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Intuitive fasting with Dr. Will Cole

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On episode 484 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we welcome back Dr. Will Cole and discuss his new book, Intuitive Fasting.

Transcript

SPONSOR

This episode of the 40+ Fitness podcast is sponsored by Naked Nutrition, what does getting naked mean for supplements? It means no unnecessary additives. It means premium sourced ingredients without fillers. So you don't need to compromise on your diet or your goals. That's what Naked Nutrition offers.

Back in 2014, a former college athlete didn't understand why protein powders and other supplements had so many unnatural ingredients. If they're supposed to be health supplements, why can't you understand the ingredient list? Naked nutrition was started with five single-ingredient supplements, including the best selling Naked Whey, which has only one ingredient whey protein from grass-fed California cows and the bestselling Naked Pea, a vegan protein made from one ingredient raw yellow peas grown in the U.S. and Canada.

The company has grown to offer over 40 products, but the vision of sourcing the best ingredients using a few of them is possible and being transparent so you know exactly what's going into your body is the same today as when the company was founded.

Whether you're working towards losing weight, having more energy or improving your endurance to become a better runner, what you put in your body directly impacts how you feel and the results you get. Naked Nutrition is committed to shortening the steps between their farms and you. Get naked. Visit naked nutrition. Today, it's nutrition with nothing to hide. Use the discount code 40plus and get 10% off your first order. nakednutrition.com.

Let's Say Hello

[00:03:29.260] – Allan
Raz, how are things?

[00:03:30.490] – Rachel
Good. And how are you today?

[00:03:32.530] – Allan
Well, good and bad.

[00:03:34.510]
I was pretty excited spending the time with my family. That's been really cool. And I also wanted to kind of make a short little announcement. I'm launching a challenge and I actually am planning this went ahead because I actually had a challenge and I didn't get a chance to announce it on the podcast because I just decided to do it sort of like on the spot jump on things and just really didn't have time to give preannouncement. But I've got another one in the works.

[00:03:58.570] – Allan
I'm going to be launching a 7-day mindset challenge.

[00:04:01.880] – Rachel
Oh, that's a good one.

[00:04:05.770] – Allan
Over seven days there will be a topic for each day and a little recorded video for each day that you get an email and all that. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcasts.com/challenge, you can sign up for the free 7-day mindset challenge.

[00:04:21.190] – Rachel
Awesome. That sounds fun.

[00:04:23.230] – Allan
So again it's 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/challenge and we've got it there. Now if you missed the functional fitness challenge which was the one I did kind of on the spur of the moment, the reason you didn't hear about it is you're probably not a part of our Facebook group. And that's where a lot of this stuff gets announced, like at the last minute, those types of things. So I would go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group and request to join the 40+ Fitness Group.

[00:04:49.240] – Allan
And that's where it's easier for me to communicate these kind of little one off things that are going on really quickly. So you'll keep up with us. Rachel's on there. I'm on there. We'll answer your questions. We have fun. We have weekly challenges. If I were across something cool, like a 90-year old woman doing deadlifts, I'm going to publish that stuff and we're going to we can talk about it. So it's a really cool place to be.

[00:05:11.110] – Allan
And, you know, my favorite group for sure. But yeah, you can go there, you'll learn about things. 40plusfitnesspodcasts/group if you want to join the group. And then if you want to check out that Mindset Challenge go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/challenge. So that's the good news.

[00:05:28.450] – Allan
The bad news is one of my staff actually has contracted covid and she's the one who works most of the shifts. So, she pulls every shift that she can possibly work and so she pretty much mans the gym. 80%, 90% of the time and my other employees over Panama City, so he's not available. And so what it means is the week that I'm visiting with my family is also a week that I'm pulling complete full day doubles at the gym.

[00:05:57.320] – Rachel
Oh no!

[00:05:57.940] – Allan
Not so much fun, but it is what it is. That is what it is. I'm just right now just hoping that my employee gets through this without any complications. She's young and healthy. So I had the strongest thoughts that she is going to get through this so easily. But it's just kind of one of those things that it's that close. It's right here.

[00:06:20.100] – Allan
Someone that was working in the gym on Saturday is now at home with covid, and she can't come back for a couple of weeks. So she's going to be tough a couple of weeks for me. I'm going to try to go ahead and see if I can't hire someone to come in and work some shifts. We'll see.

[00:06:36.390] – Allan
By the time I get them and get them trained by two weeks will be over.

[00:06:40.380] – Rachel
Right?

[00:06:41.050] – Allan
Yeah. But anyway, it is what it is.

[00:06:43.380] – Allan
But so, yeah. A little bit of sad news on this side, but I am going still going to try to make the most spending time with my daughters while they're here and it is what it is. So, you know, I can't change what I can't change. I will keep charging on.

[00:06:59.160] – Rachel
That's right. Well, I hope your employee feels better soon, and I hope you get to squeeze in some time with your family. It sounds sounds like a tricky balance, but I'm sure you'll figure it out.

[00:07:09.090] – Allan
How are things for you?

[00:07:10.460] – Rachel
Good, good. Just crushing some miles up here. Weather's been great. I did a couple of long runs last weekend testing my fueling and and hydration and feeling pretty good. So things are good. All right.

[00:07:23.970] – Rachel
So you want to go ahead and have that conversation with Dr. Cole?

[00:07:27.030] – Allan
Yes. Let's do this.

Interview

[00:08:04.680] – Allan
Dr. Cole, welcome back to 40+ Fitness.

[00:08:07.440] – Dr. Cole
Thank you so much for having me.

[00:08:09.150] – Allan
This is number three. Lucky number three.

[00:08:12.120] – Dr. Cole
Yeah! My goal is to be the top guest. The most visited guest.

[00:08:21.870] – Allan
I will say I did a thing with Jimmy Moore where I interviewed him one time. He had three books that I wanted to talk about when I was early, early on. It was one interview, but it was broken into three shows. So I think you're ahead of him by now or tied with him for a number of interviews. But he's going to have you beat for shows for a while. So sorry about that.

[00:08:43.980] – Dr. Cole
I'm just kidding. I'm not that competitive.

[00:08:46.350] – Allan
I know. Anyway, your book is called Intuitive Fasting: The Flexible Four-Week Intermittent Fasting Plan to Recharge Your Metabolism and Renew Your Health. And the thing I liked about this was there's so much information out there about fasting now, it's sort of the hot topic, if you will, and as people are looking at ways to get healthy and lose weight, and so they say, okay, have you tried fasting?

[00:09:11.630] – Allan
Have you tried intermittent fasting? Have you tried water fasting? And one guy was promoting air fasting, where you don't even drink water for 24 hours. How, I don't even understand.

[00:09:21.620] – Allan
But fasting is becoming kind of this thing that is out there. And it's a good thing. It's an important thing. It's something that's been a part of our culture forever. But with all the information that is out there, it's really difficult for someone to discern what is a healthy fast and what is just a fad/scary thing like the cleanses and the fast and things like that.

[00:09:48.710] – Allan
You're talking about intuitive fasting. Can you give us just a little bit of what that's about?

[00:09:55.310] – Dr. Cole
The book is as anything that I write the last two books before this. They're just outpourings of my clinical practice. So even right now, I'm in between consulting patients. Ten plus hour days. I started one of the first telehealth functional medicine centers in the world over a decade ago. So that's my main focus. Like, that's the context of where I'm coming from, is I get to see labs and tons of different types of people all around the world get healthy with different tools within the functional medicine toolbox.

[00:10:23.420] – Dr. Cole
So this concept of intuitive fasting is something that I've been really working on with patients for a long time. And it's paradoxical on purpose, right? That's why I called it intuitive fasting, because to the modern Western metabolism, fasting will be anything but intuitive. And it's really a conversation about two things metabolic flexibility, which is physical, physiological infrastructure, if you will, or a foundation for authentic, mindful eating because you're building satiety signaling and blood sugar balance and lowered inflammation levels and proper gut brain axis signaling.

[00:11:00.650] – Dr. Cole
But it's also from a mental, emotional, or even spiritual perspective, what's our relationship with these things? And can we bring a more mindful approach to fasting? Because you have these two worlds, you have this intuitive eating world or mindful eating world on one end, and then you have fasting, which is typically the biohacking in the alpha. The more is better and these extreme sports of wellness, if you will, that I think the fasting community really focuses.

[00:11:33.290] – Dr. Cole
But I think that the context of this is somewhere in the middle, just like what I try to do with Ketotarian, a plant-based keto. How can you make something that works for the average person? How can you really make something sustainable that leverages the amazing benefits of fasting, but in a way that's accessible for people and sustainable for people and it's a healthy approach for people. So those are the conversations that I'm having with intuitive fasting.

[00:11:57.650] – Dr. Cole
It's a mindful approach to intermittent fasting, but it's also building metabolic flexibility so you can have authentic, intuitive fasting and authentic mindful eating, meaning that fasting and eating will be more intuitive as you gain metabolic flexibility. Not because it's some restrictive, obsessive thing. You can just go longer without eating because your blood sugar is more stable, because you have more agency over your health and you can eat food because you enjoy it. Food doesn't control you. Your cravings don't control you. Your insatiable hangriness doesn't control you.

[00:12:33.260] – Dr. Cole
And that's that what but the other aspect of intuitive fasting has, what it's about.

[00:12:38.570] – Allan
Okay, let's dive a little bit deeper into metabolic flexibility. Exactly what does that mean and why is that going to make intuitive fasting easier for us?

[00:12:49.220] – Dr. Cole
So most people in the West are metabolically inflexible or metabolically rigid, so they're stuck in this sugar burning mode, right? And we're all born when we are born. We're all born metabolically flexible. It's our birthright. Babies are producing ketones for proper neurological development and they're burning sugar as well, obviously. And over time, we lose that birthright.

[00:13:13.160] – Dr. Cole
We lose that ability to burn both sugar and fat. And that flexibility is lost. And we are stuck in metabolic rigidity or metabolic inflexibility. Many people have different various degrees of this, but it's some form of insatiable cravings and hungriness and fatigue and weight loss resistance and different inflammatory problems. So that's a hallmark of the modern Western living. Right.

[00:13:40.580] – Dr. Cole
And that's what researchers are really looking at, this epigenetic-genetic mismatch that our genetics haven't changed in ten thousand years. But, yeah, our world has changed very dramatically in a very short period of time. So we're looking at this evolutionary mismatch at the heart of what's driving a lot of these chronic health problems, different inflammatory problems, autoimmune issues.

[00:14:02.900] – Dr. Cole
So those are the people that I talk with 11, 12 hours a day where we can when we start to gain metabolic flexibility again, we start to reclaim our birthright and start to get more in alignment with our genetics and decrease that chasm between genetics and epigenetics. That's when you start feeling great again.

[00:14:22.100] – Dr. Cole
That's when you start regaining energy, when you start feeling like there's a congruency between how you feel on the inside and the body that you live in. And that's what metabolic flexibility is. It's being fat adapted. It's been keto adapted. But as its name implies, metabolic flexibility. It doesn't mean being in ketosis all the time. It's ability to tip, to dip into sugar burning mode when you want to or when you need to.

[00:14:52.850] – Dr. Cole
And that's really another layer of the conversation that I'm having with intuitive fasting. It's the name of the game as far as I'm concerned for most people isn't to be in ketosis all day, every day? But it is to use it as a tool to have the flexibility to burn both. And I think that is part of the context of the conversation that I tried to have with Ketotarian that I just wanted to have in a deeper way with this book beyond just Ketotarian way of eating, but just how to use all these amazing tools and intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet really two sides of the same coin because they're both supporting beta-hydroxybutyrate. There's two different ways to produce this amazing signaling molecule to lower inflammation and improve brain function and become a fat burner if we need to.

[00:15:37.580] – Dr. Cole
But it's something that I get so excited about clinically that I wanted to share with everybody else.

[00:15:43.100] – Allan
I know for me, I do something I call seasonal ketosis. So I have a season where I go into ketosis and I have a season that I come out of ketosis. And that used to have a lot to do with college football season and then Christmas, Thanksgiving and my birthday. So I just OK, from August, the end of August until the middle of February, I get to get past the Super Bowl. I'll not worry about ketosis.

[00:16:06.530] – Allan
I still generally eat the same foods. So I just want to throw a beer in there, here and there. Someone's offering me something pretty cool at a tailgate. I'm not I'm a chow down on it. And I had that metabolic flexibility. So I know that's one benefit that you get from being flexible. But as far as intuitive fasting goes, what are some of the benefits that we could expect to get by incorporating something like this into our lives?

[00:16:31.790] – Dr. Cole
So both a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting, as I mentioned, they both support beta-hydroxybutyrate, which for people that aren't maybe fully aware, it's known as the fourth macronutrient in the research area of protein, fats, carbs and ketone bodies. So they both support this fourth macronutrient. And that's why when you look at the research of the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting, you'll see a lot of the similar pathways because they're both supporting ketogenic diet as fasting, mimicking in many ways, it's mimicking the state of fasting and then fasting, obviously fasting.

[00:17:07.370] – Dr. Cole
So I'm pairing both of those with an intuitive fasting I'm pairing as a therapeutic tool, Ketotarian, which is a clean, sort of Mediterranean ketogenic way of eating, pairing that with it flexible intermittent fasting. So when talking about intuitive fasting, I put together a four week protocol in the book that is used as a way to gain metabolic flexibility.

[00:17:33.720] – Dr. Cole
So some people may scoff at that, like he's talking about intuitive fasting and he's giving us a protocol. But the goal of it is actually to train your body, to become more flexible and to learn about your body, too. The analogy that I use in the book is this proverbial yoga class for your metabolism, if someone's inflexible, meaning their hamstrings are tight, their musculoskeletal systems inflexible, they go to yoga class and they are going to think yoga is completely unnatural. Yoga is not for them. There's something wrong with this. It's not yoga's fault. It's the person's inflexibility. Most people's metabolisms aren't flexible. So by using this flexible fasting plan in the book or gaining metabolic flexibility just like yoga classes improves musculoskeletal flexibility.

[00:18:25.920] – Dr. Cole
And we're vacillating. It's ebbing and flowing. It's not doing the same thing. Each week is a different intermittent fasting window to start to train the metabolism, train the mitochondria, train the body itself to become more flexible.

[00:18:43.620] – Dr. Cole
What I also wanted to integrate into the book is the fact that fasting can be a medicine right therapeutic tool to support this fourth macronutrients become more metabolically flexible. But we're also using fasting as a meditation, too. So how can we learn more about our body?

[00:19:05.610] – Dr. Cole
How can we learn more introspectively on our relationship with our bodies, our relationship with food and how we use food in our life and growing that mindfulness muscle when it comes to food and fasting?

[00:19:18.690] – Dr. Cole
Because in my clinical experience, when you gain physiological metabolic flexibility, but you pair that with the mental, emotional, spiritual mindfulness of using food and fasting as a mindfulness tool. Those are all the ingredients of what you need for what I call in the book food peace, the sort of inner stillness on what serves you and what doesn't serve you.

[00:19:43.020] – Dr. Cole
And you have this agency over your body and agency over food and not in a controlling way, not in a restrictive, obsessive way, but in a very resolute knowing way. This food makes me feel great. I want to have that. I can go longer without eating because it makes me feel great and I'm more metabolically flexible. And I know what foods don't make me feel good. I know what things don't make me feel good to have the discernment to see that, too.

[00:20:08.190] – Dr. Cole
And food, you're not bound by that next craving and insatiable hungriness. And I think that's really the goal of this, is having that food peace, having that inner stillness that I think most people want because most people feel out of control. Their bodies feel out of control when it comes their relationship with food. There's so much inflammation and things going on in people's bodies that they physiologically are out of control, actually.

[00:20:31.800] – Dr. Cole
And all of that stuff is proverbial noise on a physiological level. That way, when we start calming that noise, you can have that that inner discernment on what your body needs and having that intuition when it comes to food.

[00:20:48.120] – Allan
Yeah, the way I kind of experienced it was that one one. It gives you just an intense freedom. You're working eleven hour days and if something comes up and you can't eat your lunch when you thought you were going to be eating your lunch because you're metabolically flexible, you just say, fine, I'll eat during my next break, which is two hours away. And that won't upset you, though, emotionally affect you. You'll be able to do that.

[00:21:13.290] – Allan
And then the other thing that I gain out of fasting when I do it is that it actually kind of, like you said, clears up the noise. So I actually can go back and remember what actually being hungry feels like. And I can actually be in that moment and say, okay, yeah, this is this is not me wanting a Snickers bar. This is me legitimately needing nutrition for my body. And then I can honor that and have a good meal and then I can actually because there's no noise, listen to what my body is telling me about that meal. And and actually response. So I was like, yeah, instead of running on get the Snickers bar and know I'm going to feel like crap. Two hours later when I go on the sugar crash. Now I'm going to go have something more wholesome, something better for me. And then two hours later, I'm not actually even necessarily thinking about that meal anymore because I feel great.

[00:22:07.710] – Allan
And but you've kind of cleared up that noise and you have the freedom to decide, okay I'm not going to go for what's convenient and eat that Snicker bar. I'm going to go ahead wait the two hours. And I'll be fine.

[00:22:22.350] – Dr. Cole
Yeah, well said, and I think that when you start feeling so great and you start having that agency over your body and over your health in a healthy way, it's really cool to see that when you create a firm foundation and a center and you centered yourself physiologically and mentally, emotionally as well, you can pivot from that space, but you have that awareness of what your center is. And it's really cool to see.

[00:22:47.070] – Dr. Cole
Whereas maybe you maybe people, you know, have something that they know something won't make them feel great, but they will even then most for most people and they have that center, they'll be able to go there and know I can I won't have as much of this room because I love feeling great more than I think I missed something that didn't make me feel good and that can go back there.

[00:23:08.700] – Dr. Cole
Or most of the time they actually won't go towards those other things, not because it's restrictive and that they can't have it. They know they can have whatever they want, but they just love feeling great more than they miss something or they thought they missed something that didn't. That's a complete paradigm shift. So it's not about this list of do's and don'ts. It's complete free will, but it's a bad tradeoff to go towards something that makes you feel really lousy.

[00:23:32.520] – Allan
I agree.

SPONSOR

This episode of the 40+ Fitness podcast is sponsored by Naked Nutrition, what does getting naked mean for supplements? It means no unnecessary additives. It means premium sourced ingredients without fillers. So you don't need to compromise on your diet or your goals. That's what Naked Nutrition offers.

Back in 2014, a former college athlete didn't understand why protein powders and other supplements had so many unnatural ingredients. If they're supposed to be health supplements, why can't you understand the ingredient list? Naked nutrition was started with five single-ingredient supplements, including the best selling Naked Whey, which has only one ingredient whey protein from grass-fed California cows and the bestselling Naked Pea, a vegan protein made from one ingredient raw yellow peas grown in the U.S. and Canada.

The company has grown to offer over 40 products, but the vision of sourcing the best ingredients using a few of them is possible and being transparent so you know exactly what's going into your body is the same today as when the company was founded.

Whether you're working towards losing weight, having more energy or improving your endurance to become a better runner, what you put in your body directly impacts how you feel and the results you get. Naked Nutrition is committed to shortening the steps between their farms and you. Get naked. Visit naked nutrition. Today, it's nutrition with nothing to hide. Use the discount code 40plus and get 10% off your first order. nakednutrition.com.

[00:25:19.010] – Allan
Now, one of the things I think that will turn some people off about fasting is they're like, well, I'm on this exercise program or I'm training for this this 5K and I need I need that Guu. I need that that stuff. Can you talk a little bit about exercising during intuitive fasting?

[00:25:39.510] – Dr. Cole
Sure. So I talk about this at length in the book because that's a common question. So we all come in at this point of trying a tool like this at different points of our health journey. We all have different levels of metabolic inflexibility or metabolic rigidity. And it's one of the reasons why I started the book out with a quiz. And the quiz is adapted from questions that I asked patients. And I wanted people to kind of get a subjective metric for them to see more or less like how is their metabolic flexibility.

[00:26:11.090] – Dr. Cole
So if someone is severely or significantly metabolically inflexible they may want to take it easier at the start, right? And not work out as much whenever they're learning their bodies, learning to burn fat for fuel and their bodies being trained to be more become more flexible. Now, keep in mind, the specific subset of intermittent fasting that I'm exploring with. And intuitive fasting is not caloric restriction. It's time compressed feeding or time restricted feeding. You're getting all the calories that you need just in specific windows.

[00:26:48.490] – Dr. Cole
So from most of these lighter to moderate, flexible, intermittent fasting windows, it's actually not that difficult to work out. Week three in the protocol could be probably be the one that people have to make a personal decision on, that some people still will be fine. It's an almost OMAD week in week three. But it's nonconsecutive, so meaning you're doing it every other day, not every day. And OMAD is an acronym that stands for One Meal A Day. But it's almost-OMAD because I reference some studies in there, but basically making it a little bit more flexible to give you more windows to eat and not trying to get all your calories in in a one hour window, which is the more traditional OMAD, 23 to 1 fasting/eating window.

[00:27:31.870] – Dr. Cole
So an almost-OMAD approach is a little bit more flexible. So you could work out within that two to four hour window if you wanted to not be doing a Farstad workout. But regardless, that's the deepest fast that's there. So I'm not doing any multiple day long fast, which is a bit of a different thing.

[00:27:47.920] – Dr. Cole
I think one of the reasons why this type of intermittent fasting that I'm exploring in the book is so accessible is because people can live their lives. They don't have to make an overhaul of everything in their life or feel like they can't live and engage with activities like exercise. They can still do it. It may take some planning and it may take some leaning in at the beginning. I go into detail in the book, but my basic advice is if you have a certain level of activity level that you're used to still do it, you don't have to stop doing that. But I wouldn't start cross fit and intermittent fasting at the same time either.

[00:28:26.194] – Allan
New Year's resolution happening right here.

[00:28:32.020] – Dr. Cole
So many people, right? With the best of intentions. But it's not that you can't do that either, but like become a little bit more, not a master at it. But just at least you are used to doing this and then lean into it. Because we want these to be sustainable changes. This should not be a fad crash thing. I love that people get excited for this stuff. I don't want to rain on the parade, but we want this to be sustainable and ultimately to what's the paradigm shift here, right? It's about how could I love my body enough to do things that make me feel great.

[00:29:07.060] – Dr. Cole
And sometimes it's not excitement that's fueling someone to do all the things at once. And more is better. It's actually shame and obsession that they think, I just feel so low about myself that I manage to do everything. And I would rather someone start one thing than lean into it so it can be sustainable because as I talked about so much throughout the book and with my patients is you can't heal a body you hate. You can't obsess your way into health. So start the cross fit maybe a little bit later and just start the intermittent fasting and the food for now.

[00:29:40.450] – Allan
One of the cool things about your program that I really like is, as you say, you might be into week two and you're looking at week three and saying I don't know that I'm ready. I'm not feeling the energy. I'm not where I'm supposed to be. You just repeat week two. Kind of get yourself based. And once you feel like, Okay, I've mastered this level, if you will, then then I can go in attack week three and now you leave this program with kind of a tool chest to say I felt the best during week three and so I'm just going to do that or I felt the best during week four.

[00:30:13.150] – Allan
And so I'm just going to keep doing that. Or I just know that I have this tool chest of a four week program that I can dust the book off in three months and run through it again. And see where I am. I like that it's flexible. I like that it's something that's accessible and you really do a good job, in my opinion, of walking them week by week to get them to a point where they've learned those tools, learn those skills and as you said, kind of reconnected with who they are.

[00:30:43.310] – Dr. Cole
Thank you for recognizing that. I agree. It's like you're learning about your body because you've sampled all these different ways of fasting. So you will know. And that's bio-individuality. That's what I'm talking about with authentic, intuitive fasting, is you'll be able to evolve the protocol to suit you because we are all different. But on the other note, like, it doesn't have to be four weeks. I mentioned in the book, like if you want to repeat week two for two weeks, make it a five week protocol. That's OK. And these are all therapies and tools.

[00:31:12.320] – Dr. Cole
And sometimes people need to rest in a certain phase a little bit longer. It should be partially self-paced as long as you're progressing, even if it's incremental progression for any wellness tool. This is a good principle is that as long as you're progressing, even if it's incremental, sometimes it's okay to rest in one area and not feel like you need to lean into it too fast, too soon. Because that can make you feel like, oh, this is a fit, you're a failure at it and it's not. You just rushede through something or your body wasn't ready for it yet.

[00:31:43.260] – Allan
Dr. Cole, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:31:52.460] – Dr. Cole
Number one, it's I think that kind of in my earlier statement, I think that I know it's a little bit more abstract and ethereal, but I really think it's important with this conversation about wellness when you're talking about food as nutrition and fasting as a tool for to heal the body, is that we have to realize why we're doing these things. It's not a way to punish yourself. It's a way to shame yourself into wellness.

[00:32:18.170] – Dr. Cole
It's a way to I love feeling great so much, I value and respect my health so much in my body, so much that I want to be good steward to that and do things that make me feel good to have that paradigm shift, because avoiding foods that make you feel like crap isn't restriction. It's self respect. I think that that's a core like genesis of sustainable wellness.

[00:32:43.800] – Dr. Cole
Number two, I would say experiment with intermittent fasting. One of the blurbs of the book is. It's from Alejandro Younger, who is a cardiologist, brilliant friend and mentor of mine. I'll paraphrase what he said, but I thought it was an eloquent way of summarizing my thoughts on this is that, like, our world is in desperate need of a pause.

[00:33:05.100] – Dr. Cole
And I think that we're always like more, more and more like do this even healthy things like more is always better and take more supplements, do more of this, do more of that. And it's all the consumerism, too, and all that stuff. And I think that on many levels and a macro and micro level, I think that the world needs a little bit of stillness and introspection and simplicity and paring down.

[00:33:31.830] – Dr. Cole
We were talking about this before we started recording, just even like on a like moving to something simpler and living a simpler life. I think that that fasting is that on a physiological level, too. How do we create just some stillness and simplicity in our life to allow our body to actually do things that will naturally do if we give it the chance to do so? So I think that that's another way to support wellness.

[00:33:54.810] – Dr. Cole
And three, I think foods that will be nourishing and are really nutrient dense, and that's what I tried to really advocate for, an intuitive fasting is not try to fast your way out of a poor diet. This should not be this disordered eating disguised as a wellness practice. I really want people to use food as medicine and use fasting as a medicine tool, a therapeutic tool, and they should go together. There are two sides of the same coin.

[00:34:22.790] – Dr. Cole
And then I would say this, too, like I'm more than three, but that many people have really impaired GI issues and they have underlying gut problems on the spectrum, this larger spectrum of these problems. And I would say focus on soups and stews, cooked foods. In the book I call them Break the Fast Meals, where they're just gentle on the gut, good transition meals out of the fast. But honestly, those break the fast meal sections I think could be way more. They could be used way more than just as a transition out of a deeper fast. They can just be used as just nourishing, gentle on the gut foods that I think would benefit most of society today, because I see it rampant as these underlying GI issues that are that's driving inflammation levels systemically, these these gut centric components to inflammation.

[00:35:14.870] – Allan
Thank you for that. I want to take one step back and I want to paraphrase what you said, because it's brilliant. I'm going to go back and listen to it again and probably write it down. And it was the moving away from foods that are not good for you is not restriction it's self self-respect. I love that. Thank you.

[00:35:33.380] – Dr. Cole
It is a paradigm shift because people are like, oh my gosh, I can't have that. No, you can have whatever you want. But do you love feeling better or do you like that food that doesn't. Like that's the freewill that I want people to have. I always say and I don't want to pick on Starbucks, right? Because I go to Starbucks. I have no problem with it. But you go in Starbucks and I had a patient tell me years ago they were like, how do you look at all the pastries and stuff in the glass thing and and not go for that stuff. And to me, I had to be like I knew that there were desserts in that, but I honestly couldn't even tell you what's in there. There's not even a thing that I even look at because it's why would I want to go for something that's not going to make me feel great?

[00:36:17.840] – Dr. Cole
And that's what I want people to get to that place of consciousness and awareness for themselves. It's not like you can't have it. It's just like that's really not going to make me feel good. Why would I want to go to something that's not in alignment with how I want to feel?

[00:36:30.620] – Allan
Yeah, it's like when you're walking through the grocery store and you walk down the aisle and you see cans and bags and they would have food in them and they're colorful labels and they say healthy. And they say all the words that our food says grass-fed beef all the things that we would want in our food. But we don't see it as food because we know it's not food. And that's kind of how I look at when I go into Starbucks and I'm looking at the pastries, I'm like, okay, that's not that's not food, in my head because I don't even equate it as food anymore. So I think that's where I'm coming from.

[00:36:59.750] – Allan
Dr. Cole, if someone wanted to learn more about you, more about the book Intuitive Fasting, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:37:06.890] – Dr. Cole
They would go to drwillcole.com. On Instagram at Dr. Will Cole, all the places that people go on social media. But yeah, there's the links to the books, the tele-health clinic there. Everything's at drwillcole.com.

[00:37:23.060] – Allan
Cool. You can also go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/484 and I'll be sure to have the link there. Dr. Cole, thank you so much again for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:37:33.680] – Dr. Cole
Thank you, my friend.


Post Show/Recap

[00:37:39.380] – Allan
Raz, welcome back.

[00:37:40.880] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, that was a really interesting interview, I am interested in the fasting that he was talking about and and how that helps. Fasting is a really hot topic these days, too, and sometimes it's hard to sort out the fact and fiction around fasting. So that was a really interesting interview.

[00:38:03.410] – Allan
I think the core of it with fasting is we've got to get past this this belief system that we have to eat every waking moment. We are not cows out in the field. We were we were not meant to graze. We were meant to hunt and and gather and feast and then stop eating. That was our natural course of things. And now that there's convenience stores and fast food restaurants and a freezer full of food, a refrigerator full of food and a cabinet full of food, some of which is not actually really food is available. That nutrition, calories are just so readily available to quite literally I bet you can. You're right now probably within, I'd say, 18 steps of all the foods your body would need for a month.

