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Category Archives for "health"

November 11, 2019

Denise Austin and I discuss the changes in fitness

Allan: 01:12 Denise Austin. Denise, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

Denise: 01:19 Yea, I'm so happy to be here! WOO!

Allan: 01:19 I am too, you know, um, when back in the…

Denise: 01:23 I'm happy to be over 40 too. I love it!

Allan: 01:23 You know it is a new day, you know, and I think you, people used to think, okay, you're just going to be on a standard aging curve. And I know, you know, when I was listening, watching your show back in the late eighties, early nineties, when I had days that I was at home and didn't have class, I would be doing homework or something. Uh, but I would always put it on TV and you know, there were the three or four workout shows, but you yours was always set in the Caribbean or in Arizona. It was just really some really nice scenery. And then you're just so just, you're just so up, up, up all the time. It's just something that I love tabbing in my room when I was, when I was studying or when I was, when I had the time.

Denise: 02:07 Yeah. Well thank you so much. I really appreciate it because you know, my TV show was on for 24 years. Can you believe that? Every weekday morning. So it's um, and now I got all my TV shows back, which I love.

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Allan: 02:22 Oh you got the rights back to him. Okay, cool. That's totally cool.

Denise: 02:25 They're all on my website now, which is so cool. I picked my favorite 200 shows that I did and, and most of them of course are in the Caribbean cause the water's so turquoise so beautiful in the background.

Allan: 02:40 Oh yeah. And that must been hard picking your top 200 cause I know I just recently went through an exercise trying to pick 10 out to talk about on episode 400 of the show. And it was like, you know, choosing my favorite baby, its hard.

Denise: 02:56 I know, and it makes you look at your career too. It's like wow, I did this many shows.

Allan: 03:02 And helped and helped thousands and thousands and thousands of people. Maybe millions. I mean as like I said, your shows were at, your shows were totally awesome. And like I said, it was just one of those things where I knew that people of all ages would just feel really, really comfortable doing what you are asking them to do because of the approach you had. Uh, and then even now, today you still focus on helping everybody but a little bit more bent towards folks our age, the 50s and sixties range. Uh, but still it's over 40 is great. Um, and, and so, you know, in all this time, I mean, it's over 30 years. Uh, you've been in the fitness industry. Uh, things have changed from, you know, we're no longer were that girls are no longer wearing leg warmers and, uh, your, your videos are no longer on VHS. Um, but what else can health and fitness has been like what you'd say is the big changes over the course of the last 30 years.

Denise: 03:54 Well, the biggest change now is all about wellness and recovery and taking care of your body and really tuning into, um, being, you know, gentle like yoga, pilates and foam rolling and really, uh, you know, yoga, a little more meditation. That, to me has been the biggest change. But of course I'd been through all the different trends from high energy aerobics to step aerobics to, you know, all of the trends in the last 30 years. But the key thing is, you know, we have one body, we have to take good care of it. We have 640 muscles of the body to keep strong and tone and firm and um, to find something that you enjoy in exercise or it becomes part of your lifestyle. And to me, walking is one of the best and most easiest ways to really get in great shape. And you truly could get in wonderful shape if you walk fast for 30 minutes. So I'm really into walking and I come back into my house and I do some targeted exercises for my arms, my tummy, my legs, and then stretches too. So all three components are important. And throughout the years they've just changed up mainly through, you know, boxing was hot for awhile. So there's been so many forms of fitness, which are all great because they kind of keep you motivated.

Allan: 05:24 Yeah. You know, I actually miss a step aerobics. I, when I was in the army I would, I would take a step aerobics class. It's just a way to continue to improve my fitness beyond what we were doing as our normal training. Um, and I really miss, I kind of miss it cause I still see the steps sitting around as some of the gems but they're not being used for the same thing anymore.

Denise: 05:43 Yeah. Now it's more used for interval training, jump box. You know, you jump up on it and do lunges off it. It's not as choreographed, which is fine too cause you're still working your hips, thighs and butt step. So my daughter now is falling and my fitness footsteps and she uses my old step that I used to use in step aerobics. Now she uses it as a prop for, you know, some pushups, more targeted exercises but more like interval training.

Allan: 06:15 And I think you touched on something that was really, really important and that is finding something that you enjoy. You know, the variety that's been offered over the course the last 30 years from, you know, now there's the hit training or like you said, some of the box and the jumps in the pile of metrics to some of the old stuff like now that they can log onto your website and see some of those, those videos, uh, you know, they've got their 30 years worth of, uh, some really cool variety to keep themselves engaged. Plus, like you said, um, you're really big on the walking, and just the normal movement to keep yourself in shape.

Denise: 06:48 Yes. And also, um, I really think it's important that everyone knows that how important stretching is to keep our muscles and our tendons and the bones and the joints healthy and stretching and target toning, lightweights are so important. It really makes a difference, especially as we age to stay strong and keep our joints healthy and the muscles surrounding the joints are so important. So that's why I do, you know, all new workouts also for her, for women and guys after 50. And those are more straight training and more stretching. And then you could get your cardio from so many variety ways. And then long as you're getting two to three times a week, some type of targeting strength training for your muscles.

Allan: 07:39 And I think that's one thing I read as I was going through some of your stuff is that, uh, you're not, you're not one that says, okay, we need to spend two, three hours a day, uh, doing this to get fit.

Denise: 07:52 I only work out for 30 minutes a day, but I do it most every day and I'm very consistent. And consistency pays off, I promise. 30 minutes, that's all it takes in a, usually you're awake about 16 hours of a day. So what's 30 minutes for your health, your well-being, your mental, your emotional. It truly is a, one of the best ways to get rid of stress, to help fight heart disease, exercise every single day if you can, it is fabulous. I truly do try to get 10,000 steps in a day. And when I do, I feel so proud to go, you know, 12,000 steps. I'm like, yes. So it's also a great way to, you know, track yourself to see how well you're doing and keep, you know, challenging yourself.

Allan: 08:40 Yeah. Now you've, you've always generally taken care of yourself, that was your career. Uh, so you don't want to know first I guess you were an athlete, you're an athlete in college, and then it was your career. And what has changed the way that you train today versus when you were in your 20s and 30s?

Denise: 09:01 Well, you know, I pay attention to my body every day, more in a different way than I'm 62 now. And I feel fantastic. I can do everything. I still do cartwheels and hand stands and, but I, I truly do believe I, uh, I've changed just as simple things such as recovery, things like I do use a foam roller. I love to stretch. I use stretch bands. I do love a massage every month, I tried to get a massage. So self care is important and especially as you age and if you're exercising, you want to feel good. And these are some of the easier ways I take an Epsom salt bath. Never did before in my life. So there's these little things I do, but the main focus is the same that I continue working out most every day. And I honestly feel like I change a little that I do more yoga, I do more pilates for strengthening of the abs and the course as it is, you know, menopausal time for women is so important to keep our abdominals nice and strong, keep our tummy flat and it keeps your back healthy.

Allan: 10:16 Absolutely. Now let's talk about nutrition. What's, what's changed in your nutrition since you 20s and 30s had any major changes there?

Denise: 10:24 Yes, of course I eat differently in the way of, I made sure every day I have a little bit of either chia seeds or flax seeds cause it's Omega three that they're so good for us helping inflammation. I also make sure I have anything Omega threes in my diet. I'm really into salmon twice a week and I eat mostly in the certain, you know, top 10 organic fruits and vegetables. I make sure that I'm eating the good clean ones and I eat 80% very well and very healthy and then I still have 20% treats and that would be a glass of red wine. It would be a little bit of ice cream. So I do enjoy treats and I do, um, treat myself every day and little something and I don't overdo it though. Portion control as I age is very important and um, as we all know, you know, our metabolism slows down as our muscle tone slows down. So we need to up the muscle tone and you know, lessen the amount of calories you eat. So portions are very important to me now and I do watch them more than I ever did.

Allan: 11:41 Okay. Do you, do you track macros or anything like that?

Denise: 11:45 Yes, I eat healthy most of the time anyhow, so I'm very aware of um, the proteins I'm eating, how many grams of protein I eat. I try to eat 70 a day, um, and I'm trying to get more plant protein, but I do have once in a while. Um, you know, grass fed red meat once in awhile and I only buy organic chicken and grass fed chicken and grass fed eggs. And, um, I love avacado I love healthy fats and as you age, I believe in, you know, nuts. I do eat a lot of nuts and more plant based. I will, I have a uh, lettuce grow, which is like a farm stand at my house outside and I pick everyday basil and I'll just eat it right. Leaves the, uh, also parsley. So I make sure I you get a lot of greens and of course of a day more than I ever used to. So, you know, we know now through research how important eating and food is medicine and as we age it's even more so. So I've been very conscientious about that. And um, all my new eating plans on my website have included some new ideas. I have a whole eating plan. If you're a vegetarian, if you're gluten free, if you want to eat heart healthy. So I have seven different ways of an eating plan for 10 weeks to give it a try.

Denise: 13:18 Or you can eat just like me. Very portion control and eating many of the food groups, but everything in moderation.

Allan: 13:26 Yeah. I tell people, I'm basically food agnostic. As long as you're getting good quality whole foods, you can be vegan, you can be, you know, carnivore if you really want to. But just making sure you're getting good variety, making sure you're getting good quality. Um, and then, which recognizes food cause so much of what's available to us in the grocery stores. Um, it isn't, um, that's another big change in the last 30 years is you walk into a grocery store and I don't know that my great grandmother would recognize 90% of the grocery stores as actually food.

Denise: 14:01 Well, I know, and especially, I love it now because I tried different foods, you know, Swiss chard and I do, Oh, of course, kale. And I look at my older books that never had any of those types of vegetables as part of my meal menu plans. So, um, I have updated everything because it's so hard to find good foods, you know, years ago I never ate lentils. I love lentils and humbleness. So many, um, new foods that I enjoy more than I ever used to or more than I knew about. So that's the beautiful part about now.

Allan: 14:41 Yeah. So if you were going to outline like the perfect fitness nutrition week for someone over 40, what would that look like?

Denise: 14:50 Oh, Oh, okay. So exercise wise, Monday, Wednesday and Friday I would do something for 30 minutes cardio like either outside fast walking, it could be one of my workout videos that are on my website, which is 30 minute fat burning and I have over a hundred to choose from new and my TV shows. Oh. And then I would target Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays for concentrating on muscle conditioning, strength training and yoga. And then Sundays I would do a self care day, which would include a epson salt bath. I would do some foam rolling, even get some lacrosse balls or any kind of balls and you know, work out your muscles. If you can't get a massage and then eating. Eating in a course of a week, I would make sure you're getting, of course seven fruits and vegetables every day. I always strive for seven and then, um, protein, you know, in each meal and also try not to eat late at night because eating late at night is, um, I found through my own experiment and my own life, uh, that that's where I start to gain the weight is if I eat late at night. I tried to eat all my good healthy carbs in the course of a day and then in the evening slow those carbs down and make sure I'm just not eating late at night and I think it really helped.

Allan: 16:23 Good. Good. I like that. Uh, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Denise: 16:36 Well, the first I would say is change your mindset, get positive thinking, get rid of any negative self talk. Think about the first part is your, your mindset. How to kind of turn some of the negativity in your life into simple ways to be positive and be more optimistic. Then second of all, it comes with the food we eat because I believe in lots of water. I do drink eight, eight ounce glasses every single day. I really try to, you know, eat healthy foods, you know, lessen all the packaged process. And third is think good posture throughout the day. Posture is so important, especially as we age to really sit up and stand up tall, pull in those abs, retrain and educate the abdominal muscles to pull in like a tight corset. And the more you practice that it will be there naturally nice and flat. So I really believe good posture and everything you do when you're exercising, when you're sitting, you are your own architect by the way, you're moving and sitting in idle time. So make sure it's in a good position. Good body alignment is very important as we age. It's muscle conditioning without even picking up a weight.

Allan: 17:57 Yes. Now, anyone that's seen any of your videos knows that they can't watch one of your videos without leaving with a good, happy mindset for the day. Uh, if someone wanted to learn more about you and your programs, where would you like for me to send them?

Denise: 18:13 Oh, I love everyone to come to my website, Deniseaustin.com and there I do challenges all the time. I'm coming up with a new one next month. So go onto my website, follow me on Facebook at Denise Austin, Instagram, Denise Austin, and follow along. I do three challenges that get people started and it's a really great way, especially for men and women over 40. I really truly focus on our age group because this is the time we need to focus on. I always, I believe in good health, but now the most important time that we need, we have some time to dedicate to our bodies. And this is your time.

Allan: 18:59 Perfect. This is going to be episode 407 so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/407 and I'll be sure to have links there. So Denise, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Denise: 19:12 Oh, I love it. Thank you guys. Remember, sit up tall on the dummy and have a happy smile. Love it. Thank you. Thank you. Stay fit.

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

– Tim Alexander– Judy Murphy
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy

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November 4, 2019

Raising the bottom with Lisa Boucher

When Lisa Boucher saw that she was following her mother's path into alcoholism and loss, she turned things around. Now she helps women break free from alcohol and live better lives for it. In this episode, we discuss her book, Raising the Bottom.

Allan: 01:03 Lisa, welcome to 40+ fitness.

Lisa: 01:06 Thank you Allan. Happy to be here.

Allan: 01:08 You know we're getting into that time of the year when there's you know, holidays and you know, we're going to have Thanksgiving coming up. And of course then after that there's all the Christmas parties. And then of course, New Year's. And you know, we associate all of these holidays, all of these events with alcohol.

Lisa: 01:27 Yeah. And you forgot Halloween because that's becoming a huge alcohol. Um, I know when I was raising my sons, my husband, we're still together and he's a drinker. And when they were taking the kids around when they were little, we had, um, I had a problem with the happy hour at every single house. So the parents would have their kids dressed up in their little costumes and each house would offer a cocktail. And I said, ah. So I ended up making my husband stay home and give out the candy. And I took the kids because by the time you get around, we had a, like a big circle. Half the parents could barely stand. So it starts, I mean there's, there's just no holiday. There's no event that doesn't say, hey, it's all about the parents. And we got to drink too. So what are we modeling?

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Allan: 02:22 I moved to Bocas Del Toro and you know, there's an expat community here and uh, you know, we get together and we have dinners and go out and watch our friends, you know, perform and you know, but it's, it's kind of a cycle of things of it. All of this is always going to involve alcohol, you know, bring your own beer, bring your own wine kind of mindset to all of it.

Lisa: 02:44 We live in a boozy culture and you know, for your listeners, I'm not opposed to drinking moderately, but I think Allan, we have normalized alcoholism in a lot of ways. And what I mean by that is people, I quit drinking before I was a daily drinker and I'm around a lot of people that drink daily and I'm not talking just one drink a day. They're drinking four or five drinks a day. And they walk around saying, well, I'm a social drinker. Well, actually, yeah, that's more like getting into alcohol dependence, alcohol abuse. They may not be full blown alcoholics, but it can have a detrimental impact on a life when if you're going to work, they say 80% of alcoholics have families and have jobs. So if your life looks like something like you go to work and every night after work, especially when you live in, in the tropical place like you do, if every day your social life, your after work life is at a bar drinking for the rest of the evening, at some point, by making that choice, you're choosing not to do a whole lot of other things.

And so I just encourage people to say, is this really what I want to do or am I just going along with the flow? I know when I quit drinking, there's so many things that I have found to do. I just went to a bird lecture this morning. I mean it's kind of a nerdy thing to do, but I'm really interested in nature and the birds and things that when I was drinking, I didn't even see the blue sky or the birds, I didn't notice. I wasn't really present on a daily basis or a moment to moment in my life. So there's a lot of things that you miss too with, with the drinking. And it's just a matter of really rethinking all the drinks and saying, is this who I want to be? Is this how I want to spend my time? And I know with like the people that do get sober, there's a lot of deep heartfelt regret of the things that they missed or the things they didn't do with their family, with their children, with their spouse or significant other, because drinking can take up a lot of time.

And I sobered up in my late twenties and I literally just squandered that whole decade of my twenties when you're trying to set up your life. And I had a lot of regrets about that, but much less so than someone who waits till they're 45, 50, even 60 to get sober.

Allan: 05:40 Yeah, you had a statistic in the book kind of hit me in the face. Um, it was up 10% of the population is an addict or an Alcoholic.

Lisa: 05:51 Yeah. I mean that is true. So think about it. Here in the United States, we have about 320 million people, roughly. So there are truly about 32 million addicts and alcoholics. And that's probably, that's probably under-reported because there's a lot of people like me, I did not go to rehab. I did not go to the doctor. I knew about this disease by being raised by an alcoholic mother. So I've been entrenched in this whole thing from the time from birth my whole life.

