always in my backpack, always going with me. And remember that the more muscle you have the more magnesium you oxidize because it's heavily churning in the muscle tissue, and I'm a relatively heavily muscle guys. So I know that how much magnesium I need is different from what my wife might need or different from what a sedentary individual might need. So you kind of have to find your tolerable upper intake and got some ways to kind of determine that.

[00:20:36.360] – Thomas

We can talk about it if you want, but generally, yes, I would recommend supplementing it.


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[00:22:24.870] – Allan

Zinc is another one that is, I'm not going to say under discussed, but it's just something that we again when you get into talking about minerals because there's so many of them, it's one of those that I think is actually underrated. It's much more important than we give it credit for. And if you're not eating certain foods, you probably aren't getting enough.

[00:22:48.130] – Allan

Why is zinc so important?

[00:22:50.550] – Thomas

Zinc is yeah, I will agree with you that it's very underrated. Zinc is, wow. We're seeing that it's imperative for testosterone function in men and also how it can have testosterone be received by a receptor, which I'll explain in a second. Very important for the immune system. Very important when it comes down to reactive oxygen species kind of regulation. So antioxidant kind of regulation within the body. It's sort of this mystery mineral, right. We're slowly discovering more and more ways that it is applicable to daily life.

[00:23:23.970] – Thomas

The amount of zinc that we store in the cerebral cortex portion of our brain is pretty phenomenal. Normally, you see minerals kind of spread throughout different regions of the brain, not evenly, but just fairly dispersed with zinc is for the most part almost all in the cerebral cortex, which is our area of higher thinking, like the hippocampus. That's very indicative of. Okay, clearly, we're seeing zinc is involved in some levels of higher cognitive thought, right? Just higher, just levels of thinking, spatial working memory, everything like that.

[00:23:58.190] – Thomas

So just starting to scratch the surface. One of the things that I think is the most fascinating about zinc. And unfortunately, you have to kind of tread lightly with how you talk about this, but it's relationship with the immune system. There are these things called the granulocytes. And these are types of immune cells that when you first have a pathogenic, bacteria or anything, a pathogen of some kind entering in your body, these types of immune cells immediately go and they sort of engulf it. They engulf the pathogen.

[00:24:24.540] – Thomas

Well, then, the next step, what people don't always understand is that the next step involves reactive oxygen species, oxidative stress, which normally we think of as a bad thing. But when we're sick or we're dealing with something, we need a certain degree of that to come in and actually fight the infection. So essentially, zinc is playing a huge role in regulating the reactive oxygen species from coming in and attacking the pathogenic bacteria. When I say regulating it actually puts a ceiling on how much reactive oxygen species we actually sort of create.

[00:25:00.930] – Thomas

So, for example, let's say I had an infection of some kind. Okay, that infection comes in. These immune cells go and they attack it. Then the secondary response is okay, we'll trigger some forms of reactive oxygen species to go attack it. Well, without zinc, the body might just create a bunch of reactive oxygen species to just attack it. It's like putting a nuclear bomb on something that you might have just needed a. 22 caliber rifle for. So then you're getting this huge inflammatory response, huge attack on the body that you didn't need.

[00:25:31.450] – Thomas

So zinc puts that ceiling. So it helps corral the immune system, because what people don't often realize is the symptoms you feel when you get sick. That is your immune system doing the job. And the more symptoms that you have a lot of times, it's an over activity of the immune system. That's just my favorite characteristic of zinc, because people don't think about it like that. They don't think about the fact that this reactive oxygen species is normally touted as a terrible thing. Actually, when controlled is a very good thing.

[00:26:01.290] – Allan

Yeah. Just for the record, typically, when I'm in the United States, I will take zinc from the perspective of eating a lot of oysters. I love raw oysters, and I eat oysters practically every day when I can get them in the United States. But I'm not in the United States right now. So my regular regiment is to take a ZMA, which is zinc magnesium each night before I go to bed. Helps me sleep, keeps me regular. And then the zinc, just really like you said, kind of makes me wake up just feeling just a little bit more aware, not going to say it's like the adaptogens and some of the other things that you can take.

[00:26:40.440] – Allan

But I feel a lot better when I'm on a ZMA regiment.

[00:26:45.370] – Thomas

Yeah, without a doubt, it's definitely noticeable. And when you're looking at people that are over the edge of 40, especially, there are two angles in which zinc is super fascinating. For one, there was a study just specifically looking at serum testosterone levels. So they found that, okay, if you took older individuals that were deficient or sorry, not deficient, but they were lower levels of testosterone and were deficient in zinc when they gave them zinc, then their testosterone levels went up tremendously. I think it was it went from 8.3 nm per deciliter up to 16.

[00:27:21.370] – Thomas

So we're looking at almost double in a zinc deficient group. Okay. That's not saying that someone that has adequate levels of zinc can go and take zinc and explore their testosterone levels. But saying that someone that is older that is suffering from possible low T that is deficient in zinc. If they supplement with zinc, they can see a pretty tremendous increase in their testosterone levels, which is so important as we get over the age of 40 for multiple reasons, mainly just retaining muscle mass and preventing sarcopenia and the muscle wasting that just naturally starts to happen after, like, age 35.

[00:27:51.900] – Thomas

The other piece is it works in tandem with helping or calledergic receptors, which can accept the testosterone. So it's increasing the affinity of the receptor for the testosterone. I always say, what good are a bunch of cars and trucks driving on the freeway if there's no exits, right. Like if there's no exits and they're just constantly circulating, they're never able to get anywhere. They're just circulating testosterone is that way too, right. What good is a high level of testosterone if there's no exit, if there's no ability for it to leave and actually bind to a receptor.

[00:28:25.130] – Thomas

So increasing the affinity of a receptor, which zinc has the ability to do that is, in my opinion, arguably more powerful than increasing your testosterone levels. I'd rather have some moderately low testosterone, but a high affinity than high testosterone with a low affinity.

[00:28:41.880] – Allan

Yeah. And then there's a reason why they call oysters the Viagra of the sea. It actually happens. Yes. It's a real thing.

[00:28:53.250] – Allan

Another mineral that I think is really important. And, of course, it's a personal story, but it's potassium. I was training really hard, and I said, okay, I'm going to really get clean with my diet, really get clean with everything. And so I was drinking a lot of water, and I was in a very humid area, very warm. And so I was sweating a lot.

[00:29:17.920] – Allan

I was working out a lot. I was drinking a lot of water, got on an airplane for 26 hours, so very dry environment got home, didn't feel so good. The second day, I'm in the hospital and I go into the hospital and the doctor is like, well, you're dehydrated and you have low potassium and low sodium. In fact, your potassium is so low that you're really close to going into a coma. If we hadn't put you on this IV, salient IV, we could have lost you.

[00:29:50.050] – Allan

And I walked into the hospital, and this could have happened. Why is it so important for us to keep our potassium at some level, our sodium balanced and where it needs to be? I tend to run low. So every time I go in to get a blood test, I do check this and pay very particular attention to it. But I have to be very cognizant of how I feel. And if I start feeling a little woozy, I'm immediately hitting some salt and some no salt to kind of make sure I get these minerals.

[00:30:19.090] – Allan

Can you talk a little bit about why these are so important?

[00:30:21.490] – Thomas

Yeah, well, you just nailed it right there. It's the first indicator. We got to think about our brains for a minute. We think about our nervous system. And a lot of times people think, okay, my spinal cord and my nerves to my extremities. Okay, cool. The largest network of nerves neurons is in your brain. Right. So you're going to feel nervous system affects in your brain more than anything. And I always like to kind of lead off with that, because a lot of times people are feeling cognitively just down and just really run down.

[00:30:50.780] – Thomas

They got perfect sleep. Everything's in line. Why am I feeling like this? Why am I feeling foggy? The first thing I say is increased sodium and potassium, because what's happening is you have this sodium potassium pumps that are explained like a slingshot. This is a podcast, so usually I can have cool little images that pop up on my videos. But think of it like a slingshot. When you are sending what's called an action potential, the potential to create energy or create a movement. Let's say, like the literal thought of me to  thinking, I want to lift this rock up.

[00:31:23.510] – Thomas

Okay, well, that whole concept starts in the brain obviously starts with the signal to eventually move my hand to pick up the rock. Well, that's a series of what are called action potentials. Just like the name implies, the potential to make an action. Well, this travels down the nerve. It eventually goes to calcium channels and all this to ultimately move a muscle. But the simplicity of it is this, you have sodium that enters a cell and that sodium enters a cell and then potassium. That gate closes and then a different gate opens and potassium rushes out of a cell.

[00:31:53.640] – Thomas

And you have this constant changing of a sodium potassium gradient. And it is that constant changing of sodium entering into a cell and potassium releasing it. Sodium entering into a cell and potassium releasing it into an Axon that is ultimately sending that signal. Think of potassium like a slingshot. The sodium going into the cell is what is actually sending the signal. It's conducting the electricity. The sodium is like the electricity that sodium enters into a cell. But without potassium, you don't have a slingshot to pull the sodium back and kind of release it into the next cell.

[00:32:30.220] – Thomas

Okay. So that sodium and potassium relationship is so unbelievably important. And if you're deficient in potassium, what happens when you're just bombarding the cell with a bunch of sodium conducting a bunch of electricity? First of all, you're going to cramp because you don't have the release from the potassium, pulling the sodium or allowing the sodium to leave again and allowing it to go into the next phase. But you're also just left with this basically electrically charged situation. That's a huge problem. And that happens against peripherally like, our muscles and everything like that.

[00:33:05.260] – Thomas

But it's happening in our brain, too. But our brain doesn't cramp. Not literally. But what will happen in our brain is we'll just end up with this disrupted signal from that sodium potassium pump, and that's just disengaging the whole circuit from working. So all of a sudden your brain just fogs up and you feel really just weak and kind of lame, like you just don't feel like you can really have good thought. You can't articulate very well. And some of those things we're taking in some potassium or a little bit of salt with some potassium right then and there can almost instantaneously make you feel better.

[00:33:39.030] – Thomas

Salt is so important along with potassium, because they counterbalance each other. Right. So one of the symptoms of having low potassium is sensitivity to salt, because potassium is regulating that fluid balance inside and outside of the cell. If you're deficient in potassium and you're overrun with sodium, then what's happening is you don't have that balance. So when you do have more sodium, it's affecting the potassium to sodium ratio. You're only going to really develop fluid retention issues and the bloating and the facial bloating and stuff that occurs with sodium.

[00:34:13.620] – Thomas

If you are also deficient in potassium, people get afraid of sodium because I don't want to be puffy. I don't want to retain water this and that I'm worried about becoming hypertensive and full disclaimer, if you are actually hypertensive, then yes, sodium does play a role in that.

[00:34:30.300] – Thomas

Okay. But if you're a normal, healthy individual, it does not. So that's the big disclaimer there. If you are hypertensive, then yes, you do need to monitor sodium. But in a normal, healthy individual, large majority of the population, you could usually add some sodium and not have a bunch of water retention as long as potassium levels are adequate. So you'll notice if they have a bunch of salt and you're sensitive to that salt that's usually an indicator that your sodium potassium ratio is a little bit off. To go on,

[00:34:58.940] – Thomas

I mean, basically, if you're cramping during an activity, it's almost invariably a potassium issue, not a magnesium issue. So that cramp will tell you right then and there you need potassium more than anything.

[00:35:09.550] – Allan

Yeah. And if you just throw water at it, that's going to wash out some of the potassium you have existing and a lot of the sodium, and you're going to potentially put yourself in a bad fix. So don't just drink water thinking you're fixing a cramp problem. Yes, you may be dehydrated, but you need those minerals as well.