[00:38:56.030] – Allan
And that's never existed in the history of man. And so having these intentional fasts. And teaching your body what it actually feels like to be hungry. Mm hmm. And what it feels like when you're doing okay. You know, that's you just you need to get used to that. That's something. Being hungry is a normal state, you know, and we just don't. We don't. And so that's one of the cool things about kind of going through something like this intuitive fasting program.

[00:39:26.810] – Allan
It's a four week intermittent fasting is that he pushes those buttons and he gets you to try a new thing. And some of it will work very well for you. Some of it might not. But you can find where you belong on that spectrum of eating all the time versus not eating often at all. Whether it's you go all the way to OMAD or you're having two meals a day. We talked with Brad Kernes not long ago about two meals a day or just some other eating strategy.

[00:39:58.610] – Allan
These are these are strategies that you can try that will improve your health, potentially help you lose weight. And there's just a lot of other health benefits to doing this just and just getting in touch with your body, being a lot more mindful about the food that you do put in your body. So you just don't say I'm starving. So I'm going to go ahead and pull into the McDonald's while I'm starving. They tell you not to go grocery shopping when you're hungry. Don't go to McDonald's when you're hungry either.

[00:40:28.790] – Rachel
Good point! Yeah. I'm Keto, like I've mentioned before on your podcast. And so when I get up in the morning, I'm rarely hungry. I don't feel hunger. And so I work out fasted and when I get home from a run, I might feel a twinge of hunger, but usually I'm more thirsty than hungry. So I usually will wait until about noon, maybe even one before I eat anything.

[00:41:00.020] – Rachel
And that's just kind of been my M.O. But sometimes I have the old habits come back where I'm like, I've got to go run an errand at ten or eleven. I better eat something before I leave, you know, it's like it's that old habit. I really should have breakfast, I really should have lunch. It's that time of day maybe. You know, I don't know what it is always. But sometimes I get that that old habit will come back like I need to eat something before I go run my errands. It's kind of a weird thing.

[00:41:31.230] – Allan
It may not entirely be habit, and it's just something listening. Like I said, once you get comfortable listening to your body, it can be one of those things of saying, well, what you don't want to be is you don't want to be in a hunger state making decisions. And so if you're out and about doing your errands and you're really hungry, what food choices are you going to have available to you?

[00:41:54.380] – Allan
And if you know that, you're just not going to or let's say, your work schedule and you really only get at a lunch hour and you really don't get breaks beyond that, despite what the regulations require. But let's just say you just get your lunch break. You need to eat during your lunch. If you know that you're not going to be able to make it to dinner, skipping that lunch, you need to go ahead and eat your lunch.

[00:42:16.040] – Allan
You may not be entirely hungry, but if you don't have another option in your schedule bound, then then eat. There's nothing wrong with that. That's one of the the cool things about getting comfortable with fasting is you can figure out where your hunger is. You can figure out what your limits are. I'm not a huge fan of the extended fast that run more than twenty-four hours. And predominantly, if you're going to do something like that, you need to be working with a health care professional that understands fasting because it's a very different animal.

[00:42:50.870] – Allan
But when you start getting to those extended fasts and some people will get into them and fast for days and weeks and I know I know I couldn't do that entirely. I probably. I could physically do it. I've got enough, you know, got enough energy mass around my my body that I would not run out of energy, but it would just be one of those things are saying, at some point my body's probably going to tell me, okay, now you're being stupid.

[00:43:19.850] – Allan
So I am metabolically flexible in a sense, you know, in that I can kind of go back and forth. And if I'm really working hard, I can eat a lot of carbs if I want to. But at the same time, I choose not to most of the time because, I don't always want to be go, go, go, go, go to burn off those extra carbs. But you can. If you're an endurance athlete, you probably could come back off that run and handle carbs, not just the leafy green carbs, but the carbs, because you you've burned through glycogen in your muscles ad your liver and what insulin is going to do when it does spike, because it still will spike when you eat that, you know, that high carb food, it's going to put it where it needs to be first and it needs to be in your liver and it needs to be in your muscle.

[00:44:14.220] – Allan
Now, if you're not active or you eat more than your activity level earns you, then, yeah, the next place for it is fat. We filled up the muscles, filled up the liver. Not here we go, it's fat. And so if you do that consistently over time, you will put on some body fat. But putting on a little fat during a day. This is not a tremendous problem for most of us. In fact, we want we want that capacity to to be able to store low fat when we need to and to pull a little fat off. So it's just really about finding the balance. And that's why I'm not someone who's going to eat keto all the time.

[00:44:53.760] – Allan
I feel fine when I'm in keto, but I also feel fine eating carbs. As long as I don't go completely berserk and do go completely berserk for months. That's that's just me. And everybody's going to be a little different.

[00:45:11.520] – Rachel
Yeah, it is. Dr. Cole mentioned bio-individuality. And we are so very different with the types of food and quantities of food that we can consume. I mean, we are very different, metabolically speaking.

[00:45:28.790] – Allan
Oh, yeah. There was a there was a study in Israel, what they did was they basically put those glucose monitors, those those constant ones, you know, the ones that constantly and they're just on them. We want you to log everything you put in your mouth, including the time that you do it.

[00:45:48.690] – Rachel
Wow!

[00:45:49.140] – Allan
So people would eat a banana. They pull the data and they say everybody that logged that they ate a banana, what was their glucose response? They were looking at the foods and one of the ways that we like to talk about foods is we'll talk about glycemic index and we'll talk about glycemic load. And so they were looking at those relationships to glycemic index and glycemic load and they were looking at people's response.

[00:46:17.540] – Allan
And what they found was all over the charts. People who were eating the banana. Some of them, their blood sugar shot up way up, and some of them, the blood sugar barely peaked at all. They they just they came to realize that we all have an individual response to food. You see it in a lot of other places where someone sensitive to gluten, they may not be a celiac, but they are still sensitive to gluten. And there's other people who are sensitive to milk because they have a lactose intolerance. So we all have these little unique caveats. And as I mentioned before, as we go through this, you need to be doing an experiment of one, you try a food and that's why I am a big fan of things like this, like fasting.

[00:47:07.480] – Allan
But I'm also a big fan of doing these elimination diets. And so one of Dr. Cole's other books is Eliminate, I think it's called eliminate (Inflammation Spectrum). But basically it's an elimination-style diet. And he has eight foods that you eliminate for eight weeks. And it's just basically an opportunity for you to learn how your body reacts to food when you reintroduce it. So you take it away and see if you feel better, which most people do when you're just eating meat and vegetables.

[00:47:42.400] – Allan
So real food, that's what it does. Elimination diets just they take you back to the essence of what we're supposed to eat, real food, meat and vegetables. Get back to meat and vegetables. Nobody got fat eating meat and vegetables. If you're overweight, you didn't get there eating meat and vegetables.

[00:48:00.520] – Rachel
Yeah, good point.

[00:48:01.520] – Allan
So you get down to that point, you start losing weight, the inflammation starts going down, you start feeling a lot better. And then maybe you can add back in the legumes, maybe you can add back in the dairy and see how that how that affects you. And so those elimination diets. And then he has Intuitive Fasting. I wouldn't try to do both at the same time, but doing an experiment like that is going to teach you a lot about how your body responds to food.

[00:48:28.480] – Allan
Everybody I've ever interviewed, whether they are vegan or carnivore or raw paleo or whatever, it all comes down to the quality of your food and it being real food. Those two those two factors, they'll say ours is better because people are eating more vegetables. Can't someone who's keto eat more vegetables. Yeah, they could.

[00:48:50.370] – Allan
It's like that's not what they do. They eat bacon. They eat all this other stuff. I'm like, not all of us. Not all of us make bacon a staple of every meal as a part of going keto. Some of us actually just have real food as a part of going keto and you know, so to break it all down, if you're eating real food, intuitive fasting can be a really good way for you to manage your food, to manage your health.

[00:49:17.140] – Rachel
Yeah, that sounds really interesting. Sounds like a really great book.

[00:49:21.850] – Allan
It was and it was kind of interesting because, you know, I just interviewed Dr. Cole not not really even I think a year ago. And it was like already have another book out. And it's like, well, it's one of the advantages of covid.

[00:49:34.120] – Allan
He's like, I wasn't seeing anybody on the weekends that we weren't doing anything. And he's like, so on the weekends I sat down and wrote a book and I'm like, I got it. Yeah. If I hadthat that kind of spare time and I actually thought to use it that way, I could have probably written a book, too. I didn't but he did.

[00:49:53.410] – Allan
And I say this very good book, Dr. Cole is really, really smart. He you know, he practices what he preaches and so he uses this with his patients. These are things that strategies that are not just founded in science because they are it's also stuff that he's doing with his patients and seeing great results. So, yeah, that's that's the other side of this is this is not pie in the sky. I looked up a couple studies that confirm what I think, and that's what I'm writing about. This is someone who actually practices medicine with people, getting them healthy, using food as a primary source of that. And yeah, his books are really good.

[00:50:35.050] – Rachel
Awesome. Well, it's nice to see this put into practice and real results coming out of it. That's pretty awesome.

[00:50:40.960] – Allan
All right. Well, Rachel, I guess we'll go ahead and give it a go and I'll talk to you next week.

[00:50:45.590] – Rachel
All right. Take care.

[00:50:46.900] – Allan
OK, bye.

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Another episode you may enjoy

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How we really burn calories and lose weight with Dr. Herman Pontzer

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We have always thought that the more active we are the more calories we burn each day. Dr. Pontzer has discovered that that is not the case. We discuss how we really burn calories and lose weight and more as we go through his book, Burn: New Research Blows the Lid Off How We Really Burn Calories, Lose Weight, and Stay Healthy.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:02:09.900] – Allan
Raz, how are you?

[00:02:11.220] – Rachel
Great. Allan, how are you today?

[00:02:13.290] – Allan
I'm doing ok, I'm doing okay. I went out for a good long walk this morning and I think my electrolytes are a little low so I'm going to have to start working on that and make sure that I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. And so I think in a few minutes here, when we get off this call, I'm going to fix myself some of that Ucan Hydrate, their electrolyte product. And I might do a little Facebook video, a little video of that so people can see what it is.

[00:02:48.480] – Allan
I forget the flavor I have in my pocket right now, but yeah, I think I'm going to do that because I just feel like my electrolytes are low. So my energy might be a little low today. And I apologize if that's the case. But…

[00:03:00.510] – Rachel
Nice. I like Ucan. It's a really tasty product. Is that too sugary sweets and flavor. And it sits well in my stomach too.

[00:03:09.630] – Allan
Well it actually has no sugar in it. That's the other side of their hydrate product. And even their other products. It's a super starch. The energy. It's a super starch. So it doesn't spike the blood sugar. And it's not a lot of calories either. That's side of it. You know, the standard you can powder was like eighty calories. But it's enough that it kind of feels like it is, you feel that energy going into a workout and then with the electrolytes, it's just a good tasting flavor.

[00:03:39.090] – Allan
I love the lemon lime. I think I've got a different flavor here today. But anyway, it's. Yeah. So it's real good. It just gives me what I need. Really easy. Just put it in my little shaker bottle. Go and nice. There we go.

[00:03:52.650] – Rachel
That sounds awesome.

[00:03:54.270] – Allan
All right. Are you ready to get into today's episode?

[00:03:57.420] – Rachel
Yes, that sounds great.

Interview

[00:04:40.140] – Allan
Dr. Pontzer, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:43.080] – Dr. Pontzer
Thanks for having me.

[00:04:45.330] – Allan
I was reading your book and I looked over at my wife and she was sitting on a couch and I said, “I love reading books by anthropologists.”

[00:04:57.180] – Dr. Pontzer
Yeah.

[00:05:00.230] – Allan
Even if you didn't tell some of the stories about lions and fires and all the other things that are in this book. So I'm not going to let the dog out of the bag right now. You guys need to get this book to read those stories. But if you even if you didn't have those Indiana Jones moments, if you will, this was just a fascinating book.

[00:05:22.630] – Dr. Pontzer
Thank you so much. It was really fun to write.

[00:05:24.880] – Allan
I read a lot of books. I just got into this and I'm like, OK, OK, OK. And now I get why he says that. OK. And I'm like, wow, I didn't know that. And holy crap!

[00:05:42.530] – Dr. Pontzer
That's great. That's really great.

[00:05:44.410] – Allan
When you said blows the lid off of how we really burn calories because the little book rack is actually going to talk about is called Burn: New Research Blows the Lid Off of How We Really Burn Calories, Lose Weight and Stay Healthy. And you did. You blew my lid off anyway.

[00:05:59.680] – Dr. Pontzer
Cool. Thanks, man. Thank you.

[00:06:01.540] – Allan
OK, so let's dive into this because I, I will go on to My Fitness Pal and I'll go in there and key in I'm 55 years old and I'm five foot 11 almost and I weigh about two hundred and five pounds and I'd like to weigh 190. And so it'll spit back a bunch of numbers at me and say, OK, you need to eat twenty-one hundred calories per day in these proportions. And then I go in, I do my thing and I'm like I got on an elliptical machine and elliptical machine I like because it says 750 calories per hour versus the one that said six hundred calories per hour.

[00:06:39.610] – Dr. Pontzer
That's right.

[00:06:40.160] – Allan
And then I eat what I eat and I put it in the app. I'm like, OK, yeah, I had this, I had that. And I have one serving of nuts. I had one serving of that. And then it tells me in six weeks you'll reach your goal, because you're eating this way.

[00:06:57.310] – Allan
And somehow every day it's like chasing the end of a rainbow. It's just. It's on the next horizon, it's on the next horizon. Can we talk a little bit about these things like the Basal metabolic rate, BMR, our activity level, and why that math? What's going on there when we're trying to figure out our expenditures, trying to figure out how we can burn calories to lose weight, why that's not quite working out for us.

[00:07:26.170] – Dr. Pontzer
Yeah. Gosh, where to start. So, you know, I think it boils down to the way that we think about our metabolism. Right? So the way we've been taught to think about our metabolism, it's nobody's fault unless you're in this line of work, in which case it is your fault, I suppose. My line of work, I should say. But we've been taught to think about our bodies like simple engines engineered and built to be a rational and easy to understand.

[00:07:53.200] – Dr. Pontzer
And you can rev your engine higher with exercise and burn off more fuel. And, you know, that kind of really simplistic I like to call like an armchair engineer's version of how your body ought to work. Yeah, but by that logic, by those assumptions then everything you just said is totally sensible, totally within its own logic. Totally true. And you can't fault the internal logic of it because it's the story that's been told for decades.

[00:08:18.280] – Dr. Pontzer
And so, of course it kind of holds together. The problem is that our bodies aren't engineered. Right. They're evolved. And your metabolic engine is not some simple thing that you can just you can step on the accelerator or step on the brakes. You don't have a lot of control over it, actually. Instead, your metabolism hasn't been evolved to help you fit into your bathing suit better.

[00:08:45.010] – Dr. Pontzer
It's been evolved to make sure that you survive and reproduce. And so, your body is doing your metabolism is doing all the sort of sleight of hand behind the scenes that you're completely unaware of. Right? From how well you can take how you track the food you eat to how well you can get a handle on the energy you burn off. And so all of those complications that are mostly unseen to you because your metabolism isn't really about just diet and exercise, about everything makes the story that you told just totally fall apart.

[00:09:16.570] – Dr. Pontzer
And I think that's that's the experience that people had. Like you say, oh, I'm going to do this. I'm going to expect these results and gosh, why isn't it happening? And it is because the the the way you thought it was going to work to begin with was not accurate.

[00:09:32.290] – Allan
So there was this like really smart guy called Isaac Newton that wrote these laws and to the day they stand. And so there's the law of conservation of energy. And so the thoughts are whatever you put into the system has to come out of the system where it stays in the system. And then I guess to some extent, my math anyway was then, of course, you've got Einstein saying energy equals mass. So if you're putting extra energy in your body, then it becomes mass at some level until it becomes energy again.

[00:10:07.660] – Allan
So, it's not that we're broken. Yeah, and I think the way you kind of put it in the book and you got into this concept of constrained daily energy expenditure.

[00:10:20.940] – Dr. Pontzer
Right.

[00:10:22.010] – Allan
And that's really what's holding us up. Right? Because we are burning the energy or at least we feel like we are because, the machine said seven hundred fifty. But even if I say, OK, then I'll just I'll go with the lower number. Six hundred. Yeah. Which again might not be the right number, but it's a number I burn that I did that I got on there and I pushed myself. I know I had to burn calories to do it because I couldn't do it without burning calories. Where's the math going. Wonky.

[00:10:50.810] – Dr. Pontzer
Yeah, right. So what you're describing is the way that people even in the field of metabolism have been thinking about this for over half a century. And it's based on this idea that the all the the tasks you do every day we can to add them all up together. And that's going to give us like your bill at the end of a shopping trip, going to give us the total calories that you burn that day. But what it doesn't tell you, right, because it's completely missing from that equation is the fact that the more exercise you do, your body's response to that and goes, oh, OK, so we've got we spent this much on exercise or it's not really a day to day kind of adjustments, more like over weeks or months, kind of just, oh, I'm going I've changed my lifestyle now.

[00:11:33.200] – Dr. Pontzer
I'm exercising this much now I'm spending this much energy on activity. I'm going to spend less on all the other tasks. So most of what your body does every day, even if you're an active person, is not exercise. Most of what your body does every day is immune function and brain function and reproductive function and digestion and all these sort of unseen tasks. And so you reduce those a little bit and you basically make room for the six hundred calories you just spent on on your elliptical.

[00:12:01.010] – Dr. Pontzer
And so it doesn't actually bump up the total number of calories you spend every day instead of your body's working to keep the total calorie you spend every day within a narrow range, kind of like in the same way that, you know, your body keeps body temperature within a narrow range. If you go out on a cold day, you don't know. You're not a reptile. You don't drop to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. No, your body works hard to keep you warm.

[00:12:22.700] – Dr. Pontzer
And if you just keep it right at ninety-eight point six or thirty-seven degrees Celsius, whatever you prefer, your blood sugar levels are kind of the same way. They can fluctuate up and down. But they're kept in a narrow range, unless you're unless you have diabetes. And so, you know, that that kind of homeostatic we call it maintenance of your daily energy expenditure within an area. And that's one of the really kind of exciting things that's come out of the work over the last ten or so years I've been doing and some other folks as well.

[00:12:52.970] – Allan
Yeah, we used to measure calories when we wanted to kind of do it scientifically. You either had to be in a room where they could they pretty much could measure all your breathing or at least some level have an apparatus on your face. So you're breathing into it so that they can measure the cardio, the carbon dioxide. And that's another little tidbit you had in the book that I actually knew beforehand. But when we lose fat, we're losing most of it through our breath.

[00:13:20.810] – Dr. Pontzer
from carbon that you ate. You lose, you lose it all through your breath. Mostly breathing it out as carbon dioxide.

[00:13:26.000] – Allan
But they've updated the science. And that's where you were a big part of actually executing that in some really remarkable situations of how we actually burn, how our actual metabolism works. Can you talk a little bit about this? Got double you call it double,

[00:13:41.600] – Dr. Pontzer
Doubly labeled water.

[00:13:42.770] – Allan
Doubly labeled water. Okay it sounds like Evian almost got a challenger.

[00:13:47.830] – Dr. Pontzer
I wish it was as cheap as Evian. That's actually super expensive. But yes, as you said, I'm an anthropologist. I'm trained in the field of human evolution and how our bodies evolved. And, of course, know humans have been evolving for two million years since before we Homo Sapiens as hunter-gatherers. And so from my perspective, if you want to really understand how the body works and you want to understand how humans are in a lifestyle that's similar to the ones that we used to live, of course, we don't have a time machine, but you want to find a culture that hold on to those some of those same traditions.

[00:14:20.240] – Dr. Pontzer
Right? And so we wanted to go and look at energy metabolism in a hunting and gathering population. This is back about 2007 or 2008 that we were putting this together first. And we were sure that we were going to find exactly what, you know, what you were saying before, that if they're more active, they're going to burn more calories. And we just we're trying to document how much more. But nobody had at that point.

[00:14:43.370] – Dr. Pontzer
Nobody had ever measured total energy expenditures, total daily energy expenditures in a hunter-gatherer group. For exactly the reason you described. You have to have somebody typically have somebody in a laboratory to do that. But what the study labeled water measurement, you can use this really cool isotope tracking technique. Some of the hydrogen to replace the deuterium. Some of the oxygen is replaced with this isotope called Oxygen 18. And you can use those to sort of trace your body's flow of water through your body, as well as the production of carbon dioxide that you breathe out because some of the oxygen that flow through your body actually come in as water and leave as the Os in the CO2 that you breathe, that we actually track that over about a week or 10 days of time. So it's a really cool technique. It's been around for a couple of decades, but it's expensive. There aren't many labs that do it. And nobody had ever done it for hunter gatherer group before.

[00:15:34.070] – Dr. Pontzer
So we were so excited when my colleague Dave Raichlen and Brian Wood and I went to northern Tanzania to do this with the Hadza community there. And they're a modern community like any other group on Earth right now. But they are hunter-gatherers. And so they cut a whole lot of these old traditions that are way to to sort of see what that lifestyle is like, how it affects our bodies.

[00:15:54.260] – Dr. Pontzer
And, you know, we know they're super active and they get about five times our physical activity every day than a typical American or typical European or anybody in an industrialized, urbanized setting. And we were so sure that we were going to see really high energy expenditures with them, with this doubly labeled water technique. We just kind of wanted to document how much higher it was. And in fact, when we got the samples home without them analyzed, it turns out that even though there's really, really physically active, they're burning the same number of calories every day as folks in the US and Europe and other industrialized countries.

[00:16:27.590] – Dr. Pontzer
So that was a total totally mind-blowing to me and has sort of shaped my research over the last 10 years trying to ollow that weird finding and find out. Actually, it's not so weird that you see other places. Do we see it throughout and just try to understand what that means and how your body can possibly adapt to lifestyle like that and to keep energy expenditure the same.

[00:16:51.200] – Allan
I would tell you as a personal trainer, I would say 99.9% percent of my colleagues love the calories in calories out model because we sell exercise. You know, for the most part, someone says, I want to lose weight, I'll exercise you. And so it's an easy sell because they believe they need to exercise more to lose weight, but the body is going to adjust because of it.

[00:17:11.450] – Dr. Pontzer
Mm hmm.

[00:17:11.960] – Allan
And so you've actually proven that scientifically now that that's what happens to our immune function, maybe down regulates our reproductive system down, regulates maybe even the size of some of our organs go down as a result. That's not something necessarily measurable in weight, but it kind of is what it is. Our body adapts to what it needs to eat to stay alive, just to be here tomorrow when when food is scarce or when you're overworking, it needs to be able to keep you moving long enough to get that next kudzu or next to antelope or whatever. Or chase off some lions so you can have what they just killed.

[00:17:53.660] – Allan
So you brought up a term in the book that I thought was really important because the other side of the argument, I'll get a lot of people, doctors and nutritionists and everything and and I've seen it work. I was I mean, at some level is they'll say, we could be a carnivore, we could be a vegetarian, we could be a vegan, we could be whatever. And people will tribalize on those on those terms, on those ways of eating.

[00:18:17.990] – Allan
What you found with the Hadza is that they are effectively operating opportunistic omnivores. They're going to eat what they're able to get because, you know, it's not like they go open up a fridge and say, we got some zebra in here. I think I'll cook that up tonight.

[00:18:37.670] – Allan
It might be it's going to be easier for us to go get some honey today and we're going to eat a meal of honey. Which anyone who's keto would say, oh my God, you're going to die. You're going to have diabetes. They don't have diabetes. They don't have heart disease

[00:18:53.170] – Dr. Pontzer
They're incredibly healthy. I mean, wonderful models of health. You wake up in the morning and you get you're out there getting food out of the wild landscape. They don't have any, I should say. They don't have any crops, any machines, any domesticated animals or plants. So any way to store their food or electricity. Right. So they're off every morning to get plants or animals to eat. And, you know, women rack up like twelve thousand steps a day. Men get like nineteen thousand steps a day. It's an incredible amount of physical activity. But yeah, the diet is sort of what they are not, they are not tribal in their diet. The way that sort of you know, it's become fashionable to be here in the industrialized world where you have this, you're spoiled for choice, you know, and you have the opportunity to be tribal if you like to. They don't have that opportunity. There was ever is available.

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[00:21:21.780] – Allan
And so it's like then and they're not walking nineteen thousand steps just to get to the 7-Eleven, right? They got to do something. When they get there, they climb a tree or they got to dig up some roots. They eat a lot of tubulars. They eat honey. They eat animals that they kill or that they can scavenge off of other people and other kills. So it's just kind of fascinating that they eat what's there and they still stay relatively healthy because, I imagine zebras are red meat. It's a leaner meat than a cow. Yeah. Because they don't fatten zebras up for any particular reason.

[00:21:57.180] – Dr. Pontzer
Right. The Hadza diet is great because you get to make everybody upset when you talk about their diet. They're not vegans for sure. They love to eat meat and they eat it when they can get it. And they like fat for that matter. They can eat it, but they eat a ton of plants, too, and eat sugar. Right. We've done the analysis. The sugar is that, honey. It's just water and sugar, like it is like when you buy it at the store here. So it's a real mix and it changes day to day and it changes month to month.

[00:22:26.310] – Dr. Pontzer
And there they are. Not the exception that we look in the ethnographic record at other hunter-gatherer groups, too, that most of them, of course, sadly now are in villages, that kind of stuff. But we have the historical records of what these people were eating. And it's no surprise it's just like cuisine around the world is diverse today. Cuisine around the world is diverse for these traditional folks as well. You know, paleo folks love to point out Arctic populations, the Inuit and yeah, that's right. If you live up where no plants grow. That's right. You make a living without eating any plants. And if you live in places that are warm and temperate and have lots of plants to grow and honey, you eat that, so everybody can you can cherry pick anything if you want to say, oh, this is my model of a paleo diet and just tell me, well, that's fine. You do that.

[00:23:16.020] – Dr. Pontzer
I can find you a group that eats all plants, you know, and that's what they do. And they're all equally healthy. So the idea that they're sort of just one paleo diet or one natural diet just drives me crazy. As an anthropologist, one of the things I love about studying people all over the globe is this sort of the yin and yang, the sweet and salty of the differences and the similarities. Right?

[00:23:40.200] – Dr. Pontzer
We're all the same. We're all humans, we have all the same motivations going on. And yet the way that we meet all those needs is so different and the cultures are so different. So to have to kind of rewrite some history of us that says, oh, it was only one way or only this way or it just doesn't, just such a disservice to how cool humans are, I think. And how diverse we are.

[00:24:00.720] – Allan
Yeah. But we wouldn't have survived if we didn't have that capacity at some level.

[00:24:06.300] – Dr. Pontzer
Absolutely!

[00:24:06.810] – Allan
To go for periods of time without food and not die. To not have a blood sugar crash and go into a coma because we went two days without actually being able to find food. We have to be able to go without food for a period of time and still function. Yeah. And we have to be able to go ahead. And when it's time and we find the food, we eat what we got, we eat what's there. So if you're climbing up a tree and your lunch is made, it's just honey and honeycombs.

[00:24:33.930] – Allan
I mean, that's that's your lunch. You know, it took a lot of work. It took time. It took effort and a lot of calories getting there. And then you're there and then you enjoy the honey and. Yeah, then I guess you take some home so, you can trade or do something with it, but and someone's going to come home. And that's another thing I really kind of liked about their culture. One of the reasons they're probably so healthy is just their attitude and the social bonds they have with their kinfolk and the people around them in their tribe. And so they're just there and they're they're taking care of themselves or taking care of each other. And they recognize where they are in the world, at least from the perspective of if they don't help each other, they're screwed.

[00:25:18.870] – Dr. Pontzer
Yeah, sharing that community ethos is so strong. And, you know, and it's one of those things that make us uniquely human. Right? I mean, no other species. You can't find any other species where half of the animals get one kind of food and half the same animals get another kind of food and they come together at the end of the day and share it doesn't happen. Doesn't exist at all. So hunting and gathering, which was what now that is the human strategy for millions of years, is so interesting and so key.

[00:25:46.500] – Dr. Pontzer
And it at its core is that we're going to be these socially connected people. Right. I think that's what's so hard about Covid. For example, konbit is just such a killer because it says you can't be a social as you'd like to be in it just now. It's really hard.

[00:26:00.660] – Allan
And I've said this many, many times. I wish, I wish, I wish. And I know it's a scientific term that came up with and they're using it. But socially distancing was not what we need to do. We need to physically distance.

[00:26:13.170] – Dr. Pontzer
Yes. Yeah. And a really good point.

[00:26:15.420] – Allan
And so I know, but I actually went back and I saw where they had started. Using the term social distancing as a strategy many, many decades ago, this is not new. I mean, it's been in the books. That term has been in the books for a long, long, long, long, long before anyone thought of Facebook or anything like that. But we don't need to socially distance. We need to physically distance when it's appropriate and hopefully now with the things that are going on, we're going to move past all that. But we've got to keep our immune system healthy and we've got to do the other things that are necessary for us to thrive as humans. One of the things that's going to come up is like, OK, if my personal trainer making me exercise these do this stupid HIIT workout or the stupid, he's going to say, OK, I need you to do I want you to do 30 minutes of cardio, four days a week.

[00:27:06.310] – Allan
There's other benefits to that. And we can get into that for sure. But if it won't help me do what I want to do, which 90 percent of the people approaching a personal trainer, the first thing on their head is I want to lose weight, or at least I want to lose body fat, don't necessarily want to lose weight, but I call it weight because that's what everybody calls it and that's what the scale calls it. And that's the easiest measurement tool I have available to me, the most cost effective tool I have. So we'll just say I want to lose weight. Why should I still do exercise?