And, and I've had siblings who are addicts and alcoholics. And now that I've been sober 30 years, I work with a lot of people in recovery. My first husband was a raging alcoholic, so I've just been around this and they say, and I'm also a registered nurse. So here's another scary stat, is 14% of doctors so I've noticed working in healthcare, there are so many doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, that end up in recovery. So that's a pretty high stat. 14% of doctors and 10% like I said, in the book of the general population. So these are people and the people that I focused on in my book are people that you would never suspect they had a drinking problem because I think that's, that's why more people aren't finding recovery. There's this stigma, there's this picture in our heads of an addict is, is the person, the homeless guy on the street, the people that are passing out in cars that we see on the six o'clock news and that is one face of addiction, but that is at the end-stage.

So I wanted to focus on the people again that were, that were more like myself or the 80% functional alcoholics. For instance, Caro, she's one of the, I have 10 stories in the back of the book of various women and, and out and a guide. Um, she was a surgeon. She was coming home every day making dinner, had two children that were well dressed, well fed in good schools, lives in a great neighborhood. All of these trappings that we look at from the outside facade and say, Oh, that's a great life. However, inside she's falling apart. Her kids are miserable. They can't stand her drinking. They are losing respect for her. And she finally one day just came home from work, started to open that bottle of wine and said, you know what, she went back, didn't drink that day, went back to the hospital, told her partners, Hey, I think I have a problem.

These are two other surgeons. And their response was, surely you jest, this can't be. So this is the attitudes of what we've got going out there and still working in healthcare a couple of days a week. I like to keep my foot in so I can tell you what's going on currently. And the attitudes are shameful. People come to the hospital, they are not getting the help they need. They get a lot of the times, all this anxiety, depression on happiness. The underlying issue is substance abuse, drinking too much, um, taking perhaps too many prescription medications like Xanax, volume, Adavan these benzos do not help a person's life go well. A lot of times they're meant to for anxiety. People get rebound anxiety, which is even worse than their original anxiety. So all of these medications are not helping. And what I'm still saying is the doctors are throwing medicine at these people.

They leave the hospital, their lives continue to spiral out of control. They're unhappy, they're gaining weight, they're losing their marriages, they're losing their children. It is a mess. And the doctors though still rarely address the underlying issue of substance abuse. And I'm saying, Allan, we need to get people clean and sober before we start labeling them with anxiety and depression diagnosis because that is what happened to my mother back in the 60s who was also an RN. She went and got on volume them, which was the pharmaceutical industry's first billion dollar drug that led into a 25-year addiction that escalated into alcohol to where she was nonfunctional. My mom was the woman laying on the floor like you would see in wine and roses, you know, she was a hot mess. So this is where it led for her. And so 10 years into my nursing career, I really started to wake up and I'm looking around and I said, my God, nothing has changed.

Nothing has changed. And let's not forget, there's children on the backside of all of these men and women who are caught up in addiction. So we are in essence cultivating a whole new generation of addicts and alcoholics because growing up in these environments with drug and alcohol fueled parents. I know as a child I was traumatized by it. My father was rather abusive. He's trying to control my mother's alcoholism, which is absolutely uncontrollable. She was incapable of parenting. So we basically raised ourselves. I have two older sisters and a younger brother and we've all been touched by addiction in our own lives. So this, you know, we're just perpetuating the mess. And so celebrating all these boozy outings and events, it's like what happens behind the scenes? Is anybody aware of that? Does anybody care?

Allan: 12:02 Yeah. And you know, from my perspective, you know the times that you know, where, where I would think, you know, I kind of get, for lack of a better word, dependent on the alcohol is I'm very much an introvert. And so if I'm going to go to a party or an event, which obviously here on the Island, just because all the time, you know, a couple of drinks makes me human. Um, from their perspective, um, when I'm not drinking and you know, there's always, my wife will get some questions. It's like, what's wrong with Allan? Just like, Oh this is, this is just half. He hasn't had a couple of drinks. I'll give them a couple of drinks and he'll be nice. There'll be a normal person in small groups, one or two, one on ones. I'm fine. But when I get into larger groups or you know, in places with people, it just, I shut down. And so the alcohol kind of just helps me loosen up a little bit.

Lisa: 12:51 Well, I get it. I think you're not alone. I think the majority, I know that I was very similar when I was drinking. It's like you have to have a few drinks before you get to the party. But when I got sober, I started to number one, be true to myself. So I'm not a big large gathering kind of person. I stopped going to a lot of them. My husband's more of an extrovert and I talked about this in the book. So how do you juggle a relationship, a marriage, whatever when one person drinks and one person's social and the other one is kind of how like you Allan. So I just told my husband there was, you know, pick a few parties that we are regularly invited to that you really want me to go to and I'll go. And the ones that are just, I don't feel the need to go anymore.

I prefer more meaningful activities, smaller intimate dinners or gatherings. Like I said, I've just had other things that I do with my time now then suffer through some huge event or gathering that I really don't want to be at to begin with. So it's, it's picking and choosing and being true to myself. And you know, I started to, when you work on your inner-self and some of the drinking was fueled by low self esteem. Some of my drinking was fueled by thinking, people are focused on me. This self-centeredness, that alcoholism breeds where we think people are going to notice us or look at us. And so we're self conscience. But the reality is is most people are in their own heads, focused on their own stuff and they're really not paying attention to us. I used to say that all the time, I have two grown sons now, but when they were in high school, my one son was always so worried what everybody else would think. And I used to say to him, they're not focused on you. Get out of yourself the, I mean, you're just another kid walking. They're not even paying attention to you. And I hope that that helped them get some of that spotlight off of thinking that people are focused on them when they're really not, when they're really not. So we can find other ways to love ourselves and just to say no, it's okay to say no and just not do certain things that I don't want to do anymore.

Allan: 15:15 Yes. Now in the book, um, you're coming from a woman's perspective, but that is in this book was somewhat written more for women and their perspective. Why, why is alcohol more of an issue for women, uh, than it might be for men?

Lisa: 15:29 Well, I don't know that, that it is actually in Raising the Bottom. I focus more on women only because I am a woman and I can intimately relate it to. But I will tell you before I scare off the guys, there's men love the book. Men love Raising the Bottom. In fact, there was a guy who founded in Seattle, he's a merchant Marine. He took it out to sea with him. He found me on Twitter months later and said it was life changing for him. And he's still sober by the way. So I think men really like it because they can read it and almost say like, wow, I can relate to all of this without feeling threatened at all. So I don't want to scare men off by reading the book, but I can relate to more of the women's issues and how we're responsible a lot of times for family and we get a lot of things dumped on our shoulders.

And I know men have stressors as much too, but I will say this, it seems like men do better at saying, Hey buddy, I quit drinking and their friends kind of respect that boundary I think better than women because I have a lot of women that tell me they really struggle with their so called friend groups who don't really want to be friends with them once they quit drinking and all this. And I find that so disheartening for many reasons. Number one, if your friend group is of that mentality, they're probably super heavy drinkers and they probably, I know when I was drinking, I hung out with people who drank like me. I was not hanging out with normal drinkers. And so I didn't realize there were people who didn't drink like I did that there were people who might have drinks a couple of times a month and then that was it.

And they were the true social drinkers who had a big life and were involved in many other things and their life did not revolve around alcohol. So the people that I socialize with were very much different and we drank every night and had parties and gatherings and we called ourselves social drinkers. So when you have that, like I said, want to boot people out or say they can't be friends or whatnot, and women seem to care about that and I tell them, well you don't need those people then find new friends. And I don't know why that's so threatening to some. And I think in order to change your life, to get sober, to maybe drink less, whatever it is that you decide you want to do, you have to be willing to face a little bit of pushback, which leads me to, as adults, why are we pushing back?

Why do we have to have this peer pressure, this adult peer pressure? When I used to go to gatherings early in my recovery and you're, I'm so uncomfortable anyway cause you feel this shame cause you're like quitting drinking and I don't, now I look back and go, Oh my goodness, what was I thinking? Um, but it's like we feel shame for doing something good for ourselves. If you go to a party and they have all these sweets and you refuse a sweet, nobody questions you. But if you go and you refuse to joy a drink, you get the 20 questions. If you're a young woman, Oh, are you pregnant? Oh, why aren't you drinking? Oh, are you on medication? I mean, it's ridiculous. And so I tell people, men and women, no, is a complete sentence, no thank you. We don't need to explain ourselves. And if somebody has a problem with me not drinking, it's usually because they have a drinking problem and they're very uncomfortable with that mirror of someone not drinking to kind of almost co-sign on their BS. So we can navigate these drinking. I go wherever I want, I do what I want. I have a very big life, but I just don't drink. And for the most part, nobody really cares. Like I said, the only people who I've ever really cared that I'm not drinking are people that ended up having their own problems with alcohol.

Allan: 19:51 Yeah. Now, this last month, uh, we ran a challenge, um, and I included an alcohol piece to it and I didn't say completely abstain from alcohol, but we're going to cut it back and continue to kind of regrets it and cut it back. I've had no alcohol challenges in the past and the turn around was relatively small. Um, so it'll be interesting as people get into, you know, the results of going through the challenge. People are improving their health there, they're losing weight. Uh, you know, that's part of the, the gist of the whole thing. Uh, so alcohol, you know, I think we all know alcohol can lead to weight gain, uh, and stopping drinking can actually help you in your weight loss journey. But there are other health things that we should consider with regards to alcohol. Could you kind of get into some of that?

Well, I mean, Oh my gosh, alcohol impacts really every organ in our body. So let's quit diluting ourselves and say, Oh, it's not that bad. It caused the seven types of cancer that's been proven definitively. Alcohol is a class one carcinogenic. So it is in the same class as asbestos. Now nobody is going to tell you that. And the research on that is when you, if you Google it, you're gonna have to dig a little bit. Cause that's not something that pops up immediately. But Oh, believe me, it's there. So in addition to like for men, there's a lot of throat cancers, esophageal cancers, stomach cancers, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and women with breast cancer. I know when I got into recovery here again, I started paying attention and I'm like, Oh my God, so much breast cancer in these women. And then years later I'm researching, doing all this research for Raising the Bottom.

And the light bulb went out and I went, well my God, no wonder all these alcoholic women have breast cancer. It's the booze. I mean we can't say for sure that it's the sole cause, I'm sure there's environmental factors. Stress is a huge one, but a lot of people drink because they can't handle their stress because they don't have good coping skills. So it all ties in together. Um, you've got people, when I was working in the ER, people who are diabetic drinking heavily, their blood sugars are all over the place. They're coming into the hospital because now they're having kidney failure from their unchecked diabetes because they were drinking too much. They're getting coronary artery disease from their unchecked diabetes because they couldn't stop drinking so much. So there are so many ways that alcohol and the alcohol turns to sugar in our body.

So you're just getting this bombardment of sugar, which causes inflammation. Let's move on to the brain. The extended care facilities. Nursing homes are filled with people who have a long history of drinking. Lot of alcoholics end up in the nursing homes. Lot of people with longterm benzo abuse or I don't even want to say abuse, people tend to get on those benzos and they stay on them for the next 30 years because the withdrawal to get off is so awful. They just stay on them. And I think that's how they were designed by the pharmaceutical companies. So they give you this benzo when you're 25 to help you not feel anxious and when you're 60, you're still taking it and pretty soon the mind just goes to mush. So these are things that people don't really understand about how and what it can do.

In the last five years I've seen a big uptick in women that are yellow because women do not have, we lack the chemical that helps to break down alcohol. Men have more of the, Oh, I was, that's a tongue twister for me to say. It's ADH is the, the short, but we women lack ADH. Men have more of it. So that's why men can kind of skate along and drink maybe a little longer and a little harder without it totally impacting them physically. Like at, well a woman, um, women go downhill much faster. And that's, I talk a lot about that Raising the Bottom because that was instrumental for me. Why I got sober when I did, because I saw how quickly once my mother crossed that line from drinking martinis at lunch to becoming a full blown alcoholic. Her demise was Swift.

Her, she ended up looking like she was nine months pregnant, her skin was yellow, she was dying, she was, she was dying. And that happened in a span of five years. So I'm seeing a lot more of that that I didn't see 10 or 15 years ago. I've been in health care for 25 years now. So that is new and it's all attributed, I believe, to the pharmaceutical, or I'm sorry, the alcohol, big alcohol is doing a very, very good job of spending their billions of dollars in ad budgets to target women. And so the new alcoholic often is well educated. She makes a good living. She wears designer pumps and she carries a diaper bag. And this is the new alcoholic of what we're facing. So now let me ask you this, Allan, what happens to those children on the backside in this boozy mom? Well, they end up like me probably will land in their own addiction later on because when you have a mother who's all about the party time, you're not present. You're missing a lot of the nuances that I know with my twins I was able to pick up on, I was two weeks sober when I found out I was pregnant with twins and I'm so grateful that I was a sober mom who was fully present. Both my sons went on to become division one athletes. Both of my sons went to college, they graduated college playing football. And I can just assure you it would've been a very, very different picture had I not been sober. Our family would've been very different.

Allan: 26:32 Now there are a lot of people that will say, okay, you know, and I don't drink that much. You know, I just have a couple drinks here and there and like you said, social drinkers. Um, I was actually reading a study the other day or there's actually several studies out there that show that we're, we're really not good at self-reporting what we eat, what we drink. Uh, so you know, if they ask you what you had for dinner last week and in general, um, you are going to under-report your calories, um, you're gonna report more healthy food than you actually ate. Um, and if you drank alcohol, you're probably gonna report less drinks than you probably drank. But you know, this is an alcoholism is actually something that unless you self-diagnose, nothing's going to change for you.

Lisa: 27:15 And you're absolutely right. So what changed my life was getting honest with myself because the standard alcoholic answer is I had two, Oh, I only had two beers. I only had two drinks. They always only have two. Yeah. So you're right, people lie. And so that's why doctors that are tuned in, most doctors are clueless about alcoholism. Some of the stuff that comes out of the psychiatrist's mouth that I hear like, Oh, it just drives me crazy. They'll say things like, Oh, they used to be an alcoholic, but now they just, they're using meth or something crazy like that. So like they just switched addictions is what they did. But back to your point. Yeah. So we lie, alcoholics lie, we all know that. Um, if you want to change your life, be honest. Nobody can, you know, I knew two years before I quit drinking that I was drinking too much, that I was crossing a line.

I had a home bar that I loved and I knew everybody kinda like on cheers. Everyone knew my name. And when I go, we used to go in there and start asking the person sitting on my right and left, who, or by the way, drinking right along with me and say, do you think I drink too much? And of course they're like, ah, I have no, you're fine. You know, what are they going to say? Yeah, you're drinking. So, but, but that was already, that was those early warning signs. Something was not resonating within my soul. And I knew, I knew that it was not, um, I don't even want to say abnormal, but it was abnormal for me because it's like people get so caught up on quantity. Like I said, I was not a daily drinker. I did not drink a fifth a day.

However, when I drank, I get a few drinks in me. There were times I absolutely could stop and I would be your designated driver. And there were other times I could not stop. So there was that unpredictability factor, which is indicative of potential alcoholism. There was the fact of how it affected my personality. I'm a pretty even keeled person. I'm not a drama queen by any stretch. Give me a few drinks. I know we're going to have drama. It's either going to be, I'm going to create something, I'm going to start a fight. I'm going to shoot my mouth off inappropriately pick, pick anything I would just do and things that I'd never would do and say sober. So that was another clue to me. I was losing my moral compass. That was another tip off where you start to rationalize and justify lying.

You know, I don't know, it was never really a thief, but I'm sure that could have come where, you know, you take 20 bucks out of your husband's wallet, don't bother to tell him, Hey, I took 20 bucks and you start, you know, I didn't do that then, but I could see where I could have maybe segwayed into that kind of behavior. And we tend to rationalize things like, Oh, that's fine, that's fine. Well now actually in sobriety it's about getting rigorously honest, living right, doing the right thing. And so I was really losing my way that way. And I don't know that I would have saw it as early as I did had. Again. My mother was instrumental in my recovery because she sobered up when I was in my early twenties, and I saw her change dramatically. So by the time I got sober, my mother had seven years sobriety under her belt, and she had morphed into this amazing mom that I think I wished I always had.

But it can impact us in so many ways. And I just really want people to understand you've got to throw out all these old ideas that an alcoholic has to look a certain way because no, there are no demographics, there are no boundaries. And I'll tell you the worst nightmare for an alcoholic is money. There's a lot of alcoholism. My father goes to Benito Springs in the winter and I go down there. So you've got a lot of affluent people in the Naples, Sarasota area. And as a nurse I see the loose blouses and the big livers and the guys in their golf shirts with their big livers sticking out. And it's just, Oh my God, I almost can't stand it because there's just so much. Their lives are golfing and drinking and eating and there's going to be a lot of, you know, earlier deaths because this is what they do and they, this is their social life, which is fine, but it's, um, it's scary and a lot of ways to me when I see how sick some of these people look and they don't even see it.