[00:35:28.200] – Thomas

Definitely. And remember that the more sodium that you have in your body as well, the more that you're going to retain these other important minerals, because sodium is the one that's really the determining factor of how much we urinate and how much we keep and how much we lose. So if you're deprived of sodium, then you're going to lose other minerals, too, because you're going to be urinating more because there's less to hold on to. It's less awesome. So things are just flowing through you. And with that urine stream, you're not just losing sodium. You're losing everything else, too.

[00:36:00.450] – Allan

Why is chromium so important?

[00:36:02.730] – Thomas

Chromium is important in a lot of different pathways, but the one that is most relevant probably to many people, as far as the metabolism is concerned, is simply for what's called GLUT4 translocation, for allowing glucose to get into a cell better. So it's chromium. There are multiple studies that demonstrate that in an insulindependent fashion, it allows glucose that is in the bloodstream to get into a cell better, because chromium allows that GLUT4 to go from the nucleus of the cell out to the outer membrane of a cell.

[00:36:37.660] – Thomas

So what that means is this thing called GLUT4 that lives inside of our cells is kind of like a big net. And normally that GLUT4 is living inside of a cell. But when it sees glucose in the bloodstream or insulin, it magically goes to the outside of a cell, and it catches the glucose in the bloodstream like a big net. Well, in most people these days, especially people over the age of 40, with mitochondrial dysfunction and levels of insulin resistance, that doesn't happen quite as much.

[00:37:04.370] – Thomas

That sleepy GLUT4 just kind of hangs out in the cell and doesn't translocate to the membrane. Well, that's a problem, because that means you're going to have high circulating blood glucose. You're also not getting energy into the cell. So the cells sort of deprived and the cells kind of running into an issue. Chromium increases that transportation. So it helps that GLUT4 get to the outside of a cell membrane quite easier. So then you can absorb that glucose better. There's also a bunch of just interesting data when it comes down to there's a study that's published in the Journal of nutritional neuroscience that found that same kind of thing in the brain like it helps the brain against what's called brain insulin resistance.

[00:37:42.960] – Thomas

That same thing where we have high levels of glucose that are circulating through the brain that aren't getting taken up by the cells. So then you're left with a highly oxidative situation in the brain where if you start getting granular with it, I mean, it could be an indicator of all kinds of different cognitive impairment that happens as we get older, not to mention mitochondrial dysfunction, like the cells within the brain are not able to utilize the fuel as efficiently. And when the cells don't utilize fuel efficiently, you're creating a lot of let's just simply call it waste, right?

[00:38:16.570] – Thomas

It's like if you have a very efficient vehicle that is driving down the highway using all of its fuel with very little waste, you have efficiency. Quite the opposite in a vehicle that has fouled out plugs and just isn't working right, then you're having a lot of waste. Well, the more brain waste we have, so to speak, the more oxidative damage we have in the brain, which can definitely lead to some cognitive decline. So most of my interest with chromium comes from the carbohydrate metabolism piece.

[00:38:43.350] – Thomas

My own opinion is that much of the metabolic decline we see after the age of 40 in all kinds of different situations is a result of just that of that mitochondrial dysfunction where mitochondria has a hard time getting energy in insulin resistance, literal deformations and mutations in the mitochondria that are just inhibiting it from actually doing something normally. It's like an entire thing. I do generally recommend people that are over the age of even any age, really. But over the age of 30, I'm a huge fan of taking NMN as well, which we can kind of have a Sidebar conversation on, but just in terms of mitochondrial support, energy metabolism and just kind of maintaining that integrity so to speak, of the mitochondria.

[00:39:32.040] – Allan

The way I like to think about it, because the mitochondria are the engines of each cell. It's like putting sugar in the gas tank. It's just not going to work well, it's not going to go well. And we're doing that every day. If we're not managing our blood sugar, managing our insulin sensitivity. And these minerals obviously play a part in that. So it's very important to make sure you're in a good mineral balance. Now, there's one mineral that a lot of people over the age of 40 start to really care about because they get osteoporosis or osteopenia.

[00:40:02.030] – Allan

And the doctors like you're losing bone density. And a lot of people say, okay, well, I need to start taking calcium, but you mentioned in one of your videos, why that might not be a good strategy as far as supplementation to supplement with calcium. Can you talk about that? And what are the things that we should be considering with regards to bone health.

[00:40:22.240] – Thomas

Yeah. I will say first and foremost, the American Heart Association had published a study that took a look at over 5000 people in this particular case, and they found that generally supplementing with calcium was not necessarily beneficial. In fact, it was actually detrimental, especially when you look at coronary artery and calcium scores and things like that. So when you're looking at overall heart health, circulatory health, things like that, I caution you tremendously with taking a calcium supplement, we do not generally find ourselves deficient in calcium. That is not a common problem.

[00:40:55.140] – Thomas

The osteoporosis piece is absolutely a real deal, but that's more about calcium getting into the right place, right? That's more about shuttling calcium into the bone, which is more of a vitamin D3 K2 issue more than anything. So if you're concerned with that, I would highly suggest vitamin D three or getting out in some sun and supplementing some vitamin K2. So it's going through the proper pathways of storing in the bone, because what happens when you take a calcium supplement is it's not like it's just magically going into the bone, it's circulating and calcium and magnesium actually oppose each other.

[00:41:27.720] – Thomas

So you're in a kind of a constant balance between magnesium and calcium. And if you have too much calcium, you're counteracting magnesium and you find yourself in this excitatory state where your muscles are contracted and where you're having much more excitability in the neurons. And you really want to keep that at bay. That's not a good thing. It's not a good thing for the heart. It's not a good thing for the muscles, not necessarily a good thing for the nervous system. So magnesium is much more important in that game than calcium.

[00:41:55.720] – Thomas

And again, with our diet, you really do seldom come across diets that are really deficient in calcium these days. We usually do get enough in, so it's not like you find out. Okay, I've got a certain degree of osteoporosis, and I'm going to go and start drinking a bunch of milk or start taking a calcium supplement. That's probably not going to help you out too much there. I just caution people with that. It's much more important to patients in the vitamin D, much more important to pay attention to the magnesium and just get good amounts of calcium from the diet rather than an exorbitant amount from a supplement.

[00:42:29.280] – Allan

Yes. And the thing I would add is if you really want your body to know what you need it to do, exercise. Do resistance training. Resistance training is going to turn on the building of bone in your body. It's going to build bone density as you get stronger as you increase the weight and the resistance. And so if your doctor tells you you have a problem, osteopenia, resistance training and a proper healthy diet are going to be your best bets.

[00:42:59.070] – Thomas

Absolutely. And it's also going to highlight deficiencies a lot faster too. So in terms of being able to showcase OK, well, maybe I'm deficient in potassium. Maybe I'm deficient in magnesium. When you start kind of up regulating the oxidation of these minerals, then you can really. They rear their ugly heads a lot more. Like you mentioned, you run low on potassium. I'm the same way. I don't know if I would know that if I wasn't working out regularly because it highlights it. I know I'm a big cramper. It's a big problem for me.

[00:43:29.100] – Allan

It highlights it. Absolutely does.

[00:43:34.290] – Allan

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

[00:43:42.420] – Thomas

Well, so I'll give you a couple that are like pragmatic and then I'll give you one that's a little bit more cheesy, which doctor. First one is stop eating after 06:37 p.m. One of the simplest things advice is that I can give people. Not only is it going to probably reduce your caloric intake because you'd be surprised at how much you eat just after dinner or even just. But as far as sleep is concerned, since having two small kids, I have really learned proper sleep hygiene is one of the most important things and the biggest lever that you can pull with sleep hygiene and ultimately body composition and mental health is really not eating a couple of hours before you go to bed.

[00:44:25.810] – Thomas

That is just such a big thing and kind of to double up on that. What I usually recommend is breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince, dinner like a Popper where you're slowly decreasing the amount of food you're eating as the day goes on. Bigger breakfast, moderate side lunch, relatively small dinner. Then stop cold Turkey 06:37 p.m. You will find your sleep on set is much better. The next one is one that not everyone has access to, but it's something that if you can't use a sauna, you can take a very hot bath and get a similar effect.

[00:44:58.770] – Thomas

I found that especially on days I can't really get a good workout in or I feel maybe stiff sore, I'm just achieve and a good workout isn't going to play in, utilizing a sauna as what's called a hormetic stressor has been the most life changing thing for me. It really has. Someone that's battled with sleep issues, someone that's battled with stress, anxiety, depression. It's such a huge thing for me. There's multiple studies, obviously the finished studies. There's tons of them. It's huge in Finland. I could quote a bunch of different research, but try some heat therapy.

[00:45:31.140] – Thomas

Try it. Try using your sauna at the gym. I will tell you it's the best $3,500 investment you can ever make is getting a sauna and just having one. But it's not always practical. I know it's a lot of money, but I would quicker get rid of my car than my sauna. Let's put it that way. It helps with all kinds of different things in terms of just getting the heart rate up, circulatory system, all kinds of stuff like that. The third one is and it does kind of loop around with everything too, is don't be afraid to prioritize mental health above all else.

[00:46:05.590] – Thomas

As I've gotten older, I really realized that when it comes down to lifestyle, when it comes down to wellness, it's only as good as your brain. It used to be days when I would not want to skip a workout ever, because I needed to stick with what I would consider artificial programming when in reality now, it's not that I'm caving to the type fact that I'm fatigued it's more so, okay, well, some days it needs to be more of a mental workout. It needs to be something meditation, some kind of mindfulness practice things like that.

[00:46:34.830] – Thomas

Yes, sure. You may not burn 300 calories that you thought you were going to burn. You can still get activity in other ways, but prioritizing, not just adding in, but prioritizing your mental health above all else. I promise you, if you prioritize it, everything else will fall in line. Because if your head's not in the game right, trust me, you're not going to be getting the right workouts and you're not going to be making the right food choices. The biggest absolute lever you can pull is your mindfulness.

[00:47:00.010] – Allan

Well, Thomas, if someone wanted to learn more about you, the wonderful things you're doing with the YouTube channel or anything else, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:47:09.450] – Thomas

You can just send them to YouTube. I think that's the best place for them to really get a lot of knowledge. That's just simple. You can just go to YouTube and type in Thomas DeLauer and you'll be covered up with content. Also, my Instagram just Thomas DeLauer. I have cut down shorter versions of my videos there, so in three to four minute chunks, but full disclaimer and you don't get the full effect. It's just there for quick tidbits. So definitely those two places.

[00:47:35.180] – Thomas

Thomasdelauer.com. If anyone needs to actually get in touch with me literally and contact form there. But I think the videos and Instagram are probably the best.

And I wanted to also just kind of as a courtesy to people that are watching this or excuse me listening. I'm just saying that listening to a podcast listen to this podcast. If you go to Verso. There's a company called Verso. I mentioned NMN. I just highly recommend. There's a 20% off discount just because in honor of this podcast. So Verso is an NMN, which is very powerful as you get older in terms of what's called NAD, they have a lot of good information on their site. So if you just use the code Thomas20 at Verso's website, which is literally V-E-R.So just kind of a big thank you to Allan and a big thank you for everyone that's listening.

[00:48:26.490] – Allan

You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/517. And I'll be sure to have the link there.

[00:48:32.710] – Allan

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

[00:48:35.950] – Thomas

Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Post Show/Recap

[00:48:41.770] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:48:43.160] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, give me just a second. A fan girl right now. Mike and I have been big fans of Thomas and Mike more so than me, but we've watched a lot of his videos, so it was really neat to have you listen to your conversation with him. And it was also very interesting, too.