[00:27:36.370] – Dr. Pontzer
Yeah. So all those adjustments your body makes to exercise, to take, to spend less energy on everything else, to keep your energy expenditure the same. Turns out that those changes are we think and this is really this is kind of bleeding edge science right now. I don't think we're working on right now to know exactly how this all works out. But it seems like those changes that down regulation of other stuff is the one of the big reasons exercise is so good for you.

[00:28:03.830] – Dr. Pontzer
And so it helps actually put together a bunch of phenomena that people have noticed over the years and it kind of knits it all together. So we know, for example, that if you exercise a lot, people who exercise a lot tend to have lower levels of inflammation. But what is inflammation? Inflammation is your innate immune response to an attack, to a pathogen or to a cut or something like that. And you need some of it.

[00:28:25.480] – Dr. Pontzer
You need some immune response or you'll do very well. But too much is too much. Right. You want to you want the fire department to come when you call them, but you don't want it at your house all the time. So that's what inflammation, chronic inflammation is like. Stress reactivity. You need some stress reactivity to be normal and healthy. You don't want to have big surges of cortisol and adrenaline every time you know something happens.

[00:28:52.720] – Dr. Pontzer
Reproductive hormones. Yes. You want to have met a healthy level. Nobody wants any kind of dysfunction, of course. But it turns out that the levels that we typically have of testosterone and estrogen in places like the US and Europe in industrialized societies are much, much higher than they are in groups like the Hadza that are physically active. And by the way, they had to have just a fine time having getting pregnant, having families. That isn't an issue. So we're not talking about where you supposed to where there are issues. We're talking about just having it at a healthy level.

[00:29:24.880] – Dr. Pontzer
All of those individual phenomena have been noticed before. And what I think the constraint energy expenditure does nicely is say, oh, OK, this is the framework. Right. It's an energy framework because I'm spending more on activity, on exercise, because I'm doing the HIIT workout, I'm getting stronger. My heart's getting stronger. That's all great. I don't maybe see the number on the bathroom scale change very much. But what I also don't notice. But what is really good for me is all the other amazing stuff is doing for me because of that adjustment. Right. So this isn't a don't bother exercise in story. This is a here's why you have to keep exercise story even if you're not getting the weight change you wish you had.

[00:30:02.080] – Allan
Yeah. And I think that's just really, really hard for people to wrap their head around is, I want this thing and yet those other things sound great, but I think

[00:30:14.230] – Dr. Pontzer
It sounds great. But I'd really like to look.

[00:30:16.330] – Allan
I'd like to look better in my casket. Again, it's just one of those things of saying this. And the other thing I found is really interesting is the people who exercise are healthier.

[00:30:32.800] – Dr. Pontzer
Yeah.

[00:30:33.760] – Allan
Not necessarily that they've lost the weight, but it's sort of that kind of that backwards to the energy model is they never really had a need to store extra energy anyway. And so when we get on the other side of that, then this is kind of one of my takeaways. And I may be reading a little bit too much into it, but is if it if it took me three decades or even two decades to put on that extra 30 pounds.

[00:31:01.150] – Allan
And I try to say, OK, I'm just going to just kind to bless that elliptical every day of the week. And I'm going to you know, I want to keep seeing those 750s just plop, plop, plop. And initially it works. You know, I'm eating better and I'm seeing some some things or at least I'm eating less. But then I get three weeks and I'm hungry. And I'm like, OK, so now I'm hungry and I'm fighting hunger and hunger, it wins. So that's always it always wins that argument.

[00:31:31.360] – Allan
So for the folks that are fighting that struggle, to me, it seems the solution that you've kind of based on what you are finding, we really need to ratchet up the patients with our body.

[00:31:43.390] – Dr. Pontzer
Yeah. Yeah.

[00:31:44.620] – Allan
To let it do the things it needs to do. And if we're eating natural things like because they're not calling a Pizza Hut now at ten o'clock at night and saying, you know, deliver two pizzas there, they're eating real food.

[00:32:00.430] – Dr. Pontzer
Yeah, that's right. I mean, you know, the stuff that gets us into trouble and this is some really cool work by a guy named Kevin Hall and other groups have worked on this, in the lab, when you can control people are eating and really watch what they're doing. What are the foods that get you into trouble? It's it doesn't seem like there's any particular nutrient that's the villain, okay, eating too many carbs.

[00:32:20.080] – Dr. Pontzer
Yeah, sure. Too many of anything's bad. Too much fat is also bad. So what we did eat too much. Well it seems to lead people to eat too much is when they eat these really ultra-processed over-engineered foods. Right? That are literally built in the laboratory, in focus group tested to make sure that you eat too much. Right. That's how they make their money. And actually, that's a pretty cynical take on it. I'm not trying to vilify food industry, for that matter.

[00:32:44.950] – Allan
We should now. It's more than the model. They're blatantly telling you this now. I mean, I remember a Super Bowl commercial. And it was a Pringles commercial, which is just processed potato flour. I mean, it's just… Anyway, so they had one that was pizza flavor, OK? And then the guy says he had another one.

[00:33:05.440] – Allan
His friend had chicken. Yeah. So they put the chicken one on the pizza one and they ate both of them at the same time. And the chicken pizza and barbecue had barbecue and they put all three of them. And so they've gone beyond the you can't eat just one, bet you can just one to eat three, stack them up, find multiple flavors that you like paired together or triple together. They're not even hiding. They're not even hiding them.

[00:33:34.270] – Dr. Pontzer
Yeah. And I mean it is delicious but it gets into trouble because you know what we're finding is that, that and I should say we, I mean we literally there this is people who are looking specifically at diet. But your brain does an amazing job regulating how many calories come in and how many calories go out, even if you're gaining a couple of pounds a year, which is the kind of that is the American obesity epidemic is a couple of pounds a year.

[00:34:03.700] – Dr. Pontzer
Even if you're doing that, you're still matching your brain is still matching (think about this) intake to expenditure to within like point zero five percent. I mean, an incredibly amazing amount of precision there. So then how does it get even a little bit off track, because that's what obesity is. Your brain's going a little bit out of whack matching intake and expenditure. And, you know, it looks like it's these ultra-processed foods that completely blow up your reward system. Right? And your brain is like, oh my God, this is amazing. They don't have fiber. They don't have protein because that's expensive. So they just are full of sugars and fats, oils usually. And and so they don't have any of the of the indicators that your brain usually uses to tell you that your full like fiber and protein, they reward you like crazy. And so you want to bring in more. And so guess what?

[00:34:56.860] – Dr. Pontzer
Your brain is just a little bit just a little small error all the time, more and more and more. If you're eating that. Those are the big killers. And what I love about this is one of the best pieces of evidence that that's what's going on here, is that if you look at the hundreds of genes that have been associated with high BMI, with obesity, nearly every one of them is active in your brain. Right?

[00:35:22.060] – Dr. Pontzer
So it isn't your your fat cells that are out of whack or your liver cells that are out of whack or your stomach. It's your brain cells that are not out of whack. They're poorly, they're a poor fit to this weird modern food environment we've made, so that's the crux right there. Like you're saying, how do you lose the weight? Well, if you just crash diet, your body's going to respond.

[00:35:44.270] – Dr. Pontzer
If you hit the gym like crazy, your body response, you basically had to take these foods, engineered them back out of your life. And that's pretty much how you have to do it.

[00:35:52.400] – Allan
And then have the patience to let that play out. Because, again, like you said, that fractional difference is your brain and your body start to recollect and say, hey, I got way too much me here. This is actually not good for me to keep going. I need to get rid of some of this. Your brain will originally eventually turn on and say, okay we're getting what we need, we're full, and in your body will then respond. But it's going to be that gradual, have patience with the process.

[00:36:22.820] – Dr. Pontzer
Yeah. And some folks are going to find know the trick is, can you find a diet that you're eating healthily, you're getting all your micronutrients, your weight is either where you want it to be or go in the direction you want it to be. And you feel full because you say hunger is always going to win. So if you're feeling hungry, it's not going to work. And so, it's not a diet book. I don't feel to get the impression this is the next diet to eat.

[00:36:48.200] – Dr. Pontzer
You know, that's not the idea here. The idea is what are the principles? How does your body work? What's the owner's manual look like? So you can take charge of this thing? And, the principles seem to be if you eat more fiber, eat more protein, you know, those are ways to feel full on less. And some people are going to find that in a Carnivore diet where a lot of the protein is what saves you. Some are going to find that a plant based diet where the fibers let's say you you know, I mean, there's lots of ways to do it.

[00:37:11.570] – Allan
Yeah, well, I think it could be a diet book. So go to Africa, make your own make your own bow and arrow. Make your own stick. They've got roots and tubulars. And and then. Yeah. Walk nineteen hundred steps per day to go kill. I don't know a giraffe.

[00:37:29.080] – Dr. Pontzer
Yeah. Right, right.

[00:37:31.310] – Allan
That'll do.

[00:37:33.250] – Dr. Pontzer
Yeah. Or cook your food with no seasoning. That's another thing. Right? I mean have they got a little bit of salt. That's it. You know they don't really they're food sadly their food is not delicious. I kind of wish it were. Honey is delicious. The honey. How much honey can you eat my lord. You know. Anyway.

[00:37:51.470] – Allan
Oh perfect. So Dr. Pontzer, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well.

[00:38:02.810] – Dr. Pontzer
That's a great question. I would say get outside because if you're outside, you're probably moving. You're probably breathing clean air. It lifts your mood. So get outside, stay connected. Because I think that's the social aspect of this. The social connections are really important and then don't trade diet for exercise or vice versa. Those are two different tools or two different jobs. And so you got to kind of do both. So I got a squeeze in for I did.

[00:38:30.800] – Allan
That's perfect.

[00:38:32.150] – Dr. Pontzer
That's what I'd say.

[00:38:33.200] – Allan
OK, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book Burn, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:38:39.920] – Dr. Pontzer
Well, the book is a good place to start. You could also check out what we're doing in the sponsor lab here at Duke. Look us up on the Duke website, or if you want to find out more about the Hadza and for that matter, if you want to help the Hadza, because one of the things that we really try to do with our work is to give back is check out the Hadzafund.org, you can find out more about their culture, more about our work and ways you can donate and help give back if you like.

[00:39:08.120] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/478 and I'll be sure to have those links there. Dr. Pontzer, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:39:17.660] – Dr. Pontzer
It was so much fun. Thanks a lot.


Post Show/Recap

[00:39:24.330] – Allan
Welcome back, Raz.

[00:39:26.160] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, what a fascinating interview. I have to say that this whole theory about calorie expenditure kind of blew my mind a little bit.

[00:39:36.330] – Allan
Yeah. I just love anthropologist's. I just do. The ones that go out there, the Indiana Jones kind, because he had some really cool stories and in the book about his adventures, particularly in Africa with the Hadza tribe. But he just saw some things there that, you know, you wouldn't you wouldn't see anywhere else and you would experience someone else. And so just to really cool experiences.

[00:40:02.220] – Allan
And then, yeah, when he sat down with them, they went in with the hypothesis and he did real science, which is crazy, real science, where you have a hypothesis. And when your hypothesis is wrong, they acknowledge it and say, hey, we were wrong, this is what's actually going on. So, yeah, the hypothesis was that these guys were burning thousands and thousands and thousands of calories every day. And as a result, that's why they were so freaking skinny. But the reality of it was, no, no, they're not. Their body is is finding equilibrium at a lower overall BMI. I mean, I'm starting at BMI, but basal metabolic rate BMR.

[00:40:48.630] – Allan
And so basically what happens is that your body slows down other functions, eliminate some of it needs to for periods of time. And so, we've seen this someone who starved for a long period of time, they start losing muscle mass. But you see it, if a female athlete, particularly one who does endurance running, gets her body fat too low, keeps her energy levels too low, she stops menstruating.

[00:41:15.180] – Rachel
Yeah.

[00:41:16.200] – Allan
And one of the fascinating things that he talked about in the book was that the size of a person's spleen will go down. So you're quite literally using energy from your spleen and that's your immune system. And so therefore, you're not your immune system isn't functioning as well as it should. So your reproductive system can slow down and stop your your immune system can slow down and stop. And all because it wants to keep your brain alive, your heart alive, your liver alive, and you alive. And so it's a requirement. It's necessary if you can't get enough calories. No matter how hard you need to work, your body is going to find balance.

[00:41:58.030] – Rachel
Yeah, that is incredible. It's amazing to think that a hunter-gatherer tribe like the Hadza that he studied and people here in the United States even have similar caloric expenditure where you can only go so far. You can like he said, you can't crash diet and you can't hit the gym hard enough. I mean, there's a point where it doesn't make sense.

[00:42:22.510] – Allan
Yeah, but but one of the core points to take away from that is not so much just what our bodies are doing, but to understand that the calories that we're burning are not for the right reason our immune systems are overactive. Our systems are over. We have many systems that are overactive because of how we treat our bodies, what we put in them, and so, we are burning a lot and we were burning more calories, but we're burning it being sedentary.

[00:42:54.900] – Allan
So it's not that we're exercising to have those extra calories burned. That's not where his average is coming from. It's just coming from the fact that our body is going to burn about the same, whether it's doing it for the right reasons or the wrong reasons.

[00:43:10.260] – Rachel
It's just an incredible experiment.

[00:43:12.930] – Allan
And so for me, the core takeaway and, we've talked about this a lot lately is that you. Yes. You can't lose weight relatively quickly. If you go on on a diet, the diet's probably going to work for a period of time and then it might not. And when it doesn't, then there's the frustration. Usually there's the retaliation. So, oh, that didn't work. Well, I'm go ahead and just have that bottle of wine I didn't have last weekend because my diet stopped working.

[00:43:42.630] – Allan
And then there's the other part of this is just the dealing with hunger. And we just we don't deal with hunger very well because food's just everywhere. And, you know, I think one of the core things for me, and you see it you see in the commercials is they have the Snickers commercial where, you know, someone's starting to get what they call hangry. And as a result, they're kind of angry and hungry and it all comes together.

[00:44:12.250] – Allan
And what's the solution? The solution is to throw sugar at it, throw throw a Snickers bar at it, and that's going to solve your your hangry problem. But, that's not how this works. And as a result, I think one of the core takeaways for me was that if we really want to do weight loss responsibly, we've got to look at weight loss as a slow, long process and so slowly whittling away by eating whole foods, nutritious food, being hungry sometimes and maybe not eating as often as we do, those are all going to be strategies that will help us lose the weight we want to lose.

[00:44:53.130] – Allan
But it's going to take time. You just have to be patient. If you if you want to lose weight, you can't out exercise a bad diet. And it's really also not in your best interest to under eat what your body requires.

[00:45:06.780] – Rachel
Absolutely. There's a point where you need a fuel for…

[00:45:11.340] – Allan
All right. Well, it looks like Rachel has some connectivity problems today, so she's dropped off. But I'll talk to you next week, Rachel.

Patreons

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

– Anne Lynch– John Somsky– Margaret Bakalian
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy

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Lose weight and feel great on two meals per day with Brad Kerns

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Brad Kerns is the co-author with Mark Sisson of the book, Two Meals a Day: The Simple, Sustainable Strategy to Lose Fat, Reverse Aging, and Break Free from Diet Frustration Forever.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:00:48.630] – Allan
Hey Raz! How are things going?

[00:00:50.850] – Rachel
Good. How are you today, Allan?

[00:00:52.980] – Allan
I'm doing OK. You know, it's been some busy times. The 12-week program is going on, and I'm just loving that. I just I draw so much energy from those guys. I can't tell you enough how much fun it is to just be working with people and then, the gym open. And it's been a slow growth. But, I was sitting there on Sunday and just thinking about the month (we record a couple of weeks in advance) and accounting stuff. This was not a bad month.

[00:01:34.050] – Rachel
Oh, good.

[00:01:35.370] – Allan
In February we reopened on the first. This was not a bad month. Tt's not a great month because we don't have the tourists, so the drop-ins were about one-seventh of what we would normally see for drop-in revenue. But the the membership was strong. And we've got a lot of new members and faces that we didn't have last year before we closed. So I feel pretty good about where the gym's going and how that's growing. And I was thinking it kind of a blessing for this slow growth because it happened and it was still generally a good month. And it wasn't overwhelming at the gym. I think that was kind of the cool thing.

[00:02:18.450] – Allan
But, like everything else, we've got to be careful with Covid as we start getting bigger. I had one night I was working a shift and we had seven people and they were all in the free weight section. And so it was just a little crowded back there. And I was like, okay I can't let anybody else on this side of the building. If someone wants to go and do some some of the cardio equipment or on the other side than they're more than welcome to go in there. If someone comes in and they want to lift weights, I'm going to make them sit on the bench and wait. Just to make sure we didn't get things too crowded in there.

[00:02:50.520] – Allan
We don't really have a capacity limit. But I kind of learned that we kind of do have a capacity, just everybody being two meters apart.

[00:02:58.560] – Rachel
Right.

[00:02:58.950] – Allan
We just have to be responsible about that. So, if you are going to the gym now, the gyms have reopened. Just be cognizant of the two meters. Wipe down your machines before and after you use them and just use good hygiene around this. And for the most part, you're probably going to be successful at not getting it.

[00:03:18.690] – Rachel
So for sure. Absolutely. That's great. Good to hear that.

[00:03:22.380] – Allan
How are things up north?

[00:03:24.120] – Rachel
Good. We actually had a break in the weather, which was nice. And over the weekend I had a little win myself. I actually surprised myself. I did a 10K, which is not a huge thing for me, but I was challenged in the month of February to set, in FKT, a Fastest Known Time within this community I participate with online. And so I chose my normal 10K route to do my time. My FKT and my prior time for this route has been about an hour, four minutes and hour, six minutes or so, and we've had snow. So that kind of is a difficult thing to get through. But we had this break in the weather and the sidewalks are clear.

[00:04:10.200] – Rachel
So I set out to do my 10k and I thought, okay, I don't know if I can do this, but I'm going to pretend it's a race day. And I set out and I ran smoothly and the downhills. I ran relaxed on the uphills. And when I got home and turned off my watch, I had a fifty-eight minute forty-seven second 10k. So I actually beatmy proposed time of a su-hour 10k. So it was a win.

[00:04:38.550] – Allan
Awesome!

[00:04:38.850] – Rachel
Thank you. I was really surprised. So it was a good day.

[00:04:44.010] – Allan
Awesome. That, that has to feel really, really good.

[00:04:47.100] – Rachel
It does. I've been really focused on training for my fifty miler that's coming up this summer and so that means a lot of slow miles. So I'm not used to running fast. So again, that's another reason why it was kind of a surprise for me.

[00:05:01.350] – Allan
And, you know, sometimes that's kind of the way these things work is you're not expecting it and you just have a really good run.

[00:05:08.790] – Rachel
It was.

[00:05:09.000] – Allan
But you've got to be out there running to have a really good run.

[00:05:12.000] – Rachel
That's right. You got to do it.

[00:05:14.040] – Allan
Good on you.

[00:05:14.370] – Rachel
Thank you.

[00:05:15.450] – Allan
Not letting the Michigan weather keep you indoors.

[00:05:18.330] – Rachel
That's right.

[00:05:19.540] – Allan
So you're trained and that's. And then show. So good job.

[00:05:22.910] – Rachel
Thank you.

[00:05:23.570] – Allan
All right, are you guys ready to talk to Brad?

[00:05:25.790] – Rachel
Yes, let's do this.

Interview

[00:06:21.080] – Allan
Brad, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:23.700] – Brad
Allan, I'm so happy to be here. And I have to say that was one of the best warm chats of any podcast. We are on fire right now. The listeners have no idea what's coming. So brace yourselves, everyone. If you're listening at 1.7 speed like me, turn it down to 1.0 because we're going to hit this stuff hard, man.

[00:06:43.010] – Allan
Yeah, we I guess Brad and I kind of have a lot in common with the kind of people that we like to talk to. And so with his podcast and my podcast where we're talking, it's maybe even talking to some of the same people. We just we just realize we're both going to be talking to the same guy. And it's a pretty fascinating book. So stay tuned to this podcast for a while. Go check out Brad's podcast, because we're going to be bringing on Dr. Pontzer. It's going to be an awesome conversation, but this is also going to be a tremendous conversation.

[00:07:12.380] – Allan
Brad, you and Mark wrote the book Two Meals a Day: The Simple, Sustainable Strategy to Lose Fat, Reverse Aging and Break Free From Diet Frustration Forever. And I have to say, I had followed a OMAD, I've known about OMAD for a while and I've known about time-restricted eating. And so you guys are approaching this from a perspective of being told we have to have six meals a day to lose weight is fundamentally flawed.

[00:07:42.140] – Allan
We should give our body time to not eat, to not feed. And two meals a day is one of those sustainable ways. When I look at OMAD, I don't think I could do, OMAD because I don't think I could eat enough calories in one meal. But looking at two meals a day and thinking of it as an eating window, whether it's six hours or eight hours, I quite easily could have a moderate-sized meal and then a big meal, get all the nutrition I need and do that and allow my body 16 to 18 hours to kind of do all the other cool stuff that the human body can do for itself.

[00:08:22.460] – Brad
Yeah, well said. I think we've been programmed since we were kids to be dependent on dietary carbohydrates as our primary source of energy. And anyone can reference this. If you've ever felt terrible after skipping a single meal and then you have the afternoon blues and you're tired and cranky and you finally go and binge on way too much junk food when you get your hands on something and when you go to the supermarket and go shopping. So the idea here is that we want to continue to honor this evolutionary model of how humans are meant to operate.

[00:09:00.560] – Brad
And we're meant to have stored body fat as our primary source of energy. And that's why we store so much of it and are so good at storing it. And this is going back for millions of years where the human never had regular meals until recent times, recent generations. And so by sitting down to these regular meals like clockwork, we've transitioned away from being fat burners to being carbohydrate dependent.

[00:09:27.350] – Brad
And it's really easy to reprogram the genes. It doesn't take that long. Your body's ready and willing to become better and more competent at burning body fat and being able to skip meals. And I think most listeners who are into this health awareness know all this and can nod their heads. And they've heard that fasting is great and intermittent fasting is the latest buzzword. It just passed keto on the Google search terms as the the most popular diet search term. But here's the thing, we take the trouble to go in the book and say, look, you can't just jump into this and expect all these wonderful benefits if you don't engage in fasting properly.

[00:10:06.350] – Brad
And so if you try to go and skip breakfast because you read this book two meals a day and it says, hey, I'll only eat two meals a day, it's way better than eating three, you're going to have what we might call a stress hormone bath, because if you're dependent on carbs for your energy source. And then all of a sudden you restrict them because you heard about the keto diet or you want to skip meals and lose weight in this ill-advised manner, what's going to happen is you're going to get your glucose, your sugar, no matter what, because that's what you're used to burning.

[00:10:36.740] – Brad
And so you'll do it through this stress response that we call gluconogenesis, which is converting lean muscle mass into glucose to fuel that ravenous brain that needs to burn glucose primarily throughout the day. And so the approach here is to transition in a smooth and comfortable manner. So there's no more struggling or suffering or all these deprivation, mindset, and physical symptoms that we associate with dieting, because that is the failed approach that we can all agree is it doesn't work.

[00:11:10.820] – Brad
And so now we have an agreeable, doable, and sustainable strategy that's not painful. It's just about making good choices and understanding what the body's meant to burn as a preference.

[00:11:25.520] – Allan
Yeah. As humans, we love simple. Everybody loves a simple rule. If this then that. We like the ability to wrap your mind around things that are simple. What a lot of us don't understand is that the human body is extremely complex. And that our body developed strategies to accomplish things outside of norms. So there would be a normal way, things would be. Normally I would like to be able to walk around and there's a fruit tree. I grab some fruit and I eat it. Oh, and there's a little woodland creature. And I bash it in the head. Now I've got some meat or I go catch some fish and I eat some fish and that's my day. I'm moving about a good bit of maybe probably walking around a little bit of a fast action because that critter is not going to just stand there and the fish is definitely not going to just hang out and say, here, grab me.

[00:12:23.580] – Allan
So there's a lot of work involved in getting my food. We don't have that today. So, where we had these simple ways of things were working for us. We've developed other ways. And so what I'm kind of getting at is you bring up a concept in the book that I think it's really important for people to understand is that we have metabolic flexibility. Our bodies develop this capacity to look at fuel in different ways, depending on what our circumstances are and when we're feeding ourselves carbohydrates all the time. It's basically energy in and then what a little bit of energy we can put out is great, but the rest of it's becoming excess body fat. And we're maybe not even tapping into that body fat because we never really gave our body an opportunity to even consider that because we fed more carbohydrates before that ever happened. Can you talk a little bit about metabolic flexibility and how that closed-loop system actually helps us maintain a really good, just basic health?

[00:13:30.840] – Brad
Yeah, thanks. So what I described at the outset is really metabolic inflexibility, where you are dependent upon these regular doses of carbohydrate and other food as your energy source. So metabolic flexibility implies that you can really take or leave a meal at a certain time because body fat is always there and able to be burned for energy and keeping your focus and your mood and your appetite all stabilized throughout the day.

[00:14:01.440] – Brad
And people who are a little bit familiar with the ketogenic diet, the goal there is to restrict carbs to the extent that your body starts making this alternative internal fuel source called ketones, the liver makes ketones as a byproduct of fat metabolism when carbohydrate intake is really low and liver glycogen is really low. So you're prompted to make this wonderful fuel source that burns more cleanly than glucose and your brain preferentially burns ketones. So you're in this kind of heightened state of alertness and you feel great and you have less inflammation and you get all these benefits from the ketogenic diet.

[00:14:37.020] – Brad
It takes a lot of structure to do so because once you start consuming a little bit of carbs, you stop making ketones. But just as you teed this up, we have so many different ways that we can burn energy and sustain ourselves and even function at peak levels without having these super-duper, nutrient bomber drink juices that you need to drink in the morning to get your antioxidants. The body manufactures antioxidants internally, and the internal antioxidant response is possibly more powerful than anything you can consume in a bowl or in a smoothie.

[00:15:13.800] – Brad
So just by fasting, we get all these health benefits. We have a great anti-inflammatory response. The immune system works better. Our cellular repair processes work better when we're not eating because we can devote the energy to these other things. That's why animals fast when they're sick and humans should, too. So, this metabolic flexibility concept goes to not only getting good at burning body fat, but also if it's time for your child's 12th birthday at Chuck E. Cheese and you decide to throw down some breadsticks and a hot fudge sundae afterward, that your body can process that load of unhealthy junk food and you'll live to see another day and you'll wake up the next day and let's say engage in a fasting period to get back to your baseline of fat burning so that you can handle not only dietary imperfections, but also be skipping meals. So that's the flexibility part of the equation there.

[00:16:11.520] – Allan
We're not recommending Chuck E. Cheese, but by all means,

[00:16:14.670] – Brad
This show is not sponsored by Chuck E. Cheese.

[00:16:17.040] – Allan
Not at all. I understand you go there with your kid. It's there. It smells what it smells like.

[00:16:25.740] – Allan
One of the things you get into the book that I think is really important, and this is where I'll be having a conversation with the new client and they'll be like, okay, I want to lose some weight. And this is kind of my go-to (I haven't looked at it from this direction). I always just talk about eat whole food, just whole food, and that solves 99.9% of the problems. In fact, whether I'm talking to a vegan or a carnivore or anybody in between, the one thing they all agree with is eat whole food. You know, they may disagree on whether it needs to be all plant-based or needs to be all animal-based. But in the end, that's what they're after.

[00:17:06.480] – Allan
In the book you looked at from another perspective, you called them the three big toxic modern foods. Could you talk a little bit about those?

[00:17:13.500] – Brad
Yeah, you just remind me now that there is something we all agree on, because for years before the emergence of this carnivore movement, which I'm really fascinated by and have seen some amazing healing stories from people eliminating plant toxins. But previously we all agreed that the wonderful, colorful fruits and vegetables are the basis of a healthy diet, even if you're a vegan, even if you're a paleo person. And now even that's called into dispute. So it's like, oh, yeah, we still agree that whole foods are better than processed foods.

[00:17:42.990] – Brad
I guess unless you're pitching your energy bar or your powders and potions and things like that. But yeah, good point. So whole food would be a great starting point. And then I forgot your question now.

[00:17:57.120] – Allan
Oh, it was the three toxic modern foods.

[00:17:59.820] – Brad
Yeah, the three toxic modern foods. I think it is a great place to start because a lot of the research now is revealing that the magical, wondrous benefits of the various diets are mostly what the person is eliminating rather than the amazing transformational powers of going on a vegan plant-based diet.

[00:18:21.930] – Brad
In fact, we pretty much trying to be polite and not cross into the boundaries of the faction building and all that. It's a high-risk diet because you're eliminating a whole bunch of nutrient-dense foods. Same with carnivore. People have all kinds of criticism for that, saying that it's unbalanced and you're going to drop dead of colon cancer and a heart attack.

[00:18:46.050] – Brad
All those challenges aside for a moment, if you just get rid of junk food, you're probably going to experience an incredible health transformation. And that's where a lot of these leaders of whatever it is that they're touting can kind of attribute this amazing success stories. Is that any transition away from the standard American diet, which Dr. Loren Cordain cites research that 71% of the calories that we consume today in the traditional diet are completely absent from our evolutionary experience.

[00:19:22.260] – Brad
So they're processed modern foods that are nutrient deficient and calorie-dense things like grains, things like sugars, and refined industrial seed oils. So those are the big three right there. And I probably should put it up at number one, the refined industrial seed oils, because those are sometimes overlooked. People all know that sugar is overconsumed. And we got to cut back on our sugar. The paleo ancestral movement knows that we call refined grains sort of in the same category as sugar because they're quickly converted to glucose as soon as you ingest them. They don't have many nutritional benefits whatsoever. And so we have grains, sugars, and the industrial seed oils, which are the bottled manufactured oils like canola, corn, soybeans, sunflower, safflower, etc. and then the prevalence of these oils in processed foods of all kinds, frozen, packaged. You can look on the box of anything that's pretty much of a manufactured product and you'll see these oils included in there, even salad dressings, condiments, things that seem innocent. The oils are thrown in left and right.