Allan: 32:01 Yeah. Now in your recovery and in your mother's recovery, you utilize the 12 step.

Lisa: 32:07 I did. Yes.

Allan: 32:09 So even that wasn't on your plan. Can you kind of just quickly kind of go through, cause I think you kind of hit on some of those points of getting honest with yourself. Um, and, and I think the 12 steps is actually kind of that approach to actually making that happen and making it real in your life. Not just an exercise you do over the course of a weekend, uh, at a seminar. But this is something that you have to live and do over course of quite a long time,

It becomes a way of life. Allan, I know people go to rehab and I just need to throw this out there. So many people go to rehab in their families think, Oh, they're cured. No, Nope. That is just the tip of the iceberg because a lot of people go to rehab just to get people off their back and they have no intention of really doing the hard work. It takes working on the core insight issues. However you choose to do that. I like the 12 step because it gives you a roadmap to do that. And really the first step is we have to admit we have a problem. So I don't care what recovery method you're going to use, smart recovery, whatever. Um, you have to admit you have a problem because you can't, I mean, it's almost like if someone who's overweight, you have to admit, okay, I decide I need to lose weight.

Until you're ready to accept that about yourself, you're not going to change it. And then the 12 steps really help a person look at their issues. I can. So what were some of mine? I was a very fear based person, which I didn't realize that. Um, so I had to look at how as a child my predominant emotion was fear. And I covered up with that fear with a lot of false bravado. A big mouth, that kind of thing. So I had to look at that. I had to forgive my parents. They did the best they could. I didn't think they did a great job raising me. Um, since I did kind of raise myself along with my siblings. Now I have a sister who stayed in addiction 40 years because she couldn't, she liked to blame my parents as opposed to taking responsibility as an adult.

Okay. Our childhood wasn't great, but it, it could have been worse. And I'm an adult now and I'm going to make the choice to make my life better and be a different parent to my children. And, and my sister couldn't do that. So yeah, you have to. And then it's about, it really focuses too on getting out of yourself. I mean, alcoholism is, We have to get humble. It's that I'm going to do it my way disease. It's a disease that is riddled with pride. People can be almost homeless and they still think they know what they're doing. They're unwilling to listen. They've lost four jobs, they're on their third marriage and they still swear they don't have a problem that you see over and over again. Anybody who's been married more than well, even three times, it's usually alcohol is in the picture there somewhere.

One of the persons involved was drinking and my older sister, she's on her third marriage. Yep. Alcohol has been involved in each one of those marriages, so we have to get honest about, we can't blame everybody else. It comes back to what are we covering up inside of us and dealing with that and working on the issues. Having that humility to say, I can't do this. Making amends to the people that we have harmed people. Moms especially, they say, Oh, I'm not harming anyone. Well, yes you are, because your kids may be well fed and you might get them to their soccer practices. But when you're standing on the sidelines with a cocktail in your hand, you're not really focused on the present moment. You're focused on, Oh, when this cocktail is empty, I got a hall over to my friend's cooler and get a refill.

And it's just a very selfish, myopic way of life, the drinking life. And most people don't really see it until they do get sober. And then the last factor is it's about helping others and doing it freely and willingly and giving of, you know, I do, I work with a lot of women. Recovery coaching is like really big now. I don't charge because it was freely given to me. And so it's an honor and a privilege to help a woman who is struggling, who says they want to change their life and then to give them some simple directions that they follow and their lives begin to change in amazing ways. So that is a gift. So it's, it's really a way of life and it's part of my life that I've just incorporated into my life and it's just who I am and what I do.

I go to meetings three a week, I work with others and I write books and I'm still in there sometimes.

Allan: 37:17 Lisa, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get that stay well.

Lisa: 37:22 The obvious Allen exercise, eat right, but here are, here are the three that I think are really helpful. Number one, stop people pleasing because that a lot of times people, people please. Then they have resentments which fuels eating and drinking and anger. So people are very angry, so stop people pleasing. If you really don't want to do something, I mean other than things that like we have to do, like go to work or whatever, but stop people pleasing so that you're not resentful. Number two, get engaged in something outside of yourself. As I said, help others. People are depressed, they're anxious.

Well, when you're only focused on your own depression and anxiety, it almost fuels it. Whereas if you're focused on helping somebody else, getting out of yourself, the anxiety and depression is cut in half. So I would suggest find something, find a hobby, find a way to help others. And you will watch happiness. Um, quotion expand exponentially. And number three, which is no problem for you down there in Panama, get out in nature people, 89% of adults spend 15 minutes or less a day in nature. Oh my gosh, no wonder we're drinking, right? Because you're around, you're in these sterile environments, be it an office or whatever. And then you go from that to your car, to your house. And I don't think, I mean, well, let's go back to hunters and gatherers. We're meant to be outdoors. You know, the trees, the greenery. There is a chemical in this greenery called Fido signs, and it is proven in Japan.

They call it shouldn't ring Yoku. They don't give out a lot of antidepressants in Japan, they prescribed nature walks and force bathing. So this fight assigns in the trees, helps to increase your immunity, decrease depression, decrease anxiety. So why are we not doing more of these sorts of things and forth? The drinkers know this does not mean you go sit under a Palm tree and have five drains that doesn't count, but maybe go walk amongst the butterflies or I think you mentioned early, maybe before we started taking that you'd have a rain forest nearby. I mean, what a gift. I can't imagine how amazing that would be to walk through this rain for some of this nature. Chirping and chattering above your head. These are things that really can make you feel so much better. And I wonder if people just, if they decided to do something like that every day as opposed to drink five drinks, maybe have one drink after you go on a nature walk and maybe that had be enough and you just had a drink. Your life could be really different in just something as small as those sorts of little changes can have huge impacts when you realize like, wow, I took that walk and I was fully present and engaged in my surroundings. I mean, I can't tell you how many people get sober and say, Oh my God, for the first time I like, I smelled winter or I saw spring. This is what taking alcohol out of a life can do. It's like ripping off the veil or the scales. It's like you see things just totally different.

Allan: 41:06 Lisa, thank you so much. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, learn more about the book (Raising the Bottom), learn more about what you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?

Lisa: 41:15 They can go to my website raisingthebottom.com. I'm on Facebook under Lisa Boucher award-winning author. I'm also on Twitter and Instagram at raising the bottom.

Allan: 41:26 Okay, well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/406 and I'll be sure to have them there. So Lisa, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Lisa: 41:15 Thank you, Allan. This was a pleasure. I enjoyed talking with you.

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Another episode you may enjoy

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October 14, 2019

Adaptogens with David Winston

Adaptogens and nootropics are becoming much more popular as the flaws in Western medicine become more and more apparent. David Winston has spent over 50 years studying herbal medicine. Today we discuss his book, Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief.

Allan: 01:02 David, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

David: 01:05 Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here.

Allan: 01:07 You know, more and more, in the last 10 years. It just seems like it's a, it's kind of a building thing, which I think is really good, there's more discussion about some of the natural healing properties of plants and herbs. Looking back at some of the Eastern medicine, Chinese medicine, Ayurveda from India, and actually adopting some of those now as treatments and protocols and not going with the chemicals. So your book Adaptogens really kind of gets into the history of this and to what they are and how we can use them. It's fascinating to me how much as out there and we're just still just kinda scratching the surface.

David: 01:56 Well, that's true. You know, it's interesting. This year is the 50th year since I started studying herbal medicine. And I joke a bit, but I'm not entirely joking when I tell people after 50 years, I now consider myself to be an advanced beginner. There is endless amount to learn whether we are talking about traditional Chinese medicine aryuveda, the middle Eastern Teb Al Nabawi, Kampo from Japan, et cetera, Tibet Medicine, American eclectic medicine, physio medicalism, all these traditions are rich in the use of plants for medicine. So these traditions in some cases go back at least 3000 years. Plus you then combine that with the vast amount of plant, medicinal plant research that is occurring throughout the world.

More...

Very little unfortunately in the United States, but extensive amounts in China, India, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, France, Germany. So all around the world there is a tremendous amount of plant research and in many cases, this plant research, this modern plant research is confirming, although sometimes going well beyond the understanding that people have had for thousands of years of how these substances can help us to live healthier, better lives.

And one of the things that's really important to understand, a lot of people have this idea that it's sort of an either or situation. It's either Orthodox Western medicine or it's complimentary alternative medicine, herbal medicine, natural medicine. And honestly, nothing could be further from the truth. Where Orthodox medicine is strong tends to be where things like herbal medicine aren't that effective and vice versa. Where herbal medicine is really strong, tends to be in areas, especially dealing with things like chronic degenerative disease where Orthodox medicine often has little to offer.

So when it comes to the individual, the patient, the client, the real win-win is understanding which is appropriate in a given situation. Herbs are not the answer to everything. Adaptogens are not the answer to everything, but then nor does Orthodox medicine have the answer to everything. So understanding which therapy, which treatments are most effective, most appropriate for a given situation, for a given person is essential.

Allan: 04:36 Now an adaptogen is not just a chemical compound they're pulling out of a plant to, to make a new medicine with its, it's actually using the whole plant. Right? Can, you can talk about adaptogens, what they are and what they do?

David: 04:50 Absolutely. And this is going to get slightly complex. Um, but I will do my absolute best to keep it as simple as possible. So initially, you know, in all these ancient systems of medicine, there are tonic herbs. So in Ayurveda they're called Rasanayas, in TCM, in traditional Chinese medicine, they're known as Chi Tonics or kidney youn tonics or blood tonics. But these traditional definitions of a tonic remedy do not necessarily equate to what we today call an adaptogen.

An adaptogen is a modern scientific concept developed initially in the Soviet Union. The initial research was done by Professor Lazaroff starting in the late 1940s. If you think, wow, they must've been very, you know, forward-thinking to do this kind of research. The reality was this was initially military research and the Russians were, the Soviets were trying to do what cruise chefs said, and that was to bury the West. They were trying to find ways to make better soldiers, better cosmonauts workers so that they could outdo us and literally win the cold war.

Basically what happens is the research eventually goes from the initially started looking at chemical substances and with Dr. Breckman who is considered the father of adaptogenic research. He switches over to looking at plants and they eventually settle on a plant called, at the time in the United States, we learned about it known as a Siberian ginseng, but the proper name for it is Eleutherococcus senticosus and that's where the initial research starts. And what they did is they first promoted a definition of an adaptogen using a very simplistic three parameters.

Number one, the plant was nontoxic in a normal therapeutic dose. Alright, so that's, that's fine. The problem with that is that describes almost every herb in the material Medica. I mean they ask, there are some toxic herbs, but most herbs are relatively benign in a normal therapeutic dose.

Secondly, they decided that these herbs would create what was called a nonspecific state of resistance to stress. So that means they help you to resist stress, whether that stress is psychological, physiological, or environmental. But the problem there is that other categories of herbs including nervines, which we think of as nerve tonics, things that are common also help you to deal with stress more effectively. So that doesn't really mean that is absolutely an adaptogen.

And thirdly that they would have what is called an amphoteric effect on the body, helping to normalize function of multiple systems, especially the endocrine system, nervous system, immune system as well as the cardiovascular and digestive systems. So that was the initial definition. And that last started, I think that was, that definition came out around 1969 so after that and the intervening where now 50 years later, the definition has changed.

Now those first three parameters are all still true, but they have added to the definition. So in the 1990s they determined that adaptogens work primarily through two master control systems in the body. One is called the HPA axis, that's the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. This is the master control system of almost all endocrine function, much nervous system function, immune function and what also what deals with chronic stress in our lives. And then the second system is called the SAS, the Sympathoadrenal System. And this is your fight or flight mechanism, which deals acute stress. So in order for an adaptogen to be an adaptogen, there has to be evidence that it is primarily working through one or both of these two master control systems. Further research showed us that adaptogens also work on a cellular level.

So what does this mean? It means that they do several things.

Number one, they help reduce stress hormone production. So that's especially cortisol, norepinephrine, and they help prevent cortisol induced mitochondrial dysfunction. So for instance, some of the conditions associated with stress induced mitochondrial dysfunction include things like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome, which is one of the reasons adaptogens can be so useful as part of a protocol for treating those conditions because underlying those conditions is basically elevated levels of stress hormones, specifically cortisol, which shuts down the mitochondria, which are the engines of yourselves. So if your mitochondria are not working, you are going to have all sorts of problems with fatigue, with muscle weakness, with muscle pain, uh, with cardiovascular issues and et cetera, et cetera.

And they do this, not only do they shut down the excessive production of cortisol, but they do it by up-regulating certain stress modulators in the body. These are noticing heat shock proteins, fork head proteins and something known as neuropeptide Y.

So in order for an herb to be an adaptogen, it has to do every single one of these things. Of course the ancients had no idea about any of these things. So when they are talking about a Rasanayas or a Chi tonic, you know, those things, some of them actually turn out to be adaptogens, but of course, many of them do not because they don't meet the parameters of today what we know is an adaptogen.

Allan: 11:02 Okay. So kind of my key takeaways from this is that that one, adaptogens don't just address one part of the body. Like I think in the book you talked about how tumeric actually supports the liver, a single organ versus actually supporting the whole body through the, you know, HPA and through the SAS Yes. Right. And then the other piece of it is it doesn't just push us in one direction. It's sort of a balancing, getting us more towards homeostasis than pushing us in one direction just because we're stressed trying to push us unstressed. It's literally just kind of trying to find that balance.

David: 11:42 Correct. Now I will say that turmeric by the way of course is not in adaptogens. The turmeric, it just doesn't work on the liver. A tumor has much broader implications. In fact, the majority of herbs have a wider sphere than just working on a single organ. But adaptogens you could, yes, I think your, your definition, think of them as almost systemic remedies, but they're primary effects are on endocrine nervous system and immune function. That is where, because that's of course what the HPA axis and the SAS, those are the things that they are affecting. Now of course the reality is is that the SAS also and the HPA axis also affect skin function. They also affect circulation. They also affect reproductive function, both male and female. So again, very wide ranging effects.

And at the same time you'd mentioned homeostasis. Adaptogens work in a really interesting way. So think of it this way. We, we, anybody who has had anatomy and physiology learned about homeostasis, where the body tries to maintain its normal balance. So some things are maintained in very, very tight, like your serum sodium levels, your blood serum, serum levels of sodium have to be maintained with a very, very narrow range. And so the body will work exceedingly hard to make sure that it stays there. And the idea of homeostasis is everything's tries to stay the same. Well, in reality, there is a second process known as allostasis that the body uses to maintain homeostasis and adaptogens also enhanced allostasis.

What is allostasis? So any of your listeners who have ever gone surfing, and you don't even have to be a surfer, you could go skiing, you could go ice skating, skateboarding, anything where you need really good balance. So if you got up on a surfboard and you stand absolutely still, as those waves are moving you in every direction, you're gonna stay on that board for about a second. In order to stay on the board, you start moving and shifting your body weight to compensate for changes. That is allostasis. Allostasis is the body's ability to change in order to maintain balance and adaptogens help in that process.

Allan: 14:16 Okay. So most of the book we're talking about stress, so we're talking about our body is going through, it'll can go through acute stress, which just basically means, you know, I see a bear and Oh, I've got run, versus chronic stress where my CFO is the bear and he's on me every single day. And so that stress just sticks with me and my fight or flight is basically every waking moment. Adaptogens can kind of help us with that. Right. So can you kind of talk through the stress reaction process and then how adaptogens can support us as we deal with chronic stress.

David: 14:53 They're working on multiple levels and that's where it gets a bit complicated because, just to give you an example: I mentioned earlier that among these sort of molecular chaperones or stress chaperones that adaptogens affect, we have what are called heat shock proteins. These are molecular chaperones. And so these molecular chaperones heat shock proteins protect, mitochondria from stress induced damage. Then they also regulate a chemical called FOXO. It's a fork head protein and basically FOXO basically is a neuro. FOXO is upregulated and it promotes the synthesis of proteins that inhibit the effects of stress. It helps detoxify cells. It also has been shown to enhance longevity. I also mentioned it basically up-regulates in neuropeptide Y, which is a neurotransmitter which has been shown to relieve anxiety.