[00:48:58.850] – Allan

Yeah. Thomas spent some money getting as big as he got. I used to see his ads on Facebook all the time, and so that's how I knew who he was. But it was his agent that reached out and said, hey, we'd like to get Thomas on the show. He's got a book coming out in March, so I'm hopeful I can get him back on the show soon to talk about his new book. But yeah, he dives deep into these topics. Keto, fasting and then, of course, anyone who's gone through Keto knows you have to take a look at your minerals and make sure that you're getting your electrolytes, getting your minerals and getting the nutrition.

[00:49:35.390] – Allan

Because these diets keto, carnivore, vegan. They're restricting food groups. And any diet that restricts food groups is something you have to pay attention to the nutritional aspects of the food that you're eating. You cannot just eat leafy Greens, carrots and potatoes and be okay. You're going to have to make sure you're getting the nutrients that your body needs. And that means a variety of foods within the realm of what you can eat. And then if you can't get what you need from the foods that you're eating, then you've got to find that alternative.

[00:50:10.520] – Allan

And sometimes that is supplements.

[00:50:13.030] – Rachel

Yeah. I appreciate how he mentioned that he prefers not to supplement unless it's absolutely necessary. And you're right, we can get all these nutrients and foods. But like I was mentioning to you, I struggle with getting enough iron in my diet. Now I'm kind of wondering how much magnesium I'm getting. I'm going to have to take a closer look at that. But when my tastes change in the summer, I can eat salads all day long, but in the winter, the last thing I want to do is have leafy Greens and so my iron will plummet and Lord knows what else.

[00:50:45.400] – Rachel

But if you can't get what you need to get in your food, then a supplement might be handy.

[00:50:52.700] – Allan

Yeah, and I wanted to have a conversation with them, but I kind of just came to the conclusion that I already knew the answer, which is probably not the right way to approach podcast. I already know the answer, so I'm not even going to ask this question. I probably should have. But a lot of people ask because you can do blood tests for this stuff. The answer is absolutely yes. When I go in for my blood test, I make sure potassium and sodium are on my blood test.

[00:51:17.570] – Allan

Because if you hear the story, I basically went into seizures and was within inches of going into a coma. I mean, quite literally, right there the numbers I had. He said, You're lucky you are not right now in a coma. You caught it just in time. You got to the emergency room just in time. And I only went to the emergency room because when I threw up, when I had the seizure, it hurt my chest. So that night I was laying there still not feeling right.

[00:51:50.340] – Allan

And my chest started hurting. And I'm like, okay, I got to go to the hospital. This might be something else. They popped the nitroglycerin in me straight away, walked me in the back, started putting me, put me on an IV, and then started taking blood and put me on EKG and did all that stuff before they came back around and said, oh, you're dehydrated and you're depleted of sodium and potassium. So it's this horrible, horrible thing because you need water. But if we put water in, it's going to wash more of the sodium and potassium out.

[00:52:22.000] – Allan

So it's like, right now you're on a saline drip. And he said that's right now all we can really do. And so I finished that saline drip. And he said, going tomorrow, get another blood test to figure out where you're studying. And it was still low. So he said, Come back to the emergency room, get another saline. So I was back in the hospital the next day getting another saline and then finally was like, okay, I'm here. They told me get some Gatorade, but I'm like, okay, now I'm not going to, Jesus Christ. What I did,

[00:52:52.520] – Allan

I actually went down the aisle and I ended up with a big bottle of spicy v8. So I'm like, okay, I'll do this because at least it feels better. They got fruit on the label and vegetables on the label.

[00:53:08.810] – Rachel

Yeah, I can see that.

[00:53:11.180] – Allan

It wasn't just glorified sugar water. But all that said is, you can measure the blood on this. But you're changing all the time. And so depending on what you ate last night, depending on how much water you drank, depending on everything else, you may be deficient tonight, even though you were fine this morning.

[00:53:30.450] – Allan

The same with iron. If you had a good meal, you could wake up in the morning, check your iron, and you're just fine. And then you come back 4 hours later. And now you're anemic again. That's just one of those things that, yes, you can test it. And maybe if you think you have a problem, go ahead and get it tested. If you're cramping, if you're fatigued, we gave you some of the minerals, the magnesium, the sodium, potassium that's around the cramping area. If you're feeling just the general fatigue.

[00:54:01.150] – Allan

You can look at chromium. You can look at some of the others, but a good, well balanced diet that is sourced from good places. So the stuff you're buying just in the general part of your grocery store is probably coming from an over farmed farm, and they put just enough of whatever it needs, nitrogen and this other stuff in the ground to grow it. When they talk about hydroponics, they're not typically putting minerals in there. They're just putting what it needs for the plant to grow and produce.

[00:54:36.410] – Allan

Okay. And so you're not necessarily getting the minerals that you need, even though you'd say, okay, what should I eat for like you said, iron? And you said spinach and kale and all those dark green leafy vegetables and red meat. But then you may not be getting much iron from them, because if there was an iron in the soil, it's depleted. Then it's leafy green, but it's not giving you exactly what you need. So supplementation might just be a solution for a lot of us. And it's unfortunate, but sourcing your food well, and then taking some precautions probably makes sense.

[00:55:14.970] – Rachel

Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I agree with you. The quality of the food and where it comes from could make a big difference. And the quantity of minerals that the item contains an Apple grown here in Michigan and California versus Florida. I mean, you got three different areas, three different soil classifications. It could vary greatly. It's going back to your previous podcast about calories. It's the same thing. It's kind of a loose estimation as to how much minerals are in that particular piece of food. But you do both of you brought up a good point about exactly understanding how you're feeling and paying closer attention to your body and what signals it's giving off and then responding accordingly with a different food item that might help.

[00:56:03.470] – Allan

Yeah. There are going to be some telltale signs. Thomas, gave you quite a few of those. So if you feel fatigued, that's not normal, there's something missing, and you can look into that. If you're feeling cramps regularly in bed or just like you're out, then you might have a problem, and then you want to look at circumstances. So you're up in Michigan, where it's really right now, probably cool, cold and dry. The cold pulls all the moisture out of the air. As a result, you become a little less hydrated, and that can cause some problems.

[00:56:44.760] – Allan

I'm down in this really nice, hot, humid location, but as a result, I sweat a lot more year round. I don't have a non sweating season. I really do have to pay attention to my electrolytes because I know I have this tendency. So again, just paying attention, not being afraid of things and just saying I'm going to try it because minerals, as a general rule, if you're buying them as a supplement, are not that expensive. This is not like you've got to go out and spend $70 for a month supply of minerals.

[00:57:22.570] – Allan

You quite literally can get them for pennies a pill, and they give you a lot of what you need, and you take it for a little while and you see how you feel. Now, if the cramps go away, if you're feeling better, particularly with cramps and electrolytes, you should feel better within 30 minutes. Some of these others, you might have to take it like iron. You may have to take that for a little while to kind of get that build up, but it's just a function of saying, okay, I'm going to start taking this supplement.

[00:57:51.980] – Allan

I'm going to pay attention. And as an experiment, so I'm only going to change this one thing. I'm going to start taking this supplement. I'm not going to change my programming. I'm not going to change my food. I'm not going to change my sleep. I'm not going to change how much water I'm drinking. I'll try to just change this one thing, and then you see how it changes you, how you feel. If it doesn't change anything for you, then maybe that's not what you need it anyway.

[00:58:15.850] – Allan

So stop. And then if you feel fine after you stop, then good. You don't have to pay that Penny a pill. Just realize that your health and fitness is unique to you. We're all going to be going through this. The nutrition you have access to the nutrition that you're eating based on the variety of things that you eat, things that you like to eat, and you don't eat, particularly if you're doing something that's more of a restrictive diet of, like kicking entire food groups out, then it's just something for you to think about.

[00:58:43.920] – Allan

If I'm not eating that, how am I getting this.

[00:58:48.000] – Rachel

Right. Absolutely. And magnesium is important. More so than I thought.

[00:58:54.400] – Allan

Well, it's kind of one of those quiet little things that we never talk about, but it's involved in so much of the processes within the body. And you kind of like you build it. Another one that's really important is phosphorus. And you don't even think about that. Where am I getting my phosphorus from? Well, you can get it from cruciferous vegetables. So if you're not eating asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower, you might not be getting enough phosphorus. And as a result, your energy levels might be lower. And so there's so many things out there that can affect how your body produces energy, the B vitamins, the minerals, all those things.

[00:59:35.010] – Allan

And so just making sure that you're getting a good variety of foods and you're still not feeling it. Give a supplement a try and see if that makes you feel better. And if it does, then maybe you've solved some problems and you're not going to have to go to the doctor and said, don't understand why I'm in fatigue. It's like, well, fatigue is a symptom of just about every disease we ever talk about with our clients. So it could be any really, you could have dengue fever.

[01:00:03.140] – Allan

You could have COVID. You could have a common cold. You could have anemia. You could have a magnesium deficiency. There's so many different things that could be causing that. So making sure you're getting good food supplementing if you feel like it's necessary and then just paying attention because your body gives you this feedback loop. That's really cool.

[01:00:25.290] – Rachel

Yeah, that absolutely sounds like sound advice, Allan, great interview.

[01:00:29.570] – Allan

Thank you. And like I said, I'm going to try to get him back on. He has a book coming out in March, so I'm hopeful that we'll be able to connect, and he's a busy guy, but I'm hopeful we can connect and get him back on the show soon. Now, before we sign off, I did want to remind you if you're looking to lose weight in the new year, so we get into January, and you want to lose some weight, and you want to have a little bit of help doing that.

[01:00:53.200] – Allan

I want you to check out my win at weight loss program. It's a six week program. I can't take a ton of people because I'm not like a lot of trainers out there that say, oh, I'm a big name. So I'm going to offload you to my junior trainers. I don't do that. It's just me. So there are limited number of slots I'm going to be able to have. So go ahead and get on the waiting list. If you're interested, go to 40plusfitness.com/win.

[01:01:17.550] – Allan

That's 40plusfitness.com/win.

[01:01:21.080] – Rachel

Perfect. That sounds great, Allan.

[01:01:22.810] – Allan

All right. We'll talk to you next week, then.

[01:01:24.660] – Rachel

Take care.

[01:01:25.520] – Allan

You too.


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

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Another episode you may enjoy


December 6, 2021

It’s time to take a digital detox

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For all the good social media has brought to the world, there is a down side that affects almost all of us. On this episode, we discuss why it's time to take a digital detox.



This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Organifi.

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Go to www.organifi.com/40plus and use code 40plus for 20% off your order. That's O R G A N I F I dot com forward slash 40plus and use code 40plus  for 20% off any item.


This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Unidragon.

As the holidays approach, you might be looking for a unique gift that will entertain and delight. Unidragon has you covered. They make high-quality wooden puzzles. But these aren’t like regular puzzles with the standard style pieces. Their unique design is something I’ve never seen before. They’re works of art.

We all know that as we age, we risk a loss of cognitive strength. But with neuroplasticity, we can train our brain and slow decline. Puzzles do just that. Plus these beautiful puzzles are something you can do with the whole family, be it your significant other or your grandchildren.

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I received the medium-sized Playful Parrots puzzle. It came a beautiful wooden box. You should have seen my wife’s eyes light up when she saw it. I fully expect to buy more of the Unidragon puzzles for ourselves and our guests.

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Say Hello

[00:03:54.880] – Allan

Hey, Ras. Welcome back!

[00:03:56.810] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. Yeah. Thanks.