[00:20:31.800] – Brad
And then, unfortunately, almost all restaurant food starting from junky, fast food, of course, where you're getting your fries in your burger and what have you or getting stopping at the gas station and getting some quick fare off the shelf. But even at medium to fine restaurants, they are most likely cooking these wonderful meals. You're paying a good money for the entree in the refined industrial seed oils. A lot of people call them vegetable oils.

[00:20:58.740] – Brad
That's a challenge because when you're out there, you can't go back in the kitchen and see. But you can ask and inquire, can you please cook my omelet and butter or something besides vegetable oil? And if you don't succeed there, you might want to find a different restaurant because this stuff is the most toxic thing that's in the food supply. As soon as we consume them, we experience an immediate disturbance in healthy cellular function, especially in the cardiovascular system.

[00:21:24.030] – Brad
So the big problem here, too, is that the ingestion or the inclusion of these oils in the diet renders your fat burning capabilities dysfunctional because the the agents are integrated into healthy fat cells. And so they become difficult to burn because you have this chemically altered component into your body.

[00:21:46.050] – Brad
If you have trouble burning stored body fat, guess what's going to happen when you try to cut back on dietary carbohydrates? It's going to be difficult, if not impossible, because you're going to be dragging ass in the afternoon and you're going to need some quick energy because you're not kicking into fat burning.

[00:22:03.450] – Brad
And that's, I think, where a lot of people have suffered and failed with devoted dietary restriction. I mean, we interact with these people for the past decade where you we'll be putting on a live event or retreat. And I see people coming up to Mark Sisson with tears in their eyes saying, Mark, I got your book three years ago. I've done everything you've said to the letter and I can't succeed. And I feel terrible. And a lot of it's because of the chemical ingestion that's throwing off your your metabolism.

[00:22:30.630] – Brad
And then you don't have this wonderous gateway to the fat-burning lifestyle where you can fast you can enjoy meals, you can get up from the table, you feel alert and energized and all these wonderful things. So the seed oils would be the number one thing to really scrutinize and get rid of immediately. And then with the grains and the sugars, we know that these agents have addictive properties. The great work of Gary Taubes, Dr William Davis, best selling book, Wheat Belly, talking about the addictive properties of the gliadin and protein in modern-day wheat and gluten.

[00:23:04.950] – Brad
And so this stuff is also nasty because when you try (and I'm making air quotes here on the video), when you try to cut back on sugar, you have a very difficult time. So what we advocate is, look, take a few weeks. Twenty-one days would be a great benchmark to have a complete restriction of grains, sugars, and industrial coils from your diet.

[00:23:26.520] – Brad
And that will help you up regulate. The fat burning gene, so that you can manufacture energy internally and feel okay without slamming down meals and snacks all day long, and so this kind of devoted, cold turkey approach seems to be the way to go because these foods are so addictive.

[00:23:49.280] – Brad
Now, is that going to be difficult? Yeah, it's going to be tough for many people. But a lot of times we hear people saying, stick it out, hang in there. Yeah. The keto or the low carb flu is really tough and you feel terrible. But don't worry. Three weeks from now, you'll feel okay. And I strongly reject that ideal, because if people are struggling and suffering with a dietary transformation, something is flawed with the approach. And so instead, if you agree to ditch these big three toxic modern foods, what you can then do is transition over to beautiful, delicious, lavish meals that sustain you and nourish you.

[00:24:29.340] – Brad
In my own personal example, 13 years ago, when I switched over to a primal ancestral style eating, I traded in this giant bowl of cereal that I'd had every single day of my life. I used to be an endurance athlete. I was burning many, many calories every day. So I'd have this giant horse trough bowl of cereal with five different kinds, of course, all the healthy kinds of cereals. But I'd have nonfat yogurt on there and sliced bananas and berries and a ton of calories.

[00:24:56.210] – Brad
So I traded that for a gigantic omelet that I made every morning. And I would use five or six eggs and saute the vegetables and have sliced avocado and salsa and cheese and bacon. And it was incredibly delicious and it sustained me for many hours, but it wasn't giving me that carbohydrate bomb. But that made my transition smooth and easy and enjoyable rather than, let's say, trading in that cereal bowl for a fasting period of four hours. I honestly couldn't have couldn't have done it.

[00:25:25.010] – Brad
And that was a healthy person without metabolic damage that a lot of people are bringing to the table. So if you can replace the processed food with nutrient-dense foods, it's in most cases you're going to feel great. There's not going to be any suffering involved and you'll be looking forward to your next nutritious meal and then build that momentum to where at a certain point in a natural and graceful manner, you'll probably be able to skip. Like I was finally able to skip that omelet every single morning because six months later I felt great and I wasn't super hungry as soon as I woke up.

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[00:27:37.590] – Allan
Yeah, I think the kind of the worst part of this is the food that's good for us doesn't have a marketing department, but the food that's bad for us does. And so you're going to see things on labels like heart-healthy, like you would with cereal. And then, of course, you're going to see this salad dressing you just bought… Not Mark's brand, Mark's brand is avocado oil. It's good stuff. But other brands, you'll see that they'll say they've got olive oil or they've got that.

[00:28:04.620] – Allan
You'll look at the actual label. And they do have that in there, but they've also got the seed oils in there. So it's in there. It's insidious. It's in everything. So the challenge becomes now I'm asking someone to go into their kitchen and throw all that stuff out. And for, I would say the vast majority of people in the United States, particularly, you're asking them to pretty much throw out their entire pantry, clean out their entire fridge, and in many cases go through their freezer and go through all of that stuff and that you start to realize how much… It's like 71% of our total calories is coming from this stuff.

[00:28:48.720] – Allan
So when the kitchen purge to me is one of the probably you know, as I talk to people, that's one of their most intimidating events. How does someone wrap their mind around I'm throwing away all this food?

[00:29:02.520] – Brad
Yeah, I like how you framed that.

[00:29:03.240] – Allan
And I can do the food in air quotes.

[00:29:07.080] – Brad
Yeah. Michael Pollan calls it, quote, edible food like substances rather than food. This processed 71% junk. But I like how you frame that question because maybe we should do it backwards. So, first we go shopping to the natural foods supermarket and we get the sustainably raised eggs and meat and seafood and then whatever fresh produce you like or things that are on the approved list. And so you have that like, let's say waiting in the wings in your in the back of your car, and then you go throw everything away into the garbage can in a five minute binge of of cleaning out that house.

[00:29:43.530] – Brad
But yeah, I can see that we're locked into routines and have difficulty with big change. But I think the restocking of the pantry with nutritious foods and maybe browsing the 40 recipes in the back of our book. And if you just flip through it and in a minute's time you'll see, wow, this stuff looks great. It's delicious. It's varied. And so there's so much you can do. And there's so many cookbooks now that are honoring the low carb or the ancestral approach.

[00:30:13.260] – Brad
And so there's no shortage of ideas. And for Gourmet's, that's great. They can go and look at the thirty-one ingredients and prepare a recipe that takes two hours. But for busy people or a lot of times, I encounter like my male peers aren't so gourmet in many cases. We wrote a couple of cookbooks called Keto Cooking for Cool Dudes and Carnivore Cooking for Cool Dudes, and we purposely made it not precise. You just throw in a little bit of this little bit of that, put some sardines in the skillet, crack a couple egg yolks, mix it up and you know, you can get these superfood meals without much time or energy or scrutiny.

[00:30:53.370] – Brad
And so that's the big one, is nourishing yourself with wonderful, delicious foods and doing it immediately so that there's not this lull where you don't know what to eat. You're fidgeting around and then you kind of reach for a really bad choice because your body's commanding you to consume calories. And that's no joke. I mean, a lot of people are starting out with a lot of discipline, motivation, willpower. And then it cracks because as we talked about offline, the human brain and the hypothalamus when it's hungry, there's nothing that can I mean, you're going to be pushing people out of the way to get something to sustain you.

[00:31:31.020] – Brad
So we have to do this in a strategic manner. And setting up those good meal habits is the big one, like I discussed with my omelet or whatever you want to put as the example.

[00:31:40.930] – Allan
And I think that's one of the keys. You know, when we talk about two meals a day or time-restricted eating, this is not like you immediately just jump in and say, okay, I had dinner tonight at seven o'clock and I'm not going to eat again until two o'clock tomorrow. That's typically not how this works. There's a transition period to doing time-restricted eating. And I like one of the things that you guys use used an acronym called WHEN which is When Hunger Ensues Naturally.

[00:32:12.090] – Allan
So it's kind of listening to your brain because invariably your brain's right. If it's telling you you're hungry, you're actually probably hungry. And if we try to not listen to it, then it's just too easy to fall back on old habits. And there's McDonald's. I'm driving by my windows down on a beautiful day. And I could smell it. If you're not answering yourself when you have control, now, you're in a situation where you probably don't.

[00:32:42.310] – Allan
And so how does someone go through? Because I know you guys have a plan in the book. You also have the recipes, which thanks for mentioning that, by the way, because I did want to make sure those are in there, too. How does someone go about approaching getting to two meals a day?

[00:32:58.510] – Brad
Yeah, good question. And I think when it's a really easy strategy to get your mind around and it's not intimidating or fearful. So when hunger ensues, naturally, we have to make sure that we really are talking about hunger.

[00:33:13.360] – Brad
And I think what we have today is boredom, prolonged periods of stillness with our lifestyles, especially working on the screen. And a lot of these things can mess up our metabolic function to the extent that we think we're hungry. But we might just benefit from going out and running two flights of stairs and returning to that default fat burning state that requires a little bit of movement throughout the day. There's research showing that if you sit still for as little as 20 minutes, you will experience a noticeable decrease in glucose tolerance and insulin resistance.

[00:33:52.090] – Brad
So in other words, you stop burning fat really well and you start to lose a little bit of cognitive function. The oxygen delivery, the blood circulation, everything kind of goes down because the body does not like to sit still for long periods of time. And so when you feel that decline in energy, we associate that with hunger perhaps. And then we go get an energy bar out of the drawer and we get a little boost for however long and then another drop and we go on this roller coaster all day long.

[00:34:22.390] – Brad
I'm kind of jumping without answering the question fully, but we do have to include those lifestyle elements into this picture. It's not just about your food choices, because if you're sitting there all day long in a chair not trying out this wonderful stand-up desk craze or thinking that you're too busy to take a one or two-minute break every 20 or 30 minutes, you're going to have real trouble adhering to a dietary transformation, especially getting rid of those carbohydrate foods that provide quick energy.

[00:34:56.590] – Brad
So back to trying to answer that question and integrating this concept of when hunger ensues, naturally, this implies that whatever fasting periods you're going to engage in, you're going to feel comfortable. You're going to have stable cognitive and even physical function in the absence of that meal. And that includes perhaps a workout some days where you can wake up in the morning, go through, even if it's a light workout, like a cardiovascular session at fat-burning heart rates, you want to feel good and strong .And that you're not needing, desperately needing calories to complete a 20 or 30-minute workout, maybe an hour workout or maybe a 20-minute high intensity workout where, of course, you have the energy stored in your body to complete it. But we have to kind of play it out in a natural and comfortable way.

[00:35:49.900] – Brad
Once you clean up the diet and get rid of those three toxic modern foods, we don't want to talk about anything. You can drop off this podcast right now or you can close the book at page seventy-one or whatever if you're unwilling or you haven't accomplished that goal. Because that's the gateway to a fat burning lifestyle. So once those foods are out of the picture, you're making good choices and you're having these nutrient-dense meals, then you can kind of tiptoe in this direction to say, okay how about if I wake up and wait around until hunger ensues naturally?

[00:36:26.920] – Brad
And that will be kind of a checkpoint as you do this exercise and see how long you can comfortably last before your meal, which is the exact opposite of the cavalier approach that you just mentioned, to say, okay tomorrow I'm going to suck it up and I'm going to wait till 2:00 p.m. and that's going to be a 16 hour or an 18 hour.

[00:36:47.230] – Brad
We want everything. We want you to kind of back into everything. So if you are keeping a food journal and you like that accountability, you write down when you eat after the fact because that's when you were hungry and you decided to eat, as opposed to saying, I have to make it till a certain time, otherwise I'm going to drop off the A-list on my plan here. So simple, sustainable, like we say, and doing it at the right time when you really feel you're ready.

[00:37:15.940] – Brad
And so let's say you wake up and at eight thirty in the morning your stomach is growling. And the reason your stomach is growling is because the prominent hunger hormone ghrelin is making it growling. So growling is an actual it's not just fun and games, it's an actual biological response, triggering hunger. And a lot of times the circadian rhythm is a strong influencer of this. So if you start skipping breakfast as part of this lifestyle transformation, you may experience these spikes in hunger in the morning because your body's used to eating at a certain time of day.

[00:37:52.120] – Brad
Maybe it's 2:00 in the afternoon when you always have your energy bar and soda break in the break room. And so you might experience hunger spikes, even though it's more circadian than that you're actually out of energy and you need food. So we have to learn to be more nuanced and more intuitive and see what our body is capable of. And you'll probably find that you're way more metabolically flexible than you even dreamed of, even right now. And then after three weeks of dietary restriction, getting rid of the junk. Oh, man. It's going to open up an amazing world of possibilities.

[00:38:25.370] – Brad
You and I know about these extreme enthusiasts where people will go on five-day fasts every quarter and twenty-four hour fasts once a week. And it seems like unimaginable to the average person. But when you get down to it, we're all pretty good at this stuff. We're all humans. If you have the ability to be patient and, you know, keep those junk foods out of the diet, you can really awaken some good fat-burning potential.

[00:38:56.420] – Allan
Yeah, there was this time and I've told this story on the podcast a couple of times, but I was I had some property and I went out there to do some work and just got up in the morning. I wasn't hungry. So I eat when I'm hungry. I don't even think about it unless I'm hungry. Then I'll eat for the most part. I might have a meal in the evening because only because I know if I don't, then I'm going to want to eat much later. And from a timing it doesn't make sense. But for everything else in my life, I'll just eat when I'm hungry. So I went through and I went out to my property and I finished the work. So I drive my tractor back onto the trailer and I'm going to leave the property and my truck got stuck. So I call AAA to come pull me out when he comes out there about an hour later, you know, which is what they've kind of promised. He was on time.

[00:39:41.290] – Allan
He went to pull me out and his truck broke. So, he had to call for a part. And so I just went ahead and grabbed. The reason I had this property was I had some fishing ponds. I'll just go do some fishing catch and release stuff. So I'm out there fishing. And it took him like four hours to get his truck fixed. He finally gets me out and then I'm driving back and I'm thinking to myself, it's six o'clock already. And I had a pretty tough morning work doing the work I was doing. It was not easy work. And I wasn't even thinking about food.

[00:40:15.020] – Allan
Before I got into what I'm doing with keto and fasting and just paying attention to the food I'm putting in my mouth versus eating what is there, I would have been chewing off my arm. But I had that flexibility we were talking about, I had the freedom that provides to basically say, I know when I'm actually hungry and I know what I'm not.

[00:40:41.900] – Allan
And it's it for a lot of people, it's kind of an interesting feeling because they think they're always hungry and then they actually feel full when they eat because they're eating, like you said, the highly-nutritious, high-quality foods. And they know what it feels like to actually be hungry because they let themselves actually get hungry before they eat again.

[00:41:04.910] – Brad
Right. And it's it is a wonderful feeling to experience hunger and then go satisfy that hunger with a great meal. And a lot of us are hugely disconnected from that because we just sit down because it's lunchtime and we're going to go have a business lunch. And then when we get home, of course, we're going to honor the the the dinner time and the family gathering. And all that stuff's great. And when we wake up in the morning, of course, we got to get some food before we rush off to our busy day.

[00:41:34.610] – Brad
But to rethink this and kind of open up the floodgates to a different alternative lifestyle and different choices like that. And then to realize that missing a meal is a positive checkmark in the direction of metabolic flexibility. So we can kind of relax, especially I know a lot of health-conscious people, they're trying to cover their nutritional bases every day and make sure that they eat enough protein and make sure that they get their superfood, antioxidant smoothies and all this stuff.

[00:42:04.730] – Brad
So to kind of recalibrate that a bit and realize that fasting is probably the biggest thing you can do for an immediate health boost, it beats any superfood ever known to mankind. And so skipping a meal is no big deal. It's a positive step in the direction of health. And then you can kind of turn eating into one of the great pleasures of life as it's intended to be, rather than another stop at the gas station, as if you were a race car and just need to refuel all day long, which is basically the story for most people that it's just fuel and calories, a lot of times empty calories, but you need them otherwise you're going to feel like crap at three p.m. at work and you're not going to get all your work done before five.

[00:42:54.050] – Allan
Yeah, we leave a second breakfast away. We don't need a second breakfast. You might not even need the first one.

[00:43:00.320] – Allan
There was another concept in the book that I thought was really important that I wanted to bring up because a lot of people, we're busy, we've got a lot going on in our lives and we're looking at the clock and we're thinking, you know, I wanted to get out of here and go get my workout in, but I just don't have that hour.

[00:43:16.940] – Allan
I need to stay in the office for another half hour to get some work done. And then, yeah, I got to go pick up the kids and we got to go do this. And my life is just this out of control kind of thing. But you have this concept. We talk about micro workouts. And I think so many people are stuck on the I have to work out for thirty minutes every day or an hour every day, or I might as well not do it. Can you kind of talk about micro workouts and how we can make those are part of a healthy lifestyle.

[00:43:46.160] – Brad
Yeah. Thanks, Allan. This is I got a big smile on my face because this is, I think, one of the greatest breakthroughs that we've seen in fitness in this century. I know the century's young. We got a lot ahead of us.

[00:44:00.710] – Brad
But really, the fitness industry as a whole has been stuck. It's been mired in this no pain, no gain, struggle and suffer mentality. And most of the programing is based on this idea that if we crush you hard enough, you can high-five your workout partner at the end. We can put you on the commercial and you'll order this expensive indoor bicycle or join the gym or continue with the package with your trainer who's urging you for more reps. And so for the people that are really into fitness, it works fine.

[00:44:33.510] – Brad
I used to be a professional triathlete, I trained all day long for a decade of my life and I loved it and I traveled around the world and I mixed with other athletes who also loved riding our bicycles one hundred miles through the mountains. And that was all fun and games and great stuff for us. But so many people have been marginalized by the traditional approach to fitness. And you walk in the gym, you know, 63% of people are intimidated when they look over to the free weight room. And another 27% are intimidated when they look in the window at the bootcamp class where the lady is screaming and urging you for more and more jumping up and down. And you're like, wow, I'm not even in shape enough to conceive of doing something like that to my body.

[00:45:13.880] – Brad
It's true. It's catering to the fitness extremist already. So for the average person who just as you described, is busy, might not be a fitness freak, maybe they didn't feel like an athlete when they were a kid and they're just on the outside looking in. This concept of micro workouts can appeal to everyone who wants to be healthier, not necessarily a fitness freak. Just have that baseline level of physical competency to get through life with more enjoyment and less risk of injury, especially as we get older. Falling is the number one cause of injury and death in Americans over age 65. Falling. Not, pick something else. I mean, come on falling? You're kidding me?

[00:46:05.680] – Brad
But that's what happens when we go into steady and prolonged demise. And so the micro workout conveys this idea that in a minute's time or two minutes' time, you can do a miniature little burst of explosive physical effort wherever you are. You don't need a lot of implements or contraptions you can do right now in your work cubicle drop for a set of 20 deep squats or however deep you can take them.

[00:46:32.590] – Brad
And even if you're a fit person, when you get to 17, 18, 19, your legs are going to feel it. So in one minute's time, you can get a nice miniature little workout and the benefits are tremendous. One of them is it breaks up these prolonged periods of stillness that are so harmful to our metabolic and cognitive function. So even a minute's bursts of running up a couple of flights of stairs, like I said before, or doing a set of deep squats.

[00:46:57.970] – Brad
I have a rule. I have a pull up bar over my closet door and it's like a supply closet. So every time I go in there to get a another Post-it pad or whatever it is, I do a set of pull-ups that might happen once a day. Big deal. It's not going to mess up my big workout that's planned for tomorrow. Maybe I'm recovering from something and I don't want to push myself too hard today, but a single set of pull-ups is nothing to write home about.

[00:47:25.750] – Brad
I don't have to write it in my fitness workout log or anything, but if you talk to me 365 days from now and I say, yeah, this is my daily pattern and oh by the way, when I throw the garbage out, I have to go through the side yard and sitting there in the side yard is a hexagonal deadlift bar with a moderate amount of weight on it. Nothing to write home about again to the muscle heads. But let's say there's two hundred pounds on that bar. And my rule is every time I throw the garbage away, I do at least one set of deadlifts and then I go about my busy day. Maybe sometimes I'll get into it. I have some free time and I might do three or four sets and make it something that's a little bit more significant.

[00:48:05.740] – Brad
But this very low bar to jump over, to enter the world of a fit, healthy, active person is what we need to progress within the overall approach to fitness. And I think the micro workouts are so fun. It can be something that you enjoy. If you have core competency, or technique, you do something as simple as possible, like doing a squat or running up your flight of stairs, walking back down, running up again.

[00:48:32.200] – Brad
And of course, we're so busy we can't devote any more than that. That's fine right now. But as it becomes part of a daily habit and you start sprinkling these things in over time, the amazing thing happens is that, I call it like flying under the radar, but building your fitness, but without that huge risk of breakdown, burnout, illness, and injury that occurs when you immerse yourself into the mainstream approach to fitness.

[00:49:00.550] – Brad
That's the person that signs up for the personal trainer package on January 1st. And by April Fool's Day, their shoulders aching and they're going to go get an MRI and they've finished their package and they're burnt out and they're fried and they don't like it anymore because it was too physically grueling. So this is a way to kind of tiptoe to even really fit. Just from sprinkling in these little sessions that don't bother you, so they're arguably safer and less downside risk than a devoted fitness regimen. And furthermore, the emerging science in exercise, physiology and general health study is that the obligation to just move more in daily life is ranking above adherence to a devoted fitness regimen for all manner of health and disease protection.

[00:49:52.140] – Brad
Because we're so still and sedentary that even the fitness freaks, there's this idea called the compensation theory of exercise. So it's a scientifically validated phenomenon where they've studied people that do adhere to a devoted fitness regimen. So let's say that's that neighbor of yours that rolls out of there before it gets light to go to their spin class every morning at six a.m. and they're really, really into it. But then they go on the subway, they commute, they sit at a desk all day, they come home and they binge on digital programming. So they're still in sedentary for hours and hours every day.

[00:50:35.760]
They showed that this population of devoted fitness enthusiasts who are otherwise sedentary had the same level of metabolic disease risk factors as people who didn't exercise. And you can think, look, even extreme fitness person who's training an hour every single day, that's seven hours a week. There's one hundred and sixty eight hours in a week. So if those other 100 plus hours, of course, we need to sleep.

[00:51:00.660]
So we got to take a third of that and be still. But if you're engaging in all these sedentary lifestyle patterns, the exercise is not going to help you. And instead we just have to move more. Mark Sisson coined this term JFW it stands for just effing walk and that would be the centerpiece of a more active lifestyle. And you can get more health and even fitness benefit from walking more versus going and punching your gym ticket even more and pushing yourself really hard once in a while or an hour a day.

[00:51:34.620] – Allan
What I like about those is that it's something you can fit around your normal workday. So you're sitting at your desk and you want to get up to go to the restroom or go get some water or something. And so you just sit there and say, I'm a pop out 5, 10 squats, bodyweight squats. And the other cool thing about him is because these are these are things that you're adding to your day. You can really put a little bit of forethought, forethought to them and say, I want these to be functional exercises, not just something like a spin class where I know I'm burning calories, but quite frankly, you're saying squats, fundamental movement. You talked about deadlifts with the hex bar, fundamental movement to build strength in your legs, strengthen your core. You know, all of these things that even pull ups, there's some function to being able to climb going upstairs.

[00:52:26.820] – Allan
All of those are functional movements that you're building into your day that might otherwise not include any workout at all. So I just like how that can be a part of every day. You can just have those triggers. You can be doing squats while you're brushing your teeth, so there's so many opportunities for you to to do these types of things in your day and not having to think that you have to dedicate an hour or it's wasted. I just like that concept.

[00:52:56.370] – Brad
Yeah, I was just talking to someone the other day about this and they're expressing a bit of interest. How do I throw this in? I spend a lot of time at night watching my TV shows, he said. I said, well, make a rule then. If you're going to binge watch, at least in between every episode drop for a set of twenty pushups or squats or whatever. Put some rules in place because I think, hey, I listen to a lot of podcasts. I fill my mind with these great ideas. Do I execute on every single one of them? No, I don't, because I'm just too busy or whatever my excuse is.

[00:53:27.690] – Brad
So in this case, what worked for me really well, Allan was I wanted to kind of raise the fitness platform from which I launched my formal workouts because I've been a long-time fan of sprinting. I'm obsessed with high jumping. Now I compete in the old man's Masters high jump track and field.

[00:53:46.800] – Allan
Now, 55 to 59 is not old man. I refuse to accept that.

[00:53:50.630] – Brad
I'm slotted in that division, whatever you want to call it, man. So I go out and do these awesome workouts, let's say once a week and they're pretty tough. And when I get to the track I'm all pumped up and I'm competitive and I feel great. But of course I learn over the next 36 to 48 hours and I kind of pushed it too hard there. And my calves are screaming and I'm in pain now and I'm really tired. And so what was happening was I wasn't approximating that big challenge very frequently because I couldn't I had to rest and recover and the go hit it once a week again.

[00:54:23.860] – Brad
And so what I designed was this morning, routine of flexibility, mobility, core strengthening, just a fun little thing that's predicated to help me with the muscle strength and mobility I need for sprinting and jumping, I'd say. But I threw this in and decided to do it every single morning. Again, not that strenuous, but it chips away at my fitness without interrupting my busy day. I'm on a streak now of over four years, where I have not missed a single day of this wonderful morning flexibility, mobility, strengthening routine. And it started out as something really modest because I wanted to have that low bar to jump over to tell myself I'm going to commit to doing this. I'm not going to miss a day. And again, it's not too much trouble. I'm not dripping in sweat at the end, but to have it as part of my lifestyle, where I don't even have to think about it now and I get through this, it used to be a 12-minute routine and now it's a minimum of thirty five minutes.

[00:55:25.390] – Brad
I know that's not doable for many people, but whatever you have to commit to. So if you can say, hey, I'm going to give the first five minutes of my day and I'm going to do the yoga sun salutation sequence, you can see that on YouTube. It's the foundation of a yoga class where you stretch and then you compress and then you sweep and you do these movements. But if you can say that you do that every single day, we'll count that in this micro workout category and then everything else flows from there because now you've built into place this rule that this is now part of your lifestyle. It's not negotiable. It's going to become a habit.

[00:55:59.500] – Brad
And then you'll set yourself up for more success doing these little these little tidbits that we described about, you know, lifting the deadlift bar when you go through the garbage can. So I want to make sure the listener can take away something that's so simple that they might even scoff at how easy it is to implement this new commitment of five minutes a day or let's say you put a sticky note on your computer or your office door and say 40 squats before you leave the office every day. And if it's 4:57 p.m. and you're clocking out at five, I don't know if it's a home office or you're leaving whatever and you haven't done it, then you've got to do 40 right there. No big deal.

[00:56:40.090] – Brad
But if you do 10, you know, on the on the 90 minute break, you set your little timer, then it's nothing. And so we have to put rules in place because it's easy to let these things slide. And if the goal is really modest, boy, that's when I think we can build that momentum. And that's what's happened in my life with my morning routine.

[00:57:02.080] – Allan
Brad, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:57:09.850] – Brad
Whoo! Number one is to implement that morning routine and make it five minutes. Don't even go beyond that until you get into a good groove. So that one I'm really strong. It's been a life-changing thing for me, especially because I'm not a template, regimented guy. I answer to myself, I work for myself, I work from home. And so I can do whatever I want every day. But this thing is really anchored my day. And the fact that I can do that and tell the public about it, I believe it helps me become a more focused and disciplined person in every other way for the rest of my day and all the distractions that I face. So the morning routine, number one.

[00:57:54.970] – Brad
Number two is ditch those big three toxic modern foods, do it for twenty-one days. And what you'll discover is you'll habituate away from this nibbling on sugar and grain-based, high-calorie snacks. Your body will actually feel better, even though you're giving up what you think are these precious things that you can't do without and that you deserve so much. After working that hard day, of course you deserve a pint of processed ice cream with chemicals in there. Even hippie trippy Ben and Jerry's products have vegetable industrial seed oils and some of the flavors. I couldn't believe it when I saw it on the side of the box. So ditch the big three.

[00:58:36.460] – Brad
And then you asked for three, right?

[00:58:38.080] – Allan
Yes.

[00:58:39.130] – Brad
Number three is don't take on too much, so just do the first two.

[00:58:43.890] – Allan
Oh, I like that. All right, Brad if someone wanted to learn more about you and Mark Sisson and your book, Two Meals a Day, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:58:53.650]
Oh, thanks. We have this cool landing page called TwoMealsaDayBook.com, and you can get, it's called preorder bonus items. But even as the book has been released just before the show came out, you can still get our cool preorder bonuses. There's an audio summary, a recipe PDF, and a discount coupon to go shopping for healthy condiments at Primal Kitchen. And then if you go over and visit BradKerns.com, you will be regaled by wild and crazy videos like my morning routine, you can learn what I do and watch me break the world record and speed golf, don't worry if you only have a minute and thirty-eight seconds, that's all it took for me to play the fastest hole of golf ever played.

[00:59:33.240] – Brad
And I'm trying to promote all these healthy lifestyle practices that we live and breathe every day. But I also think it's important to put in a vote for having fun and having a lighthearted approach. So you'll see me kind of being silly. Same without my BRad podcast. I like to inject that sense of humor and not taking ourselves too seriously as we try to improve our lives and optimize in so many different ways.