It's been shown to inhibit pain perception. It lowers blood pressure, it inhibits addiction, it inhibits cortisol release. So those are just some of the compounds that it is affecting and having a broad ranging effect on the body. So when we are under stress, there is a whole cascade of cellular and organ response in the body. And adaptogens are saying to the body, think of adaptogens as sort of like a stress vaccine. Some people call it a stress memetic. In fact, what adaptogens do is they say to your body, stress is coming. So let's get ready for stress. In that sense, it's a little bit like going to the gym. So many of your listeners probably work out, maybe some of them are runners. You did the first time you ran, you didn't run a marathon, at least not if you were smart the first time you start running a short distance and then the next day you run again and again, or you go to the gym and you start off with a low amount of weights and a small amount of repetitions and you gradually work your way up to where your muscles become stronger. We are more stamina, more strength and the ability to do more

Adaptogens work very similar to this. They basically say to your body, stress is coming yet ready. And so the body builds up so that it is more prepared to deal with stress when the actual stress comes, whether that is an acute stress or a chronic stress. The one difference between adaptogens and say going to gym is that if you go to the gym and you don't go to the gym for two weeks, you may lose a little bit of strength and stamina, but you still have a significant long-term effect adaptogens to be taken regularly because the effect doesn't have a long term effect. So these are things you would take on a regular basis. And of course, which adaptogens and individual takes are going to depend on the specifics of that person because it's important to note that adaptogens are not a one size fits all phenomenon.

A lot of people think, Oh, you need an adaptogens, just take any one. Well, that's not true. There are stimulating adaptogens. There are calming adaptogens. There are heating adaptogens, cooling adaptogens, drawing adaptogens, moistening, adaptogens, nourishing adaptogens. And so the key is, and that's more of course, one of the reasons I wrote my book, is that I wanted people to understand what I would call the personality of each of these adaptogenic herbs so that you can figure out which one or ones, because remember, traditionally in all of the great systems of verbal medicine, herbs are never taken as simple as meaning one herb at a time. They're taking in complex formulas.

Why? Because we are dealing with complex people with complex problems. And so the idea is which adaptogens or adaptogens and the sort of supportive herbs or companion herbs for adaptogens such as nervines Nootropics, we'll talk about this more later, or restorative tonics that you take with them to help create something that is actually going to be beneficial and work for the individual. Great herbalists don't treat diseases. We treat people.

Allan: 19:17 Let's go ahead and jump ahead then and let's have that conversation about the nervines and the supporting components and, and, and the Nootropics. Let's get into those. Just a little bit so they know what we're talking about.

David: 19:29 Okay. So we just, we've defined what an adaptogen is and we'll talk more about them. But there are other, and I include this in my book, there are other herbs that I would call companion herbs to adaptogens. They work really well with adaptogens.

And so the three categories of these, and the first is nervines are nerve vines in England and these are calming herbs. I mentioned that briefly before and they basically helped restore the emotional foundation. So for people who are especially type A personality, for people who are emotionally labile, for people who have number ten reactions to number one problems. Nervines can be really useful along with perhaps calming adaptogens. For a person like that.

Then we have water known as no a tropics. Now I have to define this because nootropics, some people call them smart drugs.There are three different categories.

There are the chemical smart drugs, which are often designer drugs created in the laboratory with no history of previous use and no record of safety. Uh, I am very leery about these substances.

Then there are the supplement, nootropics and these include things like L-carnitine and things like that which have a very good safety.

And then there are our herbal Nootropics and there are a wide variety of herbal nootropics. These herbs tend to be neuro-protective. They are anti-inflammatory on neuro anti-inflammatories. They enhance cerebral circulation, they enhance memory, focus, concentration. And there is some evidence that at least some of them may help at least slow, if not possibly help prevent something like dementia or Alzheimer's. But that is a very, very preliminary.

Then we have what I would call restorative tonics. And these are basically herbs that are nutritive. They help to enhance overall function, but they do not meet the definition of an adaptogen. So now I'll mention a couple specifically.

We have herbs like the goji berry. Very, very popular herb. And the Chinese herb astragalus. Herbs like this are wonderful nutritive herbs, but they are not adaptogens, even though a lot of people tend to throw them in that category, unfortunately, they just don't meet those definitions.

Allan: 21:58 Okay. If I came to you as a client and generally, okay, you're just a general description, over 40 and high chronic stress and you were going to kind of put together a general protocol, what are some of the things that would be included in that protocol?

David: 19:17 Well, unfortunately, that's not enough of a definition, a description that I could come up with something because I need to know everything about you.

You know, as is somebody who is a patient of mine. I need to know not only their age and their weight and their blood pressure. I need to know their medical history. I need to know, I need to know everything I can about them, you know, and they would bring in their blood work from their physician and their diagnosis is that they have from their doctor. And you put together a protocol that is specific to the patient.

Because remember as I said, great herbalists don't treat diseases. Medical men, Western medicine focuses in on disease. We don't focus in on disease. We focus on creating protocols to help people be well, to help people prevent disease. To help people to gain maximal health, strength, longevity, et cetera. So, but what I would look at is, for instance, if you were somebody who was deficient and depleted, I might include some stimulating adaptogens and stimulating adaptogens would include things like, perhaps, Asian Ginseng or Rhodiola.

On the other hand, if you were really depleted, deficient, exhausted all the time, then I want to make sure I include some of the nourishing adaptogens. So there may be something like American Ginseng. If you were a type A personality, you know, you can't shut your mind off, then we might consider some of your calming adaptogens such as Ashwagandha or Schisandra. And so there are different ones that we would use.

And by the way, not every single person gets an adaptogen. And I don't want people to think that adaptogens are panaceas. Adaptogens are incredibly useful. Don't get me wrong, I do use them a lot, but I'm using a broad spectrum of herbs. Adaptogens are just one part of that. And I need your listeners to understand. Adaptogens are not a replacement for the foundations of health.

Foundations of health are adequate, good quality sleep, a good diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle choices. So if you are eating fast food three meals a day, only getting six hours sleep, running yourself ragged, training for a marathon, working in incredibly stressful job, and smoking, I don't care how many adaptogens you take, it is not going to make up for the fact that you are abusing yourself. And in fact at best it's going to simply allow you to abuse yourself a little bit longer until you finally collapse.

It's kind of the whipping the exhausted horse. You can make it go a little further, but it's going to collapse. So adaptogens are not a replacement for the foundations of health, but for the average American who is overfed under-exercised, not getting enough sleep, especially when it's a situation where, for instance, you're actually trying to take care of yourself, but maybe there's a new baby in the house.

You're not getting enough sleep. Or maybe you just graduated from a law school, passed your boards and you just hired on to a new law firm and they're expecting you to work 70 hour weeks. Or maybe you are in college and you're having to pull all-nighters and study, which I do not recommend as it reduces comprehension dramatically.

But you know, adaptogens under those circumstances where you mentioned the example earlier where your boss is on your case all the time and it's incredibly stressful and maybe you don't have the option to change. Maybe you're in a situation where you live in a small town where there's only one employer and you don't have a lot of options. Adaptogens can be incredibly useful. Again, helping to prevent stress-induced cortisol elevation, helping to reduce the stress-induced anxiety, helping to reduce the stress-induced elevation of blood pressure and the resultant of course, mitochondrial dysfunction that comes with elevated cortisol levels.

And I will point out that elevation of cortisol can come from lack of sleep, obesity or stress And chronically elevated cortisol levels not only basically shut down the mitochondria in the cells. Chronic elevation of cortisol is proinflammatory and of course all of our chronic degenerative disease is inflammatory in nature. It raises blood pressure, it interferes with sleep, it interferes with digestion, it decreases the immune response, and increases the growth of tissue including skin tags, benign prostatic hyperplasia in men, fibroids, uterine fibroids in women cancer, chronically elevated cortisol is really not good. And so anything we can do to help our body to reset and be at a, you know, a healthier baseline on a regular basis is going to a long term have profound positive implications for our health.

Allan: 27:31 So I guess the way I kind of take this, as you know, you can't just say, okay, I need ashwagandha. I need a Chinese Ginseng or Asian Ginseng root. I need American ginseng root and everybody needs that. The reality is you're going to have to kind of put together a protocol for yourself based on your own personal needs.

David: 27:51 That's actually true. You know, they're there. First of all, as I said, not everybody needs adaptogens, period. But if you do feel you need adaptogens, and again, that's one of the reasons I wrote the book is so that each herb has its own monographs. You can read about it and say, wow, does this make sense for me? And I often mentioned like, I often use it with this or that so that people can kind of get a sense if they don't have access to a clinical herbalist or a naturopathic physician who's trained in botanical medicine or a medical doctor who knows herbs. If they don't have access to someone like that. They can at least educate themselves so they can decide which of these things may, would be most appropriate for them. And again, not everybody needs them, but I would say that, you know, discounting cultures where they're either people are actively starving, suppressed or at war, Americans are some of the most stressed out people in the world.

Allan: 28:51 Absolutely. That's why I moved to Panama.

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

David: 29:07 Well, three, let's go back to the foundations of health that I just mentioned. In 1910, the average American slept slightly over nine hours per night. Now, the average American sleeps less than seven hours per night. In the intervening 100 plus years, we have not evolved to need less sleep. We're just chronically sleep deprived.

So number one, make sure that you get minimum seven hours sleep at night. Eight is definitely better. If you're sleeping more than nine hours a night, that suggests some issues. So somewhere between seven and nine hours is probably ideal. But the key important thing is when you wake up in the morning, do you feel refreshed? Do you feel rested? Because even if you're getting 12 hours sleep at night and you wake up in the morning and you feel tired, you're exhausted, then you have some type of sleep issue. And so it is absolutely essential that you figure out what that is.

Because, no matter what you have, if you have sleep issues, your chances of having a heart attack increase. If you have sleep issues, your chances of dying from cancer increase. If you have sleep issues, your blood pressure's going to increase. It gives sleep issues, your cortisol levels are going to increase. So sleep is foundational.

Number two, move and move a lot. We sit too much. We are not active. And of course some people are not as capable as you know, heavy exercise. I'm not talking about you have to run marathons, do what you can, whether it is swim, whether it is dance, whether it is practice yoga, move

Number three (I'm going to go beyond three). Eat a healthy diet and I'm astonished at what people think is a healthy diet. I have my patients fill out a three-day diet diary and I'll just sit there and scratch my head sometimes. Because people tell me, I think I eat pretty well. And so of course, food is foundational.

You know, they say as computers, garbage in, garbage out. Well, the diet is the same way. Garbage in, garbage out. You are dependent on your food for what Chinese medicines called the Gushi, the Gransha, the nutrients of that food to feed every cell in your body. And so eat healthy.

I am not a big fan of fad diets. I think that you need to figure out what works for you. And some people can be very healthy vegetarians and I've met people who just can't do that diet. So it's not like there's one diet that is good for everybody. You have to figure out what works for you. But what I can tell you very clearly is fast food, for instance, fried foods, a heavy, heavy meat diet, things like that are generally not good for almost anybody.

Then number four, emotional health. Emotional and spiritual health are, in my opinion, again, foundational. Having loved ones, whether it is anything from a companion animal to friends, to a life partner, to community, social networks. these are incredibly important. And I am a big believer in the power of a higher power, of having some type of spirituality in your life. I am not necessarily talking about a specific religion, but having something that you realize that you are a small part of something greater than ourselves. So having a meaningful ceremony, whether you think of it as the Gaia, the power of nature, God, or Allah, that to me is not as important. Of course for individuals I'm sure it is very important. Their spiritual and religious beliefs and that's great, but find something that works for you and works within your life.

And so for me, those sorts of things are absolutely foundational to health. And then we have other things that can add to that. And some of them, like nutritional supplements can be useful. Although I am much more interested in using herbs because I think they are more, much more bioavailable. And in a form that people can actually utilize more effectively. Those kinds of things. Stress reduction techniques are sort of built based on that foundation.

Allan: 33:49 Well thank you David. You know, one thing I'll say about the book is if anything and everything that you want to know about adaptogens, this is the book, that's called Adaptogens, but it literally you, you covered the history, you cover what they are, how they work. You know, all the different types. Cause there's, there's lots of them. You said there was 250,000 plant species that we've identified and we're just starting to learn how those can help us. But this book really, I think you could have called it the encyclopedia of adaptogens or the complete book with androgens. It really is comprehensive. And so if you're interested in adaptogens, I strongly suggest you check out David's book.

David, if someone want to get in touch with you, learn more about the book or things you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?

David: 34:33 Well, couple things. Number one, if anybody is interested in the book, they can get it. You know, simply from Amazon, if they like or their local bookstore. It's widely available. You can also contact me or reach me through to websites. There is my school, I have a two year urge studies program for people who want to train to be clinical herbalists and that is herbalstudies.net and then I also have a website which is an educational website where people can download free articles, information articles from my library, which is one of the largest private herbal research libraries in North America. Information on my classes where I'll be teaching around the world. I teach all over the US, Canada, Europe, occasionally central America, and that a website is herbaltherapeutics.net and those are the two are places that people can get additional information or contact.

I also have through, I believe it's herbal therapeutics website. I have a Facebook page where I do posts about every two weeks so people can tune into those posts and read the old posts every on thing. I'm mostly on the topic of herbal medicine and my travels and things like that. And so hopefully people will avail themselves. The book, Adaptogens, herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief. This is the second edition and I think anybody interested in the topic will hopefully learn quite a bit and be able to make better choices for themselves in their use of adaptogens, nervines, nootropics, and restorative tonics.

Allan: 36:27 All right, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/403 and I'll have the links there for the book for David's sites and all that.

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

David: 36:39 Thank you Allan. It's been a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

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Another episode you may enjoy

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October 7, 2019

Your vital force with Rajshree Patel

Rajshree Patel is a mind and meditation expert and an international self-awareness coach, trainer, and speaker. Over the last 30 years, she has taught hundreds of thousands of people in more than 35 countries the power of meditation, mindfulness, breath work, and other ancient tools for assessing the innate sources of energy, creativity, and fulfillment within. Today we discuss her book, The Power of Vital Force.

Allan: 02:06 Rajshree, welcome to 40 plus fitness.

Rajshree: 02:09 Thank you Allan. Happy to be here with you.

Allan: 02:11 You know, I was traveling back from the United States. I'd gone back to do a few things, work on my education is a personal trainer and then tried to get my house a little bit further shaped up so someone will actually buy it from me. And so it's been go, go, go, go, go. And then I had to drive cause I was trying to save a little bit of money on fly spirit, drive from Pensacola down to Fort Lauderdale. It's nine and a half hour drive. I do that drive and then I get on an airplane. I fly overnight, I arrive into Panama city at 1:30 in the morning, get to my hotel, go to sleep, wake up early. Cause you know, it's just normal wake up time. Uh, go ahead and do what work I can get to the airport, fly over to Bocas. And I got here last night and was just like, I just, I'm just drained, you know, all the, all of this is on me and I think we use that word a lot. Drains, you know?

Rajshree: 03:06 Yes, we do.

More...

Allan: 03:07 And I think, you know, and when you, when you really kind of start putting that together and you say, well, okay, why is my back starting to hurt? Why is my posture suffering? Why do I, and why is my head kind of hurting? And it's that draining and so it is really, you know, we, we use that in the Western vernacular of, of force of energy, but we don't really break that down to think of it in terms of all the other aspects of our health and wellness.

Rajshree: 03:35 No, no, I don't think we do. To your point, I mean I was going through a similar thing at some point before I got exposed to what we're going to talk about it a little bit, this idea of a force or energy. I was a lawyer in LA doing all this stuff that anybody has to do. Going to court, managing my files, you know, family, friends. I had just moved from New York to LA, so I was isolated doing my own thing on my own and trying to find a place to sort of fit in, connect, so emotionally there were things going on. It was a lot of stress going on mentally in terms of a brand new job. It was actually my first job as an attorney and a new city and so on. I was somehow getting through things. I knew I was tired. Obviously I was waking up in the morning not bouncing out of bed and dragging myself and kind of wishing no, what the heck happened? How did this night go by so fast and to your point, I hadn't really connected the dots. When I say I'm drained or I'm wiped out or I'm exhausted, I was really talking about not being charged or fueled enough and your basic food or gym.

If I happen to have done it that day or that week just wasn't getting me through the day until by chance. In 1989 I discovered this whole notion of vital force and how really we have too fuel all the levels, you know, of our life in order to do what we have to and then some of the things we want to do.

Allan: 05:10 Yeah. You know, as I was kind of looking at myself and trying to, you know, kind of build a better me because I knew I kind of, same thing, I went the public accounting route and then into internal audit and worked my way up C suite and all of that. And when they finally let me go, uh, it was kinda like this gush of pressure of everything. It's like, Oh, and when I took some time kind of sit back, that's when it has kind of really dawned on me that I had never really gotten completely there because I had not really ever paid enough attention to the things that were going to bring me what I needed. So like I defined fitness as being the healthiest fittest, happiest person you can be. And, and even though I was doing things in my life, that brought me some happiness and some joy, I really wasn't getting all the way there all the time. And it was too many things pulling me, pulling me back into the abyss. Now in the book you talk about the three main pathways to happiness. Could you take a few minutes to talk about those? Cause I think this is, this is critical if we're really going to get to wellness that we address this, this first, you know, happiness. I actually did them in reverse order. I should uh, dealt with the happiness first and then started with the, the fitness and the health cause I think it would've been a lot easier.