[00:03:58.340] – Allan

It's been two whole weeks.

[00:04:00.230] – Rachel

It has. I've just had the most wonderful vacation. I feel so relaxed. I feel so refreshed. And really, my heart is just full. I really enjoyed spending so much time with my friends back where we used to live. It was just the most perfect vacation.

[00:04:14.770] – Allan

Good. We've been here. Tammy was diagnosed with dengue fever

[00:04:23.850] – Rachel

Oh, no.

[00:04:23.850] – Allan

So, she got sick. Got sick just as we were really starting to open up the bed and breakfast and got sick. Really sick, like high fevers and all kinds of weird symptoms. Went to the doctor. He said there are three types of dengue that you test for. There might be more than that, but she had two of them, so she's an overachiever when it comes to those types of things. But she went through it and she's recovered.

[00:04:50.650] – Allan

Other people we're hearing around here haven't been that lucky. They're sick for weeks and months. So she's doing okay. She's still a little fatigued, but it was just touch and go there with her fever and getting her tested. It was not Covid. She went in for the Covid test and wasn't Covid. And then she went in to the doctor a week or so later, and it was dengue fever, but she's doing better now. And so that's the good thing. But just kind of weird times you're living in a tropical paradise and then dengue fever because there's mosquitoes,there are everywhere.

[00:05:27.590] – Allan

But, yeah, that's kind of been my week. Plus, we launched the Crush the Holidays Challenge, and that's been huge fun with the daily videos and all that kind of stuff. So that's going on right now, and I'm just having a blast. I haven't really done a whole lot of new coaching with new clients or anything like that. And even though this isn't what I would call a full coaching program, it's really just sort of a group thing as we go through together. It's been fun to get back into it after taking kind of a break with my vacation and then trying to get Lulu's open.

[00:06:03.120] – Rachel

Wow. Wonderful. I'm glad to hear that the Crush the holidays is going well. It sounds like a lot of fun.

[00:06:08.520] – Allan

Yeah, it will be. It has been. We have the Panamanian holidays at the beginning of November, and then you have the American holidays, Thanksgiving and whatnot at the end of November. So there's a lot going on everywhere. But this is just a good reminder if you're falling off your track sometimes having accountability, having people around you can be a really good thing.

[00:06:32.750] – Rachel

Oh, absolutely. This is the season to get all your buddies together and make some really good health and fitness goals that you can stick to, at least through these next few months.

[00:06:42.510] – Allan

Absolutely. So, are you ready to talk about digital life? The toxic digital life?

[00:06:49.160] – Rachel

Yes. Let's do this


The other day, I got into an argument on Twitter and, well, I guess you know how that went. The thing about these things is that you never really get them to understand or believe what you believe and they'll never get you to understand or believe what they believe. Very seldom do we change anybody's mind. So show of hands who spends too much time on their phone or computer? Well, my hands raised, and maybe yours is, too for me, it's on the computer. I don't like being on my phone all that much, actually, most of the time, my phone is still plugged in at my nightstand for most of the day.

Unless I go somewhere. The only reason I have a phone at this point is for WhatsApp? It's the application we use down here to communicate and message. And really, that's the only reason I have it is I can't use WhatsApp without having a smartphone. So I have that phone and I use it for that and very seldom. And I'll use it for my sleep and things like that, which we'll talk about in a minute. But I spend very little time on the phone. I spend a great deal of time on the computer now.

Part of that, obviously, is because I work on the computer. My clients are on the computer. My podcast is on the computer. I am recording this on a computer. And so the question that you have to ask yourself is with all the digital time I have for work and the things that I need, am I spending time on there for things I don't really need? And what is that doing to my health and fitness? And maybe just maybe you could do well with a digital detox.

So first, let's talk about why this is a problem. Why what's going on on our computers can be a big problem for us. The first thing I want to talk about is our brain. Now our brain was designed to look for movement. It was designed to look for things that are out of line. And so if you look at the way most of what's going on with social media, you scroll down the page, you see images, you see videos, things that are drawing your attention, and all of that is on purpose.

If we were out in the wherever forest or in the Woods or in a jungle, movement meant that there was something going on. It meant that there was an animal. And we need to know is this animal a predator or food. And so immediately we're drawn, our attention is drawn to it, and we're focused on it, and we're looking at it now. If it's a person, we have to decide, is this a friend or a foe? Because in tribal environments, sometimes people you don't know, the others, they're dangerous.

And so we need to know if there's movement, exactly what's causing that movement. So our brain is naturally drawn to these things, video and audio and all the different things that are going on. So it's very easy to draw our attention to these things. And one thing that happens in the brain that's responsible for making that happen is a dopamine response. So we see something that's interesting. There's a dopamine response. And so getting on Facebook saying, those likes, seeing those shares, seeing everything that's going on, that interaction, that movement, that stuff is all a dopamine hit, and it's easy to get addicted to that dopamine hit and want it more and more.

Which is why people are spending so much more time on social media and social media is getting so much better at getting us in and keeping us. In fact, they want you on their platform every waking hour if they can make that happen. And I kind of think that's what meta is all about for Facebook, but I'll get into that in a minute. The second reason that this is important is it's about distraction and things are happening that really shouldn't be happening, like texting and driving, because again, those dopamine hits are coming from those dings, they're coming from those likes, they're coming from those responses, the comments many people find it very hard to set their phone down and focus on any one task.

So this can be very distracting, which takes away not just from performance, like if you're doing things with work or trying to do homework or things like that, it's quite literally taking your attention away from things that could be problematic, like driving. And then there's the problem of this distraction being basically a time suck. And what I mean by that is, I guess a good example would be I was having a conversation with a friend and she asked me if I was on Treehouse, which is an audio platform where people can get together.

There can be a forum. There can be basically kind of a group person or one person talking at a time. They can bring on guests. And so it's kind of for lack of a better word, an audio chat room. And what I found was that when I got on Treehouse, it was just a time suck. I would sit there listening to various conversations, and they could be interesting. But in reality, they weren't as valuable as I needed them to be. And they were taking me away from things that I needed to be doing.

Facebook has an algorithm that is built to keep you engaged. It's built to keep you on their site, keep you on the platform. And I think the meta thing he's working on, that Zuckerberg is working on over there at Facebook. I think it's going to be just as addictive. It reminds me a lot of Second Life, which was kind of a multiplayer game type of environment that had a lot of promise that's actually still around, but not used nearly as much as it was when it first came out.

I think he's going to basically try to marry those two things together so that the interface is a lot more inclusive, a lot more in. You're going to feel more like you're on in Another World, an automated and augmented world, and it's going to have a lot of the features that Facebook has. And I really think that's going to be kind of a scary, scary thing for a lot of people, particularly if they get sucked in and don't want to come out. So a little dystopian, but it is what it is.

It's a distraction.


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Next is sleep, your computer, your phone. They all put off light and we know that blue light reduces melatonin production and melatonin is the hormone. We need to start feeling sleepy and just go to sleep. And so if you're doing anything that's limiting your melatonin production, you're not going to sleep as well.

And so getting on your computer getting on your phone is going to be a problem. And even if you're using the blue blocker glasses or using the features that now come on computers and phones to change the lighting on your computer. It's still basically going to have some you're not getting back to candlelight and sunsets and all the things that our body was used to. So there's going to be an effect. And then the other side, as we talked about the dopamine hit. But oftentimes if you get onto these platforms and you're dealing with an issue that's political or medical or this or that it's very likely.

And that's how they keep you on the platform, that there's going to be an adrenaline spike. Someone's going to post something. And as I mentioned at the beginning of the show, got on a Twitter site, and then immediately you realize, okay, I'm angry. I'm frustrated. My heart is racing, my head is racing. I'm no way ready to go to sleep. And so these things can be very disruptive to your sleep. And if you're having issues with sleep, the less time you spend on your phone, probably the better.

Finally, is stress. Social media strives on tribalism right now. We've just recently gone through some court cases and very strong polls by political parties on both sides of this thing. And it was just back and forth, back and forth. And you could just see if you followed enough people and you paid enough attention, the disparity, the gap in this tribalism, and what was going on around that and how stressful that was for a lot of people. And the thing about social media is because you're not sitting in a room, having a conversation with someone, it's very easy to dehumanize someone.

So when someone is discussing something with you on Facebook, unless you know them personally, very likely, they have dehumanized you and don't even think of you in the light of the way they would if they were sitting face to face with you. And that's really changed the way people communicate on social media, which can be very stressful because they're going to be amplified considerably amplified. The other thing that happens on social media is that it's seldom based on real life. People will say things, do things, post things that just aren't them.

They're living a life or they're presenting a life that's not real. So we have these filters, and I'm sure you're aware of those where you can make yourself look a little prettier, cut out some lines, do this and that I see some of them. They don't even look human anymore. But they put them out there. And so you see someone and you think, wow, they look so great. What they're doing, look at their skin. They look so great. It might not even be real. Okay. And so stressing yourself out about that can be a problem.

And then the other side is everybody feels like they're an expert. Someone will sit there and post a post. I fell off a ladder. What should I do? And everybody's trying to be their doctor put ice on it. This is bad. It's like go to a doctor, go to go to the emergency room if you need to do not try to self medicate, falling off of the ladder. But people believe they're experts. This is what they did. And that's how it's going to work. And the reality is they're not experts.

And everybody's going to chime in and you're going to hear some people say one thing and some people say another, and some of it is just quite frankly, scary and dangerous. So don't fall for that. Don't be a part of that. If you get on these things and someone's asking for help, you can tell them what your experience was. But first and foremost, get the medical attention that you need. And then there's just the trolls and the bots and the data miners. And so it's just this constant trove of people trying to egg you on, trying to cause issues, trying to get you going and also trying to steal information from you so they can steal money from you.

I just realized that social media could be a great thing, but for the most part, there is a lot more bad out there than there is good. I'm sorry, but it's just how it is. And then the final thing I want to talk about why digital detox is important is because it affects your posture. If you see people who are on their phones a lot, you'll notice, particularly while they're on their phone, their chest is collapsed, their shoulders are rounded forward and their head is craned forward.

So they're in this kind of rounded upper body thing, and most of them because they're spending so much time in that way, they're sticking. They're becoming more like that. They're having some issues with their posture. So here's a test I want you to try either. If you have a flat bench available, it works, or you can do this on the floor. But lay on a flat bench. Just lay on the flat bench and your head and your shoulders and your upper back and your lower back should your butt and your legs should all touch the bench.

There should be a slight curvature to your lower back, but everything else should naturally follow an alignment. And a lot of people you'll notice if you lay down your head doesn't necessarily want to touch that bench. That's an issue where you've been on your computer or on your phone too much. If you don't have a bench, you can do it on the floor. If you're familiar with what a snow angel is, where you lay on your back and you'd raise your arms over your head and you basically move your legs and your arms, making a circle with your arms and making kind of a triangle with your legs.

That's a snow angel. Try that on a flat floor and see how that feels. And for a lot of people, it's a little uncomfortable because your head again doesn't want to touch the floor or your feet don't want to touch the floor. And so you just see that there's some general misalignment of your body when you're trying to lay there flat. We've gotten comfortable with couches and beds and things like that to kind of remedy some of the stuff. But the reality of it is if we just spent less time on our phone, we would have better posture, we'd be taller and we'd feel better and look better.

Okay, so now the disclaimer. It is really cool to have all of the world's information at your fingertips. If you have a question how to do something, you can look it up on Google or YouTube. It saved people probably millions of dollars over time, billions of dollars over time because they're able to do things that they wouldn't otherwise know how to do, because they can look it up and they find a YouTube channel and they figure it out and then they do it themselves and they didn't have to pay somebody to do it.