[00:59:58.050] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/477 and I'll be sure to have all the links there. Brad, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[01:00:08.010] – Brad
Thank you, Allan. Great show. Keep up the good work.

[01:00:10.710] – Allan
Thank you.


Post Show/Recap

[01:00:16.090] – Allan
Welcome back, Raz.

[01:00:17.830] – Rachel
Oh, Allan, what a neat conversation, Brad seems like a really energetic guy.

[01:00:22.990] – Allan
He is a very energetic guy. And for those of you that don't know what speed golf is, that I went right over your head. But basically, speed golf is a sport where you hit the golf ball off the tee and then you run to the ball and they basically add your strokes to your time of the run. And so the secret is to run it really, really quickly, to quickly hit the ball again, but be generally accurate because you don't want to be running all over the golf course and then get the ball in the hole. And he managed on a par five basically to get a par four, a birdie. And he did it in just over a minute and a half. I don't know that I could even just run from the tee to the hole in that amount of time. But I just know when I played golf the walking, because I'd be on one side and then I'd be on the other side, then I'd overshoot the hole and then I'd be over here and then I'd be over there. By the time I got through the hole of golf, I'd already walked the whole golf course.

[01:01:23.800] – Allan
And so so that probably not the sport for me. I'm not a sprinter. I'll be the slow go. But yeah, basically that's that's one of the sports he participates in now. And he's a hoot. It's fun to watch people do crazy stuff like that. But just yo actually meet someone who's got the world record at it. It's kind of awesome.

[01:01:48.490] – Rachel
That is a riot. What a funny sport. I just love it.

[01:01:53.350] – Allan
We got into a couple of important things. I mean, obviously with the two meals a day concept is something that I feel a little bit more confident I could do rather than the one meal a day. And it's only because I don't know that I could eat enough calories at one sitting comfortably and to make sure that I'm still getting all the nutrition. The second meal would… I'm going to have to do that so effectively when I eat, I intuitively end up eating two, sometimes I have three meals in my eight hour, six hour window, but easily two meals would work out very well for me.

[01:02:29.920] – Rachel
Sure. Yeah. It seems a lot more doable and easy to plan out too. I like that concept.

[01:02:36.370] – Allan
And then we got into the toxic food stuff. And yes, we've talked about sugar on this podcast. Actually, I think maybe even my second episode, episode number two was about sugar. We know what sugar is doing to us. We know for the most part what bread is usually doing to almost all of us. And then the seed oils is an area where I probably don't talk about enough. And in the worst part of it is, the labeling on foods, all the seed oils are going to have heart-healthy on their label, because they're not saturated fat and unfortunately they're still horrible, horrible food for you to be putting in your body.

[01:03:24.950] – Allan
But they managed to get to a point where they're marketing, the healthy thing, it just breaks my heart. Eat healthy canola oil. And I'm like, no.

[01:03:38.840] – Rachel
It is really confusing. And that was hard for me too when I started keto, because you think of an oil that's derived from a plant or a seed, I mean, that sounds perfectly healthy. What could possibly be wrong? And then when you add the label on to it that says that it's heart-healthy, what could be wrong? The government said that it's healthy. So how do you weed that out? It's taken a long time to unlearn some of these habits.

[01:04:06.160] – Allan
Yeah. It does it just that that kind of stuff just drives me nuts. If you want to eat heart healthy, you're going to eat a lot of grains. You're going to eat a lot of those seed oils. And then the worst part of it is if you're going to try to go low fat otherwise and what are they going to do? They're going to put sugar in the food to make it palatable. So you're getting the trifecta of the bad toxic foods, just trying to follow the guidelines that our government is so kind to put out there for us.

[01:04:38.540] – Rachel
It's so crazy. Now, what kind of oils do you like to use when you're cooking? We've we found good success with coconut oil. It's easy and it cooks well. And it's got a good flavor.

[01:04:50.090] – Allan
I use I use avocado oil. Some I like to use I like to use coconut oil, particularly like if I'm going to make something that's more of an Asian style restaurant. So like, let's say I'm going to stir fry some chicken and some vegetables and then I want maybe I'm going to try to make it into more of an Oriental flavor or I'm going to put some coconut and curry. I'll use the coconut oil in that. If I'm going to make something that's going to be more of like a meat sauce or something like that, I'll use I'll just use the hamburger and I don't drain it.

[01:05:22.940] – Rachel
Right.

[01:05:23.600] – Allan
Those recipes are like drain the oil.

[01:05:25.584] – Rachel
No.

[01:05:27.680] – Allan
Throw away half your food.

[01:05:30.110] – Rachel
Yeah. Don't don't replace that with more oil. That's good stuff.

[01:05:33.350] – Allan
We're going to throw away half the egg because we don't want to eat the yolk. We're going to throw away the fat because we don't want fat. And I'm like, no, put that in there. It's delicious. It's what makes hamburger taste good. When you take all that oil out, it tastes like dirt. So I'll do that. And then, like, if I'm going to use like an olive oil, I'll use it as a dressing. Or I will sometimes, like if I've cooked a sauce once I'm done cooking the sauce and now it's just kind of warm, heat it ready to go. I'll slather in some olive oil at that point to give us a little bit more umph.

[01:06:09.780] – Allan
And then I, I love cooking with butter. I love cooking with butter. I'll get the Kerry Gold or good quality butter. We've got two or three brands down here that are grass fed cows from Panama and I assume they speak Spanish. They make butter and that's it's a good butter. I'll cook eggs with that.

[01:06:34.250] – Allan
Sometimes when we're going to have bacon and I cook the bacon in the pan, I might use the grease, some of the grease and bacon and just cook it with that. I'm not afraid of saturated fat because what I have found is saturated fat makes my HDL go up. And the ratio of total cholesterol, the HDL improves when I'm eating saturated fat. If I take out the saturated fat, my HDL plummets, my LDL goes down maybe a little bit, but not enough to matter as far as the doctors are concerned. And my HDL is still relatively high. So my ratio of high total to HDL is terrible. So, I want to have the best markers I can have. I'm not worried about the total because I could eliminate all of my HDL and still be over the number. And even when I did statins, my cholesterol was still over 250.

[01:07:42.320] – Allan
And I can't get any lower. So, it is what it is. I just accept that so. I'll use I'll use saturated fat, you know, I eat fish regularly, so I'm getting some omega three oils from the fish.

[01:08:02.270] – Rachel
Good.

[01:08:02.660]
Sometimes I will take krill oil. If I'm not getting enough fish, I'll go ahead and take some krill. Well, and get some more in there. Most of what I'm eating are grass-fed beef. So there's some good fats as far as I'm concerned. Good fats in there because it's grass-fed, grass-finished. So that saturated fat is actually not bad for me. Eggs and pastured eggs. That fat I don't think is bad for me. And then cooking wise avocado oil, olive oil once it's already cooked because I'm not going to cook with olive oil and then just plain old butter.

[01:08:36.560] – Rachel
That sounds great. That's about what we use in the at our house as well. The coconut oil, avocado, occasionally olive, but not often. And of course we also have butter. And I also have a little can of ghee, which I use that on occasion as well. So that was that sounds good. Yeah. The other thing Brad mentioned, which I have to say I kind of geeked out about, was micro workouts. I really liked his idea of well, he mentioned doing a minute here, a minute there, push ups or squats and and lifts and whatnot.

[01:09:09.110] – Rachel
I tell all my friends that if you're struggling with motivation, you're not feeling it. Do half a workout or go out for one mile. You don't have to spend two hours at the gym. If you just take five or ten minutes and get a little fresh air, do something that gets your heart rate up. I mean, that's enough to move for that day.

[01:09:28.010] – Allan
Yeah, there used to be this kind of mantra that you needed to have your heart rate up in the cardio zone for at least twenty-four minutes. And apparently there was a study, but the doctors, now they've done the science and they're kind of like now you're going to get the same benefit doing five 5-minute workouts, as you would, doing a 24 or 25 minute workout. So just anything that's going to get your heart rate up for just even five minutes is going to be beneficial.

[01:10:02.440] – Allan
And actually, one of the other things I really like about microworkouts is that there's something that you can spread movement throughout the day. If you go to work and you think I'm going to sit at the desk for a solid four hours, then I'm going to have lunch and then I'll sit at the desk for another five hours and not move during that period of time other than an occasional toilet break or get some coffee. You're sitting still and, you know, whereas if you when you got up to get that coffee, just did some jumping jacks or, you know, some bodyweight squats or a couple of push-ups and then move around, your energy level is going to go up and you might find you don't actually need that coffee,

[01:10:50.410] – Rachel
Right? Yeah. Just get your blood pumping, get a little fresh air. And that might be enough to energize you for the rest of the afternoon.

[01:10:58.300] – Allan
And there's another part of the micro workout theme that I like. So sometimes we wake up in the morning and we're lik I really don't feel like running. I don't feel like it. Then we put we force ourselves to do it. But I got to do it. I got to have my streak intact. That got to do it. And we get out there. And this very unfortunate thing happens is that our bodies were actually fatigued.

[01:11:21.710] – Allan
We had not recovered properly from our workouts and because maybe because we weren't feeling right, maybe because we weren't sleeping right, maybe because just doing too much, too soon. We're not recovered. And because we didn't listen to our body, we're doing more harm than good. So, looking at it from a micro workout, you get there and say, I really don't want to do this, but then you say, I'll do it for five minutes.

[01:11:47.780] – Rachel
Yes.

[01:11:48.650] – Allan
And if after that five minutes you're not feeling it, stop. Please stop. Your body was talking to you and you were ignoring it or trying to override it with reason. Please do this when the body really did need recovery time so that if you get out there for five minutes, you've got the benefit of that five minutes and you're not overtraining. And then a lot of people, you just start it like I started my route and I ran out two minutes and I agree that I'm going to turn my back two minutes or sometimes you just realize I want to keep running. I don't actually want to stop now and you get your full workout in because that's what you needed to do.

[01:12:32.630] – Allan
So microworkouts kind of have two functions. One is that you're breaking up the work into smaller portions, which sometimes makes it easier to fit into a busy day.

[01:12:41.060] – Rachel
Right.

[01:12:41.600] – Allan
And then the other thing is micro workouts can kind of be that strategy to get you started. I'm at least going to do five minutes and then if I'm done, I'm done. And you can listen to your body, as you put it, through the paces. And I just know when I ran a lot, I hated the first two or three minutes of running. I hate it. You start going and it's like man, this sucks. Then something clicks on when your body warms up and then it feels good.

[01:13:15.140] – Rachel
That's true. Some of us like to say the first mile is a liar and that you feel that this isn't right. I got to shake out the cobwebs. I'm not feeling it today. But then once you get that first mile under your belt, sometimes the to the second and third or however long you're out there, they just fly right by. So, yeah, for sometimes the first miles is a liar. Sometimes it's the first five minutes of a workout that's a liar.

[01:13:38.960] – Rachel
But yeah, if you could just do something it's better than nothing. And like Brad mentioned if you're sitting there watching TV at night, do some pushups during the commercials and then do some sit-ups during the next commercial. I mean, just these little movements throughout the day, it's always better than nothing at all.

[01:13:57.350] – Allan
Absolutely. And with the commercials the way they are today, I mean, the 30-minute program has eight minutes of commercials.

[01:14:05.810] – Rachel
Just about, yes. Pretty much.

[01:14:08.840] – Allan
You don't have to watch too much TV and you've got an hour of workouts done yet. Half an hour anyway, watching a couple hours of TV. You got half an hour right there, just watching two hours of TV. So if it's a popular program, because when they first start out, they don't. And I see this because I watch stuff on Netflix and I'll see a show the first year it came out. And, they have basically five to six minutes of commercials.

[01:14:38.390] – Allan
And then by the time they get to their fifth or sixth season, that's it's up to over eight minutes of commercials now because I'm flipping through these this shows, I'm like, how could I just watch five shows on Netflix and an hour and all those damn commercials that I'm not having to watch.

[01:14:55.130] – Rachel
Right? For sure.

[01:14:56.750] – Allan
Netflix is a little different as far as if you're going to be doing them because they don't have the advertisements, the commercials. But, okay, you know, you watch half the show or watch the show and then do the work before you start that next episode.

[01:15:13.760] – Rachel
That's right.

[01:15:17.810] – Allan
Alright, Rachel, anything else you want to go over before we cut out?

[01:15:20.390] – Rachel
No, that was great. Great conversation.

[01:15:22.700] – Allan
All right. Well, let's we'll talk next week.

[01:15:24.800] – Rachel
You bet. Take care.

Patreons

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

– Anne Lynch– John Somsky– Margaret Bakalian
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy

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March 8, 2021

Why simple can be a bad long-term strategy for weight loss after 40

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It is human nature to like simplicity. It's easy to wrap our heads around and typically quick to get started. But simple can be a disastrous approach to weight loss after 40 because our bodies are anything but simple, especially as we age. On this episode I discuss why you may want to put a little more forethought and research into your weight loss plan if simple hasn't helped you lose weight and keep it off in the recent past.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:00:47.640] – Allan
Hey Raz! How are you doing?

[00:00:49.650] – Rachel
Great Allan. How are you today?

[00:00:51.480] – Allan
I'm doing all right. It's a busy week. I've got three interviews, which means three books. We're going to talk about today is a solo episode, which I basically put as much time into one of those as I would if it were a book. But there's a lot of reading going on. And the funny thing was they did a power outage on the island yesterday, which is why we had to delay our recording. We were going to do this recording yesterday and they just decided, okay, we need to do some work on the electric grid. So from about 10:00 this at 10:00 to five o'clock, they're going to cut out our power. It actually ended up being something like 10:30 to 7:15.

[00:01:28.650] – Allan
But I was in the process of trying to read this book, and it's on the computer because I don't get hard copies here. And I used my computer until the battery said 3%, 1%, then gone. I had it on my phone. So I had emailed it to me and I had it on my iPhone. And so that iPhone I just paid for. I read half of his book on an iPhone, and I was exhausted, I was like, this is hard. I don't want to read books on phones anymore.

[00:01:58.470] – Rachel
It's too small. Man, you'll need better glasses if you do that.

[00:02:03.470] – Allan
I did it. Yeah, but I needed to get the book read and I didn't have really have another option. But I and it was a fascinating book. So I'm really, really interested in that interview for sure, because he's he's a pretty fascinating guy with a lot of, a lot of good information. So that's going to be a great podcast with Dr. Pontzer coming up soon, a few weeks. I had to read his book, most of his book. I read it on my phone because I ran out of juice on my computer, but.

[00:02:30.640] – Rachel
Oh, my gosh.

[00:02:31.810] – Allan
Yesterday was an interesting day. And I had read a book today and I'm going to do interviews. So this is just a very busy week for me.

[00:02:40.630] – Allan
Wow. It sure sounds like it.

[00:02:42.730] – Allan
How about yourself?

[00:02:44.140] – Rachel
Great. Not quite as busy as you are now. We are out of the polar vortex now and I don't know if you can see, but we've got beautiful blue skies here in Michigan. It's nice and sunny and we're in the thirty degrees. So I might even have to break out some shorts now.

[00:03:00.950] – Allan
We're in the thirty degrees… Celsius, but…

[00:03:05.410] – Rachel
A little different.

[00:03:07.100] – Allan
A little different. I'm wearing a tank top and shorts and yeah.

[00:03:11.350] – Rachel
Yeah, I'm happy to see the sun.

[00:03:15.070] – Allan
All right. Well are you ready to get into today's episode.

[00:03:17.770] – Rachel
You bet. Let's do this.

Weight Loss Over 40

Today's discussion is going to be about why simple can be a bad long term strategy for weight loss. Let's face it, everybody likes simple rules. We like simple because simple, something we can wrap your mind around. And if it works, if that rule of thumb, if that simple thing is correct, it works. And that's beautiful. You know, the keep it super simple, KISS model, if you will. There's other versions of that, obviously, but I'll just I'll go with that clean one. And for a lot of people, that's actually what we want. We want the simplest solution to solve a problem. So why would I think or say that it's not a good long-term strategy for weight loss?

Well, before I get into that, I want to kind of take you back to 1999 when the movie came out called The Matrix. And this is one of my personal favorite movies I particularly like the first one that of them in the series were really, really good. But in this particular movie, Morpheus offers Neo, who was played by Keanu Reeves, two choices. And so he has his two hands out there. You can take the red pill or you can take the blue pill.

And Neo had to make that choice. But it seems for a lot of people in wanting simple we're doing the same thing with weight loss and the two operate offers are either Calories In Calories Out (CICO) or energy balance or your low carb/keto. And for most of the people that are on one side of the fence or another, they're in this tribe. It's this or that, and they're almost oblivious to the other side of the conversation. And as a result, no one's really having good conversations about what we should be doing for weight loss.

Today, I want to tell you and show you how this, this or that choice is an illusion that's actually part of the problem why so many people suffer and struggle to lose weight.

So the first reason I want to kind of get into is is kind of the most obvious one. Nutrition is not a simple thing. If it were really that simple, we would all just eat Twinkies and take multivitamins and we would be fine and obviously that's not the case because food is information.

What we eat, when we eat, how we eat and how much we eat are all bits and pieces of information that we're giving our body for our body to then do something with. Okay? And the body's this wonderful mechanism that can take us through hard times. It can make us thrive during good times, and the body adapts to everything that we do to it, including our food. So I want you to stop thinking about food as something that you just enjoy eating or something that's providing you with calories or anything like that.

Food is information.

And when you kind of wrap your mind around that, you can understand how food is just like a matrix. And the only way we're going to understand what works for us is to go ahead and peel back the layers of that matrix. And the way I like to visualize this is that there are three layers to this matrix.

Now, the first layer is very, very simple. It's like grade school math. The second layer is a little bit more complicated. So we'll say that's like high school algebra, maybe some geometry mixed in there. And then the final layer is extremely complex. In fact, the math is so difficult that in some cases we as human beings, science and everything have not really solved that puzzle, have not cracked that code. So let's take a moment to talk about these three layers and how they all affect your ability to lose weight.

So the first is the Calories In Calories Out model. This is a very simple model because it assumes what goes in has to come out. And so it's trying to play off of the law of thermodynamics. And in particular, that was Newton's laws, but it was the law of conservation of energy. So the expectation is if you put energy into a system, then the energy will have to come out or be stored, can't be lost anywhere. Now, that all makes sense and it's actually true. But there's just a couple problems with the Calories In Calories Out model being a pure thermodynamics play. And that's because the human body is not a closed system. See, the way they like to measure calories is in a closed system.

So they will literally burn something in a container and there's nothing else in that container but that thing. And that's where they figure out how many calories an item could produce based on burning it. Likewise, when they're looking at human performance, they're measuring the carbon dioxide output of a human being, doing some work. And that's where they're coming up with some estimates on how many calories the individual burned. Now, when you're in a closed system, that's very easy to measure. But unfortunately, we don't live in closed systems. We don't live in closed environments.

So pretty much everything we do related to calories is done on a formula and an estimate. And there are some big, big problems with those estimates, for example. They would assume if there was an Olympic athlete that weighed the same as I do, that we would both burn the same amount of energy, traveling the same distance. And that's just not true. I'm going to be much less efficient at my movement than an Olympic athlete. Therefore, the Olympic athlete is going to burn fewer bits of energy to accomplish the same task.

That's how they become elite performers. They're able to perform better. They're able to use utilize energy more effectively, more efficiently than someone normally would. If I were trying to outswim Michael Phelps, I'm going to flail and my legs and arms are not going to cooperate as well. He's going to glide through the water with almost no effort or at least looks like it's almost no effort. So you can't compare me to Michael Phelps from a calorie burning model.

Yet everything we have out there tells me if you spend an hour running, you're going to burn X number of calories. And again, these are all estimates. So they just don't really know at that point in time how many calories you might be burning. It's an estimate. Same with food. You know, if you're not measuring to the nth degree the volume of each and every ingredient in a recipe and then making sure that you're eating that specifically portion to portion, then you're going to potentially be off.

What does that mean? Well, if you're off just 16 calories on a meal and you're overeating by 16 calories every meal, you could be gaining as much as 10 pounds in a year. And so it's these finite what we think of as perfect formulas that are leading us astray quite often.

The other thing that's not quite right with calories in, calories out is a lot of people start to get hungry and then they get hangry. If you're eating predominantly a higher carb meal, which is what you inevitably end up doing in a Calories In Calories Out, pure model, because they look at fat and they say fat is nine calories per gram and a carb is four calories per gram. So if we substitute fat grams for carbs grams, we're going to reduce our total calorie input. And that is true.

The problem is we get hungry. Carbs burn through our system faster. They need to go somewhere faster. And as the result, it makes it very difficult for someone to stay at a calorie restriction and not have some hunger issues. And we're going to get into that in a little bit more detail when I talk about the next layer, because that hunger and all the stuff that's going on in our body, how fast we're burning energy, all those things is really dictated by the next two layers.

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So the second layer of this is going to be a little bit more complex because it's not just the simple math of which you studied in grade school. There's a little bit more to it. And that's macros. The macronutrients that your body needs to perform. Now, our brain and our body are made up of protein and fat. Now carbs such as just standard sugar or potato or a carrot or an apple or even some lettuce or broccoli are are all made up of carbs and some protein. But our body really only uses the carbs for energy, the protein and the fat is utilized for building materials.

So one of the things about macros that's really, really important to wrap your mind around is that like body temperature, which stays in a very tight range and blood pH which stays in the very tight range, our blood sugar level stays at a very tight range, or at least it's supposed to if we're living optimally. So when you start looking at blood sugar, just a simple little tip here is that a human body has less than a teaspoon of total sugar in our blood system at any given point in time when we eat something that has carbs in it and maybe even a little bit, if we eat something with protein, we're going to get an input of insulin.

The pancreas will put some insulin in there because it's going to say we don't need this much sugar in the blood. It's dangerous for our kidneys, it's dangerous for our brain. Let's regulate this. Let's keep it in this tight little range that we need to keep our blood sugar in to be healthy. If you're fairly active and maybe you did a good workout today, then the insulin can take that and put it in the muscles and the liver in the form of glycogen. So that it can refresh, basically restore the glycogen that was in the muscles and in the liver that we use during a hard workout.

Now, for most of us, though, we didn't do a hard workout necessarily. And we eat that sugar or we eat that carb and the body has only one other option, and that's to store it as fat. So we start accumulating fat because we have more blood sugar than our body needs and it stores it. If we're active, then those energy burn. And as I said, the first model is not wrong. We are burning those calories.

The problem is we get this little surge and we store a little. So little surge, little store, little surge, little store. And most of the people that preach the Calories In Calories Out model will also tell you you should eat six small meals per day so you're never super hungry. So they recognize that you're digesting that food really quickly. You're putting it to use in your body really quickly and you're going to be hungry, really quickly. And so they encourage you to eat more frequently. Well, again, that's a little surge and a little burn. A little surge, little burn.

You're never really giving your body the opportunity to go back to look at fat storage. Now, if you're slightly below your actual calorie usage, then, yes, there's the potential that you could actually use some of that body fat for energy.

But because you're eating all the time, there's not a lot of opportunity for that. And if you let yourself get hungry, you're very likely over eating those small meals or they're bigger meals than they should be. And now you're not in your calorie deficit.

Over time, what happens is we have this fat cells that are good at storing this energy, but even the fat cells themselves get a little overburdened. Ad a way you can kind of visualize this as imagine that every day that you're putting out garbage by your house and the that the trucks, the garbage trucks are coming by and they're picking up garbage. But that garbage, they don't really have anywhere to put it, sort of putting it in the garbage trucks that are driving around with garbage trucks. The garbage trucks get full and then the garbage trucks don't want to pick up any more garbage because they're full. So what are they doing? They're just they're driving around, but they're not picking up the trash. And so the trash collects. Now, blood sugar is that trash.

And so the pancreas says we need more of we need more of these these trucks. And so it starts trying to make more insulin. It tries to get more moving and force the fat cells to take on more, which they can do. They don't like it, but they do it. And that's when we start really having metabolic problems. And because the pancreas is working so hard to create all this excess insulin six times per day, boop, boop, boop, boop, it can get tired and it can fail.

And so we end up with these situations of insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction because we keep feeding ourselves carbs and we're overeating. And a lot of that overeating actually comes from the fact that when we eat the standard American diet, it tends to not be low fat. And it also tends to not be low carb. It tends to be high carb, high fat and low in protein. And that's just a recipe for disaster, because there's too many calories and there's too many carbs, and our body is going to readily want to and need to store that sugar as fat.

Let's take a little bit of a step back now that we're into this, the second realm, because this is something even though it's a little bit complex, it's something that's fairly easy for us to wrap our minds around, because most of us know what protein, fat and carbs really are. They know where they come from. But the problem is most of us are not eating it from the right sources. We're not eating whole food. We're getting our food from a bag, box, can, or jar.

It has additives. It has added sugar. So it'll taste better and it'll have these like little labels all over them. “Healthy.” “Good for your heart.” All this stuff. Lies, lies, lies. They just are, okay? You need real food. That's what your body needs. That's when we talk about information. If you're putting processed foods in your body, it's getting garbled information and it's going to make poor choices for you.

It's going to store it. Now, one of the things, as I mentioned earlier, with the Calories In Calories Out model was that they they kind of turned on fat and they called fat the corporate culprit of why we're fat, why we have heart attacks and everything else is going on in our bodies. I've even seen people say that they believe diabetes is caused by excess fat in the diet. Again, not true, but I hear it. And so there's all this fat phobia and there has been for decades.

And it's not going to go away any time soon for most people. But I want you to think of it in these terms because everybody's afraid if I start eating more fat and more protein than my cholesterol is going to go up. So I hear the cholesterol conversation. Now, I'm not a doctor, so I'm not going to tell you what you should do relative to managing your cholesterol levels. I'm just going to say it in these simple terms.

Just because there are firemen and firewomen at a fire does not mean they are the cause of the fire. And just because there are more firemen and firewomen at a bigger fire doesn't mean, again, that the firemen are firewomen started that fire. There is no cause and effect. That one exists in a location at a given time. They're not causing you know, the firemen are not causing the fire.

If you follow the cholesterol model, that's what you believe, because my cholesterol is high. That's why I have clogged arteries, when the reality of it is it's that excess sugar, it's the insulin. It's all the stuff that's going on there that's creating the environment where cholesterol now has actually cake and do its thing to protect your blood vessels from leaking and then doing its job. Yes, you are now calcifying those in your in your arteries, and that is what's leading to heart disease and stroke.

And so if you can get past your fat phobia, then you're going to be able to make it into this next level.

And the third and final level is hormones. Now, if you're just a Calories In Calories Out model kind of person, then you may not think hormones have anything to do with fat. And it's not true. We know men can lose weight easier than women because we have testosterone. We know that a woman going through menopause begins to store fat differently because of estrogen and testosterone.

So if your hormones change and that's going to change where you store fat, it only makes reasonable sense that hormones do have a place in the fat storage system. And we've already talked about insulin, so we know that one. Now we're talking about the sex hormones, but thyroid, cortisol, glucagon, leptin and ghrelin, which are your hunger and satiety, all these different hormones are basically in a system of messaging that's happening in our body. And the food that goes in is information is then translated into our hormones.

So how do we manage the hormone system so that we're optimizing our opportunity to lose body fat and lose weight? Well, the first thing is, yes, you can go to your doctor and pretty much for thyroid, testosterone and estrogen, they can supplement. They can give you some. And that would definitely help alleviate if you're low. If your low T, if you've gone through menopause and you want to put some estrogen in there, that may make you feel a lot better. And then the same thing with thyroid. If your thyroid is under producing or converting, then your doctor might prescribe some thyroid again just to help you optimize where you need to be with those hormones.

But for most of the hormones that relate to what we're doing, trying to lose weight, there really isn't. A doctor way, there isn't a pill or a shot or something like that or a patch or something stuck under the skin that we can use to fix that problem, we have we have to manage it through lifestyle. And there are four core areas of lifestyle that are really important for managing your hormone system.

We've talked a bit about food, and if you're eating whole food and you're focused on food quality and you're eating a balanced diet, getting all the minerals and vitamins and things that you need.

And by the way, a lot of our hormones are made out of cholesterol. So, again, it's not necessarily a bad thing to have cholesterol. It's not evil. It's not terrible. But I'll let you manage that.

Anyway. Managing your nutrition, it should be the first step for weight loss. And so if you're eating a good balanced meal, you're getting some good proteins with each meal. There's some fat in there and a minimal amount of carbohydrates predominantly so that you can get your fiber and some vitamins and minerals.

Then you're signaling. The information you're putting in your body is that we have access to good food and we we don't need this extra body fat. It's okay to let go of it. And we're not going to be hungry all the time.

And we're not going to be eating six meals a day because we just don't need that food as a result of not needing that food. We are not eating as many calories. See the magic. So start with your nutrition and get that balanced and get that working for you.

The next is sleep. Most of the hormones in the human body, particularly with weight loss, are somewhat influenced by our circadian rhythm. If we're not getting a good night's sleep and we're not going to sleep early enough and we're setting alarms and we're waking up all frazzled, we're basically with that lack of sleep signaling to our body that we're in a stressful situation, something's bad, and we're not giving our body the opportunity to do the things it needs to do to optimize its own hormones. So after nutrition, the next thing I would focus on is improving quality of your sleep.

And then the next one is stress management. Now, when we're stressed, our body releases cortisol and sometimes it doesn't even have to be like seeing a bear or anything like that. Just in the morning, your cortisol levels are going to rise so that it's telling your body it's time to get up and start moving around. So cortisol has a very important purpose. But in our current day, we're all overstressed. We're all over sensitized. We're on the computer at night. We're watching shows, the news, everything that's going on in the world. So we end up in this kind of fight or flight mode almost all the time.