Rajshree: 06:29 Oh sure. I mean, so I think everybody knows, you know, what it means to be happy at whatever level. But we never really break it down. There's this sense of happiness that we get. Just a quick thing, a momentary thing like you show up to play or watch soccer and you enjoy it. You want something, you get it and you enjoy it and you're happy about it. But the moment it's over, it's over. And that has its own impact in terms of how it wipes us out. Because if it's just that level, what I find is I need more and more of it, you know? Uh, I entertain myself with one thing and then the next weekend I want a little bit more. So yeah.

Allan: 07:08 I get depressed when football season ends.

Rajshree: 07:11 Yeah. Because it's, it's over like you need the next thing. And even in football you notice you want like the next game, the match has to be a certain way. And who the, who's really, you know, with each other, which player against what player, what coach with what team. So we want a little more of it. But then there's this other layer of happiness where you don't just watch, it's not momentary. A metaphor would be you actually go and play soccer so you engage, you participate. And that brings another level of joy or happiness. It stays with us longer. It has comradery too. More meaning, more engagement, you know, a sense of, Oh wow, I did something cause we kind of tapped into some part of ourself that we hadn't really expected. Perhaps we played well or something.

Allan: 08:01 To me, I actually do that now through tailgating. I, you know, obviously the college football team's not going to let me on the field. So I go to a tailgate beforehand and hang out with my friends and have conversations and all that. So that's, that's where that engagement comes in for me.

Rajshree: 08:16 Exactly. And it stays with you in a very different way because even when you go home, you're talking about the game and what you saw. But somehow that, that sense of belonging in this in a way is part of the whole picture. And then beyond that is this notion of coaching the game of soccer. You know, really getting involved in another level yet that's even more meaningful, more lasting. Where you contribute to somebody else's life as much as you contribute to your own joy. And I think that joy, that kind of happiness gives us, in my opinion, the resilience to get through a difficult time. It kind of boosts us from the inside out. It gives us a lot of energy and then we deal with the ups or the downs that are coming, you know, in the day.

Allan: 09:08 And I think that's why I so much more enjoy being a personal trainer and a coach then I did being an internal auditor. Yeah. I mean I'd go off for my weekend, you know, and I would, I would go to a college football game and I would engage with my friends. So I had the pleasure of being at the game. I had the pleasure of just the all of game time experience and then the time with my friends. And then yeah, there's the Facebook message group where we're all gonna be either really happy about the game or be really upset about the game or either side and everybody's arguing. And even that I like just kind of sitting back and watching all that, but then I, I kind of go to work and it's audit, you know?

Rajshree: 09:46 Yeah, yeah, exactly. But you know, there's another level to all this, which most people don't really connect the dots to. And that is like when we feel our best, when we feel like we have the most amount of life energy and doesn't matter what's going on outside, we feel really charged up. Like you come back from vacation, you know everything's still the same. You come home and all the things you have to do are still there. But somehow your outlook Monday is much more optimistic, much more positive, and you're ready to jump into the day knowing that it's going to be a lot of work cause you're out for a week or 10 days. And that kind of happiness, it's what I would call more innate. And it's directly, what I've discovered is related to how rested your mind is how much energy you really have. And I don't mean the caloric energy, you know, the food and, and the sort of your daily maybe green juice that somebody might do or coffee or sugar. I'm really talking about this thing called vital force, which you're sort of born with. Like if you look at kids, you know, they're not playing soccer, they're not watching and they're not hanging out. But there's a lot of joy and strength and stamina. And that's really what we're talking about when I say vital force.

Allan: 11:08 Yes. Now you got into a part in the book and as I went through it, I think I had to read it twice to kind of really walk myself down the line of, you know, the past, the present and the future. And how so many of us kind of get stuck in this loop and it prevents us from really kind of experiencing the joy the way that we could because of the things in the past that you know and, and the things we think are going to be in the future. And you kind of talk through that line because it, it's not a straight line. Like you would think like we had our past, is over. We have our presences now and then the future is there. But we don't live that way.

Rajshree: 11:51 No, no we don't. Um, so obviously depending on the event and how intense it was, you know, somewhere we store it in our system, our brain, our body, our mind, ourselves. Hold on. Two pleasant or unpleasant events and situations, you know, and we clearly know that if I bring up an unpleasant thing, depending on to what degree you've let go of it, you can have a reaction in this moment. And if we look when we're holding on to things, it brings with it a certain spectrum of emotions and we don't really realize it. But impatience, agitation, frustration, anger, regret, guilt, blame these emotions which are clearly not serving us, they're negative. That's what takes away our happiness are related to something that's already happened. It's done and gone. And if I asked someone, can you be angry about something that hasn't yet happened? Our general tendency is to say yes, of course.

But really if we examine it's not possible. If it's about something that hasn't happened, we're going to be afraid. We're going to be worried, we're going to be anxious, we're going to have doubts, insecurity. That's about something that may or may not happen. And I often like to use this, um, analogy of a, a computer. See a lot of times we're working on a file and in the background we have a lot of files open because we worked on something a week ago, 10 days ago, a month ago, and we kind of forget about it. But those files are still open in the background. They're doing something to our hard drive, our brain in the computer, the hard drive and what it's doing is everything from slowing it down, creating glitches, draining energy, taking the life away from the file, the moment that's in front of us. And a lot of times, you know, Allan, if you go to search something on a computer, you anticipate based on history, the computer anticipates based on your prior search and opens more options.

And I think that's really what's going on in our life. Our mind, our brain or body is filled with stuff that happened yesterday, year ago, 10 years ago in the moment we come in front of something. This moment, it anticipates all of that. We start hitting on those emotions and we're not conscious of it. And similarly the future, you know? I love to think that we have a future, but honestly we're so hardwired, we're kind of conditioned by the time we're 10 years old with through osmosis taken all kinds of things on with our friends and family and parents and school system that our future's really, us being anxious about, Oh my God, I hope what happened yesterday, last week or in my last job, it doesn't happen again. So it's really an anticipation of the past. Everybody talks about, Oh, live in the present moment and all of that. But we've never really broken it down to what it's doing when we are in the past or when we are caught in the future.

Allan: 15:09 Yeah, I, I was, as I was reading that, I was, I was kinda thinking back to like the last three years when I was, when I was doing the internal audit stuff and kind of the first year we came across like a downturn in the market and we got into November and the talks about layoffs started happening and then in December there was the layoff. And so I was like, okay. And it was, and that's horrible. If you've ever experienced that, I can tell you it's just as hard from the manager's perspective as it is from the employee's perspective because you're having these conversations that don't necessarily deserve to leave.

And then what happens is I got into football season and as we got closer and closer to November, which means, you know, September, October, when we're at prime of our football season, I just started getting this, this anxiety. As soon as football game was over and I'm driving back home, back to go to work on Monday, you know, my head's already into this funk. And so I didn't have that energy in that balance to go back to work. I had this dread and then you know, we got into November and these conversations started again. And then in December there was a layoff. And I can tell you kind the final year I was there, that dread started in July. And you know, I can't tell you how many wonderful things I did during that period of time that I couldn't be fully present for because of the anxiety I had for what my November and December were probably going to look like. There were no conversations about head count at that point in time. Everything was positive at the company. You know, we're going to do this, we're going to grow that. We're going to, you know, we've done this. All, all that was there. All those conversations were positive at work. I just had this looming dread that something bad was going to happen in November and I couldn't enjoy myself. Now what I had a dread for actually did happen. Um, so, you know, I'm not, you know, but, but there was nothing I could do to stop it from happening. It was completely outside my control. And rather than kind of be rational about it and say, I can't stop this from happening, this is not my call, not my thing. All I can do is, but I missed for the better part of two years. I miss a lot of joy because I just kept letting that cycle play out in my, in my mind.

Rajshree: 17:41 To add to a little bit of what you're saying, it's true. You had no control over it. You know, you lost two years at whatever with all the other beautiful things that may have been going on in front of your life. I also believe if we have so much attention on something, we invite it at some level, you know, if we really have a lot of attention on something being positive and uplifting and it's going to be great, then somehow I feel like the universe smiles back at us and we invite at least the positive vibe of the moment. And if we're really anxious and were concerned, Oh my God, this is going to happen, this is going to happen, this is going to happen. Just our vibe sometimes invites that. And so we lose on on multiple levels. We're just not aware of it. Um, the time now, the two years that you mentioned and who knows, perhaps if the outlook could have been different, maybe a different kind of result could have happened. We just don't know because life is so much more than just what we see, touch and feel and, and I think it's important to see that we can't change our future and we can't change our paths.

But nobody really not at home or in school has ever taught us how to get the heck out of there and say, okay, what's in front of me and how do I reboot myself to look at this moment fresh and new.

Allan: 19:04 Yeah. And I think that's, that's where I struggled with it as I just, I kind of just put that all on my shoulders and carried it. Yeah. And it just got heavier and heavier and heavier until it was lifted off my shoulders by the layoff. And then I was like, okay, now I have a wide open future. And I can just figure out how to make this the best I can make it.

Rajshree: 19:27 Sorry, I was just going to say I'm in, I'm in the middle of a, uh, sort of a big personal challenge at the moment. Yes. This book is coming out, but going through a lot of family things and I see that my mind wants to lock into that, you know, and not the joy of whatever's going to happen as a result of this book. And I have to consciously bring myself back. I need to take a short pause to say that's there and your worst imagination doesn't mean that's what's going to happen. Let's see what you can do about it now and get busy and get active in trying to address it. So it is a matter of being conscious and inviting a pause into my life to say, what can I do about it rather than how does it help me to sit here and worry.

Allan: 20:16 Yeah. In the book you put together an actual exercise where someone can go through and methodically put together these things and walk through the positive, negative, the emotion, the past future, the now can you kind of just briefly talk about how that exercise works?

Rajshree: 20:34 Yeah, absolutely. And I really invite people to sort of take inventory. Um, I do it for myself, you know, every three months or so. What I'm asking myself to do is to say, okay, what's keeping me up at night? What is the thing that lifts for me in my head? And I, you know, just make a list of it. And I always invite myself to make a list of 10 things that are going on. So like before I woke up, I saw my mind was running on, Oh yeah, I have to connect with Allan and how's he going to go and where's it going to go? And it's just a recognition that's not something that's happening now. It's about the future. I'm concerned about my mom's health. So that would go on the list, you know. My niece going away to college and the struggles that she's having as she's leaving home for the first time. So I make a list about 10 things that are either keeping me awake or I find myself talking about or thinking about, you know, or continuously somehow coming back to, and the moment I do that, first of all I've put light on it. It's not going on unconsciously in the background. Like those open files and then the exercise, ask the reader to look and see is it generating a positive emotion, feeling or experience or a negative feeling or experience. So I'm planning my vacation and that's positive. And at the same time somebody could have in the background, yes it's great, but Oh my God, so much work is going to pile up, or how am I actually gonna end up paying for this because things are more expensive than I had hoped for.

So just asking the reader to put a plus sign or a negative sign next to it to realize how much of our mind our time, our brain is caught up in positive or negative. And then to kind of label it, you know, there's a lot of talk on emotional intelligence, but we don't really know how to get cognizant of it. And if you'll look, um, not just positive or negative, but to say, wow, this is something that's already happened. It's about the past. And, and putting that down next to it or this isn't going on now. It may never happen. It's really about the future. It's a year away, 10 years away or I don't even know if it's going to happen. Okay. It's about the future and just making a list, taking an inventory about what is it positive or negative. And then if you add it up to see out of 10, is 50% of your life for time positive or 50% negative or is it more 60, 70, 80%.

And the unfortunate thing is we as human beings are hard wired towards a negative bias. Meaning if someone gives us 10 compliments and one insult, we really remember the insult more, it kind of sticks to us more. It's just how we are hardwired. So similarly, if we look at that list, I find that most people, we'll discover that 80%, eight out of 10 things are not working for them. It's not positive and they weren't cognizant of it. And the moment they notice it, they see it's a, a sort of a rude wake up call, you know, to do something about it and make a shift.

Allan: 23:55 Yeah. I um, you know, I was kind of looking at things right now that just weren't positive in my life that I had some control over. Uh, you know what, I had control over what I didn't and, and I just started saying, you know, I've got it all this negative on my Facebook feed for all this political stuff, you know, and so I said, you know, they have this pause feature on Facebook. What if I just pause this person for the 30 days? What will that do? And I did that for, you know, probably about, I'd say about six or seven people on my feed and my feet got nicer. It got more positive. I started seeing, you know, positive affirmations. I started seeing joy in people's lives. I started seeing birthdays and all these things that were good. And so I kinda got a little addicted to pausing people, sorry, friends.

But all you're gonna do is talk about politics and how terrible life is on earth. Uh, I need to take a break from you. And I did that as a kind of an experiment about a month ago. And my feet just kind of really got nice and I enjoyed the interaction with the people, enjoyed seeing positive things in their lives. You know, grandchildren and births and marriages. And there was some sad, you know, a friend of mine lost his wife and things like that. But all in all, I saw a real life and, and not that. So I, you know, I think you're right with those 10 things, I realized one of my 10 things was this, this negative Facebook feed and you know, rather than just walking away with it from it because that's, you know, next to impossible. I just, well what if I just tried this tweak to it and it kind of gave me an opportunity to be more in the now with my friends and what's actually going on in their lives.

Rajshree: 25:43 Brought a lot of positivity to the other people who are in the feed. Right? It's not just you by that simple act of putting a pause for a few people, you uplifted and up-leveled you, your energy, your vibe, what's happening for you and enjoying that. But at the same time it brought more of that for other people and, and it kind of becomes a conversation we spoke about earlier in terms of happiness. You know, it's, it's going to the football game and having the barbecue outside first and engaging with it and then driving home and going home and saying, okay let's guys stop over and get a beer here and see what happens. So you in a sense became contagious. The happiness became contagious. And so I love that. You know, why not spread something more positive and why not become more conscious about how do I want this to look for me in my life?

Allan: 26:35 Absolutely. Now I've always been a big fan. Well once I, once I figured it out, a big fan of breath and breath work you the meditation cause that's what a lot of us in the Western world as we start kind of getting into this whole, how do we deal with stress? How do we take care of ourselves? It kind of always comes back to, well you know, meditation and that starts with breathwork for most of us. As I got deeper into the thought about breath, it kind of has the two things. One, one that you've kind of bring up in the book, but the other is the energy processes. In our bodies require oxygen. So if we're not bringing in the breath, if we're just, you know, because when we're stressed, there's little short little breaths and we're not really giving our body the energy, the force that it needs to be successful. But it does also give us this opportunity to be right here right now.

Rajshree: 27:24 And both are valuable, right? They're actually synonymous. If you have a lot of energy, that's what allows you to be right here and right now. And the more you are in the right here, in the right now, the more energy you have. So it's a virtuous cycle. And to your point, when we're under stress, if we are caught in the fear, worry or anxiety or the anger or the regret, we notice that our breath gets shorter and shorter. The more stressed we are, the more we kind of hold onto our stomach muscles in a way we hold onto our breath and we naturally tell people, come on man, just breathe. Okay? Just breathe. You know, because we notice that physiologically the innate response to stress is to sort of shut everything down. What we call fear or freeze or flight, you know, and just that tiny awareness, Oh my God, I'm getting stressed.

Let me make my breath longer. Does exactly what you said. Both those things. I notice if I elongate my breath, I calm down, but then I feel refreshed again. If nothing else, you're dumping out the CO2 that's just sitting in the lungs, which makes you tired. You know, in a closed room, you go to a doctor's office or you're, you're sitting on that flight. This happens to me all the time. As soon as they close that door, there's not enough fresh air in the flight. I start to get drowsy, groggy, and I crash until they actually open up the vent and allow fresh air to come in. I don't know if people know that they kind of don't let enough air in until they reach a cruising altitude. You know, everything is is just the bare minimums. So fresh air has a lot to do with our perception our outlook. It kind of gives us a fresh way to look at things. So more energy, more present, more present, more energy.

Allan: 29:22 Yeah. I still tell you they don't, they don't have enough fresh air on that airplane.

Rajshree: 29:25 No they don't.

Allan: 29:26 I don't want to touch anything. I don't want to breathe, I breathe really shallow on a plane. Cause I just, I just know I'm going to get sick. I'm just like, I gotta be positive about it. But yeah. So, you know, I guess this was a disconnect I always had because did you get into the concept of breathing, meditation and mindfulness? That, in my head it's always been one thing. But in the book you kind of say, no, isn't it? Meditation and mindfulness are not actually the same thing.