It's cool to have that information at your fingertips and then being able to watch a movie or a documentary or a TV show when you want to. That's really cool. Some distractions are worth it. And so if you want to watch a good movie, watch a good movie if it's available to you 24/7, and then having access to your favorite music and podcasts, this one included, hopefully, is just one of those great things about having access to digital environments that you wouldn't normally have. If I had to mail you a CD of this episode every week.

It would be problematic for you to be a listener because we'd have to pay for the CD. We'd have to pay for the shipping and all the burning and all of it. Whereas I can post it very cost-effectively, and you have it available on your podcast or your iphone, your Android device, or wherever you listen to podcasts. It's there almost immediately. And that's really cool. And then the ability to connect with people as we're getting into the holidays, you may not be able to visit everybody.

I know last year with Covett, everything was going on. A lot of people weren't visiting or able to visit family members. So we got on Zoom and we spent time with family members doing Zoom calls. And so the ability to send an email, send a text, get on a Zoom call or Facebook FaceTime. All of those are really cool technologies that we should enjoy. And so I'm not saying that you should not have a phone, you should not use it. I'm just saying we should be a little bit more careful about how we're using it and understanding when we're in a toxic usage stage and when we're using it appropriately.

Okay, so now I want to get into a little bit about how we can now make this progress. How can we get away from the toxic aspects of this and get more into the value usage of the phone and the computer and make sure we're finding the right balance for our health and fitness. Okay, the first thing is the self-awareness. So ask yourself this question. How do you feel about your phone if you're disconnected from your phone for 30 minutes? Is that a problem? If you're disconnected from your phone for ten minutes?

Is that a problem? If you feel very uncomfortable about being more than arms, reach away from your phone. Something's going on. If you find yourself on Facebook or checking your email or your text messages 10, 20, 30 times a day, you might want to consider that there's something going on there. Okay, you can do a screen time report on your phone again. When I run them. It shows me using my phone, probably somewhere between six to ten minutes per day, and most of the time that's just for me to set my alarm and turn it back off.

Maybe check out WhatsApp here and there if I'm walking around. But I spend very little time on my phone, I spend an exceptional amount of time on my computer. So doing a screen time report will give you an idea and a measurement criteria to know if you're starting your cutback and doing it right. And then think about the things that you do on Facebook and ask yourself if time was money or health or fitness. Is it worth the investment? Is it worth the time I'm trading the health benefits I could get or the fitness benefits I could get for the time I'm spending on Facebook?

An argument on Twitter is not. So just recognize that there's value to distraction. There's value to the things we're doing. But at the point, we need to do that kind of cost benefit analysis to think of where we're spending the time, because that's going to help you understand what to cut and how to cut.


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The next stage of this is to set achievable boundaries. Okay, one easy boundary that absolutely everybody should do unless there's an emergency reason or reason you need to have your phone on at night is to put your phone on airplane mode after 09:00 p.m.. That will help you sleep. You can read a book, a paper book, but make sure it's fiction, so it's not going to get you all engaged. And again, pushing up those dopamine levels and getting your brain moving. An enjoyable fiction book reading that in the evening versus being on your phone.

And if your phone's on airplane mode, the dings, the whistles, the pops, those aren't happening. So that Pavlovian Paul to get you back onto Facebook, isn't there? So consider that another easy achievable boundary is to say, I'm not going to have my phone at the table during family meals or at parties. So many times when I leave to go out with my wife, I don't even take my phone. I just leave it because she's got her phone. So if we need to call somebody, we can.

There's nowhere on this Island I can't walk. We're going to be with friends on the island, so it's not like there's anybody else that I need to have a conversation with at that point. So I just don't even take the phone. So sometimes going to dinner, sometimes going out with friends, I just leave my phone at home. I know that's a big step, but taking the step of at least not having your phone at the table during family dinners can go a long way towards having you a lot more present in the moment and a lot less distracted.

And back on Facebook, remember years and years ago when I first started seeing this was going to be a problem. I'm driving down the road and I see this truck with four guys in it and all four of them, including the driver, are looking at their phones. They're texting. And I was like, what's going on and the reality of it is we're not present most of the time. We're not here where we are, most of the time, we're spending a lot of time being somewhere else, and we need to fix that.

So set some boundaries, set some little tricks and things like that where times you're not going to use your phone and start trying to stick to that. And then from there, set a stretch goal. What I mean by that is if I say I'm going to leave my phone on airplane mode from nine on. Then I leave my phone on airplane mode, and then maybe I say as a stretch goal. I know when I get up in the morning I'm going to check emails, but then I'm going to go for my workout, my walk, maybe not taking my phone with me.

Now, I like having a music playing. I like having a podcast, but if I just said once per week or twice per week, I don't take my phone with me, and therefore I listen to everything else. I'm paying attention, I'm doing something else. And so helping to set those little time windows tighten those windows gives me more time off the platform. Now, is that going to detract from my ability to respond to important emails? No. Am I going to do it when I'm expecting an important email?

Probably not, but for the times where I know that it's not critical for me to have my phone for a personal reason or a business reason. But just because I have it, that's a good time to consider putting it on airplane mode and moving on again. We talked about the time suck things. What are the things that you're doing that really aren't adding value to your life and paying attention to those? Because there's this videos button. If you're on Facebook on the browser, there's a button for videos and everyone see it's a red light, and that's just the effect you click on that red button to basically turn it off and it opens up the videos.

And sure enough, here's highlight plays from football games or some crazy street chase or something like that. And before I know it, I've spent 1015 minutes watching that stuff. It just drew me in. Watching an incredible football play to me is really exciting. And so I'm sitting there watching these football plays again, not doing the things I should be doing because they got pulled in so kind of setting some boundaries and some stretch goals about not pushing that button. So I'm not finding myself watching those videos is another great way to have less screen time and get more done.

The next thing is to get back to nature. One of the concepts that I'm really trying to push myself on when I do my walks out is to realize I'm not going to see a sloth. If I'm looking at my phone, they're up in the trees. And so if I'm paying attention to the world around me, I'm likely to see a lot of cool things if I've got my headphones on and I'm listening to a podcast or an audiobook. I'm probably not going to hear the bird song around me, and I might miss something really cool if I'm looking at my phone, I may not see the sloth in the tree that I'm walking past.

So just recognize that if you're out and get yourself out in nature, there's going to be plenty of things to be looking for, the natural things that we usually did look for when we were in nature, living in nature. So just recognize that getting back to nature is going to help. And then one of the cool things is when you can find a place that doesn't have service. We lose service about 5 miles out from town. And since we hit that gravel road, I know I'm about to lose service.

So when we go out to dinner out there, it's like totally cool because nobody has cell phone service. So we're all hanging out talking. So it's a really cool situation. And I think I told you a few weeks ago about doing a camping trip and we were way out of cell phone signal for everybody. So people we talked, we spent more time together as together versus looking at our phones and talking about things. One downside of me not even taking my phone there because I knew that was going to be the case was I didn't get to take some pictures I would have liked to take, but a lot of my friends took some pictures, and that's cool.

But you kind of get the idea. Get out someplace where having your cell phone is less important. And I think you're going to enjoy it a lot more. And then we talked about posture. And so I want to finish up a little bit with that on the houses. If you notice that you have some posture issues. And I kind of gave you that test of laying on a bench, flying on a bench and seeing how that feels, you can also look in the mirror and see if your shoulders are slouched, your chest is collapsed or how your head aligns with your spine.

If you've got some issues there, then go get some work done, go get a massage, go see a physical therapist, and maybe even get a chiropractor to adjust you to start fixing that posture. Now, once you get your posture fixed, then you have to use that and realize, okay, I paid this person money to fix something that I broke. And do I want to go break it again? And the short answer should be no. But hopefully you're not creating a cycle of on the phone all day.

Go to a massage therapist or a chiropractor once a week. Probably not going to work out for you in the long run, financially much cheaper for you to just decide. Okay, I'm not going to spend as much time on my phone, and I'm going to do a lot more to make sure that my posture is better. And so doing the strength training exercises, particularly the physical therapist, would give you or that I could give you will help you make sure you're maintaining good posture and therefore not having those problems that come with being on your phone and on your computer too much.

So in summary, most of us are spending too much time on digital technology. We're not prioritizing our time. And so it's not really aligning with our health and fitness goals. If you're missing workouts, you're saying you don't have time, but you look on your screen time on your phone and you're spending an extra 4 hours per day on your phone. Guess what? You had time. You just prioritized differently, being on Facebook or playing words with friends or whatever the thing is, today was more important to you than your workout.

But was it so I really want you thinking about your best interest and aligning your priorities with that interest. And I don't think social media in the long run is going to be one of those priorities. And then you're looking at it. You see it if it's your posture, if it's your stress levels, if it's your sleep, you know that this is adversely affecting your health and fitness. So it's time for you to start doing something about it. Now. I had Dr. Dela Toro McNeil on not long ago, and he talked about change.

And so to do change to change this because getting away from the toxic digital stuff, you have to want it, you have to believe you can do it. And then you have to make the change. So I talked about that self awareness and putting achievable boundaries in place. And then setting stretch goals. You have to push. You have to make this change because Facebook and all the others, their job, their whole way of life is to keep you on their platform. So it's a battle. It's a battle for your time.

It's a battle for you. And so for you to win the battle, you have to be in charge of you. You have to be the boss of you. So go set good goals and make it happen.

Post Show/Recap

[00:36:53.250] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:36:54.790] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. Boy, did you open a can of worms with the digital world we all get sucked into?

[00:37:02.040] – Allan

We do. Even I do. I raised my hand. I'm just as guilty, I think, as most others, but it's one of those things. And you'll have this conversation with someone. I'll say, okay, how about you go ahead and start doing a little bit of training or you do this. And, like, there's no way they're like, I have these half hour moments in my life that I just scarf down lunch and dinner. But other than that, from six in the morning until twelve at midnight, I'm just go, go, I can never get things done.

[00:37:32.640] – Allan

And I'm like, okay, well, look at your screen time on your phone and how much time did you spend on Facebook and that kind of pause. And it's like, okay, what's your Netflix or Amazon Prime video binging like. And they're like, oh, I only do that on the weekends. I'm like, really? And they're like, okay, I might watch a couple of episodes during the week on a week night. I'm like, okay, how many week nights? Three or four. You're kind of like, okay. So the reality of it is you're spending 5 hours per week per day doing this digital stuff and you don't have time to work out.

[00:38:09.450] – Allan

So that's just a prioritization problem. I don't have time problem.

[00:38:14.790] – Rachel

Yeah. It's amazing how once you open up those apps on your phone, that time just seems to get away. You're scrolling and scrolling and you think you're just looking at it a few minutes here, a few minutes there. But that all adds up really fast. And to be honest, I haven't looked at my screen time. I think I'll have to look at that on my phone once I figure that out. But yeah, it's just so easy to get sucked into that. But you mentioned that the key is to be self aware, to be aware of how much time you're spending online.

[00:38:48.950] – Rachel

Totally important. But also, I think to be aware of what you're using social media for. And every time I hear people bashing it, I kind of just cling to it a little bit because really, social media is the only way I interact with my family. My personal Facebook page, for example, is all about family. I don't have a whole ton of friends on Facebook. I do certainly have a lot of running friends, but really, it's the easiest way for me to see my family on a regular basis because we're all spread out across the United States.

[00:39:20.960] – Rachel

So to spend less time on that part of it, I don't know.