And if we're not managing that cortisol, cortisol has this really interesting relationship with your other hormones, particularly insulin. And it tells the body, don't burn excess energy, cut back on your energy. We're going to use this adrenaline and other stuff to get stuff done. But you focus on conservation because we need to survive. And if you're constantly in that state, you're going to probably be storing fat and it's really hard to lose fat. And you're also likely going to be breaking down muscle because cortisol is catabolic.

OK, next, I want to get into kind of some of the things that happen when we're not managing our stress. And a lot of times it just comes down to fatigue. We're just constantly dealing with information and we're trying to make the right decisions. And decisions are kind of finite. If we start doing too much, there's a fatigue. And as a result, we might make poor choices. We might decide I've had a tough day at work. I'm going to skip my workout. Or even worse, I had a tough day at work, I think I'm going to drink a bottle or two of wine and maybe someone takes up smoking again to manage their stress. So you see that this whole cycle of not managing your stress can lead you down a very dark path. That is, again, in each of those cases, communicating to your body. All is not good and we need to fight and we need to flight. And all those things are happening inside your body as expressed by your hormones. And then your actions.

And so the final one is movement, and this one, I saved it for last, but I don't want you to think that this is the most important thing, because the reality of it is you have to start with nutrition and then focus on your sleep and then focus on your stress. And movement is something that you blend into your life as you go.

It's great to start. Most people will start a weight loss program and they'll say, I'm going to eat very few calories and I'm going to bust my butt to try to lose this weight. The problem is you can't out exercise a bad diet. So, you know, you started out doing really, really well. You got hungry and then you you chewed into the Girl Scout cookies. And I mean, a whole pack of those is gone. And you you didn't do it and now it's time to exercise. You're not going to burn that box of Girl Scout cookies as fast as you hate them, you just can't. So you can't exercise, you can't out sleep, you can't out stress manage a bad diet. You got to get that right first.

So with the movement, this is something we want to talk about, kind of as a pretext to all the other stuff where we're trying to communicate to our hormones that it's okay to lose the weight. It's okay to use that energy for the right reasons. So as you do the exercises, recognize the type of exercise, how frequently you do it, how intensely you do it are communications to your body. So if you're lifting heavy weights, you're communicating to your body that you need more muscle, you need more strength, you need more bone density.

As such, your body actually starts producing a little bit more testosterone to aid in making those things happen. Again, exercise like just about everything else is lifestyle related, is going to be a communication strategy for your body, for you to tell your body that you want it to get stronger, you want it to go ahead and shed some of that body fat, get that growth hormone going. And that just kind of speeds the whole process up.

And then, don't don't feel like you've got to sit down and start this this massive exercise program straight away. Sometimes the simplest is easiest. And I know I started this by saying simple is not the best weight loss strategy, but sometimes with movement, I can tell you simple is actually the best. Go for a walk, go do something you enjoy, ride a bike, go hiking, do some things outside that you enjoy. And then as you get yourself more comfortable with movement as being a part of your every day, then you can start factoring in resistance, training, balance, mobility, all those different things. So you're building the body you want through the communication that came from the exercise that you did.

To sort of kind of roll this all together: Calories In, Calories Out is not wrong. The low-carb approach is not wrong. But the problem with only thinking you have those two choices is that you don't get the whole picture. They're all right at some level. But you've got to look at all of them and you've got to look at it from the perspective of this is all sitting on that complex model of hormones that even to this day, the best scientists in the world struggle to wrap their mind around how to optimize and make all those things work the way they're supposed to work. Because the human body is not simple. It is one of the most complex pieces of equipment you will ever have the ability to operate.

And we're doing it with these hormones. We're doing it with the information we feed our body and the time and day and how much and what macros they are. All of that matters. All of that's a part of it. I don't want to leave you thinking that this is just something that's outside the realm of your capacity to understand, because it's not. Any incremental improvement that you do is going to be good. Your body is going to respond. If you're not eating much whole food right now, most of your food is coming from a bag, box , jar, or can, start to change that. Go to a Farmer's Market this weekend and pick up some vegetables and meat, go to the butcher and find out ways that you can get meat at a cheaper discount, because sometimes they write off, they write down some of their higher priced, grass fed cow beef and some of their pasture chickens because they didn't sell at all. And you might have an opportunity to pick up on some of that at a discount look for a local co-op where they're selling things that are typically much cheaper because they're trying to make whole foods more accessible.

Start a process of looking for ways to improve your nutrition. And that's going to be the key to managing the hormones, looking at your macros, then looking at your calories, and then you've taken all of that math and all those layers and you've put together a formula that works for you. So, no, simple is not always the best alternative for long term weight loss, but once you know your rules, very likely those will be your rules for a long, long time.

And so learning how to eat, learning how to sleep better, learning how to reduce stress and manage stress and learning how to move should all be things that you look at each day to improve your health and fitness.


Post Show/Recap

[00:33:44.430] – Allan
Welcome back, Raz.

[00:33:45.840] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. Well, that's a lot of information you set out, and it sure makes sense. I can tell you that weight loss is nothing at all that simple. It's totally complex. And it gets worse with age, I think.

[00:33:58.200] – Allan
Yeah. It's hard for me to be having some conversations with people because they'll be tribal and they'll be like, oh, no, it's just it's this. It's this one rule and loose weight. You have to be in a calorie deficit. And the short answer is, yeah, you do. But what you think is a calorie deficit isn't necessarily calorie deficit. Then they say, well, no, you just calculate a formula and everybody follows the formula.

[00:34:27.840] – Allan
And I was like, okay, then everybody passes the test. There's a bell curve, there's a range. And some people are outside that range. And there's something's going on in your body that might be different than someone else. And so there's age is related to it. Size is related to it. Rather, you're going through an infection or not could have something to do with it. So everything that's going on in your body takes energy to do.

[00:34:51.450] – Allan
That's true. But your body will shut off the function if it doesn't need it, if it needs the energy to do something like feed your brain, keep you alive, it will do that and it will sacrifice reproductive system. It will sacrifice your spleen, all of that. It will just do it. And that's where people get lost. But no, it's not that simple. If everybody were the same, if it were perfectly the same, then yes. And those formulas that were calculated, the calculations are estimate. And if you're off by just a couple hundred here, there things aren't working the way that you think they should.

[00:35:32.070] – Allan
But and you can look at it, you go on my fitness pal and say I'm eating this much and you can weigh every bit of that. Every single morsel goes in your mouth. You can weigh every bit of it. Put that in there and you can go through and say, and here I am on the elliptical. Mr Elliptical said I just burned 750 calories in an hour. Put that into the formula and then I'd say, OK, in six weeks you should weigh fifteen pounds less.

[00:35:53.700] – Rachel
Mm hmm.

[00:35:54.780] – Allan
It's not a straight line. Why is it not a straight line. It should be. If I eat the same foods every day, did the same exercise every day, why would it be that one day I weigh less or more than another day. And so it's not just calories in. That's a part of it. It's true. But it is not everything.

[00:36:11.340] – Allan
The other side of it is then how we eat and what we eat is defining how hungry you are. And so where I said you could measure every morsel of food and you would know roughly how much you were eating. But most of us don't do that. Most of us say I had an Apple medium.

[00:36:30.420] – Rachel
Exactly.

[00:36:30.970] – Allan
When the actual apple they have is large. And they'll say, oh, I had a serving of almonds when in fact, they actually had two servings of almonds.

[00:36:39.670] – Rachel
Oh, yeah.

[00:36:40.650] – Allan
You know, I had a tablespoon of peanut butter when the way they scooped it out, they now actually have three tablespoons of peanut butter. And they forgot about the bag of popcorn that they ate at night.

[00:36:52.620] – Rachel
That's right.

[00:36:54.400] – Allan
I didn't log that. Darn. I don't understand why the formula is not working. And so what you how you feed yourself, whether you're hungry or not. And in many cases, if you start exercising, you're going to be hungrier. And they've done study after study and I've seen different numbers, but even nutritionists, people who should know exactly what they're putting in their mouths, underestimate how much they ate. And in some cases, that can be 29% or more. The numbers I've seen. So if you're off by about 30 percent of what you thought you ate, meaning you're underreporting that.

[00:37:32.940] – Allan
And then I can tell you on some cardiovascular machines, they're overstating it because I can tell you is extremely difficult to burn 750 calories in an hour. And so there was no way I was burning that many calories per hour. Just this wasn't happening. But the machine said it, so I should take it. And I say, okay, well, this is a Precore. And then I go get on this other one. And I work just as hard for an hour. And I don't like that machine because it only says 600. I like the one that says 750.

[00:38:03.981] – Rachel
For sure. I would to!

[00:38:07.980] – Allan
One hundred fifty difference. And when we're talking about six hundred that's twenty five percent. So if I'm off on one side I'm off on the other side of my formula it doesn't make any sense. So I want make sure I'm eating foods that fill me up or make sure I'm getting the nutrition my body needs. And so I have to look at my macros just to know, okay am I getting good quality food?

[00:38:28.920] – Allan
That can be fiber. So you are eating plant-based. That's fiber, it's protein, it's some fat. And those are all going to make you feel satiated because we know simple carbs and starches and processed grains in particular are going to make us hungry all the time faster.

[00:38:46.620] – Rachel
For sure.

[00:38:47.010] – Allan
And so if we're hungry all the time, we're eating more. We just are. We have to. Aand so you have to look at how your macros are affecting your hunger and satiation and and getting you the food you need.

[00:38:59.070] – Allan
And then the final bit of it is hormones. And you talked a little bit about aging. When we got into this. A woman's body, particularly between 45 and 65, is going through some huge hormonal shifts. Lower thyroid is is a huge thing. So if your thyroid hormones going down, that manages your metabolism. So that's going down. If you're losing muscle mass, your metabolism is going down. And because your estrogen and sex hormones are going down as well, you're storing fat in different locations and you may be storing more fat than you would have stored otherwise, or at least you're seeing it because you're storing it in places that you didn't have it before.

[00:39:45.710] – Allan
And if you're storing fat in general, it may be that not that you're you're moving that fat from one location to another, but you just actually storing more fat now and now. You still have that fat where you had it and now you have more where you didn't have it. Unfortunately, that's the thing.

[00:40:02.150] – Allan
So it is a lot more complex than just one model than just one thing. Now those simple rules can be good things to try to test.

[00:40:13.970] – Rachel
Yeah, for sure.

[00:40:15.380] – Allan
If I go on a low-carb diet, does it make it easier for me to restrict calories? And in doing so, am I doing the other things necessary to manage my hormones? So I'm keeping my stress level low. I'm getting good quality sleep. I'm getting some good movement and so my body understands I still want to be alive. Because I'm moving. I'm not laying here like I'm ready for a coffin and I'm not sitting here like I'm ready for a coffin and I'm moving like I actually want to stay alive and I need to be able to move. Then your body responds with hormones following a good circadian rhythm, a good cycle, and you improve your opportunity to shed that fat. But it's not something that just click happens and a lot of people will start and they'll start losing weight. And that feels good, particularly your low carb. You start flushing some water and four or five pounds down. I've got this under control. And then it's one pound and then it's half a pound and then it's half a pound and people get impatient.

[00:41:16.370] – Rachel
Oh, yeah.

[00:41:17.120] – Allan
And then they're going, oh, I, I want it to go faster. So now I'm going to go do this intense, start doing these intense workouts and now they're adrenals are all over the place and their cortisol is high and they're not recovering and maybe they're not sleeping as well because their legs hurt. They're cramping. They just don't feel good. I don't understand why am I not losing weight? It's like, well, to take a step back, you got to look how my managing my overall health.

[00:41:45.830] – Rachel
Yeah, that's a good point. I mean, it's a real big picture of you. If and I've been through this myself, I lose some weight gain some I've moved several times. Every time I move, I seem to gain a few pounds because my activity is off, my nutrition is off. There's these life situations. My kids in college, you know, we all go through these big life changes where things just get wonky and then you just need to get back into the rhythm of things.

[00:42:14.240] – Rachel
And like you had mentioned before, too, I've done the same thing. You know, back in my thirties, I used My Fitness Pal and I would measure I would get the weight scale out and look at what is an eight ounce piece of chicken or four ounces of cheese or whatever. And I'm always surprised I can't seem to remember what four ounces of cheese looks like. And I've got to go back and remeasure things. But that's a really common pitfall of eating more than what you're thinking you're eating. And there is a lot to it. And it is worth taking a step back and reevaluating everything that you're trying to do to lose weight.

[00:42:51.110] – Allan
And then, we are talking about weight loss here, but the other side of it is you've got to live your life.

[00:42:57.140] – Rachel
True.

[00:43:00.080] – Allan
If you're so obsessed with the weight loss that you're not enjoying yourself. So you're saying, I've got to weigh everything I put in my mouth or I've got to look at what the nutrition is on it, on my fitness pal before I can decide if I can have it. And then I'm trying to figure out how to have some cocktails with my friends that just kind of fit my macros or I'm going to a restaurant and I really can't even figure out what to eat there because, I don't even know what's in 90 percent of it. And I don't want to be the person at the table that spends fifteen minutes grilling the waiter on what's in my food. You didn't think to call ahead, but you didn't want to say what you want to do is go out, have a nice meal with your friends, have a couple drinks and call it a night and then you'll pick up tomorrow. And so, weight loss is important, but having a good quality of life now is as well.

[00:43:55.280] – Allan
So at least have the patience with yourself to live life now, but slowly start incorporating habits and changes to your activity level, to your sleep, to your stress that are going to support you going forward.

[00:44:12.710] – Rachel
Yeah, so true. It's all these different things and it's not worth obsessing about any particular thing. Just to your best, keep as best of balance as you can and make those little tiny incremental steps. I always say baby steps are the best way to reach your goals.

[00:44:29.140] – Allan
Yeah, give it a shot, try something, let it go for a while, see if it's sustainable, if it's working, keep it. If not, chuck it, just chuck it and start something else. Say, I did the my fitness pollen count the calories, and it worked for me for three weeks and it stopped working. Let's try something else. It was working so you don't necessarily chuck. But the question in is why, why am I not getting the results I expect to have? And you've got to look at those other layers and see what is it about these other layers that I might not be doing. Well, it's like, oh, I forgot to lug my popcorn every night.

[00:45:04.290] – Rachel
Yeah.

[00:45:05.800] – Allan
Maybe that was it. Maybe just having that extra popcorn was what did it. I still want my popcorn. So can I make that fit my lifestyle or not. And you've got to make those choices. But yeah, I think so many people get wrapped up in it's a simple rule. It should work, it works for everybody else. And the reality is it doesn't. Sixty-seven percent of people would not be overweight if it were as simple as calories in, calories out.

[00:45:31.390] – Rachel
That's right. Yep, that's absolutely right.

[00:45:34.150] – Allan
But calories in calories is right. It's just not the whole answer.

[00:45:38.920] – Rachel
Not the only thing out there is a lot of nuances to talk about.

[00:45:44.050] – Allan
And I've got some really great guests coming on in the next few weeks and we're going to get in a little bit deeper into some of these topics. So I'm really excited about that.

[00:45:52.480] – Rachel
Sweet. That sounds great.

[00:45:54.970] – Allan
Well, Rachel, you have an outstanding week and I'll talk to you next week.

[00:45:58.840] – Rachel
Thanks. Take care.

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Another episode you may enjoy

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How to solve your energy equation with Dr. Sarah Myhill

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In her book, The Energy Equation, Dr. Sarah Myhill shows us why finding the right energy balance is critical for a long, healthy life.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:01:57.390] – Allan
Raz, how's your week going?

[00:02:00.390] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:02:02.460] – Allan
I'm doing all right. In the 80s during the day and 70s at night. My wife and I are starting to try to do our transition, move over to the bed and breakfast she bought. Our rent runs out at the end of March for the apartment. So she pretty much wants to be moved over there. And here you can't really leave a property unattended overnight. People will break in and steal things. So we have to stay there. I go by the apartment every once while just to see it's still there. But because I'm paying rent. But yeah. So we're doing kind of a move right now.

[00:02:41.340] – Allan
And then of course, I did get the gym open February 1st. Trying to run the gym and slow grow and we've got people coming in. But it's nice to have, you know, that back going again. So it's it's good times. How about you?

[00:02:56.640] – Rachel
Sounds exciting. Well, we're the exact opposite of you right now. We have some Arctic air coming in, so we're in the single digits and sometimes those have a negative in front of them as well. So I am avoiding the outside while we are in those single digits and spending some time in my gym. So I just did a spin bike for about an hour this morning and doing some drills and just trying to keep warm as best I can.

[00:03:27.250] – Allan
I'm going to tell you this. This morning I think it got down to… it might have got down all the way to 70.

[00:03:35.460] – Rachel
Oh, gosh, I would love right now.

[00:03:38.550] – Allan
Yes, I would say it was like probably for the folks that are doing Celsius, about 22 degrees Celsius. And I was cold. I was like, I'm going to have to put a sweatshirt on.

[00:03:53.700] – Rachel
Oh, my gosh, I need three layers of clothing. If I even go outside to get the mail.

[00:03:59.710] – Allan
You'll lose toes.

[00:04:01.220] – Rachel
Right? Yeah.

[00:04:03.560] – Allan
But I did see on Facebook that I guess Holland or New Holland, I forget the city name.

[00:04:09.710] – Rachel
Holland

[00:04:10.940] – Allan
Holland has heated sidewalks, so that's cool. So tell us a little bit about that.

[00:04:17.180] – Rachel
I don't know a ton about it, but I believe that there's a wastewater treatment plant downtown or a plant of some sort where they need to recirculate their water. And when it comes out all nice and hot, it needs to go somewhere. So why not underneath the sidewalks of the downtown? So this heated water goes through all these coils underneath these beautiful brick sidewalks. They've got about almost five miles at this point of sidewalks that are heated for this treatment plant's hot water.

[00:04:47.300] – Rachel
And it's amazing because it can melt snow at such a rate. So even when it's snowing full blown snow like we get in Michigan, it is able to keep up with certain inches per hour, a couple of inches per hour of snow, which is quite a bit. So when we got there the other day to run the heated sidewalks, there was dry brick pavement to run and no slipping and sliding, not even slush. And it is a stark contrast because the roads are totally full of snow. We actually got probably about seven inches of snow over the weekend. So it's amazing to see these perfectly dry sidewalks in stark contrast to the snowy roads. It was it's pretty amazing.

[00:05:30.770] – Allan
So when are you going to make Michael do that with your running path?

[00:05:33.800] – Rachel
We are so close. That'll be that'll be our summer projects. Maybe because there there's houses that have these sidewalks that go along the side of their house so they literally don't have to shovel that portion of their sidewalk, which I'm telling you would just be heaven. It's pretty amazing.

[00:05:53.330] – Allan
Shoveling is good exercise, too.

[00:05:55.340] – Rachel
It is. It is a good workout for sure.

[00:05:59.300] – Allan
All right. So today we have on Dr. Sarah Myhill and she did the PK Cookbook, which is a Paleo Keto cookbook. And today we're going to talk about her book, The Energy Equation. So are you ready to get into that?

[00:06:14.590] – Rachel
Let's go.

Interview

Text

[00:06:38.180] – Allan
Dr. Myhill. Welcome back to 40+ Fitness.

[00:06:41.150] – Dr. Myhill
Thank you for inviting me, Allan. You're always a very good questioner.

[00:06:45.470] – Allan
Well, good. Now, the last time we had you on, we were talking about the PK Cookbook, which was the paleo ketogenic cookbook. Very good cookbook, by the way. Very good approach towards nutrition. And now your new book is The Energy Equation: From the Naked Ape to the Knackered Ape. And you did in the book, you explain that knackered for you americans out there just means tired or exhausted.

[00:07:13.370] – Allan
When I have a conversation with someone when they want to go in and get into personal training, I'll be like, Okay, what's what's going on? And of course, there's the weight gain and there's the other things that they're they're worried about. But I hear fatigue in just about every single one of those conversations.

[00:07:36.920] – Dr. Myhill
Yeah. Fatigue is the commonest symptom that presents in Western medicine and the worst treated.

[00:07:44.240] – Allan
I agree, because in many cases we we don't know what we don't know. You get you get tired and most people will say, that's and that's just getting old. You know, you're just getting old. You got to slow down.

[00:08:00.540] – Dr. Myhill
Yeah, but age doesn't cause anything. Age is not a mechanism. Age is a clinical picture. Age doesn't cause. You say we have to ask what is it about age that causes fatigue? And I think that age is great. You blame for fatigue when there are other eminently treatable aspects.

[00:08:20.660] – Allan
Right. Now, we're not talking about the, I didn't get enough sleep last night, I sleep well every other night, so I'm just a little tired or I went out and did a four hour walk or run, and now I'm really knackered. So we're talking about the chronic fatigue syndrome and myalgic encephalitis. Kind of these deep-rooted conditions that we could be going through.

[00:08:51.040] – Dr. Myhill
Well, that's one part of the spectrum. Now, I learned so much about treating the symptoms of fatigue through my work with patients with ME and chronic fatigue syndrome. But what I find is that exactly the same principles applied to people who are otherwise well will improve their energy levels and improve their level of functioning. And even more importantly, when you apply these techniques to athletes, you improve their level of functioning as well.

[00:09:21.160] – Dr. Myhill
So the techniques we're going to talk about today are common to everybody. It doesn't matter if you've got chronic fatigue syndrome. If you're old, if you're young, if you're well, if you're a top athlete, we can all improve our energy mechanisms. Well, attention to these details.

[00:09:34.370] – Allan
And I think the deeper concept here is kind of hit me in the gut a little bit was that if you feel like you're suffering from fatigue, the root causes of it are kind of the same metabolic problems that we have that cause cancers, coronaries, diabetes, dementia, just everything that we equate to getting old.

[00:09:58.460] – Dr. Myhill
Absolutely. Absolutely, 100 percent. And not only do you improve how you feel now, but by putting in place these interventions, you greatly protect yourself from the risk of those nasty diseases that you describe. And that's why it's so important. We should all do it now. Don't wait for something nasty to happen. Really grasp the nettle now.

[00:10:21.190] – Allan
Now you use the title, The Energy Equation. And I love that because it's a conversation that comes up all the time when we're talking about weight loss. It's energy in energy out and calories, in calories out. I try to explain to people that it's not that thermodynamics doesn't work in the human body. It does. But we've got it backwards, I think. We have it backwards. The trying to burn out the calories and do more and get more done. And just the modern lifestyles we have and the approaches we have towards energy. It's kind of backwards, isn't it?

[00:10:57.790] – Dr. Myhill
Yes. What we know for absolutely for sure is that part that you describe, i.e. it's calories in and calories out. There's no relationship to effective weight loss because if you reduce the calories that you are eating, then the body thinks, oh, we're in starvation. Right. There's a famine and it shuts down energy burning and it's the body shuts down energy buring that makes you fatigued, it makes the foggy brain. You can't think clearly. It makes you depressed, it makes you anxious. Everything slows down. And that is no fun at all. The body just balances up energy burning or calories burnt to the calories consumed. So there's much more effective ways of losing weight which we can come onto, which do not involve calorie restriction.

[00:11:46.410] – Allan
I think one of the keys here as I was getting into it and you quoted someone I can't remember the exact quote, because it was in English, but it was kind of an older English. And it was old called currency. The basic premise was that the opposite of fatigue is effectively having a slight energy surplus where we have just a little more energy than we need to function well. And then that extra energy gives us the energy to decide, hey, I feel good. I think I'll go for a run or a bike ride or hike or something. Talk a little bit about how we should view the energy in part of this equation.

[00:12:30.500] – Dr. Myhill
OK, well, the point is we all have a certain bucket of energy that we can spend in the day. Now, if we spend more energy than we have available to us, then we die because we haven't got the energy for the heart to work, for the brain to work, for the gut to work, then the body will simply die. Now, the brain of the body cannot therefore permit you to spend more energy than you have available to you.

[00:12:57.470] – Dr. Myhill
And so what it does is it gives you symptoms that which warn you that your energy is starting to empty. And in the book, The Energy Equation in detail, those symptoms, the symptoms we all know about fatigue, no stamina, short of breath, foggy brain, can't think clearly. And then the brain gives the symptoms that stop the spending energy, like depression, like anxiety. The symptoms are very important. They guide us. They tell us about the energy gap.

[00:13:25.130] – Dr. Myhill
But if you've got plenty of energy, if you've got an abundance of energy, for all the reasons we can talk about, then then you have the ability to spend it and then you can yes, you can get training and not pay for it the next day. Yes, get physically fit. Yes. You can take on mental projects, new businesses, new horizons, new hobbies, because you have the mental energy to deal with that.

[00:13:47.930] – Dr. Myhill
So what that means is there's two sides of the energy equation. First of all, I have to advise you how to make your energy bucket as large as is possible. You've got plenty of energy spend in a day, and then we have to look at how the body is spending energy and may be wasting energy. Because the gap between the two gives us the energy to have a life with and spending energy mentally and physically is having fun. It's called living life, though the techniques they make, as I call it, the holes in the empty bucket smaller and would improve the mechanisms by which we generate energy. So we have plenty to go at.

[00:14:28.350] – Dr. Myhill
I think of energy is money and without money we can't live. And if you've got an abundance of money, you can have a lot of fun and have a jolly good time. If you're wasting money, then you haven't got the money to spend on the things you like doing. It's exactly the same with energy.

[00:14:45.250] – Allan
Now, you mentioned something that is really, really important is the kind of the leakage, the holes in the bucket, if you will. Most people when you start talking about energy, they're thinking in terms of, oh, I need to exercise to burn energy. And that is one way that we would use some of the energy that's available to us. But it's actually a very small percentage of what we would actually use in a day. Can you talk about some of the energy outs and why it's critical for us to make sure that we have an abundance of energy coming in to be able to handle these functions?

[00:15:18.970] – Dr. Myhill
Well, an astonishing statistic in my mind, is that about two-thirds of all the energy that the body generates just goes to staying alive. That's called basal metabolism and keeping warm the heart beating efficiently as a pump, the brain working efficiently. I mean, at rest, although the brain weighs just two percent of body weight, it consumes 20 percent of all the energy that the body generates. So the brain is using an enormous amount.

[00:15:47.980] – Dr. Myhill
But the organ that uses the most energy of all is the liver. And the liver at rest uses twenty-seven percent of all the energy that the body generates. And the reason for that is the liver has to deal with what comes from the gut. The liver is there to mop up the toxic products that come from the gut. And although we think food is good for us and of course it's essential for life, food is actually a potentially toxic soup. And if you eat poor-quality food, you will end up with a fermenting gut. And when you've got a fermenting gut, you will be fermenting those sugars and carbohydrates to alcohol, to the lactate, to hydrogen sulfide. You will be producing lots of bacteria and fungi with bacterial endotoxin and fungal mycotoxins. And that all gets absorbed and it goes in via the portal vein to the liver. And the liver has to deal with that toxic soup. And that requires a lot of raw materials and a lot of energy. So the liver is the most energy-consuming part of the body.

[00:16:55.600] – Dr. Myhill
So what that tells us is simply by improving our diet and you mentioned the Paleo-Ketogenic diet. Simply by getting onto a low carbohydrate paleo ketogenic diet, you greatly reduce the work that the liver has to do. And if the liver is not using energy, then it's there for you to use. And so many people, just by doing the diet, turn round to me and say within a couple, three weeks, my energy back I've suddenly got my spark again. I feel 20 years younger. I now know this is how I should be. So the diet is absolutely central to energy delivery mechanisms for that one simple reason. It just reduces the work we have to spend on the liver for just basal metabolism.

[00:17:40.600] – Allan
And to take that one level deeper, there'll be there's things that will come out on the market, raise your metabolism so you can lose weight. And every time I see one of those, I just cringe because that's the exact opposite of what we should be trying to do. Our metabolism is going to be what it's going to be. We can improve it just with the quality of our food and some exercise and other basic functional things we can just do for ourselves. But people will try to take these stimulants basically and they're like bashing a big hole in their bucket.

[00:18:20.640] – Dr. Myhill
I call it flogging a dead horse. That's the saying we have in this country. Yes, you can beat them. They'll do a bit more work. But it's counterproductive in the long term. The supplements that stimulate metabolism does not work. And the most important thing is the first one. We have to improve energy delivery mechanisms. And then, as I call it, look how we are wasting energy. And the gap between the two gives us energy to spend on having a jolly life.

[00:18:48.910] – Dr. Myhill
So the energy equation is all about making that gap as wide as possible.

[00:18:53.850] – Allan
And there's study after study that the lower your metabolism, the longer you live. And that's all part of making it a lot easier to balance this equation. If you're basically doing the right things for your body and your body is optimized. The mitochondria are firing and they're doing what they're supposed to do. You're turning the ATP around and everything's just kind of working for you. The energy just blows out because you stored all this body fat and now your body can say, hey, we don't need this anymore.

[00:19:29.250] – Allan
The liver can get busy because it's got all the energy it needs. And it's like, Okay, now we can do the cleaning up that we need to do as we get rid of this body fat. And it just really kind of is this self-fulfilling prophecy that's backwards in our head. It's not about getting your metabolism to work faster. It's about optimizing your health. So you have an optimized metabolism.

[00:19:52.380] – Dr. Myhill
It's all about efficiency. And the other thing to remember that is so important is we spend energy even during sleep, and it's during sleep that the immune system heals and repairs. So, you can't work, you can't generate energy, you can't do physical exercise. You can't do brain exercise without generating, creating some damage in the body and with good quality sleep and energy and of course, raw materials, the immune system then heals and repairs.

[00:20:20.100] – Dr. Myhill
So this diet and these infections stop you degenerating and ending a degenerative disease is now a major cause of morbidity in people as they get older. So it's just good all round. You can't go wrong with these regimes.

[00:20:37.380] – Allan
Now, since we're talking about optimizing and efficiency and trying to keep our basically say keep our energy out in balance with our energy and and all that, why is it still important to exercise? Because that's burning energy. Why would we still want to exercise?