Rajshree: 30:02 No. At least not the way we understand mindfulness today in the Western world. You know, it's, it's more of a noun rather than a state of mind. Mindfulness is become a name and the way we practice it here is really using more mental stuff, more monitoring, more, you know, labeling more attention to what's happening in the mind. And well, it's just really hard to do. If we could do it, we wouldn't need mindfulness in the first place. And unfortunately, or fortunately, of course there's a lot of value to it, but 60 years ago when it first came into the West, people went, you know, to the far East and went into monasteries, spent some amount of time there and they took a single thread of an entire system, which was to label and to monitor physical activity and what's going on in our head. And that had its value in that it gave us the ability to have more, what I call frontal cortex, meaning greater rational, logical decision making aspect to us.

And it was really necessary in those days because times were different. But today we're so hardwired with our computers in our cell phones, they're kind of like an extension of us, we are always on. So our thinking brain is always on, it's always processing. And so meditation, the way I'm using it is really letting all of that mental brain stuff to settle down, to get quiet, to shut it off somehow or another. And you'll see when I say we're always on, you see the sleeping industry is growing like crazy, meaning the pills and the pharmaceutical world. Because what was once natural isn't happening anymore. We're not sleeping. I know so many, many people, every course I do, students show up and if I ask how many of you feel like you go to sleep and wake up more tired in the morning, 60% of the room will raise their hand.

How many of you people feel like you had eight hours in bed but you're not sure it was I thinking all night or sleeping? 70/80% of the room will raise their hand feeling like, yeah, I just feel like I'm processing or thinking all night. And that means we're keeping that thinking brain on. And so what we really need to do now is to click off, not just close the file we're working on in front of us in this moment, but close the tabs in the back. So we conserve energy so that we give a rest to the whole computer. You know, the hard drive. And so mindfulness is good for something specific, but meditation is a conscious pause, a willingness to let the mind drift, not hold on, not be aware, not lock it into something, allowing it to drift, let it be as it is.

And that unwinding actually gives us deeper layers of rest. When we go to sleep, we kind of connect better with people in front of us cause where are we listening in instead of our own stuff that's going on in our head that's constantly on, you know, it gives us more energy of course, and so on and makes us happier.

Allan: 33:27 Yeah. I, you know, that was one of the challenges that I've, I had when I was, you know, kind of in my hyper stress state of how do I, how do I actually get my brain to stop this stuff? You know, I'm drinking out of a fire hose every day. How do I shut it off, you know? And that made sleep very, very difficult. And so I worked on things that, it started with breath work. It started with taking just short pauses during the day, uh, where I would sit down in a quiet office and say, okay, you know, and I had the Headspace app on and I'm kind of going through this process of, of getting mindful or at least, you know, being aware that all these thoughts were actually out there all at the same time.

And then I was jumping from one to the others before I even got to play out. One idea, one thought, one fear, one anxiety. I was onto the next one. So they were, they were just constantly looping in my head and I had never really figured out how to get somewhere else other than in those stress loops.

Rajshree: 34:28 But, but what if we didn't even have to figure out or even notice those thoughts? What if we had an on off switch to all this thinking, you know, that's really what I'm kind of talking about. Let's go past that. Having to be aware because the truth is, look, if you see parents tell their kids at a dinner table or while they're studying focus, you know, be here, be present. Come on, stop thinking about all those other things in focus. If that kid turns around and says, okay, mom, okay dad, how?

They really wouldn't have an answer to that question. If you ask adults to sit still for a few minutes, it's not easy. If you ask them to close their eyes, they're like, no, I can't do that. Right? Eight out of 10 adults will say to me, I don't know if I can sit that long. I don't if I can sit still, I don't know if I can close my eyes and so what I say is, okay, don't worry about it. Use the breath like an exercise. You don't have to close your eyes. You don't have to find, you know all the paraphernalia of sit well in, in a proper place, in a quiet place or anything. I just say three times a day create a pause. Any way you have to breathe. I'm just asking you to breathe consciously as an exercise, not as something that you focus or have to pay attention to.

And so first thing in the morning, as soon as you wake up, I tell people just lay in bed, doesn't matter or sit up and lean against your headboard and do 10 long breaths in and out. You're just consciously breathing. I don't care if your mind is focused or not focused thinking or not thinking. And you know, looping from one thought to another, just 10 long breath thing, it'll do exactly what you said earlier. Number one, it brings in more oxygen. We've been, you know, laying still, we haven't been active. Our lung and our breathing capacity has reduced. So number one, it brings in more oxygen. For number two are out-breath is an off switch to thinking. And a lot of times we wake up in the morning processing stuff that we were entering into sleep with. So 10 long breath, first thing. Second thing is I always say before lunch, if nothing else, you've ordered your food.

Maybe you're sitting down in your office cafeteria just before you eat or as you're walking to the cafeteria, nobody knows you're doing it. You don't need to close your eyes, do 10 long breath in and out because you're breathing. Number one energizes. It's going to bring in more oxygen, but number two on the out-breath, you're going to empty something from your head. You're going to lower the number of thoughts that are going on in your head and that's going to change how you digest food, how fit and well you feel around what eat. It's important that we absorb, we assimilate, we digest with a calm state of mind because we're not just our body. We are what we eat and yes, we eat carbohydrates and protein and all of that, but if we're sitting there stressed out, you're kind of chewing that stuff back in and in an old traditions, you know, there was a time when we sat quietly to eat, not just because, Oh, it was some ritual, but it did a lot.

And today we know about gut health, we know about biome, we know that friendly bacterias thrive when we're not under stress and when we're under stress there's too much acid. So we don't thrive. So again, if not every meal, at least before lunch, 10 breaths, then go ahead and eat. And the most necessary if you do it nowhere else is before bed because how you enter sleep is really gonna determine the quality of sleep. I just know that I could be so wired with so many things when I get into bed, say, okay, a day in a life is over. I did the best I could and then I start to take long breath in and out. By the time I get to my fourth or fifth breath, I'm asleep, I'm out. And what I'm doing is shutting off the would of could of should of, you know, the yada yada files that go on.

And if we enter sleep like that, our emotional brain, our unconscious or subconscious is going to be processing that. That is a computer that's getting drained and then we wake up feeling like somehow I just feel like I got up on the wrong side of the bed or I'm not so rested and I wish I had more time. So just these three pauses, nobody needs to know you're doing it. It doesn't matter if you've got your eyes closed or not. Honestly, if the listeners out there, you know, if they just do it, they'll say, wow, okay, this is something I'll not let go of anyway. I have to breathe. I'm going to do it consciously three times a day.

Allan: 39:40 If they listen to last week's episode, when I had Amy Serin on and I and Dr. Serin, We actually talked about this specific thing with the parasympathic nerve, that nervous system and the, and the stress switch and, and everything there. And so you're, you're, you're, you're talking right up my, I'll have, you know, we've got to turn this thing off. We've got to get our brain to think, okay, we're safe. We don't have no fight or flight to go on right now. We can go to sleep and actually get good rest.

Rajshree: 40:08 Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And, and I don't think that, I mean when unfortunately we've never taught that. Like your breathing is connected between these two, right? The sympathetic stress response, as we say, fear, freeze or flight, which was meant for emergencies in life and it's connected to the parasympathetic meaning the rest, the calm, the happy, the loving state, the easy-going state. Internally body can be dynamic. But internally calm, I mean if you see any, you know, professional, any athlete, their mind has to be calm but their body is in high gear, high-performance mode and your breathing is connected in such a way that if you elongate your breath, if you make it longer, you move from, Oh my God, Oh my God to I'm going to do it. Your mind naturally shifts in attitude and so anybody can do it.

The kid or the adult, you know, as busy as we might be, you do it while you're moving in a board meeting. I often tell people, because by the time you leave an hour of a board meeting or any meeting for that matter, you just kind of sat there, wiring yourself up with, Oh my God, one more meeting. Why is this happening? Why do we need to listen to this? Oh, it's the same old stuff. All that's happening is we're getting wound up and then you gotta go sit at your desk and do all that work. And so I just say to them, just sit in the board meeting any, anyway, listening isn't gonna get taken away because you're breathing. So do both of those activities. Let the listening be there, but breathe a little bit long in and out. And you'll walk out of that meeting and say, okay, well that's that. Let me get back to what I have to do.

Allan: 41:56 Absolutely. I wish I'd had that advice three years ago. Um, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

Rajshree: 42:13 So for me, uh, again, I say, you know, no matter what breath is your number one tactic to stay well physically, your body needs the oxygen mentally, it brings your mind in there, present in the here and now. To some degree it lowers thoughts depending on how well and how long you breathe. Number two, I always invite people and I do it every day when I go to bed, I really tell myself, you know, sometimes out loud, even my hand sort of lands on my chest and I say, this day is over.

It's like a life over. However it's been, tomorrow I invite new possibilities. I really consciously let the day go even if it's in words and a concept only. That's the second thing that I will always do. And the third thing is I invite people to say, no matter what, you're the driver behind your life. You got to take five minutes a day, morning or evening too, just quiet down and reflect. To be grateful to recognize that everything that we think isn't as bad as we think that you know, the universe is behind me. Just five minutes, maybe as you enter your, your bed, maybe as you get up in the morning after the 10 breaths, just to say, I'm going to make it a great day. It's a type of meditation. It's self-connection self-awareness saying I matter because I'm the driver of my life, I have to take a break. Five minutes.

Allan: 43:52 Rashree great. Thank you for those. If someone wanted to connect with you, learn more about the book, where would you like for me to send them?

Rajshree: 44:00 So certainly for the book they could just go to Amazon. The Power of Vital Force. Actually, I don't know how to make this available to your readers, but if they just go to my website, Rajshreepatel.com and put down that you came from your show. There is an online course with a lot of tools and tips available to people. It's 11 sessions. The last session is a live webinar. That could be a big bonus gift in terms of the book and how to use it. So the Power of Vital Force on Amazon or Barnes and Nobles or rajshreepatel.com.

Allan: 44:40 Great. Uh, well I'll definitely have links so let's stay in connection at that. Thank you so much for that gift. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/402 and, and I'll make sure to have those links in the show notes. So Rajshree, thank you so much for being a part of 40 plus fitness.

Rajshree: 44:59 Thank you so much for having me. Happy to share my morning with you. Absolutely.

I hope you enjoyed our conversation today with Rajshree. If you'd like to continue this conversation or talk about anything else, health and fitness related, I'd like to invite you to join us at our Facebook group. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group. It's a really supportive group of people, not overly, you know, bombastic a have too many posts and whatnot, but just a nice group of people to hang out with, ask questions, have some support, have some accountability. I really enjoy interacting there. It's the best way for you to get in touch with me and interact with me. I'm on there every day talking to folks, so that's the best place to go. If you want to be a part of my community, go to 40plusfitness podcast.com/group.

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Another episode you may enjoy

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September 30, 2019

Turn off your stress switch with Dr. Amy Serin

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

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

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

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

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

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

More...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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September 16, 2019

Are you committed?

Before we get into today's episode, I would like to ask you if you would take just a moment to vote for The Wellness Roadmap in the Author Academy Awards. We've made it as a top 10 finalist in the health category. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist, and that'll take you to their website. You'll find a little arrow down the page a little bit. You can scroll to page 7 of 16 that's the health category. Just click on the book title, you don't have to give them any information about yourself. Just click on the book title and that will secure your vote for The Wellness Roadmap. Again, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist. Thank you. This award means a lot to me and your vote means the world to me. Thank you.

So today's episode is the third part of a mindset series. On episode 397, we talked about prioritization and time management by utilizing a tool that I created called the identity grid. You probably do better to go back and listen to the last two episodes, but you don't have to. I'm gonna try to make each episode stand-alone, but if you want to get the whole picture, I will probably be flashing back to that grid.

Also on episode 398, I kinda got into the getting the wellness, the things that you'll need to do to make that happen that include pushing outside your comfort zone, uh, applying your energies the right way and not overstressing yourself. Um, and then just looking at it more like a program rather than a project. So I'd encourage you to go back and listen to 397 and 398 if you haven't already, but I will try to make this episode stand-alone.

More...

Today we're going to talk about commitment. Are you committed?
I talked to my clients, fairly regularly about this topic. I've talked on the podcast about it a few times, uh, but I can't under stress or overstress that the importance of commitment. If you really want to accomplish major wellness changes in your life, it's really just not going to happen if you're not committed to change. Because change is probably the hardest thing for a human being to do. Our bodies are naturally designed to find balance, are naturally designed to get to a comfortable place under what stress and daily living requirements we have today. So if you can get away with being 200 pounds overweight, your body's gonna let you be 200 pounds overweight, uh, because you can, and you can get away with it. And we can work around all these different things that used to set us back, but we figure it out.

You know, um, if you're unable to get up from a toilet because you're older and your legs aren't strong enough, put rails in the bathroom now that's going to help you for a period of time and then eventually you'll probably lose that arm strength. I don't want that to be my future. So I've made a commitment to ensure that I keep myself healthy and strong. So that isn't my future. That isn't who I am. That isn't how I identify. So I've set up an identity for myself that includes doing regular fitness training. And so as you look at that though, showing up is hard. Our bodies naturally want to be in that balance. So what do we do to break that balance? To break what our body calls, what they call in our body homeostasis. While it takes stimulus, stimulus takes work. So if we want to improve our overall health, we improve the foods that we're eating.

If we want to improve our overall fitness, we have to push ourselves across the different modalities that we use to define fitness. If you've read the book of The Wellness Roadmap, uh, that's up for an Author Academy Award. I talk about that in the book. Fitness is basically fit for task. It means that you're capable of doing the things that you want to do in your life. So for me, at 105, I want to be able to wipe my own butt. I want to be able to get up off the toilet. So I'm going to need to be fit enough to make that happen. For some of us right now, fitness can be, I want to basically be able to go on hikes and spend time with my family and not be overly fatigued or down and out the next day. Um, I want to be able to lift things that need lifting around the house.

I want to be able to open jars for myself and my wife. I want to be able to do those basic things that as we get older, sarcopenia and Osteopenia kinda take away from us if we're not doing something about it. So how do we make this commitment and how do we make it a commitment that we're going to stick to? Because face it, all of us do resolutions. All of us do our diets, all of us have done fitness regimes before and failed. And the reason most of us fail is this lack of commitment, a resolution, a goal, a diet there. They're all words. We used to fail that because so many people do. There's no, there's no jeopardy to it. There is no disgrace to it. It just, yeah, I tried a new diet and I fell off the wagon. I'll get back on it on Monday.

Well, today's Tuesday a well, okay, well, yeah, Monday. Um, there's all these different reasons we don't do it. But a commitment is very, very different. When you make a commitment, you're starting from a point of self-love. You're starting from a point that's very, very deep and emotional. And if you've ever made that type of commitment before, you'll really begin to resonate and understand what I'm talking about when you say you're going to do something for someone you love, you do it. Um, if you say you're going to pick up your spouse at the airport at five o'clock, you're at the airport at five o'clock. So if you make the same kind of commitment to yourself with the same basis of self-love, that you're going to be at the gym at five o'clock, then you'll be at the gym at five o'clock and not at the drive-through at McDonald's.

So that's where this comes from. The commitment comes from this really, really deep, deep emotional well, it's gotta be something that really touches you. It has to be a part of, as I've said over the course of this last few weeks, it has to be a part of how you identify. If you don't identify yourself as someone who's getting fit, it's not going to happen. When you get married, you make the commitment. You go from being engaged to married. You go from saying fiance to spouse. Now, you might verbally trip that up a few times, but in your head you know that commitment's there, you feel that commitment, you've made that commitment and you made it in a rather public way. So I encourage you, if you're really looking to to make a commitment, start with something deep and emotional and then make it public.

Now I provide online personal training and you can come to me, go to the website, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com and you can find links there to look up our group training and you can make that commitment to us. We're on a Facebook group, we're on our regular weekly calls. You can email me, we can have regular conversations about this commitment you have and keeping you on track. So make it deep, make it public and then beyond all kind of know what this is going to look like. You know a lot of people get married young and they don't know that type of people they're going to be when they get older, they really haven't set that vision. That's why a lot of people will say, wait a little while before you get married, so you really know what you're getting into. So you really know the vision of the direction that your life is going to go and where you want it to go.

I got married when I was 21 now. Was that a mistake? I guess so because I'm not married to her anymore, but at the same time it was just a part of my life lessons and I learned from it. So I'm not going to call it a mistake, but I do know that if I had known my path a little bit better at that point in time and had a better vision and we shared that vision and it was the same deep and emotional thing, that commitment would have stood time. It just would have. But we didn't do that. So make a commitment. And again, I can't stress this enough, deep and emotional, make it public and know what it means. Have that vision. So you have the why and you have the vision and you put those together and you make it public. That's your commitment and it needs to be based on self-love.

It doesn't need to be based on fear. Fear will only get you so far before you forget the fear and you revert back to old activities, but love sticks with you. Fear is something you feel in a movie theater and then you walk out of the theater and you're not afraid anymore. Love is something that you just keep on feeling. It's deep. It's emotional, it's chemical. It's a part of who you identify as. So take the time to build a solid commitment so we can make this fitness and health thing happen for you. Like I said, if you need a coach, reach out to me. I'd be glad to get on a 15-minute call with you just to kind of fare at some of this stuff out so you can get a little, get to know me a little bit better so I can get to know you a little bit better.