[00:39:26.460] – Allan

Well, there are apps. There are apps that you can set. They're originally probably intended for children because you wouldn't place your child and say, okay, you can be on your phone for 2 hours or 1 hour, and then it lets them have the time the 1 hour. And if you sit down and you put it on your to do list and you know, okay, in the evening after dinner, we finished dinner by 730 from 730 to 830. Okay, I can do the Facebook. I can do those things, and then your phone will turn it off.

[00:39:58.930] – Allan

Now you can obviously go into the settings and delete that app and go back in if you needed to. But there's another app that I use that I think is wonderful. And it's called Social Fixer. And the one I have actually is like an add on extension for Chrome because I do everything on my computer. I don't really do it on the phone. And what it does is it takes your feed and it'll put it in chronological order because Facebook is going to show you everything and keep showing you everything.

[00:40:31.450] – Allan

Every time someone goes to comment on it, every time somebody does something. What this does is it puts every post in chronological order, meaning that if you posted something yesterday, I wouldn't see it unless I scroll down far enough to get through all the posts that happened today. The reason that's valuable is if you're only following people that add value to your life, you're not seeing the same post over and over and over again. And now the new comments and people what people have said and all that stuff if that's not interesting to you.

[00:41:01.880] – Allan

And there's different settings on this thing, like scrolling it. So after it Scrolls like, after 75 posts, it just stops the feed. So it's not an infinite feed. I get down to 75 posts. I realize I've already been on here way too long because I've worked through 75 posts on Facebook. And at that point, I'm like, Is it really worth me going any further to see any more?

[00:41:27.510] – Allan

And it also lets you eliminate certain posts that you don't want to see so you can click on and say you don't want to see any political posts. It does a fairly good job of going through and saying, if someone says something uses like, I hate to say it, but I put the word Biden. I put word Trump in there. If someone puts that in one of their posts, I don't even see it.

[00:41:47.400] – Rachel

Oh, I like that.

[00:41:51.310] – Allan

I can eliminate most of that stuff. And now what I'm seeing is exactly what you said. It's my friends and family, clients, people I care about it's, what they're posting out there. And I'll get out there in the morning, spend a little bit of time. But every day my wife is like, “did you see this post?” No. Sure didn't. I haven't been out there. And I think that's part of it is once you start cutting into that addictive algorithm thing that's going on, then suddenly you just realize it's like, okay, I've seen the post from my mom posted, the ‘rescue the cat' posts, or most of what she does on Facebook.

[00:42:27.610] – Allan

I've seen what my sister posted, and those can go from very good to psychotic. And then I see what my wife posted, and after my daughters and our sons. And after that, I'm kind of like, okay, what's this next layer of time I'm going to invest in doing this. And once you start doing that, it's like, you want to spend less and less time out there.

[00:42:49.230] – Rachel


[00:42:49.790] – Allan

And then what I found is that I can get the messenger app on my computer. And if I want to do, then I just focus on messengers. If I want to see what's going on with my daughter, I message her, “hey, what's going on?” My mom, “what's going on?” I don't have to get on Facebook. It's just like a separate little app, and it's on my desktop. So I'm not even on Facebook. If I need to message and talk to somebody.

[00:43:10.010] – Rachel

Oh, absolutely.

[00:43:11.130] – Allan

If you want to get in touch with me, messenger is probably the best way to do it if you're not on WhatsApp? But those are the two messaging apps that I have open all the time, so I don't have to be on Facebook to do what I do.

[00:43:23.400] – Rachel

That's nice. That's really nice. I think it's important for everybody to take a minute and determine what they want to get out of social media. And like you had mentioned, set a priority as to how much time you want to spend there? And is it really taking into account whether or not it's really worth that time? Are you getting out of it as much as you are thinking you are? Or is it all those constant dopamine hits like you had mentioned the likes and the follows and the shares and all that nonsense.

[00:43:52.210] – Rachel

I think like you had mentioned asking yourself if the digital world is somehow better than the real world and to really determine whether it is or not.

[00:44:07.590] – Allan

Yeah. And unequivocally, it is not.

[00:44:15.470] – Rachel


[00:44:15.470] – Allan

There's no decision there, no real decision. To say you'd rather spend time chatting with people on Facebook than actually sit down with them in person.

[00:44:23.370] – Rachel


[00:44:25.550] – Allan

I get it. You can't be in your pajamas or in your boxers or wearing your comfy clothes if you're going to go out and spend time with your friends and your family, but at the same time, it's not better. It's in no way better.

[00:44:38.740] – Rachel

Well, you mentioned taking a walk and getting back into nature, and I spend a lot of time outside running, and Mike and I do a lot of races outside with our friends, and we don't always get pictures of what we're doing. We don't always post every training run or what's going on, but we do get a lot of value of just being outside. And in fact, on this vacation, I rarely took my phone out.

[00:45:03.390] – Rachel

I just wanted to make sure everything was safe at home with the kids. But other than that, we spent a lot of time out and about, and I didn't even bother looking at my phone, and it was really relaxing. It was just a peaceful, relaxing vacation, and I'm sure that's part of it.

[00:45:19.920] – Allan

Good. All right. Well, I guess, Rachel, that's it for today. I'll talk to you next week.

[00:45:25.890] – Rachel

All right. Take care.


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November 22, 2021

How to survive potluck/group meals without blowing your weight loss effort

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On this episode, I share strategies to survive potluck/group meals without blowing your weight loss effort.



This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Organifi.

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Let's Say Hello

[00:03:18.790] – Allan
Hey, Ras. How are things?

[00:03:20.570] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:22.810] – Allan
I'm doing pretty good. We've worked through kind of our first major holiday season here in Panama. Tomorrow is also a holiday here. They have three independence days in Panama because they're Spanish influence when they were under Spain as a part of Colombia. And then Colombia got away from Spain. And then with a little bit of assistance from the United States, Panama was broken off from Colombia. So they call independence from Columbia. And then now they had the third one, which is independence from the United States. When President Carter gave over the Panama Canal, we were occupying the canal zone for most of the time.

[00:04:12.470] – Allan
That canal existed because we came down and created the country and dug it. But then the United States pulls out about the time that Carter was in office. They also do an independent state for that. The biggest one they have is they do Spain, and then they do Columbia. Those are the big ones. But from a true independence and their own country and their own revenue and everything, this last one is really where they're now. Okay. You're on your own. And they've done well with the canal.

[00:04:48.650] – Allan
They redeveloped a lot of the areas where the military bases were and so pretty cool deal. We've had all these holidays and we've had different people in, like, really different people in. And so it's just been kind of this interesting moment. And then Tammy got sick just after that, just after the holiday, she got sick. And so now it's like, okay, I have to run the place. I have to check people in. I have to check out. It's like, okay. But that said it's nice because it's not like I have to be on 24/7 people understand, it's a bed and breakfast and not a hotel where you go down to the front desk at 03:00 in the morning and ask for something, so far.

[00:05:38.290] – Allan
But it is kind of a little hectic just checking doing the things you do to run a six room bed and breakfast and do the podcast and do my online training and own the gym. So there's a lot of moving parts in my life right now, but I'm pretty excited about all of it as we go into this final season of the year. And so, yeah, I'm happy where we're going, but it's a lot of work. But we're now making it. And we're actually seeing income from a bed and breakfast, which is so exciting.

[00:06:11.810] – Rachel
I love that. That's wonderful. I'm very happy for you. I hope Tammy feels better soon, but that's so exciting to see your bed and breakfast getting right off the ground.

[00:06:21.390] – Allan
Yeah. So I did the accounting. I'm the accountant, too.

[00:06:26.560] – Rachel

[00:06:28.450] – Allan
And the bellboy, sometimes front desk staff and sometimes maintenance and whatever needs to get done. But yeah. So she had a horrible October because we were right at the beginning. We opened the middle of October, which we're buying all this food in anticipation of all the people that are checking in the first week of November. And then we had one room night in October, 1 night in October. But one room, one night that we had someone booked. And then after that, it's like, okay, now we've got bookings.

[00:07:05.760] – Allan
Now we've got this and people coming in and people walking up like, just before recording. So it's good. It's really good.

[00:07:14.720] – Rachel
That's fantastic. I'm so glad to hear that.

[00:07:17.400] – Allan
So how are things up there?

[00:07:18.810] – Rachel
Oh, good. I'm in the middle of packing my suitcase, so I'm pretty excited. In a couple of days, I'll be heading down to Pensacola Beach, even though it's not super hot down there. I'm actually going to be leaving Michigan at our first snow. So I'm kind of a little sad that I'm going to miss the first snow, but not that sad.

[00:07:41.210] – Allan
But, you know, the first snow is never the best snow.

[00:07:43.920] – Rachel

[00:07:44.880] – Allan
Because if it comes and then it warms up that day and then it's flushing, it's gone. You're like, okay, what's pretty now it's just black and ugly. It's just dirty and ugly. And it's like, so we need a good freeze coating on the ground and then it sticks, and then we're good. That's the kind of snow you want. So you'll come back to that.

[00:08:03.140] – Rachel
I'll come back to that probably. Yeah. I think you're expecting about three inches of snow when I leave, so I need to go find my snow shovel for the kids.

[00:08:14.130] – Allan
Put them to work.

[00:08:15.130] – Rachel

[00:08:16.060] – Allan
Got to keep it clean if you want me to come back.

[00:08:18.400] – Rachel
That's right.

[00:08:19.200] – Allan
Yeah. I saw Mike was already down in Pace, so I guess you're headed down there, which is nice.

[00:08:25.860] – Rachel
Yeah. He's actually working this week. And then next week we both get to take a vacation. So I'm pretty excited.

[00:08:31.540] – Allan
Yeah. Good. We'll tell everybody down there we miss them.

[00:08:34.790] – Rachel

[00:08:36.090] – Allan
All right. So let's go ahead and have this conversation about how to deal with these holidays we're taking.

[00:08:42.410] – Rachel


How to survive potluck/group meals without blowing your weight loss effort.

Did you know it's eating season? Yeah, it sure is. As we approach Thanksgiving in the United States, and there's a lot of eating seasons that are coming up. A lot of eating events, I might say, as we go into this New Year and isn't going towards the new year, this is eating season. There's no other way around it.

And so where we're going to find ourselves is going to office potlucks extended family meals. Or in my case, there's a group of us friends here in Bocas that are going to get together. Tammy ordered the Turkey. I'm pretty sure I'll be cooking it, which I enjoy doing. I actually really do enjoy cooking a Turkey. So I'll be making the Turkey, and I'll probably be carrying some other things but otherwise it's pretty much potluck, which means everybody's going to be bringing different things. And I can pretty much guarantee you that most of the things that are going to be around there, including beer and wine and everything else, are not really going to fit my plan.

If I want to stay on track of cutting some body weight as I go towards the upcoming events that I have. So if you're on a weight loss journey right now and you're facing eating season, you need a plan I'm going to share with you a few of the cool things or things I think of when I'm looking at an event like this or looking at the season like this and what I'll do. And I hope that you'll do as you go into it. So as we get ready to go into this process, there's a few things that we want to do now.

The first one is, do you want to make this a full detour? Do you want to go completely off plan and say, okay, it's fine. I'm on holiday. It's a holiday. I'm going to a holiday event. I'm going to eat Aunt Martha's cookies. I'm going to do this. I'm going to eat that, and I'm not going to care about it. And if you do, I'm going to say, Please enjoy it. Enjoy the crap out of it. Enjoy it. And we'll talk about that in more detail later.