[00:20:52.440] – Dr. Myhill
Well, first of all, we are functional animals. And primitive man, if he didn't exercise, if he couldn't use his body, then he would simply die from starvation. So we have had millions of years where for optimum health, optimal function, we have to use our bodies. One example of this is if you send astronauts up into space where there's no gravity, moving around, it's very easy. They don't need to use their muscles. They get roaring osteoporosis and they get terrible muscle wastage. And you see also, if you don't use it, you lose it.

[00:21:29.880] – Dr. Myhill
And to be well, we have to have good structure. We have to have strong bones, strong connective tissue. And to maintain that, we need a certain amount of energy and of course, our exercise techniques, which will optimize that so we can do that most efficiently. But the primary thing is to say make the energy bucket as large as possible. And the analogy that I give to my patients is the car analogy. And I like that analogy because I get it in my patients, get it out of your car to go, there are four important players. You've got to have the right fuel in the tank. And we talk about that in the book. It's got to be low carbohydrate because modern that's are far too high in carbs. And we get addicted to them when we crave them and they ferment. And that makes us fatty. So the priority is low carbohydrate.

[00:22:22.440] – Dr. Myhill
And then we have to have, as I call it, the mitochondrial engine and all mammal cells, in fact, all cells in nature pretty much that you look at, except yeast. So plant cells, three cells, mammal cells, insect cells, they are all powered by mitochondria. It's like we have an engine that is common to all to all cells. And every living cell will be powered by those mitochondria. And I think those are the engines because they take fuel from the bloodstream which should be ketones. That is the preferred fuel for mitochondria, not sugars. Ketones in the bloodstream, which they burn in the presence of oxygen to generate the energy molecule ATP.

[00:23:04.880] – Dr. Myhill
So there are some supplements which are very commonly deficient, and as you may not know, I've now published three papers about mitochondria functioning patients with fatigue syndromes. And the bottom line is the more fatigued you are, the worse your mitochondria function and vice versa.

[00:23:24.090] – Dr. Myhill
And there are very common rate limiting step. It's like there are common reasons why your car engine might fail. It might fail because I'm learning about all things, but the spark plugs don't work. The fuel filter is blocked and the timing isn't correct. It's the same with mitochondria. Common things are common. And the the five deficiencies, the time and time again which make mitochondria go slow. Coenzyme Q10, Acetyl Carnitine, Vitamin B3, magnesium, and D Ribose. Those five supplements come up time and time again. I reckon takes about a full month of those supplements and your mitochondria function has a very good chance of improving. That works reliably well.

[00:24:11.320] – Dr. Myhill
Then we have to ask you about mitochondria blocks by something so you could have a first-class engine, but if you throw some sand into it, it's going to lock the engine up in unpredictable ways. It might block the fuel supply, might block the air filters or whatever. And we live in a toxic, polluted world so we can go slow because we have been poisoned by something. I have to say probably the number one cause of poisoning products of the upper fermenting gut.

[00:24:44.050] – Dr. Myhill
If you're eating a diet which is high in sugars and carbohydrates, then there's a great risk that you start to ferment. And what you ferment those sugars and carbohydrates to alcohol, D Lactate, and other compounds. Bacterial endotoxin is produced. Fungal mycotoxins is produced. And all those things poison the mitochondria. So again, your diet is so important in this respect.

[00:25:06.730] – Dr. Myhill
But I learned so much of my stuff from seeing veterans of the Gulf War who have been poisoned by organophosphates, SSIs and organophosphates inhibit oxidative phosphorylation of this vast biochemical reasons. I saw firemen with 9/11 syndrome who had been poisoned. I see people with sick building syndrome who had been poisoned and their mitochondria are going slow. So the detox regimes are often very helpful to improve mitochondria function in those people.

[00:25:38.470] – Dr. Myhill
And then for your car to go, you've got to have a thyroid accelerator pedal. And that's how baselines and set how fast mitochondria can go. And then you need the adrenal gearbox, and that allows us to gear up the stress. If you know when I get to work, then that's stressful. I have to gear up my energy production so I can be an effective doctor. But I can't do that 24 hours a day. I can run in overdrive for some hours a day. But in the evening I have to get back down to the second gear, first gear. Put my feet up, do a crossword, read a book, watching telly or whatever, and that ability to gear up and down and match energy delivery to energy demands very closely is an essential part of using energy efficiently.

[00:26:26.530] – Dr. Myhill
I mean, one example of this, is if you had a patient with an abnormal state of the thyroid gland, when their accelerator pedal is stuck at one hundred miles an hour, they burn loads of energy, OK, they might feel wonderful for a short time because they have this apparent excess of energy. But the weight drops off them, the heart goes too fast and eventually they end up with pathology.

[00:26:52.590] – Dr. Myhill
So balancing that all up of those four big players together, of course, with sleep and exercises, as you mentioned before, of how we saw energy delivery mechanism, and there's no reason why your energy bucket can't be as full as you get older as it was when you were younger.

[00:27:12.480] – Allan
One of the things I think that's important when we're talking about exercise, one of the benefits is most if you do exercise the right way, you're not overstressed and you're able to recover. One of the cool things about our body is that it adds mitochondria.

[00:27:27.480] – Dr. Myhill
Absolutely.

[00:27:28.440] – Allan
And more my mitochondria means more engines. So you're going from a, you know, eight horsepower vehicle to a 12 horsepower vehicle. And that's kind of one of the cool things about exercise, is that it helps us be more efficient and actually have more energy output for those times when we need it.

[00:27:48.180] – Dr. Myhill
And a very good test, a very good clinical test that anybody can do, which determines how many mitochondria they've got. Is that pulse rate at rest? And we all know that the top athletes, as they get fitter, their pulse rate gets slower and slower and slower a rest. And that's because they pack their heart with mitochondria. So when the heart beats, it's a very powerful beat. And Steve Redgrave, for example, who was our Olympic athlete who won four gold medals at rowing when he was in full training, his heart rate at rest was about 40 beats per minute because his heart was so big and beating so powerfully that he can maintain circulation with just 40 beats per minute.

[00:28:34.040]
Now, this is a feature of my patients with chronic fatigue syndrome that they don't have the numbers or the mitochondria, and they don't work well. And their resting pulse is often quite high, 85, 90, maybe 95 beats per minute. And that is a measure of how powerful the heart is and therefore how many mitochondria it has and how effectively they are working. The resting pulse is a very good clinical clue for anybody who's listening in to this.

[00:29:04.430] – Allan
And we improve that by increasing our cardiovascular fitness through those types of exercises cardio and by doing weightlifting, getting more mitrocondria going.

[00:29:17.990] – Dr. Myhill
Absolutely. And what stimulates more mitochondria is lactic acid burn (i.e. we have to push our muscles so much that we switch into anaerobic metabolism). And that, of course, is that that makes your muscles painful. It makes them ache. Is the old story no pain, no gain, because it's lactic acid that stimulates more mitochondria. So if you want to get your muscles bigger, you have to do anaerobic exercise. If you want to have more efficiently, then more aerobic exercise.

[00:29:48.470] – Dr. Myhill
But if you think about the long distance runners who run great distances, they don't have big muscles. They've trained the muscles to be, they're light, they're swift on their feet, but their mitochondria working very efficiently. But by contrast, those sprinters, the weightlifters with the big muscles, they have to have a lot of mitochondria and the heart is about twenty-five percent by weight. Mitochondria and muscles also about 20 percent by weight mitochondria. So the engines form a large part of our muscle bulk.

[00:30:20.510] – Allan
And so for most of us, the performance that we're looking for in our day-to-day lives, a little bit of both goes a long way.

[00:30:26.840] – Dr. Myhill
Exactly. And so my view is we should all be doing a bit of anaerobic and a bit of aerobic exercise every day. And that should be part of your daily routine. And once you know, you're doing a little bit of exercise, it doesn't have to be drastic. It becomes a pleasurable part of your day. And guess what? We all have a deep biological need for a view, and that's called being out in nature, being out of the countryside. And we all know that just getting out there, getting outside and having a view whether it's the local park or the lake, seaside or whatever, is very good for it makes us feel good mentally and physically.

[00:31:02.180] – Allan
And we get some sunshine, which is also very good for us and our energy equation.

[00:31:07.800] – Dr. Myhill
Indeed.

[00:31:07.800] – Allan
Now, one of the things that our body does to protect us is it will take pollutants. It'll take things that are not supposed to be there in it. It likes to try to get them out of us or it likes to put them away where they won't bother us for a while. And so in the book, you talked about persistent organic pollutants, POPs. So I want to kinda get into that because I think, you know, one of the things I tell my clients is that if they if they start losing weight, they might feel a little bad at first because they basically have created a toxic environment inside their body while their liver now is struggling to catch up. So can you talk a little bit about what POPs are and how we should manage those?

[00:31:50.120] – Dr. Myhill
Absolutely. I learned so much about this because especially when I was treating those poison patients I mentioned earlier, I used to do a lot of fat biopsies. That's a very easy test to do. And it means we could measure the POPs, which in fat directly. And the fascinating thing was I never had a normal result. Everybody that I did a fat biopsy on were carrying POPs. So these days, I rarely do that test on my patients because I know what the results are going to be.

[00:32:21.710] – Dr. Myhill
And even those who've done as many detox regimes as they as is possible, they still have a certain amount there. And that reflects the fact that we live in a toxic world. And however hard you try, you can never get rid of every last persistent organic pollutant. And they are pesticide residues. They are fire retardants, that is in all furnishings. Benzene compounds, that the solvents that we get from printed newspaper or from cleaning chemicals or from air pollution.

[00:32:55.010] – Dr. Myhill
So we are all carrying these POPs. And my view is we all should do the best we possibly can to reduce the load. As you rightly point out, the body in the short term tries to get these POPs out of the way by dumping them into fat. Now when I do a biopsy, the result of that comes back in milligrams per kilogram, if I do, a blood test result comes back in micrograms per kilogram, that's a thousand-fold difference.

[00:33:24.550]
So the concentration of POPs in fat is a thousand times higher than that in the bloodstream. And what that means is that if you lose a kilogram of fat, you're going to be mobilizing milligrams of Persistent Organic Pollutants into the bloodstream. And that gives you an acute poisoning and you can feel dreadful. And believe you me, some of my patients do. Now, one way to help mitigate this is to do some sort of heating regime.

[00:33:52.390]
Now, I don't think it matters what heating regime we use because I've put my patients through all sorts. But it might be a hot bath, maybe Epsom salts in the bath. It might be sunbathing. If you're fit enough to exercise, then do exercise. Saunaing, which might be a Turkish bath or dry sauna, but get warm. And the point is that mobilizes the POPs in the subcutaneous fat onto the lipid layer on the surface of the skin. And then you shower off and the point of washing off, washing off that lipid takes the POPs with them.

[00:34:27.850] – Dr. Myhill
And from years, some years of experience and doing test by a rough rule of thumb is about 50 of those regimes will halve your total body load and the levels come down exponentially. So at least once a week, we should all be doing some sort of heating regime. Now, if you've got the energy to game having a run and having a shower after perfect. You haven't got the energy and you've got sunshine, sunbathing is wonderful. If you haven't got the sunshine, then hot bath, a sauna or a infrared sauna works just as well.

[00:35:03.820] – Dr. Myhill
And my view is that is now something that we should all be doing as a routine to try to keep our toxic load down. And of course, in addition to that, the very best to avoid these chemicals. As I said, you just can't avoid all of them. We're all exposed. But you just have to do your best. Start as clean as you possibly can, keep your environment as clean as you possibly.

[00:35:26.290] – Allan
Yeah. The liver is just kind of a cool organ, because it's what it's doing is making its job as easy as it possibly can by storing this in the fat. So just recognize that it's not cheating you in any way. It's just basically trying to help you have the best energy balance. And so it's doing the easiest, quickest way for it to offload a lot of these chemicals which were everywhere. So, we can't avoid them, but they're there. So our liver's doing what it's supposed to do. But the opposite side is on the other side. We're mobilizing this. So it's something for us to be aware of if we go through weight loss, that we may have some other symptoms, some issues that we need to just buff through.

[00:36:09.670] – Allan
And it's like my doctor says, if you want to be healthy, sweat every day, you know, just find a way to sweat every day and you'll be doing a good on your body.

[00:36:20.140] – Dr. Myhill
One small thing I would just warn that is when you sweat. Sweat is blood, but minus the white cells and the red cells and the proteins. So if it's in the plasma, a lot of it comes off in the sweat. So what that means is when you sweat, you lose electrolytes. Now, that's not just sodium and potassium. That's also magnesium, copper, chromium, selenium, boron, it's the whole shebang.

[00:36:48.370] – Dr. Myhill
And so if you do do a lot of sweating regimes, you must ensure that you really hydrate properly with electrolytes and all the minerals. Now, I have a preparation that I made up called Sunshine Salt, which unfortunately can't get to America. But if you are doing a lot of exercise, that's really important, you rehydrate and don't forget magnesium.

[00:37:08.110] – Dr. Myhill
Now, I'll just tell you a little story about this. We have a competition in this country, the Great Northern Run, which is the half marathon, I think it's 2008 or thereabouts. Ten thousand runners ran it and it was a particularly hot day. And they were sweating a lot, and during the course, that race four runners dropped dead. When it came to post-mortem, it all looked normal. They were told that this is sudden adult death syndrome. Well, that's no diagnosis at all, it's the clinical picture. But I'm quite sure that they died of acute magnesium deficiency. Why? You need calcium for the muscles of the heart to contract and you need magnesium for the muscles of the heart to relax.

[00:37:57.350] – Dr. Myhill
And when you are running a lot in that very hot weather, you are losing buckets of magnesium. And I'm quite sure they induced an acute magnesium deficiency. The heart contracted consistently with calcium and there wasn't the magnesium to allow diastolic function for it to relax. And their hearts just stopped. And that's what happened in all four cases, they were running along, just fine and then suddenly they went down and there was no other detectable pathology, hadn't had a stroke and had a heart attack. You know, I'm not quite sure that was magnesium deficiency.

[00:38:30.140] – Allan
And we're talking about the ketogenic diet. And as in nature of a ketogenic diet, we also flushed some extra fluid. So we're not carrying as much. And so when we flush that fluid, we flush some electrolytes. So, yes, most people that are trying a ketogenic style diet need to look at their electrolytes very carefully and where necessary, make sure that you're supplementing potassium and sodium are the easy ones because you get the cramps and you kind of know something's going on there. But, it goes to magnesium and copper and the rest of them, if you're not getting what your body needs, the symptom of the thing you might deal with might be a lot more drastic than you want it to be. So pay attention to your electrolytes and your fluids if you're going to do ketogenic.

[00:39:16.910] – Allan
And, yes, if you're out exercising in extreme heat or even the extreme cold will often help cause dehydration at some level. So staying hydrated is critical.

[00:39:28.010] – Allan
Now, one of the things you got into, you called your interventions, and there's three levels of it so BAC. You called it groundhog. And one of the reasons I just I just love that, is that I was actually born on Groundhog's Day. She's talking groundhogs! All right. Now, I'm into this book now.

[00:39:51.470] – Dr. Myhill
Can you talk about these interventions when each one makes the most sense and just general overview?

[00:39:58.580] – Dr. Myhill
OK, well, the point is when a patient comes to see me, then they're not even on the starting block that they are that they're way behind the starting block. And there are some interventions we have to do just to get even just to get us on an evolutionary correct regime. This is where primitive man was. And these are the regimes we should all be doing all the time if we live in a Western society. And because clinically, I keep coming back to talking about these things over and over and over again. I call the groundhog because just like film, where our hero comes back to that, they want again and tries to relive the day in it all over again. It's the same principle. And Groundhog Basic is the starting point to treat all Western disease. It's the Paleo-ketogenic diet, it's a basic package supplements, its discipline about sleep, exercise, detoxing and so on. It's just what we should all be doing to maintain the status quo. And that's a Groundhog Basic now, but of course, life doesn't continue and on stressful, easy way, sooner or later we will pick up an infection.

[00:41:13.010] – Dr. Myhill
Now, I wrote a book or two or three years ago called The Infection Game, and in my research in that book, I realized that all chronic pathology has an infectious driver. Dementia is often associated with herpes viruses, for example. All cancers have an infectious associate. The one that most people know about is Helicobacter pylori in the stomach bug drive, stomach cancer and other tumors. Epstein Bar virus drives many hematological malignancies. So I realize that getting an acute infection, we need to deal with it very effectively, very quickly, get rid of it in order that it doesn't get into the body, remain there and drive chronic pathology.

[00:41:56.750] – Dr. Myhill
So with the next regime that everybody has to be aware of is Groundhog Acute. What do you do in the event of an acute infection? And of course, this is very pertinent now because these regimes are extremely effective in getting rid of Covid-19. And if you got the Groundhog Basic in place and then at the first sign of getting Covid-19, you take vitamin C to bowel tolerance, you will survive it perfectly well without any problems or complications whatsoever. So vitamin C to bowel tolerance is probably the most important form of Groundhog Acute.

[00:42:31.100] – Dr. Myhill
Because people don't come to me well, they don't come to me saying, oh, and how can I live to 100? They come to me sick or elderly and they know they're not functioning to their full extent. And so as chronic disease comes in, whatever that chronic disease may be, and I see cancer patients, patients with advance heart disease, I see patients with early dementia, we have to put in even more regimes over and above Groundhog Acute in order to deal with those chronic pathologies.

[00:43:02.010] – Dr. Myhill
You have to do all Groundhog Basic regimes, but in spades. We have to do them harder. We have to be more disciplined about the diet, maybe take a few more seconds, maybe do some more detoxing, maybe pay more attention to the adrenals and the thyroid. And so Groundhog Chronic is probably what we should all be doing as we get older. And we should certainly be putting us in place if any pathology strikes, whether that's diabetes, heart disease, cancer or whatever.

[00:43:29.260] – Allan
Well, I do agree. As we went through these interventions. I was like, yeah, these are lifestyles that are not insane. They're not crazy. I can't do this for a long period of time. And granted, you might come in chronic and you do some work and you get yourself to a point where you say, OK, now I can go down to the basic level and I feel pretty good. An occasional issue comes up and you're like, OK, I've got a flu or a cold. And it's like, so I'm going to bump up my vitamin C and feel a little bit better, but a little bit more energy in the tank. Give my body what it needs to fight this illness.

[00:44:04.660] – Dr. Myhill
That's correct. Our bodies are changing all the time. Our environment is changing all the time. From the seasons, with age, with the infections. So there is no one regime you have to do and that's it for life. And we have thoughts clear. We have to think about what's happening the bottom line is, if you've got plenty of physical and mental energy and emotional energy, then there's not a lot wrong. The best guide to health is symptoms, how you feel, what you can achieve, what you can do. And fatigue is as almost become the norm because Western people eat these very high carbohydrate diet.

[00:44:44.110] – Dr. Myhill
And at the beginning of the book, I detail all the symptoms that I commonly hear from my patients, which tell me that the energy balance is beginning to narrow. Either the energy bucket is getting smaller or they are wasting energy on basal metabolism, chronic infection, allergy, autoimmunity or whatever, and the gap gives us the symptoms.

[00:45:10.210] – Dr. Myhill
And just one little aside here, very often the first thing people do when their energy gap starts now is the use addiction to mask the symptoms. That is very dangerous medicine, because as I mentioned before, if you spend more energy than you have available to you, you die. And I some sometimes you hear on the radio about some young person who's gone to a disco dance and taken ecstasy and alcohol and and dance all night and go mad and probably felt wonderful. And then they drop dead and you never hear about the mechanism of death. But my guess is that those drugs have a narrowed and masked that symptom that says you've got to stop, you've got to rest, must be so much that they've overspent and they haven't got the energy for the heart to work and bang down they go.

[00:46:03.670] – Allan
That's that's deep stuff, because I think I think people see it. If you've if you've ever seen an animal at the end die, you see the energy leave. I mean, quite literally, you're sitting there and one minute it's got energy and the next it doesn't. And, you know, we had to put down our Chihuahua Joe Joe last year. And I was you know, that was one of the things we had to deal with was, you know, he was suffering and it was time. It;s just like one moment there's energy and then the next there's not. And so energy is extremely important to the way we feel. And as you said in the book, energy is life.

[00:46:44.410] – Dr. Myhill
Yes. Energy is life. And I now see the whole of life from the energy perspective, I mean, even human relationships. And if you have a human reaction, if both parties are putting the same amount of energy into that relationship, it works incredibly well. But if you get a major disparity and there's not a lot of love between them to maybe the smooth that over. You get one person is constantly putting energy in and the other is constantly taking, then that will result in discord. And then I see that in so many human relations.

[00:47:20.410] – Allan
Dr. Myhill, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:47:29.530] – Dr. Myhill
Well, the one biggest and most important is the diet, because food causes fatigue in so many different ways. Food, if you have a lot of refined junk food and carbohydrates is just toxic, just directly poisons the body. As we've described, sugars and carbohydrates are not good fuel for the mitochondria. And putting it into the body is like, I mean, I've got an old car out there that runs on diesel and if I put petrol in the tank, it'll chunder on for a bit. But it doesn't like it will eventually pack up and start working on.

[00:48:05.170] – Dr. Myhill
The third point is allergy. We're now seeing epidemics of allergy. And allergy means you're reacting allergic to foods and that means the immune system is activated with inflammation. And if the immune system is active with inflammation, that is taking energy because the immune system demands a lot of energy and worse than that it's causing symptoms as well. Migraine, irritable bowel, arthritis or whatever. So it's diet, diet, diet.

[00:48:32.650] – Dr. Myhill
And that really is the starting point. And the problem with giving people a list of these three things is they will cherry pick the easy things. They'll say, oh, that she said she said supplements and she said take some adrenal support. The supplement needs support. That sounds easy. I'll do that. And they don't bother with the diet. So the diet is the most difficult thing, but it's also the most important thing. When you've got that in place, everything else falls into place.

[00:49:04.930] – Dr. Myhill
And it's not a difficult diet, it's very doable. I do it all the time and so do my patients. And and without that, the other interventions downstream simply don't work. And if you have a Formula One engine in pole position, but if you put the wrong fuel in the tank, it's not going to make the first lap. So the diet is critical.

[00:49:28.040] – Allan
All right, thank you. Dr. Myhill, If someone wanted to learn more about you or the book The Energy Equation: From Naked Ape to Knackered Ape, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:49:38.780] – Dr. Myhill
Well, I have my website where all my information is available free for nothing. My books are available there. But these days, what is very popular is I do Zoom Workshops because the basic work up to treating absolutely everything is the same. I can treat 20 people at a time and they have proved very popular. And we and so I have 20 people that I start to 9:30am in the morning. I finish at 4:00pm in the afternoon. Anytime, anybody can just wave at me. I don't understand this. What do you mean what can I eat? And I stop and talk from that and I feel I can do 20 people at a time because the basic work of the Groundhog Regimes are now so standard. And sometimes you just need a little bit of enthusiasm from somebody like you, from somebody like me, to really be a wake up call and make people think, you know what, I'm going to do that.

[00:50:36.580] – Dr. Myhill
And these people do love these interactive regimes, because if I say something that they don't get or they don't believe, they can challenge me straight away and I can come back with what I think is a good and a coherent response. But all the answers are in the books. But say some people that there are videos of me online on YouTube. If you Google, Life the Basic Manual, there are various vignettes of me doing video stuff. Or join a workshop and we can have some fun there.

[00:51:07.500] – Allan
OK, the address for that website is?

[00:51:10.760] – Dr. Myhill
Just drmyhill.co.uk. If you put Myhill in, my website had lots of hits that usually comes up fairly, fairly high up.

[00:51:19.010] – Allan
OK, well I'll have this in the show notes so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/474 and I'll have the link there. Dr. Myhill, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:51:30.910] – Dr. Myhill
Allan, my absolute pleasure. You ask all the right questions and that makes my life very easy.

[00:51:35.620] – Allan
Thank you.


Post Show/Recap

[00:51:41.100] – Allan
Raz, welcome back.

[00:51:42.960] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. Wow, what an amazing interview. I mean, who isn't fatigued at this age of our lives?

[00:51:51.000] – Allan
Yeah, sometimes you don't even know what you don't even know because you're so in it, that you don't even have a concept that you are fatigued. It's like people just expect, Okay, I'm a little older, I'm going to be tired. That's going to be a normal state and it doesn't have to be a normal state all the time. Some people are dealing with issues and just don't know it because that's their normal.

[00:52:19.280] – Allan
They wake up that way. They're that way every day. You notice things when there's a drastic change from what you're doing. But and I've said this before and someone said it's kind of morbid and you shouldn't say that. But anyway, I've got to say it again. Is this the boiling the frog? You know, if you try to toss a frog into boiling water, it'll hop right back out. It'll it'll get out of there pretty quick because the water's hot and it senses that it's hot. It's a drastic difference from not hot. And then but if you put the frog in regular water and you slowly bring it to a boil, the frog doesn't recognize that the water is beginning to get too hot and you'll actually boil the frog. I don't condone boiling frogs. So don't try boiling frogs. I've never done this. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it doesn't work that way. But that's what I've been told.

[00:53:08.130] – Allan
Anyway, if we don't have something to compare and contrast to, then we really don't know what's what. And for a lot of people, when they do try ketosis, obviously. They'll go through potentially a keto flu or I call it carb withdrawals, where they're struggling, there's their energy levels are dropping dramatically and they feel really, really bad, almost like flu-like symptoms. And then their body starts using ketones and they feel great. And that's an awesome feeling when you get into ketosis. And for that little bit of time, you're feeling great. The thing is then great becomes your normal and then great is normal. So people kind of feel like maybe they've lost a little bit of that. But now you're still feeling great.

[00:53:57.130] – Allan
The whole fatigue side in the whole thing is just realize that if you're not having drastic swings, you might not recognize which side of the fence you're on. So trying some nutritional therapies, different things can be a way to at least recognize when things are working well, when they're not. But if you know that you're struggling with fatigue, then this might be an approach that would be advantageous to you to help you get past that. It's always worth trying something just to see how your body responds. See how you feel.

[00:54:34.670] – Allan
And if you're going to do those types of things, I always encourage folks to do a journal because sometimes we kind of just forget what something felt like because it was then and we might not think it was this drastic change as it was. But if you sit down and write down symptoms, you're going through and then you go through a protocol like this or an elimination diet or something like that, at least at that point you've got some baseline to go back and read and say, oh, I forgot I was only sleeping three hours a night. Now I'm sleeping through the night. That's new. But you might not have thought about sleep because that wasn't why you were changing or doing your intervention.

[00:55:12.560] – Rachel
That is interesting. Sleep is one of the one of those things that we just put in the back of our head, not even thinking that it's something that we could change. You know, when I came to keto, I did it for the very reason you just said I was feeling not right. I was not feeling energetic. I was definitely getting fatigued. And I have struggled with fatigue, usually iron deficiencies. So about three years ago, I thought, well, I'll do the same experiment. We'll try keto. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. But I did have the exact same thing you just mentioned. I went through the keto flu and then once I got my energy back, once I switched over to burning fat for fuel and I felt like a million bucks. And t really worked really well for me. And it is an experiment worth trying for sure.

[00:56:03.380] – Allan
Yeah. Now, I, I fell into ketosis the first time kind of on accident, and I've told this story before, but I was worried about my health. I wanted I was at this point I kind of reached that stage of commitment. And so I went to a doctor and I said, OK, look,I've got to fix me. I'm broken. I'm just broken. And I've been broken for a long time.

[00:56:28.220] – Allan
And everything I've tried hasn't worked. So I'm going to ask for help. And, you know, sometimes it's just that, you know, hiring someone, bringing someone else in to get other perspectives, to get some guidance, to get some support and maybe even some accountability. Those are valuable things. And so I invested in a doctor and he had a nutritionist on board. So I met with him and he talked about exercise and other things. And he was built. He was muscular and 10 years older, 15 years older than me, and I'm like, okay, I got to listen to this guy. Anyway, I get in with a nutritionist and she's like, do you know what Paleo is? And I was like, No, not really. And she said, Okay, it's this. I'm like, oh, so food.

[00:57:14.610] – Allan
Yeah. Actually eat things that were actually meant to be food, which is plants and animals and eggs and seeds. And that's pretty much it. And you know, that was the answer. That was, that was actually the answer. And so I started eating paleo and just my basic eating habits. I like meat. And once I was off of bread and pasta and rice and at that point even beans, potatoes, I felt great. And I just, you know, for one reason or another, kept kind of pushing more meat in because I was lifting and I wanted the protein.

[00:57:51.270] – Allan
And, you know, you just end up eating more protein. And when you eat protein and your full and there's not as much room for other carbs. So the carbs went down and then suddenly I noticed my energy level is like through the roof and I'm feeling really good and my breath kind of smells funny. And so I started doing some research and that's when I found out about ketosis. And so I'm at this point, you know, looking up podcasts and looking up articles to just figure out what the heck's going on. And, you know, that's when I started learning what ketosis was in the first place. So it wasn't someone telling me you should try the keto diet. It was just a happy accident.

[00:58:33.540] – Allan
And to kind of give you an idea of what that can mean and realized, I wasn't just changing what I ate. I was working on my sleep. I was working on my stress, and I was exercising like a beast, lifting weights, making sure I had plenty of protein, doing some cardio work, working grip strength, because I had in my heart I was going to do a Tough Mudder with my daughter. And I put the money up and I signed up for it. I had like nine months or eight months to prepare for it.

[00:59:03.690] – Allan
And so I was training for that. It kind of became an obsession at that point that I was going to be ready for that race. Just on paleo, I lost about 25 pounds. Going from roughly, I'd say December or starting December and then getting into late December and then getting into by March, when I did a warrior dash with some friends and my daughter, I had lost about 25 pounds.

[00:59:34.560] – Allan
And but it wasn't really showing. I couldn't really see it. I couldn't see that I'd lost that weight. I still in my mind looked huge. And then I ended up in ketosis and I dropped another 40. Wow. And because I was lifting weights I then also I mean that was all fat. So I lost 65 pounds or 66 pounds of fat and I gained 11 pounds of muscle. And I know that because the doctor I went to, he did a DEXAscan when he saw me the first time.