Online personal training isn't for everybody, but if you want to just get on the phone, have a consult, absolutely free. Come check it out. 40plusfitnesspodcast.com and you're going to find a link right there on the sidebar. If it's, if you're on the phone, you may have to scroll down a little bit before you see it, but just get in there, get to know me and figure it out. We can help you set this commitment. We can get to your why, we can get to your vision. We can put that together into a very solid commitment that could change your life, so do check it out.

before you get too far away, please do take a moment to go over to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist scroll to page 7 of 16 find The Wellness Roadmap. It's actually the first book on the list for health category at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist and then you just click on the cover and it'll take just a couple minutes for you to get over there and find the page and and vote for the book. I really do appreciate it. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist and vote for The Wellness Roadmap today.

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

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September 9, 2019

Getting to wellness

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Thank you!

Hello and thank you for being a part of the 40 + Fitness Podcast. Today we're going to talk about getting to wellness. This is going to be part two of what's basically now going to be a mindset series. I didn't originally plan it out to be a series but it looks like it's working out that way. If you didn't listen to last week, episode 397 where I introduced the identity grid, probably worth you taking an opportunity to go back and listen to it, either before you listen to this episode or after.

I'm going to try to make it make sense to you regardless of where you're coming into this series. But just know that episodes 397 through 399 are all a part of a three-part series where we're going to get into the mindset of getting well because most of the folks that will come into a gym or start a wellness program of some sort or another are really just feel kind of lost.

They're busy, they've got so much going on and they may not even know exactly what to do when they're getting started or they decide to try too many things and they fail from over fatigue. So getting yourself into the identity grid and looking at how that works. You could get a 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grid and having that in front of you might help you a little bit with this, but like I said, I'm going to do my best to make sure that this episode makes sense in and of itself. So when you get started on a wellness journey, there's often so much opportunity, so many things that you can change. So many different things that you can do that it becomes very, very difficult to know exactly what is the right thing. And when someone asks me that, I always have to go back to what's your vision?

What are your longterm goals? I asked that question a lot. As you might imagine, and many times people don't really have a clear vision. They, they know that wellness is something that they're not. They know that it's probably going to involve some weight loss. They know that it's probably going to involve building some strength, probably involves building some stamina, but exactly how to get there is often where the struggle comes in. So as you start this journey, I'll just reinforce that you need to really break down your long-term goal, get something in your head that you can feel that you can, you know, almost see, one of the things I did early on in my fitness endeavors was I pulled out a picture of myself when I was 29 years old. Now at the time I was well into my early forties so there was, there's not much chance that I was going to look like I did when I was 29, obviously had a lot more hair.

Uh, even though I didn't have as much as I wanted at the time. So looking like that really wasn't something that I was interested in. But it kinda gave me an idea of if this person aged much slower than I had, what would I look like today? And I was always able to kind of go back to that benchmark and think of it in those terms. But I couldn't go from where I was, like I said, in my late forties to looking like that unless I did something special. And I knew that my body was not going to be capable of putting in the level of effort to look like I did when I was 29 when I was 29. I put a lot more time into the gym, typically 10 hours or so a week. And I just didn't really have that luxury of time, uh, as I was getting in there.

So it was very important for me to prioritize, which is again, where that identity grid comes in because it's going to help you balance out the four key aspects of your life. And if you know where you need to apply your energy based on who you are, how you identify in your entire life, not just as a wellness effort. Because if you just think of it in terms of wellness will, life's going to get in the way. So you have to make sure you take all of those things into account before you set your path. And then you have to know exactly where you're starting from if you're going to get to that vision. So I knew I couldn't put that amount of time in the gym. So I needed to be very efficient and very effective with the work that I was going to do.

And so I needed to go out and do the work and I needed to do it in a methodical and patient way. Now where a lot of people lose their way on this is that they either push so far out of their comfort zone by trying way too many things or they don't push their comfort zone at all. So I want to kind of talk about comfort zone for a little while because it's a very important line for you to understand. A lot of people will start a diet, they'll start an exercise program and a whole lot of other things all at the same time. And so if you decide you're going to go from the standard American diet and your regular drinks and your regular things with your friends and your regular life to suddenly, you know, and getting up off the couch and going to the gym five days a week, well you're going to experience some pretty staggering, uh, jarring things.

DOMS is a real thing. And a lot of my clients, you know, when they first get into an exercise regime, uh, they're dealing with DOMS and that's something that's very tough and difficult for us to deal with. But it is something that we just, we need to kind of manage, we need to go through.

So I would encourage you to find one or two big rocks as I say in the book. What are those big things that are going to move the needle a little bit for you? Get you moving in the right direction.

For a lot of people it's just cutting out your sugar, cutting out the processed foods, making that your first step on your nutrition is going to be a lot easier than saying I'm going to go full Vegan or I'm going to just eat, you know, grass fed meats and pastured eggs and you know, organic produce.

You know, making that drastic of a change might just be too far outside your comfort zone and sets you up for failure because the first day you find yourself pulling into McDonald's, you're dying. You know you're probably going to quit. Most of us do when we get to that point where we make that mistake, we get off of the plan, we're too far beat, you know, we, so I would encourage you to find that little thing that, that one big rock thing says a little bit big rock that you can put out there and you know that it's going to be working towards your health. Let that get set as a habit. Let that get set as a part of who you are, a part of your identity. And then the next step becomes easier. The same thing with fitness. Um, you know, initially you may, you don't need to go out and try to run five miles a day if you've never been running.

If you've been kinda couch ridden and, and not doing things sedentary, getting out and trying to run five miles on your first day is risk gonna probably break you. So get out for a half an hour and do a walk if you find that comfortable, push a little harder. So the other side of the comfort zone is that knowing how to push, we, we can't get where we want to go by doing the things that we're currently doing. So if you're very comfortable in your life right now, to get well is going to put you in an uncomfortable position many, many times. As I mentioned earlier, you're probably gonna deal with some muscle soreness, some Dom's, uh, you're probably gonna deal with achiness you know, that sometimes might even disturb your sleep. And if you're trying to change your food, you're not going to be able to eat the foods, drink the drinks, do the things that you were doing if you want wellness.

So as you look at moving towards that vision, you need to find your comfort zone and you need to push it. And the way I like to term it is that gentle nudges we want to get just outside the comfort zone until we expand that comfort zone. Once the comfort zone has been expanded, it's time to push a little bit more. Just that gentle nudge to get that comfort zone to expand. That's gonna allow us to progress on our journey. And that's gonna allow us to get the results that we need. Now, so many times as people approach this wellness journey, they approach it like a project. They're like, oh, well I'll go on this diet. I'll change the way I'm going to eat. And then when I get to my goal weight or my goal size, uh, then I'll go back to what I was doing.

So the, it's a project, they manage it like a project. Okay, I'm on the Diet and then I'm off the Diet. The project is there, the project is either successful or not, and then I'm off. That's not gonna work in the long-term. Aging is a slow declining curve. It's gonna take us down over time. So this needs to be more of a program, something that you're going to put in place. Something that is like I said, going to become a part of your identity. I see it a lot, you know, particularly with things like runners. I see it in crossfit. I see it in some other places where people will begin to identify with the activity that they're doing. You ask someone that runs who they are, they're going to say, I'm a runner. Uh, someone that does crossfit, they're a crossfit athlete. Um, they don't make any qualms about it.

That's built into the fabric of who they are, becomes a part of their identity. You look at a gym rat, they're in the gym every day. They identify with being a gym rat. They identify with being there. And it's not that you have to identify with being a gym rat or identify with being a crossfit athlete or a runner. It just means that you need to put this in your head that this is just a part of who you are. And as I mentioned in the last episode, when I was in college, I was a college student. I was a husband, I was a full time manager and I was a gym rat. Um, so I had a set period of time, two hours each afternoon between classes and my time as a manager at a retail pharmacy where I was in the gym every single day.

And that was just a part of my identity. It was part of my natural path, getting off the school, getting into my car, driving over to the gym, spending the time there, driving home, showering, and going to work. That was my normal schedule every single day, every single weekday. Anyway. So what you'll want to do is really kind of build this in over time. Slowly pushing your comfort zone and then just making it a part of who you are, so you kind of have this program that's in place. You've reprogrammed your brain, you've reprogrammed your identity, and that's going to be what's going to get you the most juice that's going to make you successful in the long haul. So this is not a project that you do and then you're done. This is something that becomes a part of you and then you're in this new position where it's a part of your identity and you can make some basic decisions. And those decisions are going to be around improvement and preventing regression.

So a perfect example is me. I tore my rotator cuff and there was a bit of a regression because I wasn't able to do the things that I was doing. I was lifting, getting much stronger and I really enjoyed doing that. I identified with that. But once I tore my rotator cuff, that kind of went out the window for awhile. I wasn't able to lift until I was healed and it's taken me, even today, I still have some strength loss in that particular shoulder. Um, so it's now I'm on a continual improvement program for myself where I'm gonna work on getting better and better and stronger and stronger. And I'm also being very careful to make sure that the issue I had with my right shoulder is not something that I repeat with my left shoulder. So I'm also on a program to try to avoid regression, try to avoid injuries.

So I'm being much smarter, much more fastidious about how I do my lifts, the types of lifts I do and, and I'm working my way through, but I'm still working on getting stronger. I'm still lifting relatively heavy weights and that's how you'd go about this. So it's kind of a recap and this was a shorter lesson, but it's a part of the three part lesson and I'd really encourage you to go back to episode 397 and and listen to that episode. Download the identity grid at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grid and kind of just go through that exercise and then come to this exercise where you know now that you kind of have a general idea of where you need to focus your energy and the amount of time and effort you're going to have. Start pushing that comfort zone in the areas that are going to give you the improvements you want.

You want to get stronger, you want to get a little more stamina. You maybe want to lose some weight or at least lose some body fat so that your body composition is better. All of those are good things for you to focus on and you probably know if you've listened to any of these episodes, you probably know a lot of the things that you can be doing to make that happen. Pick your big ones and implement them. Make it a part of a program. Make it something that you're now trying to put into you to make you comfortable at a bigger and higher and stronger and faster rate. Slowly pushing that comfort zone, the gentle nudges, making a part of your identity with program management. And then once you kind of start seeing things happen, adding more of those things that you know are going to improve you or at least keep you from regressing. So I hope you've enjoyed this episode. I'll talk to you next week.

If you haven't had a chance, I would really appreciate if you would take just a moment to go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist. You get to that page, you're going to see that the author Academy Awards, we've been put as a finalist for the health category. So if you go to that page, 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist, you'll find a page, go down a little bit. You'll see an arrow where you can scroll to the health category. It's on page 6 of 17. A little hard to find, but go to that page.

Find page 6 of 17 and you'll see the Wellness Roadmap is right there on the top. Just click on the book cover. They're not asking for your email, they're not asking for anything else. Just click that and that's your vote. Really appreciate the votes. I really do want to win this award. It means a lot that I was nominated as a finalist and a really would appreciate if you take just a moment, go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/finalist page seven of 16 and vote for the Wellness Roadmap.

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September 2, 2019

Productivity and time management

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  • Tim Alexander
  • Judy Murphy
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  • John Somsky

Thank you!

They tell you when you start any kind of speech and any kind of talk, never start with an apology, but I am actually going to start this with an apology. I'm going to break that rule for a couple of different reasons. One is I'm actually going to do the audio producing for this when I've waited longer to do this episode because I'm actually quite been very, very busy. The other reason that I feel need to apologize is I'm recording this episode in a very empty house and there is probably going to be some echos, not the sound quality that you're used to having for both reasons. One, I'm doing the audio producing and two there's an echo in the house as I talk. And so the probably not the best listening quality that you've had with podcasts that I've done for you over the years.

And I apologize for that. But I do think the concept of what I'm talking about today is very, very important. And I do want you to pay attention to that please. So today we're gonna talk about a topic that I think is really missing in the health and fitness field because, you know, whenever I talk to someone about why they're not successful, why they're not showing up to work out, why they're not doing the things that they know they need to do, I typically get one very clear answer. I'm just too busy. So that has me kind of hitting my head and saying, okay, well why? Why are we so busy that we can't actually focus on our health and fitness when they are clearly important to us? So I'm going to walk you through something right now that I want you to really take some time to think about.

And if you're doing something else while you're listening to this podcast, maybe not the best podcast to listen to that way. Go back and listen to us again because I think this is really, really valuable. Particularly if you find yourself substituting time for health, substituting time for fitness and saying you just don't have the time because this episode is going to give you that tool. It's going to help you understand how you can prioritize this in a way that makes sense. Because so many people do the prioritization wrong. And so many people tell you, you should do prioritization this way. And I'm going to tell you that I know that's not workable and you're going to hear more as we kind of got through this, this session. So I want to take you back. So I want you to think back to a time when you were your most productive, best self when you were actually kind of had the energy and the capacity and just seemed to be on board just as boom, boom, boom, everything seemed to be working and I know you have one of those. I know you have a time where you felt like, okay, I'm, I'm touching all the bases, I'm doing all the things, I'm spinning all the plates, everything is working the way I want it to work and I'll tell you about myself and that time I was a college student, going to southern miss, majoring in accounting. Not An easy major but not a hard major for me. It was a good major. I got it, I understood it. I worked hard and I was taking the full load.

Anna was married and I had a full time job, but every single afternoon I was in the gym Monday through Friday, pretty much from two o'clock to four o'clock every single day I was in my mid-twenties I was looking good, I was feeling good. I had all the energy in the world. I was working that full time job. I was going to school full time and I was paying for it while I was going through it with the help of people that helped me get scholarships and do some other things. But all that said, I was making this thing happen and everything was firing on all cylinders. So who was I then that if I'm giving myself excuses to not work out now that's different.

And it was really about my priorities. People don't go to the gym, not because they know they shouldn't or they don't want to. They just end up prioritizing something else over going to the gym. They don't take the time to cook good food because it's easier to stop off at the restaurant and pick it up or go into the restaurant and eat it or worse, go to a fast food drive up window and get what they think they need for food. So it really kind of comes down to a, do you have control of your own schedule? And I think most of us would say, well, no, I have to be at work at nine o'clock and then I have to be there till six or I have to be there at eight until five or maybe it's, I have to be there at, you know, eight until 10 whatever it is.

If you're telling yourself that health and fitness is a priority, then you're going to do some things to make that happen. So if I'm going to school full time and I'm going to work full time, where are those hours? And what I found was they were right in the middle there, right smack dab in the middle of my face. I went to school in the morning, I scheduled my classes from eight to 2:00 AM I work scheduled on most weeknights, started at five I had two solid hours that I could be in the gym. And that's exactly where I was. So this was not so much about me trying to do more to be more productive. This was just literally me saying, this is my fixed time. This is my time when I was working for a corporation. And I wanted to get fit and stay fit.

I put it on my calendar from two to three was my gym time. It was my lunch. I wrote lunch on my schedule so that anyone wanted to schedule a meeting during that two to three time saw that that was my lunch hour. I wasn't available. I was busy and I was typically in the gym. Now obviously sometimes my boss would call me and say, hey, come on up. And it messed up with my gym time. But in a general sense, anyone who wants to schedule time with me knew that was booked out, banked out time. It's not their, it's not their time. It's my time. So how do we get to this point where we're comfortable telling the world that we're not going to work on their time, we're going to work on our time. Cause that's a very hard conversation to have.

It comes down to a couple of different things and one I'll, I'll point back to a book I read a fairly on in my career early on in my career. I want to say right now, the book's probably about 10 years old. Maybe not that all, but it's been a while since this book came out. And the book is called Essentialism. That's a very good book that allows you to understand that if you say yes to everything, then you're saying no to some pretty important things because you're just not going to be able to do them. They're not going to come around. So you've got to really break things down and understand what's really important.

Now, there's a lot of people that will tell you you need to have one core focus, one thing you're working on. And there's a book, it's called The One Thing, and it's on my reading list. I think I downloaded it on audible. So I'll probably be listening to it while I fly home next week. But it's, it's, it goes than that. You know, our lives are so complex that there can't just be one thing. You know, if you're, if your kid's sick, you, that's your one thing. If work calls, that should one thing. But what if you work calls while your kid's sick? Okay. And so what I've come to realize is that we have these identities. We have this thing of who we want to be and where we really want to be, but we have so many competing things, so many things that are coming about and saying, go here, go there, get this, do that.