The second one is if you decide you're not going on a full detour, you're going to have to do some planning, and that means you've got to know how you're going to approach that and what you're going to be doing and maybe some of your rules. And obviously, then with rules, there's structure. So you're going to have to set a structure for how you do things. And there are different ways that you can make these events easier to manage. And then finally, I want to talk to you about how we can take and make distractions that will keep us from potentially overeating mindlessly.

Okay. And so I'm going to talk about each of those three things if you decide this is not a full detour. But let's talk about the full detour first. Now, most of the time you're doing these things, they're not just events where you don't care about the people that are there. You're either doing this with the work colleagues, you're doing this with friends, you're doing this with family. And so these are social connections. And social connections are really important in the studying of the blue zones, which are the areas where people tend to live the longest.

They've noticed a common core component that those individuals have very strong social bonds. If you're going to live a long time, you do that because you've got connection. So realize that these events, these meals are a part of that social connection. And we see this in a lot of different things. But probably the best way I can articulate. It would be in the breaking of bread. We break bread with people we're close to, and that's kind of a symbolic we're together as a family. We're together as friends.

And that's a connection. Now the other thing to think about as you go into this, because whether you make a full detour or not is, as I mentioned, if Martha gets upset, if you don't eat her cookies, then are you really ready to go in and have that conversation? Or if you're on a certain way of eating, let's say you're going low carb and you're there and you're going to spend most of the day explaining to your family how you're not going to have a heart attack.

That's not going to be an enjoyable environment. Sometimes it's not worth going in and having this argument because you're now avoiding 99% of the food that's there. But if you're ready to do that, then that's cool. But if you want to go on the full detour, you kind of eliminate that because you can have a little bit of all these things. And while you might not be on plan, at least you know you're not on plan and you've made the conscious decision beforehand to do that.

So this is not just some random thing you knew going in, you were going on full detour and you're going to enjoy it. And then the final bit is when you go on a full detour. Now it completely removes all the guilt and all the stress out of all this, at least from a food perspective, because you can go in and basically not care what you eat. You maybe don't even care how much you eat. So those concepts are really important. If you want to really enjoy this meal, really enjoy this time, but pick your battles.

You can't do this every week, every time or you're going to slide. You're going to slide during the season. So I would just say if you're going to go into eating season, you're going to go into a potluck particularly, and you're going to just go full bore and make it a detour. Number one, enjoy it. But number two, just realize that you are off plan. You're going to have to get back on the road as quickly as you possibly can.


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Now, let's say you decide. No, I'm not going to make this a full detour, but I might want to do something a little bit different, so maybe a little bit of both. Eat your cake and have it, too. My first thing about planning and this is where we're going to go next, because when you go into one of these events, if you don't have a plan, you're going to struggle because you're going to see foods that you want.

You're going to see foods that you just have almost an urge for now that you've seen them and smelled them and tasted or maybe tasted them. Now you're going to want more. So as you go in, one of the things to consider is that the food that's there is maybe not always yours. So if you're going to bring the food, if you're part of the structure of bringing food like for a potluck, bring real food dishes, focus on protein and vegetables. And if you really want to get meticulous about this and do it right, I would encourage you to bring both.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm bringing the Turkey. I'm also probably going to bring some vegetables. Okay, so I'll bring the Turkey. I'll probably bring some vegetables. I don't think I could get my hands on some cranberry, so I won't be able to make cranberry sauce. But I'm going to go in and make at least the protein and the vegetables. So I have that readily available as a fallback to bulk up my plate to fill my plate with the foods that I know I can and should eat versus other foods that might be there.

I don't want to get myself stuck with what's there because I brought a bad dish. They brought bad dishes, that's all there is. So if you can and you're part of this, providing the food, bring real food dishes. You can still make them taste great. People love my Turkey. They may not eat my vegetables, but that's neither here nor there, which brings me up to my next point. Be prepared to bring home leftovers a lot of times. If you're bringing steamed vegetables. A lot of people are just going to walk right past them.

But if you brought steamed vegetables with a side of, say, a cheese sauce that they could pour over it, then they might do it. But if they don't just be prepared and realize you might be bringing some of your food back home. And that should be totally cool to you. Be prepared for that. Don't get yourself emotionally involved in your dish. They didn't like my steamed broccoli. I wonder why. You know why that's not what they eat on a day to day basis. And it's not the kind of crazy food they want for the holiday.

So it's not going to fit what they want. And so just realize, fine, you had the food you wanted to have and you had it there. And that's cool when you upset a few people as possible. And that's why I talk about why you might want to consider this a full detour. But if you want to make it a partial detour, bring some of your own. Bring your own protein, bring some of your own vegetables and go that way. Another thing of planning you can do if you just don't want to eat too much or eat too much of that stuff is to eat a little before you go.

Okay, so having a small, healthy meal before you get there means you're not going to arrive at what's basically a buffet potluck. You're not going to arrive there hungry and have the tendency to overload your plate. They tell you not to shop when you're hungry, and I'll tell you not to go to a potluck when you're hungry because you will overeat you can't help it. And then the final thing I'll say is this is make sure you're hydrated, so drink plenty of water, make sure you get your electrolytes, make sure you're hydrated going into it, because again, thirst can feel like hunger.

And if you go in hungry, you're probably going to overeat. So three things I'd say under planning is if you can and you're part of the food, bring healthier options that are made from real food. They can still be delicious. They can still be great, but make them out of real food. Second is to eat before you go, if that makes sense so that you don't arrive super hungry. And then three, make sure you're hydrated. If you'll do those things, you can get through the basis of setting up to go through your potluck without really having a hold back, you're in a good position.

Now, the second stage of this is to have a structure. So structure basically means that as you go through it, you have kind of a set of rules. And the first rule I'd say, is if there's different size plates because a lot of times you're at a family meeting and yeah, they got multiple sets of plates out. Go with a smaller plate, a smaller plate, you fill a smaller plate, you're going to get adequate number of protein. And we're going to talk about that in a minute, adequate amount of food and it's going to be on a smaller plate.

It'll feel like you're eating more. Okay, beyond the smaller plate as you approach the buffet or you approach the potlot, focus on the protein first. I've noticed when I go into a buffet, particularly that they tend to put the salad and vegetables first and they put the protein on the back. They do that from a cost perspective. They know that if you load your plate up with this other stuff, by the time you get to the meat, you're not going to use much of it. And I'm going to tell you to do that completely backwards.

And this is not about saving money or costing money. It's a function of the protein is going to serve you better. You're going to be better satiated and you're going to eat less. So focus on the protein. Now, a few things I'll tell you about that a portion of protein is about the size of your palm. Okay, so getting one or two of those on your plate first is key better if it's not souped up and gravy or a whole lot of other stuff. But basically making sure you have two types of one or two servings of protein.

And if it's baked, broiled or grilled even better. But focus on that first. So in the case of a Thanksgiving thing, go for the Turkey, and it can be the dark meat or the light meat doesn't matter. But go after that first. Okay, then go over vegetables and look for vegetables again that are not in casseroles and all this other creamy stuff with the little onion stuff on top. Avoid that kind of stuff. Focus on the vegetables that are well prepared and you know them, you see them.

So go for the protein, then the vegetables. And then if you're going to get some of the other stuff, maybe a dessert or maybe a little of this or a little bit of that. Just get a little bit. You don't need to load your plate up with a full serving of those things. So if you can take a partial serving, do that. So if you want a little bit of Aunt Martha's cookie, break the cookie in half and have half of it. If you want to go in for some of those creamy things, we talked about the casseroles and this and that and the other or this fruit salad or that or this dessert or that this pie that get a little piece, take a part of the piece, put that on your plate and then take your time and savor it.

We're going to talk about that in a minute. Okay. The second structure to this or third structure, I guess now is to eat slow. Okay. Eating slow by maybe putting your fork down between each bite. Having conversations with people where you're not eating during the conversation or during the talk can go a long way towards slowing you down and letting your body's natural satiety kick in to a point where you know that you're full and then you don't necessarily have to feel compelled to eat the whole plate of food.

You eat what you want to eat and then you stop. So if you feel like you're getting full, it's easier to stop, but you have to eat slow to make that happen. Also during the evening, during the day, whenever make sure you're drinking water. Okay. Yeah, you might have a beer, you might have some wine, you might have something else, but make sure you're also drinking water that will slow down everything. It'll make you feel Fuller. It'll help with the hydration so you won't feel any hungrier and it'll slow down your drinking.

So make sure you're drinking plenty of water during this. And then after you do your first round dump your plate, you're done. Most of us are not going to need a second or third or fourth serving because that's not going to serve us. We got what we needed from the first plate, we got our protein, we got our vegetables and a little bit of everything else that we wanted to taste, and now we're done. So throw your plate away so you avoid seconds and more and then move away from the food.

The closer you are to the food, the more likely you're going to be compelled to go again. So move away from the food, particularly if it's food that's going to tempt you. So if you happen to be sitting close to the dessert and that's your thing, your sweet tooth sitting there is not going to help you. It's not going to serve you. As you watch people walking up to that table, it's going to keep your attention on that, and you're eventually going to want to stand up and have some yourself. So move away from the food.


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And that takes us to kind of the final bit of this is use this event because again, you're with people and you're doing things, use it and find distractions.

Okay. So one of the things you can do is as soon as you finish eating, move away from the food and start visiting with people who are also not eating. So if they're past eating and they're moving on, you move on and you go over there and start having conversations with them that will get you away from the food, away from the temptation and keep you a little distracted. Consider other things like invite someone to go on a short walk with you. There's a study and I'll share this in the notes for this podcast that going for short walks after you eat helps moderate your blood sugar, so you can just tell someone it's like I read that going for a short walk ten to 15 minutes after I eat helps regulate blood sugar.

How about we go for a short walk and they may go with you? They may say no, but try to go for a short walk that's definitely going to help you. And if someone can go with you all the better. And then while you're taking that walk, if they decide to go with you, talk about things that both of you enjoy. Try to avoid the such and such as this disease and such and such as in the hospital and those types of things. Talk about things that bring you joy, the new grandchild that's in the family, the promotion that someone got, the great event that you had last year and how much this one's bigger and better.

Talk about things that bring you joy, because that's going to give you little shots of dopamine and dopamine is the exact same neurotransmitter that we get when we eat sweets. We eat foods that are kind of addictive. It's a dopamine hit. We're addicted to dopamine. We're not addicted to the food. So if you can do things that are going to provide the dopamine, you're going to have a much better event, a much better time and you're going to get your little dopamine hits. So you're not missing the dessert nearly as much.

So do things to distract yourself. Another great distraction is to do a game or a puzzle. I just got a new sponsor. I think they're going to come up in a couple of weeks. Well, I guess a few weeks, but they do puzzles. They make puzzles. And I just think that's great to sit down with people and start working on a puzzle and you're not so distracted. You can't have a conversation. But you're distracted enough. You're probably not thinking about the food that's sitting somewhere else in a building.

My wife, Tammy, what she likes to do at these events is she'll take and she'll take money and like lottery scratch off cards and then other little prizes and things like that. And she'll wrap it up in that plastic wrap, like Saran wrap. Okay, here's a little pro tip. If you're going to do this when I get done is cut those into three or four foot sections. Okay. So when you cut it, they have to keep finding the edge. But anyway, what you do is you take the stuff and you start making a ball and you roll it all in there.

So you put a little bit of prize and you roll it a little bit. Then you put maybe a dollar bill or something. Roll a little bit, put a scratch off ticket, roll a little bit, and you make this big, big plastic little ball with all these prizes in it. And someone looking at the plastic ball can see there's money in it. There's scratch off tickets, there's other stuff. So the way the game is played works like this. Okay. One person gets the prize ball, and the way I like to do is we take the youngest person gets to start with the price ball.