So there, there never really is just one thing. There's often multiple things. Are they all equally important? No. At any given time, they're not. Some of them are more important than others, but they're, your priorities is going to shift. Things are going to shift. But if health and fitness are two of your priorities and they're on your radar, they're on your sites, then it's easier for you to make some decisions and say, okay, I get it. This is important, but I'm not gonna let it derail me because as soon as I get this done, I shift over to this, this health and fitness priority or this health priority or this fitness priority. So what I've done is I've created this concept called the Identity Grid and shout out to Rob. He is one of my clients. We were having a conversation about this concept and he's the one who kind of brought identity to that, to math as I talk about it.

So again, thank you Rob. I really appreciate you. But here's what the I Identity Grid is. It's basically four things that make you who you are. And I will say as I look at the email addresses of people that take my challenges, there's so many moms out there that I can tell you your identity is very much surfaced around being mom or now grandma a, there are many of us, like myself, my identity was about my business, about my work and who I was as, you know, an accountant, an auditor, as a c suite executive. That was my, you know, that was my identity. Now, does that mean that there's not opportunities there for me to have relationships? No. There's great opportunities for me to have relationships if I'm willing to work on them. There's great opportunities for me to work on my health and there's great opportunities for me to work on my fitness.

But if I focus on just one thing, then I just go to work every day and I, and I kill that. But I die in the process because I don't have the relationships, I don't have the health and I don't have the fitness. So in the identity grid, what you want to do is you want to pick four channels. My four channels have been career, relationships, health and fitness. Have I nailed all four of those? Well, no, of course not. Never. But if I keep those top of mind, those four channels than each morning, I have the opportunity to set my intention. So the real question would be when I wake up tomorrow on Tuesday, cause this episode comes out on a Monday, when I wake up tomorrow on Tuesday, what's my action in each of those four quadrants?

Okay.

What do I want to do for my health? What do I want to do for my fitness? What do I wanna do for relationships? What do I want to do for my career or in my case now my clients, I want to make them as healthy and fit as they can be. What can I do for my clients tomorrow? What's my one thing? What is the one thing that I can do for my relationships with my family, with my friends? What's the one thing that I can do tomorrow for my health and what's the one thing I can do for my fitness? So if I wake up each morning with a clear action, then I know I'm moving in the right direction now from the action,

okay,

we started establishing goals. So I want to work out three times per week. That's my fitness goal. That gives me an action that each day as I go forward, I have a specific workout that I'm going to be doing three times a week, five times a week, six times a week, whatever it is. That's my goal. So the goal is to complete the action on a consistent basis. I want to be reaching out and talking to my family members. I want to be out and doing things for my health, eating better, doing those types of things, with my career, my relationships with my clients. I want to make sure that I'm delivering results each and every day. So I have these goals. And then the goals, well, unfortunately goals are an approach where an obstacle can step in and actually kind of break you down.

An obstacle can come in and say, Hey, you wanted to do this fitness thing and go to the gym, you know, five days a week? Well guess what? You just tore a shoulder and there's your obstacle. Or a friend shows up in town and says, Hey, let's go out. Let's do this. And you're not at the, so there's going to be obstacles in against your goal, things that are going to keep you from being able to hit that goal. So what you then have to do is you have to build strategies. So as I kind of put these things together as you kind of, if you can to try to visualize this and I know it's very difficult, if you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grid, you're going to find a grid that actually puts all four of these together with each of the pieces that I'm discussing right now.

So I'd encourage you to go out there and check that out. Cause this is a great little tool that I just developed to help you work this through. So to work it backwards, think about this. You're going to have strategies in place to basically break down the obstacles. So if my obstacle is okay, my friends want to play poker on Friday, on Monday at two o'clock and I want to go play poker with them, I enjoy playing poker with them, but that's the best time for me to be at the gym because that's none of my clients schedule calls at two o'clock. I can go do what I want to do during that hour or two hours. And I wanna work on my fitness also. It's the best time for me to go to the gym because that's the slowest time at the gym, which means I'll be able to get to all the machines I want to.

I'll have very efficient and effective workout. So if my strategy is avoid the poker game until three o'clock go get your workout in. Yeah, I'm a be a little sweaty when I go play poker. But Hey, they, they, they can put up with it. If they're getting my money, I have an obstacle and I have a solution and if I wanna do something enough, I'll set a goal. I'll set a goal to be there and do it over and over and over. And the goal is to complete that action and that action is aligned with one of my channels. So I'm not just setting a goal for the sake of setting a goal. I have an intent. I have a purpose, I have something I want to accomplish. So if it's getting into the gym every single day, five days a week, I have an action of going and getting in the gym, doing my workout.

The goal of doing it five times per week. The obstacles are there. I just have to have the strategies in place to make it happen. Now the reason I really liked this model is it, it aligns with something that resonates with me, which is called the be do have. And this is a mindset where if you want to have something you can't just acquire with money, you have to make it happen. And the way you make it happen is you set your mind to that person who is the person that has that thing. So who is the fit person? Who is the person that people compliment because they'd taken care of themselves and they're in good shape. They're the person that that emanates that and they then do the work. So the B means believe in yourself. Believe in who you are, have the self love to go through this whole process.

Have the self-love to download this grid and to sit down and spend some time thinking about where are your failure points? Where are the points where you're not getting what you want? Where are the points where if you applied your energy in the right place, a k a time management, you would get exactly what you want. This grid will help you do that. So have the self-love to do that, to downgrade that, download this grid to spend some time thinking this through because I will tell you this, straight up, health and fitness is 90% mindset. It's, it's, it's nothing hard, but it's the hardest thing in the world if you don't have the right mindset. So I strongly encourage you to spend some time thinking about your mindset, thinking about your goals, thinking about whether your goals and everything you're doing, your, your identity, is it aligned with the person that you want to be? And if it's not, that's where we have to start. We've got to align ourselves with the mindset to be the person that we want to be. Because if we're not that person, we won't get what we want.

If today's episode resonated with you, I really do encourage you to go out and check out the Identity Grid. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grid and get that worksheet today. I really do believe it's a great tool to help you get to the fitness and the lifestyle and the things that you need and want in your life. So please go check it out. 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grid.

Another episode you may enjoy

The health habit with Elizabeth Rider

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Thank you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth: 12:56 Yeah, absolutely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth: 18:33 Yeah, absolutely.

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

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

Allan: 18:46 I do like that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allan: 26:40 Yeah, absolutely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth: 30:56 Right, right. Absolutely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another episode you may enjoy

August 12, 2019

Midlife and prostate cancer with James A Hill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James: 14:58 I did, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another episode you may enjoy

When food is your drug with Kristin Jones

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Thank you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I am human

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Hello. This is going to be a solo episode and it's going to be slightly different than most of the other solo episodes that I've done. I want to start this one with a quote, I'm reading a book for an upcoming podcast episode. Really looking forward to talking to this guy and I know you're going to get a lot out of that conversation, but he has a lot of quotes in his book and this is one that just really resonated with me at this point in my life.

It is easier to provide wisdom to others than to ourselves.

~ Francoise de la Rochefoucauld.

Now the reason this one kind of hits me in the gut is, you know I've been doing the health and fitness thing for a while now that the podcast has been going on for over three and a half years. This is episode 390.

So I've had a lot of conversations about health and fitness. I've had a lot of solo talks with you about health and fitness and you know, I feel like I know my thing, but just to be bluntly honest, over the course of the last couple of months I haven't been doing things for myself the way that I preached to you that you should be doing for you. And so, you know, I effectively call this my slide and over the course of the last couple of months I've kinda been on this slide and there are a lot of things that I could put out there and say, this is why it happened. This is the cause, you know, when this goes away then things will get better. But I need to go ahead and address this. And in addressing and going through the mental processes of, okay, getting myself mentally ready to change this, to solve this problem.

I've come across some things that I think would be valuable to share with you. So I'm going to take this step back and kind of talk about what's been going on over the last few months to kind of set the stage for where I am right now. As you know, my wife and I decided to move down to Panama. We put the house on the market in December thinking it would sell fairly quickly. It was a hot market. Everybody is telling us our house was in a prime location. Everybody would want to see it so we didn't expect the house to stay on the market very long. And we planned our trip to travel down in February, but unfortunately the house did not sell before February. In fact, it's still on the market, which is this little concerning. But you know, it is what it is. We just have to deal with this.

But we decided to go ahead and go back to the United States to get it to get better organized because we were afraid if someone came in and wanted to close, we'd be running into a time crunch of getting movers in, getting cleaners in, getting everything organized. So we wanted to do a few things to get organized for a move. To make it a little bit easier for us when the time does come. And then we also wanted to get our dogs. We had two dogs, Joe joe is our Chihuahua and Angel is a German shepherd. We wanted to get them down here to Panama with us cause we miss them a lot. And so we traveled up there to do some work on the house to pack up some things, you know, dealing with the movers, getting all that organized.

So about 99% of the things that we had in the house had been moved out into a storage. And we are going to figure out what we want to keep and what we want to get rid of over the course of the next several months. Unfortunately our oldest dog, Joe joe the Chihuahua, had kidney failure and we had to put him down. So it was a very difficult few weeks at home. Then we did manage to get Angel down here. But I can tell you transporting a dog from one country to another, is extremely difficult. You have to follow a very meticulous process and if you mess it up, they could send the dog back. And so it's kind of expensive to make sure that you've lined everything up. We hired professionals to make sure that it all worked out and we got her here.

She's happy and settled in. So that's, you know, that's a good relief that that's happened. And then of course you probably know that I bought the gym and so I bought a local gym here and I've been putting a lot of sweat equity and time into, you know, getting the gym back up to a better standard. I've been buying equipment, getting the place painted and cleaned. So there's been a lot of work that's been being done that's kept me kind of busy, you know, keeping that up, keeping the podcast up. And then of course, serving my clients and, you know, just trying to be the resource that I need to be and do the things I'm supposed to do. Unfortunately, like I said, over the course of that time, I let myself fall back into old habits.

I let myself become less than who I thought I should be. And I'm very disappointed in myself.

I have a very high standard for who I am. And I'm not walking the talk, you know, I'm not doing what I'm telling you to do on a day to day, week to week basis, and that's very disappointing to me. I'm disappointed in myself. Now I can continue to sit and wallow in this self pity aspect. I can continue to be mad at myself and in the end that would not solve my problem. You know, my problem is I've kind of used, I'm doing these chores and moving equipment around, I'm doing this stuff as thats my exercise when it's not adequate. I've been avoiding, you know, worrying about what I'm eating for the sake of convenience of, you know, freeing up time if I'm not shopping for healthy food, which is not a big, big deal.

But I can tell you when I actually do a really good shopping trip here, it requires me to walk to about five different stores to get the things that I want to get good, you know, good healthy vegetables, to get good eggs, to get good meat. It requires me to check out several stores to get the best, freshest foods that I can get. So it's an effort. It's not just a, it's all ready for you to walk into one place and it's all there. And I haven't been doing that, haven't been really focused on that. And I've let that slide. And then from a joy perspective, I'm very happy with my situation here. I've got my wife here, I've got my puppy here. Very, very happy being in the jungle, looking at the monkeys and the birds and you know, living close enough to the beach that I can just walk straight down to the beach and enjoy that.

And then, you know, I love the fact that I have access to and I own a gym. It's something I had thought, you know, and dreamed kind of about early in my life many, many, many years ago. And so it's something that's kind of come to fruition at a perfect time in my life when I'm ready to be a gym owner and it fits with who I am as an individual. So the joint components are there, but I still kept hearing the old voice, the voice I wrote about in the book, the fat bastard. He keeps rearing its ugly head and with the negative self talk and all of that. So I knew I needed to nip this in the bud and I came up with a fairly simple set of steps to describe what I'm in the process of doing.

And I do believe these steps are very effective because they kind of intertwined and finger very well with the GPS process that I go over in the book and that I've talked about on the podcast several times. The first is forgive, then it's action plan, and then it's execute. So the best way I can put this together, and if you think about it in terms of let's say you missed your turn and you should have taken a left and you didn't take that left, and as a result, you continuing down the road and you're now on the wrong road and maybe you've been on that wrong road for a long time. You know, my slide now has only been a few months, but it dovetails with my feasting periods. So it, it actually was not the optimal time for me to have a slide.

So I'm doing this slide and I need to turn this around. What do I do? Well, the first thing I have to do is forgive myself. It does me absolutely no good to continue to talk down to myself, to reprimand myself, to feel bad about myself. For those inactions and actions that I did that were not in my best interest, not in the interest of me being well, not in the interest of me being the person that I see in my vision and not being true to my why. I could continue to beat myself up about that, but I have to I have to finish that. I have to be done with that if I'm ever gonna do anything about this. So the first step is to forgive yourself. And this can often be the hardest step because, you know, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect.

And that's another reason why I wanted to call this episode, “I Am Human” is that we got to get past that perfectionism. If we want to see progress we really have to sit back and say, look, I'm just a human being. I'm going to make mistakes. There's going to be slides, there's going to be injuries. That's a part of the journey. And overcoming those quickly, getting myself back on track. That's really the best course of action for me right now, which leads us to the second step in this, which is an action plan.

So if we're driving in the wrong direction, it's pretty simple. Look for the next exit so you can turn around, or look for an opportunity to do a u-turn and find that opportunity and take it. So having an action plan, you know, what are the things that I can do to get myself back on track? And I know what they are. They've worked for me in the past. They'll continue to work for me. I need to get myself back into ketosis. I need to get my body moving. I need to start moving heavy weights. I need to do the things that worked for me that have always worked and in everything that's going on for me right now, everything that I still want, my vision and my why are still intact. I've evaluated those again and said, okay, they're still intact. I still want to go where I wanted to go. I don't want to go down this road. So I have to turn this around. And that's where the action plan comes in. Figuring out what you have to do to turn it around and get yourself back to moving in the direction that you want to move.

And then the final part of it is execute. You can write all the plans in the world. You can say, I want to start lifting heavy again, I want to get back in the gym and start doing that thing. But you gotta show up. You gotta go do it again. Now it might mean that you backtracked a little bit. It might mean that you've got to use a little bit less weight. It might mean when you go to do your cardio training you're a little bit slower or the distance you're doing now is a little bit less. That's fine. We'll get back onto that progression, the gentle nudging, all the things that we know work for us. It's time for us to do that. So it's forgive, action plan and execute. So if I missed my term once, I know that I've done that, it's time for me to forgive myself for doing it.

Find the opportunity to turn the car around and then start driving back in the direction I should have driven in the first place. So I hope you took something valuable, but before we go, I wanted to close with another quote that's in that book. Like I said, I think you're going to enjoy this episode that's coming up with Michele. But this one's a little bit longer, but I wanna I wanna go through this.

“Pay attention to your thoughts for they will become words. Pay attention to your words for they will become actions. Pay attention to your actions for they will become habits. Pay attention to your habits for they will become your character. Pay attention to your character for it will become your fate.”

Talmud

That quote means a lot to me today. Since I've forgiven myself, I've set an action plan and now it's time for me to execute.

And what I know is the thoughts that I'd been having are now going to be positive thoughts. They're going to be affirmative. I can get this done. You know, I may pull out my journal and start reviewing that again each morning. Setting my intentions for each day to make sure that my thoughts become my words, my words become my actions. And then you see where the rest of that goes.

If I begin regular actions that put me back on the proper path, then I will begin to develop the habits that will get me there. That will put me back into the frame of mind of being successful and being who I want to be. And that's going to define my character. And then obviously if I'm doing the things that I'm supposed to be doing more often than not, then I'm going to have a much better fate than if I stay on this slide and don't follow through with the process of forgiving, action plan, and execute. So if you're not feeling it, if you're upset with what's going on in your life right now, realize you can do something about it. Follow these steps and they will get you there.

If you didn't take anything else away from this lesson, but this one thing that the journey to wellness is actually not a destination. We don't ever really arrive there. Our lives are gonna be filled with twist and turns. It's going to be field with injuries and slips. And it's gonna happen to all of us and none of us are above being human.

If you're on this path and you're really struggling to one, either forgive yourself, two, to come up with a good plan or three execute. I do want to be a part of that solution and I want to help you. So if you would go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/human that'll take you to my calendar. We can book a free, It's completely complimentary, no obligation 15 minute call. And on the call we can talk about where you are in your health and fitness journey, what help you might need, what decisions you need to make, if you need to forgive yourself, the opportunity to do so, and how to go about doing that and then the plan and the execution. I want to be there and be a part of that solution. If you'll go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/human you can book your call today and we can get you on your path straight away. Thank you.

Another episode you may enjoy

July 8, 2019

Wave goodbye to type 2 diabetes with Dr Nicki Steinberger

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Thank you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allan: 25:06 Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allan: 31:20 Yeah, absolutely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another episode you may enjoy

June 24, 2019

Live large and live long with Jennifer L Carroll

Patreons

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

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

Thank you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another episode you may enjoy

June 3, 2019

Fix your back pain with Dr. Sabastian Gonzales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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