First, give it to the youngest person, and then the person to their immediate left gets two dice. You say, go, and the person who has the ball starts to try to find edges to open it up. Now you can't tear it. You have to actually find a true edge to start rolling it off that ball. The person with the dice starts rolling the dice. As soon as the person that rolls the dice gets doubles, meaning two of the same on the dice. Then the person that's unrolling has to stop and then you pass it over.

The person who's rolling the dice now gets the ball and the person with the dice passes the dice to their immediate left and you repeat the process until the ball is finished. And so what's cool about this is people are watching. They're seeing people win prizes. It's kind of a cool thing when someone realizes, OK, dollar bills came out or $5 bill or a lottery ticket or something like that. And you can decide how much you want to invest in making this kind of a better game or some more valuable game for the people playing.

But everybody starts watching this because it's just kind of exciting to watch someone who's under the time pressure trying to unroll this Saran wrap plastic wrap ball to win prizes while someone else is trying to frantically roll doubles because they want the ball next. And so it's kind of a cool dynamic. Tammy does those games at most of our Christmas parties and things like that, but she loves doing that. She loves putting it together. And it's just a good distraction when the food is done. When you're done with the food is to kind of start that process of having some distractions, a puzzle, a game, something that's going to keep people energized, something you enjoy again, the enjoyment and the joy with people.

It gives you the dopamine hit that you would have gotten from sugar and other things that you probably shouldn't be eating if you're trying to stay on plan with your weight loss goals. So we talked about a lot today, but I want to kind of just roll this up into one little thing when we go into a potluck or a family dinner or a group dinner or whatnot. These are not surprises. We almost always know these are coming up. They're on our calendar. Sometimes we're traveling to go to to these things.

So when you know it's coming up, then, you know, to get ready for it. So you have to have the plan. You have to make the decision. Ok. Is this going to be a detour, or do I need to prepare for something that's coming up on the road? If I need to prepare for something, then yes, it's planning and structure. And then once I'm in it, I need to have the distractions that keep me from going way off kilter. If I don't want to go all the way off Kilter, and then I need to have the plan to get right back on the road.

So if you go into these meals, enjoy them, please. But at the same time, recognize what your goals mean to you, what your commitment to them is, and then make the decision detour or not. If you make the decision to not detour, you have to have a plan. You have to have structure.

Post Show/Recap

[00:33:41.190] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.

[00:33:42.820] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. Next to Summer, the eating season is my favorite season.

[00:33:49.170] – Allan
It is. Well, one, it's when most of us… Well, practically, it was the only time that I really was able to go out and spend some time seeing family. I was never a big summer vacationer because I lived in Pensacola, so going to the beach. I never saw as vacation because that's where I wanted to be and I didn't have family that lived on the beach. So if I went to the beach, it was typically just me and mine going to the beach. But during the holidays it used to be particularly Thanksgiving and early Christmas.

[00:34:27.590] – Allan
We would drive around and see family. And that was kind of Tammy and my thing. And then, you go in and it's like, okay, there's food and what do you want to eat? And I purposely started doing my keto in a seasonal way just to kind of accommodate some of that because it was like, how am I supposed to go into Christmas with Tammy's family and keep keto and not lose my mind? So the opportunity to take a detour and say, okay, this is a detour.

[00:35:02.590] – Allan
They're having their Christmas dinner at a pizza place. So, yeah, I can scrape off the top and be that weirdo or I can just say, okay, I'm eating pizza and move on with my life. I learned a lot of strategies as I was going along. I'm just saying, okay, sometimes it's just best to do a detour, but I know for a lot of people, you've worked up to a point. You're in ketosis or you're in this and you're trying that it's all working and you're just not necessarily terrified.

[00:35:33.940] – Allan
But you just know, okay, I'm going to go out of ketosis. I'm going to put on some weight. I'm going to hate this scale. I'm going to hate this. I'm going to feel bloated to feel sick and maybe have a bathroom issue. And, you know, those things are going to potentially happen if you take this detour. So I wanted to do this show just to show people that there are ways to strategize and structure this so that you don't feel like you're a freak. You're in the buffet line like everybody else or in the line with everything else.

[00:36:04.580] – Allan
You might be doing it a little backwards because you're not putting any vegetables on your plate. You're waiting till you get to the proteins and then do a little U turn. Go back, start at the end of the line and then start putting vegetables and the other things on there so that you have a plan as you go through or walk down the line front to back and say, okay, I see all the proteins here at the back, and then I get to the beginning and I'm like, okay, here's all this.

[00:36:30.270] – Allan
The desserts are over there on the right. I don't want to go on the right. As soon as I get through with my plate, I walk to the left and I go sit down. I want people to have some strategies where they would feel comfortable that they could go into these situations and not be completely lost.

[00:36:46.570] – Rachel
These are really great strategies, especially with starting with the protein part. I wish I had known this probably about 20 years ago. I was in my 30s. And when we get Halloween and all the delicious candy and then Thanksgiving hands down my absolute favorite meal of the year. There's nothing wrong with Thanksgiving. And then Christmas. And then you're spending all the time with family. And like you had mentioned in the podcast, people make these family heritage meaningful dishes that you almost have a guilt trip if you don't try.

[00:37:22.240] – Rachel
And every year at this time of year, I would start my New Year's resolutions with needing to lose ten or fifteen pounds because I enjoyed the eating season a little bit too much. And I never even had these strategies. It never dawned on me to pay a little bit more careful attention until I made running a priority in my life. And I was doing a lot of running and I can't digest this type of food and still maintain a good run. And then now that I'm keto, I really can't digest this food because I've had a couple of times where I've accidentally had too much sugar.

[00:37:58.100] – Rachel
I ordered something and I just wasn't thinking and there was so much sugar in it. I was sick for the rest of the night. So I have a pretty fast biofeedback loop. So, for Thanksgiving no detours for me. And for Christmas, I will definitely take a nibble of my mom's baklava. It's Greek heritage. It's a family dish and quite delicious, but I know not to over indulge because I'll just get sick, but the strategies you put in place are just spot on and so helpful for avoiding these extra pounds.

[00:38:31.430] – Allan
Yeah. So I'm going to go in and like, Tammy knew to volunteer us for the turkey for our friends, and we're going to have a big get together. And I'll probably also put together some form of vegetable dish. It's warm here, so it won't be heavy. It might even be just something like a cucumber and tomato vinaigrette salad kind of thing just to have something. And then that'll make up most of my plate is the Turkey, and I'll be the one that will go for the thigh meat, like nobody's business.

[00:39:05.550] – Allan
And then the skin. While I'm cooking the Turkey, I'll be eating the giblets because that's my thing because I get to because I bought the turkey. And I'm cooking it. And no one else wants it anyway. But no, I'll fill my plate 75% 80% with that. And then I'll go around and I'll be listening to people. And if someone seems emotionally invested in their dish, then I'll try some. And maybe it's a casserole where they did Ritz crackers and the fried onion things and all that stuff.

[00:39:40.230] – Allan
And it's like I had some of that that actually tasted really good. Now I had a tablespoon, maybe two, but I tried it and actually now opine on it of oh, you must put something in there other than cream of mushroom soup, because I actually ran into someone at the grocery store that was looking for that today. So I assume whatever she's cooking is going to have cream of mushroom soup in it.

[00:40:01.960] – Rachel
Yeah, that casserole.

[00:40:05.180] – Allan
if she can get it. Yes. And so that's cool. So I'll have her casserole, but it's just a little dab of this little dab of that so I can taste the different things that people brought and I can speak to it.

[00:40:16.620] – Allan
And then as I mentioned, as soon as I've finished eating, I'm away from the food. I'm over by the pool. A friend has a pool he had put in. I'll go over and I'll hang out by the pool, get some sun, maybe even go for a walk. I might just say, hey, I need to go for this walk, and I'll go for a walk, walk over to the beach and walk on the beach a little bit and say, okay, I'll walk back and then converse and do everything else with the pool and with everybody else.

[00:40:43.430] – Allan
So mine is going to be what I would call a partial detour, and I will probably have some wine just to relax and hang out with friends.

[00:40:52.960] – Allan
So on Friday after our Thanksgiving, which we have in the United States, is on Thursday. And I think that's when we're actually doing this, I won't be in ketosis. I'm, like, 75% 80% sure, I won't be in Ketosis that morning when I wake up. But it doesn't matter. I'll fast half the day if I need to do an intermittent fast just to kind of kickstart things and maybe do a long walk that morning just to kind of get some of that glycogen burned out of our muscles and my muscles in my liver and then say, okay, here I am ready to take on the day and get back into Ketosis. If not that Friday, then at least by Saturday.

[00:41:33.050] – Rachel
For sure, taking that walk will make you feel so much better. You probably won't even be hungry after eating so many delicious foods. I mean, it's not only physically filling it's emotionally feeling, too, to enjoy that time with your family and your special meals. So I think that's a fun thing to do the next day or plan for that the next day. I know that our Thanksgiving last year because we were in the middle of Covid. We didn't get to visit with our family for Thanksgiving. And so this year we can.

[00:42:02.570] – Rachel
And I am excited to see relatives that I haven't seen in quite a long time. So I imagine that we'll spend a lot of time also after the meal, away from extra food and seconds. And whatnot just chatting because it's been so long since we've seen each other.

[00:42:17.340] – Allan

[00:42:18.790] – Rachel
Absolutely. And I love that Saran Rat game that you described as well. I think that would be so much fun.

[00:42:26.780] – Allan
Yes. Tanny loves doing that. Everybody loves it when she walks out with that. And it's like, here's how the game goes. And I was like, oh, this is totally cool. And then they see money fall out of the thing. They're like it's $2. But I mean…

[00:42:38.370] – Rachel
I love it. It's still fun. And what talk about distraction? My goodness we often do a craft project or something like that, like make Christmas ornaments or something. We've done some unusual things for the holidays, but I like your game idea. That sounds like a lot of fun.

[00:42:54.260] – Allan
Yeah, we have a new sponsor coming up. Not on this show. I think this is this on the 22nd. So no, I think it's starting maybe next week, we have a sponsor Unidragon that makes these puzzles. And they're wooden puzzles, and they are gorgeous. And the pieces are not cut like standard puzzle pieces. Standard puzzle pieces with the ball in the hole. You put them together. These are totally different. Some of the pieces are actually in the shapes of little animals. They're totally cool. So, yeah, catch that.

[00:43:28.780] – Allan
If you go to the website, check out episode this coming out on November 29, I believe. And maybe December 6. Check them out. Reach out to that because that is and we do have a discount. Code 40plus. If you get a unit Dragon 40 plus and they're giving you 10% off. So while I'm giving them a little bit of extra kudos on this show, only because again, I think their puzzles are just awesome. And I'm going to bring the puzzle with me when we go up there to do the thing with everybody. And so if there's space and there's time and it makes sense, I'll go get the puzzle and we'll sit around and do the puzzle.

[00:44:06.070] – Rachel
That sounds like fun, too. That sounds great. Well, enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday.

[00:44:10.990] – Allan
Yes. And just let folks know that next week Ras is going to be on vacation. As she mentioned down in Pensacola Beach. I'm envious because I love that place. Go to Peg Leg Petes and tell them Alan said Hello.

[00:44:25.460] – Rachel
I will.

[00:44:30.410] – Allan
But next week on this show, there won't really be a Hello Segment. Unless I feel like there's just something I want to talk about before we get into the episode. Rachel, you enjoy yourself and we'll talk in about two weeks.

[00:44:43.720] – Rachel
Thank you. Take care.

[00:44:45.660] – Allan
You too.


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