[01:00:02.910] – Allan
And then I went back to his office 11 months later after I finished the Tough Mudder and I had lost that weight, I'd gone from 37% body fat down to 19%.

[01:00:14.400] – Rachel
Wow.

[01:00:15.210] – Allan
So the PK Diet can be really, really effective for weight loss. But as we learned in this interview, it has a lot of other benefits. We talked about fatigue. But, you know, even the other issues, cancers, heart disease, diabetes, maybe even some forms of dementia. So there's a lot of benefits to this way of eating. And so I encourage anyone who's suffering and struggling. And you haven't tried Keto the paleo-keto is, in my mind, kind of an optimal diet for most people for periods of time. You don't have to stay in ketosis, but just recognize that you probably still want to generally eat paleo all the time or at least eat whole foods. You know, it wasn't alive at some point, crawling around or growing on the ground. You probably don't want to eat it.

[01:01:13.710] – Rachel
Right. Yeah. And that's worth mentioning, too, that we are talking about whole foods, real foods, plants and animals. People harp on the diet for the bacon part of it, but and people have a hard time giving up breads. But sugar is also the other enemy that it is worth giving up for sure. You don't need to bring that back.

[01:01:37.170] – Allan
Yeah, and that's true. I mean, you know, only sugars I would condone if I'm going to condone sugars at all is if you like fruit, have some fruit. But I do know my body well enough to know that I can't really tolerate tropical fruits very well. My blood sugar is going to spike and that's not going to be in my best interest over time for my blood sugar to spike when I'm eating fruit, so I eat very limited tropical fruits, so I may occasionally have a banana, I might occasionally have a little bit of mango like this breakfast bar. And there's some mango I might have a little bit and maybe a little bit of pineapple here and there. But for the most part, if I'm going to have fruit, it's going to be berries, apples, pears. That's going to be the bulk of it. And, you know, it works for me. I can still have my pears and apples and berries and still be in ketosis.

[01:02:34.270] – Rachel
Well, for sure. I mean, unless there's something you're intolerant to or even allergic to, there's nothing wrong with having and enjoying a fruit or something every now and then, as long as it agrees with you, it's not something you have to totally eliminate forever.

[01:02:49.340] – Allan
Yeah, and that's kind of one of the core things, is be willing to experiment, try something see how it works. Something as simple as having a blood glucose meter and having a piece of fruit, having a piece of mango or having a bit of apple or a bit of berries and just seeing what it actually does. I've been periods of time where I was checking my ketones all the time. I was using a breath meter so it was not that expensive. I paid for the meter. But I could see if I ate some fruit in particular tropical fruit, my ketones went away and went away for about as long as I figure it took my body to burn that extra sugar off. And then once it was done, you know, I was able to get back into ketosis.

[01:03:39.800] – Allan
Just realize that it's worth experimenting with different things. Don't poo poo things. Everybody likes to say keto is a fad diet. It's only a fad diet that's been around since, like the 1800s because it's just had different names over time. But there's texts that go all the way back to the early 1800s where they're talking about if you want to lose some pounds, cut your carbs. It's, it's been an idea that's been out there for centuries. And so for people to poo poo it and say it's just another fad and it's just like Atkins, just like South Beach, those are just names for branding to brand something that people wanted to sell something and make some money with an idea that's been around for a long, long time.

[01:04:28.360] – Allan
And our ancestors knew that if you're eating carbs, you're going to be putting on weight, which, you know, if you're living in caveman times, not a bad plan, you know, to be putting on a little bit of body fat. Because as you if you listen to the episode I had with Dr. Fedewa and Dr. Esco, I mean, that was the cycle. You you have access to fruit and those things you put on a little bit of weight that's going to help keep you warm in the winter. That's going to give you some excess energy when food os a little bit scarce. Then in the winter there's no fruit. So now you're hunting animals and getting fat and protein and now you're burning through some of those carbs you ate during the Summer and Spring.

[01:05:09.010] – Allan
And that's a good thing. That's how our body was designed. We weren't designed for having ready access to food all the time. We weren't developed around the process that we would have so much food available. And then the carbs, just you walk in the grocery store, your great grandparents walked into one of our grocery stores right now. They would not recognize 99% of what's in there as actual food.

[01:05:35.260] – Rachel
Right.

[01:05:35.920] – Allan
They would walk around the outside and say, Okay, this is the grocery store. What do they sell in there? Well, they sell in the middle because they wouldn't they wouldn't know most of that. He said, oh, well, these are these are cheese puffs.

[01:05:48.910] – Rachel
So weird.

[01:05:53.290] – Allan
These are good. Yeah, but they're not food. They're foodstuff that started with stuff that was in food and then it went horribly, horribly wrong. And yeah, if you want to eat some of that stuff, is it going to kill you overall? Probably not. But if that's the core of what you're subsisting on and trying to live like a teenager college kid on pizza and cheese puffs and Dr. Pepper or soda or whatever. No, you're not going to you're not going to live long. You're not you're making choices that are not going to serve you and it won't take you long to figure it out. Spend spend a month eating that way and just you see it. It's called the Covid 15.

[01:06:33.280] – Allan
you've got to you've got to try something to know if it's going to work and you've got to try something to know what it's going to do if it's not going to work.

[01:06:40.150] – Rachel
Right. And the other half of that equation, of course, I am the runner. And so you need to move. You need to exercise. And when you eat foods like that, you don't feel so good when you exercise, it doesn't give you the energy that you need, no matter how much sugar or energy drinks you can shove down. It's not going to feel good. Your body's going to feel tired later anyway. And all of the work that you're doing in the gym or running around like I do, it's going to backfire altogether.

[01:07:09.370] – Rachel
I'm pretty particular about what I like to eat because I know how my body responds to food. I've mentioned in the past that my body likes red meat better than white meat. I could eat steaks all day long and chicken meat just does not do it for me. And I can tell and my runs. You'll get to feeling better when you clean up the diet a little bit better.

[01:07:31.450] – Allan
Absolutely. All right. Raz, I guess I'll Isee you next week.

[01:07:36.580]
You bet. Sounds great. Take care.

Patreons

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Another episode you may enjoy

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How your mind can overcome your weight loss issues – Dr. Ian K Smith

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

If you struggle with failed diets and exercise programs, it might be all in your head. In his book, Mind of Weight, Dr. Ian K. Smith shares with us some great tips, tactics, and strategies to ensure we approach our health and fitness with the right mindset.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

[00:00:54.050] – Allan
Raz. How are you doing?

[00:00:56.270] – Rachel
Great, Allan. How are you today?

[00:00:58.160] – Allan
I'm doing really well. We record these intros a couple weeks before. So I can say as of February 1st, the gym is open. So I am running the gym now. I've got employees, they're coming in and doing the heavy lifting. I'm here for moral support and just to make sure that we comply with MINSA requirements. MINSA's our health department. So I'm just making sure that we're doing everything the right way.

[00:01:26.510] – Allan
I've got my little video monitors up here on the wall, like I'm sitting here doing my work and I look over. I'm like, OK, they're a little too close. I've got to tell my staff, do not let that happen again. But…

[00:01:36.140] – Rachel
Excellent, very good!

[00:01:37.700] – Allan
Right now everything's good. And a lot of people are excited about the gym opening. I am too. So good times for me.

[00:01:44.840] – Rachel
That's great.

[00:01:45.590] – Allan
How are things up there in the frozen tundra of Michigan?

[00:01:49.010] – Rachel
Still chilly and snowy, but things are good. And similarly, Mike has to start traveling again for his work. So that's that's good for him that he can move around a little bit. I think he was getting a little bit of cabin fever. But the bad news is that means I have to start cooking again. Waa waa waa.

[00:02:09.420] – Allan
Awe. You could do what I did for lunch today. Basically to have food here at the gym because this I wanted to be here the whole shift and I had some things to do during the middle of the shifts. So I boiled a dozen eggs and bought three cans of tuna. And that's that's my meals. So, not flashy, but it gets the job done. And I can do that for here and there. And it's not like I'm really missing out on I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. Just keeping it simple.

[00:02:36.440] – Rachel
That's good. I printed out some new recipes that I would like to try. And so I've got my meals lined up for the week for dinners anyway. It's just going to be me. The kids are back to school.

[00:02:48.800] – Allan
You know, you could tell Mike he needs to spend his Saturday bulk cooking for the family.

[00:02:54.500] – Rachel
Yes! That would be awesome.

[00:02:57.440] – Allan
You put them in single/family serving things. You put them in the freezer. You put them in the fridge. Done.

[00:03:03.620] – Rachel
Yeah.

[00:03:04.280] – Allan
You could.

[00:03:05.870] – Rachel
I could. But in order to to get back at it, I do need to start cooking again, too. I used to cook. I haven't in a long time and I can get back into it and make some healthy meals for myself.

[00:03:19.280] – Allan
OK, well if you need some new recipes, that's kind of one of the things I've been doing for my online clients. They wanted recipes for like if you're going to eat, I want to eat well. And so, yeah, part of what I do now for my clients online for my 12-week program is I literally about three times a week give them a recipe that I really enjoy. So it's a good mix of dinners, lunches, breakfasts, snacks, things like that. So I'm kind of building, for lack of a better word, a recipe pack. They're not my recipes. I'm borrowing them from online, but I'm just sharing links and PDF print out so it goes back to the source. But yeah, there's a lot out there, but I'll share some of my favorites with you.

[00:03:59.900] – Rachel
That would be great. Thank you so much.

[00:04:03.110] – Allan
Cool. Let's go ahead and talk to Dr. Smith.

Interview

[00:04:46.950] – Allan
Dr. Smith, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:49.940] – Dr. Smith
Thank you so much for having me. I'm glad to be with you.

[00:04:52.320] – Allan
The book is Mind Over Weight: Curb Cravings, Find Motivation, and Hit Your Number in Seven Simple Steps. And what I like about this book is that it actually if it gets in front of this, because most people will start with the action plans, the movement, the what they're eating, they just they start throwing things against the wall and then they get frustrated when, a month down the line they're not where they thought they would be. And usually that comes down to mindset.

[00:05:22.700] – Allan
If you really got down to it, it's the mind that's going to make this happen. We've got to get the right mindset. We got to get a brain set first and then act. So it's sort of the, you know, ready shoot aim is what most of us do. And it doesn't work very well when you're talking about weight loss.

[00:05:37.970] – Dr. Smith
Yeah, it's interesting. People's natural tendency is to want to start with the plan, with the trainer, with the gym membership, with the workouts and really all starts above the neck. I mean, you know, the starting point, the ground zero for weight loss and for many things in life in general is really about getting your mind in the right place. And one of the best things that I think about this book is how small it is.

[00:06:05.450] – Dr. Smith
It's seven small chapters. The size is physically small and the read is very quick. However, the information is very dense. I wrote the book the way I would like to receive information about a specific topic. And this book is all about the mental aspect of weight loss or weight management. I think that a lot of people have been effective and are effective at losing weight and maintaining weight, but they would be a lot more effective if they had sharpened their mental acuity as it relates to weight loss and having a better understanding of what I call the weight loss landscape, because it's not always just about what am I going to eat, what exercise do I need to do and what results do I see on a scale it's about where everything fits in your life and it's about your environment.

[00:07:06.980] – Dr. Smith
And that's why I say, you know, I believe people should take a landscape view rather than just a portrait view. You think about when you print out in landscape versus portrait. So with Mind Over Weight, the idea is that; let's talk about the things that have nothing to do with food and exercise first. And one of those things, of course, is trying to unlock your motivation. All of us have motivation somewhere. The question is, can we access it?

[00:07:40.000] – Dr. Smith
And everyone can't necessarily access their motivation. So I start with chapter one right away, which is basically, you know, let's unlock your motivation and understand what it is, where it comes from and how you have to own it. I think that's very important.

[00:07:55.830] – Allan
And as you said in the book, there was a statistic you shared that said by today, which just goes live as February 15th, 80% of the people who had a New Year's resolution for weight loss have already fallen off and they're not going to accomplish that weight loss goal, at least not based on this set of resolutions that they made. But there are ways that we can stay motivated. And in the book, you talk about several ways for us to do that. Can you go through a few of those and let us know why those are important to stay motivated?

[00:08:28.600] – Dr. Smith
We look at motivators, so you break motivation down into what actually motivates you. And the idea behind motivation basically is something that drives you to want to do something to complete, to begin and complete an action, to pursue a goal, to complete a task. And so when you look at different types of motivation, there's two basic types. There's internal or intrinsic motivation and there's external or extrinsic motivation. So you have internal motivators and you have external motivations.

[00:09:03.280] – Dr. Smith
An internal motivator is you are doing something or you're motivated to do something because you are happy or excited or desirous of whatever it is you're trying to accomplish for internal reasons, for the reason of doing it itself. So, you know, you read about maps and study maps because you love the study of geography and you love understanding the relationships between countries and bodies of water. So you're not doing it to pass a test. You're doing it because you want that information, that knowledge excites you, the process excites you.

[00:09:50.800] – Dr. Smith
Whereas someone who is studying a particular topic simply because they want to do well on a test or an exam, they are externally motivated because they want to get the results on the exam, someone who wants to lose weight because they want to look good in a bikini on an island on vacation. And they want people to acknowledge that they look good and say nice things to them. That is external motivation, whereas an internal motivator, in that case, would be, I want to lose weight because I want to make sure that I feel good, that I don't feel winded walking up steps, that I want to be happy and live a long life without being ravaged by disease. That's more of an internal motivator rather than having an external kind of validation.

[00:10:48.470] – Dr. Smith
So in the book, I go through different types of internal and external motivators. I talk about extrinsic like fame, praise, grades, money, awards, social acceptance. Those things typically tend to be extrinsic motivators. Intrinsic motivators, fun, pleasure, gratifications, gratification, feeling of worthiness, of accomplishment, a sense of purpose. And, so it's not that extrinsic motivators are better than internal or vice versa. It's the combination of the two that's important. Having both of them. They work in a complementary fashion.

[00:11:25.180] – Dr. Smith
For example, I just had a boiler replaced in my house. I have two boilers in my house and the technician was explaining to me how it works. It's a two-stage system. The first boiler, which is stage one, tries to heat the house. And if it's too cold outside and the boiler can't keep the house warm enough because the temperatures outside are so cold, it's not being able to do due to the job by itself, the second boiler will kick in. That's stage two. That's the second stage. And so then the second boiler kicks in and together they're able to keep the house warm against the chill outside. Same thing with motivation. If your internal motivator is not really able to keep the fire lit under you and keep you going, then that external motivator can kick in and together they can keep you motivated and on the path of what you're trying to accomplish. And that is why you need both internal and external motivators.

[00:12:23.080] – Allan
Yeah, I agree with that. If you if you go in this, which is to I'm going to hire, train and go and you don't really have a plan and you just sort of say, Okay, I think this is what I want as far as the end game, but you don't have things that are going to make you feel good while you're doing it. So there's little achievable little milestones as you go to say, OK, you know, being happy when you lose two pounds, even though you want to lose 20, that's that start that's that thing that's going inside you feel good about.

[00:12:53.890] – Allan
But then also having friends that you're working out with or a trainer or something like that, I have to show up because they're at the gym waiting for me or they're at the track waiting for me. Those are the internal and the external versions that are going to keep you motivated because you have both.

[00:13:13.330] – Dr. Smith
Yes, 100 percent. And I want to switch to goal setting because that's also part of proper goal setting. I think that another area where people could improve on. It could be very helpful if they get it right is how to set goals. And people don't talk about proper goal setting and goals are very, very important. And how you set the goals is extremely important. A lot of people, unfortunately, will set unrealistic goals and because the goals are unrealistic and they're unable to reach those goals, they actually think that they are failing when in reality they are succeeding, but they'll throw away whatever plan they're on or they'll totally give up because in their mind, the way they framed their goals, it's a failure. But it's really had the goal been more proper and more appropriate, they would actually realize that they're actually succeeding. And so setting the right goals is extremely important before you begin any weight loss journey.

[00:14:23.530] – Allan
Having come from a business background. We set goals all the time in business. And so I was very familiar with SMART goals and I've even talked about that a couple of times on the podcast. But you have a different twist in the book. You call them VERY SMART goals. So this is a longer acronym. I'll take off the back in the smart and specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and and time bound or time restricted. The VERY, though, is the part of that acronym that I'm not I was not familiar with before I read your book. Could you take a few minutes to go through that?

[00:14:55.570] – Dr. Smith
Sure. You probably aren't familiar with it because I created it.

[00:14:58.520] – Allan
Okay, yeah. Maybe that's why I had never heard of it.

[00:15:01.820] – Dr. Smith
I created it. I didn't. It's not somewhere else because I've never seen it before. But and it's not that it's ingenious or anything.

[00:15:08.080] – Dr. Smith
So VERY, V E R Y of the VERY SMART as far as setting goals V is for varied. What people have to understand is that they have to make sure that your goals when it comes to weight loss, are not just focused on one aspect of it. Just don't focus on the scale, have a goal that talks about physical. How far can you walk in a certain period of time? What size clothes can you fit? Have a goal. I want to get from a size ten to a size eight. So when you make your goals, just don't make them homogenous, make them varied, you know, different aspects of weight loss or there are symbolic of weight loss.

[00:15:53.770] – Dr. Smith
The E is effective. There's no point in setting goals if what you are reaching does not provide some type of purposeful and meaningful change. If some of the weighs 300 pounds says that my ultimate goal is to lose ten pounds, I'll be happy with that. That's it. Well, it's great that you set a goal. It's great when you hit your goal. But a 300 pound person who just loses ten pounds, that is not going to be a meaningful change for that person as far as how they look or what their disease risk profile is. So that's not an effective goal. So that's the E for effective for VERY.

[00:16:39.760] – Dr. Smith
The next one is R and R is being responsible. Make goals that will challenge you, that will make you stretch, but make goals that are responsible goals. Don't have a goal where you want to lose 30 pounds in 30 days and you only weigh one hundred and fifty pounds and your five foot four. And in order to hit that goal, you have to do something very extreme and potentially unsafe to try to hit that goal. That's an irresponsible goal. So make sure that your goals are responsible.

[00:17:17.080] – Dr. Smith
And lastly, the Y is yours. People have to set goals that they own, not what others say you should do, not what others expect you to do. You have to own that goal. You have to believe in the goal. You have to trust in the goal, and you have to want the goal. So the goal must be yours.

[00:17:38.980] – Allan
And I like that. I like that a lot. One of the one of the things I would propose is if if one of the reasons that you're wanting to lose the weight is that you went to your doctor and your blood sugar is too high and he's about to start putting you on medication or worse yet, maybe some insulin. And you really don't want to go down that rabbit hole because a lot of people don't come out the other end the right way, then having a varied goal.

[00:18:03.520]
So it's like, yes, I want to lose 40 pounds and I want to lower my blood sugar by three points, you know, take take my A1C from a 10 to an eight, you know, in that same period of time you'll still be diabetic, but you're moving in the right direction. And it's another goal that maybe you didn't lose five pounds this week or maybe you don't lose any weight this week. But because of the efforts you did, your blood sugar is coming down. And that's that's a win. And I think we don't give ourselves those opportunities to have wins. We focus on one number and that makes it quite difficult.

[00:18:44.040] – Allan
Dr. Smith, now one of the areas I think that's really, really difficult for people is that they feel hungry. And for many people, they believe they're hungry all the time. And it's not a true hunger. What they're actually doing is they're craving you know, they want those Doritos. They want the salty. They want that chocolate or they want that doughnut or they're driving by a McDonald's and they smell what they smell and like, oh, I'm getting that drive in line and pick something up. Those are cravings. They're different from hunger. Can you explain the difference and then what a good strategy is for us to beat cravings?

[00:19:21.720] – Dr. Smith
So let me put it to you in two different ways; hunger is your body saying it needs nourishment? It's not specific, it needs food, it needs energy. I'm hungry. A craving is specific. A craving says that I want a double layer chocolate cake. I want a piece of fried dough with powdered sugar on top. That's a craving.

[00:19:55.390] – Dr. Smith
And it's very important to distinguish between the two. Cravings are generated through the reward-pleasure system, the loop in the front brain. And it's all about dopamine. You know, when we enjoy something, our body releases this chemical neurotransmitter called dopamine and dopamine travels forward into the brain and it lets us know this was a satisfying experience and it creates a memory. When I bit into that chocolate cake and released all of that dopamine, it created a memory in my system that I really enjoyed it. And if I do it again, I'm probably going to enjoy it again.

[00:20:44.740] – Dr. Smith
And what happens with a craving is once you've set this pathway up. Whenever you see, or hear about, or smell, however you're triggered by that chocolate cake again, your body releases that dopamine and that dopamine then becomes a seeking behavior. So you now want to seek that particular thing that made you feel really happy and really good and satiated you, you want to seek that. And so it drives you to get it.

[00:21:22.760] – Dr. Smith
It's like drug addiction. It's it's a similar concept of drug addiction. Doing a particular drug gives you a certain feeling of satisfaction. And when you are around that drug again or you think about that drug, then you now have this chemical urge to want to participate in the indulgence or the use of that particular drug. That's what cravings are. Cravings, however, unlike hunger, are short-termed, and they can go away, so if you can outlast your craving and everyone can do it, but one thing to do is to distract yourself while you have a craving because you can outlast it.

[00:22:07.270] – Dr. Smith
And most research shows about 15 to 20 minutes a craving will typically go away. It doesn't mean it won't come back, but it will typically go away. And so if for 15 or 20 minutes you can do something that takes your mind off the craving or remove yourself from the environmental stimulus that's creating the craving, then you may be able to succeed.

[00:22:29.170] – Dr. Smith
Look at it this way. When you get into the car, let's say your oil is low in your car and the light comes on in your car when that oil light comes on. That is your car saying, I need oil. And no matter what you do, no matter how many times you turn that car on or off, that oil light is going to come back on and stay on until you put oil in the car and the car is fed. That's hunger. A craving is when you get into the car and the car says to you, it prompts you on your dashboard and says, do you want to connect your phone to Bluetooth? And if you don't push a yes or no, let's say you do nothing to it. You just let it sit there and you keep driving. Eventually that prompt goes away. It goes away. It no longer stays in the home because you didn't respond in a certain period of time. That's what a craving is.

[00:23:25.870] – Allan
And so one of the one of the things that you want to do is you want to look at what are those triggers for why you're doing the things you're doing. Some of them will be really, really clear. Like if you you're going to the state fair and you know you're going to smell it. You're going to smell that fried dough with with the powdered sugar, you know where that booth is or where all those booths are. Because you smell it every time you go by them, you're going to have that constant trigger. You just are. Now, I'm not saying don't go to the fair, but recognize what that is for what it is. Go get in a line and get on a ride. Go lose your money trying to knock the pins off of the table or whatever you're going to do. But try to do some things to distract yourself because you know those triggers are there.

[00:24:08.560] – Allan
If it's something like a McDonald's, then it's more of a I need to find a different route to work. So I don't drive by that McDonald's every afternoon on my way home because I know if it's a nice day and I've got my windows rolled down, I'm going to smell that when I pull up to that intersection because I always catch that light. I don't want to make that right turn.

[00:24:28.210] – Dr. Smith
And in the book in the book, I give you I give you several other kind of strategies, eating more protein, reducing stress, how to increase your hydration. You know, I won't delve into it. It's in the book. But there are other strategies other than outlasting some. Some people say I can't outlast a craving. I'll give you some other strategies that can actually help you in the book.

[00:24:46.810] – Allan
Yes, you do. Now, the last thing I want to get into is food addiction. You know, I'm I'm not a doctor. You are. So when we get to the point where I have a client that I believe has food addiction, that's beyond the scope of my practice for sure. But how can someone recognize when this is not just a small problem with overeating, but is an actual addiction? How would they know? What are the symptoms? And then if they're going to look for a solution, what are the things they should be looking for in that solution to know that they're not just hiring a quack?

[00:25:20.860] – Dr. Smith
Yeah, it's interesting. You know, food addiction and emotional eating really sometimes overlap. And emotional eating basically is you are eating food not for sustenance, not because you need the nourishment, but you're eating a particular food stuff because you want to address some type of emotional concern or emotional feelings you have. You're angry, you're happy, you're sad, whatever it is. But people who are addicted to food, here are some common ways to tell.

[00:25:53.230] – Dr. Smith
And it's not always black and white, by the way. It can be very complex to be able to ascertain or discern one's addiction. But if you're someone, for example, who simply can't stop yourself from eating when you know that you're already full, I mean, you know that you're full. You you're not really hungry. But there is more food left on the stove and you still have to go eat it. You know, you're satiated, but you still have to go eat it.

[00:26:24.970] – Dr. Smith
Another sign of addiction is when you find yourself constantly wanting to center your activities around food. You want to meet up with a friend, you want to do it at a restaurant, you want to celebrate, you do it with food. When food is such a constant in your life and most of your activities or a large number of your activities are centered around food, then it is likely you may have an addiction to food.

[00:26:58.750] – Dr. Smith
Also, people who are addicted to food. They may have a food, a particular food addiction, like I work with someone on Celebrity Fit Club when we were doing the show and one of the singers had an addiction to pizza and she just couldn't stop once she ate one slice of pizza. She had to have four or five or six. She really just couldn't stop. And just like alcoholism and the addiction to alcohol, you know, an alcoholic, for example, can stay away from alcohol for years. And the minute they have that first drink, they can't stop and cut themselves off at that one drink, they got to have more and similar properties occur with people who are addicted to food.

[00:27:48.270] – Allan
Yeah, again, it's it's it's sad that this is a thing because, you know, like with like you said, with alcohol, it's pretty simple to say I'm not going to I'm not going to go places where there's alcohol and I'm not going to take that first drink. But food, we can't necessarily always avoid food. We still we've got to try to find those triggers. And if you have a food that's making you and you said this in the book, making you feel guilty, you really need to explore that because that's that's a sign that something's going on. If you're hiding your food, if you're guilty about what you're doing, that's that's a big red flag that something's going on.

[00:28:25.860] – Dr. Smith
That's right. That's exactly right.

[00:28:28.530] – Allan
Dr. Smith, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay?

[00:28:37.080] – Dr. Smith
I think the first strategy for me and everyone obviously has three different things, probably. But for me, it's identifying passion. I think it's important for people in life to really identify something that really revs their engine and they're passionate about. And it could be all kinds of things. It could be music, could be art, it could be writing, it could be food preparation, whatever it is, identify what you're passionate about and really work and curate an environment where you can pursue your passion. I think that's extremely important. It gives you a sense of purpose. It gives you a sense of being meaningful.

[00:29:21.780] – Dr. Smith
The second thing is the physicality of life. Human beings are meant to be physical, and when we are not physical, then our engine, our body breaks down. I never forget a mechanic once told me, he said a Porsche and other sports cars are damaged when they sit in the garage and are not driven. And I thought, no, you're preserving it. He said, absolutely not. He said, when you don't drive a sports car the way sports cars are built, then you end up causing the sports car to deteriorate, the gaskets dry out, the seals start to leak. All these different mechanical things start happening because the car is not being driven like it's supposed to be and supposed to be used. So I think being physical and that's a broad array of activities depending on who you are, but being physical and some type of regular consistent manner is extremely important.

[00:30:22.980] – Dr. Smith
The third thing I would say is stress. There is a mountain of research that talks about the impact, both physical and psychological, that stress can play in our lives. It can affect our immune system. It can, in fact, affect our cardiovascular system. And obviously it can affect us from a psychological standpoint. And I think people need to take more time to really absorb life and where they are and to enjoy the moment and to prioritize their life so that they are not allowing themselves to be stressed by things that at the end of the day really aren't that important.

[00:31:07.770] – Dr. Smith
I think that's what the pandemic hopefully has taught a lot of people, that things that you thought were so important before now that you've been forced to do without and to realign, you realize not so bad after all. I actually didn't need that thousand dollar handbag or those three hundred dollar pair of sneakers. I didn't really need that stuff. Like I was Okay without it. And I survived. And I lived and I wasn't even thinking about those things. So I think that people reducing their stress and being able to streamline their lives and increasing the presence of things that they find or that are more valuable to their existence, I think is important to overall wellness.

[00:31:52.290] – Allan
Dr. Smith, if someone wanted to learn more about you and the book Mind Over Weight, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:31:59.400] – Dr. Smith
My Instagram is at Dr. Ian Smith. Spell the doctor out. I announcement my Twitter is Dr. Ian Smith and my website Doctoriansmith.com, spell it all out

[00:32:10.440] – Allan
Perfect. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/473 and I'll be sure to have the links there. Dr. Smith, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:32:21.060] – Dr. Smith
It was very nice talking to you and I hope you have a great 2021.

[00:32:24.540] – Allan
You too.


Post Show/Recap

[00:32:31.000] – Allan
Welcome back, Rachel.

[00:32:32.470] – Rachel
Hey, Allan, with another great interview.

[00:32:34.870] – Allan
Yeah, I'm really, really proud of myself to get through that entire interview. And Dr. Smith. Dr. Smith. And not just breaking out, laughing because of Lost in Space, but…

[00:32:43.660] – Rachel
Oh, for sure.

[00:32:45.010] – Allan
He looks nothing like the Dr. Smith that were in the TV show or the movie. But it was just Dr. Smith. OK, well, yeah, but cool.

[00:32:54.970] – Rachel
The interview is great, you know, as a new personal trainer and just somebody who loves fitness in general when it comes to losing weight, I always gravitate to movement. I always think getting up and moving is a great way to burn off some calories. And in talking with you and listening to your podcast, you take more of a stance with food. You know, the kitchen is where weight loss happens. But actually, Dr. Smith gave us one more thing to think about. And that's where our mind is.

[00:33:22.310] – Allan
Yeah. If you haven't fixed your relationship with food, it's very hard to make a different way of eating a lifestyle. If you're saying, OK, now's a good time for me to change the way I'm eating, everything's looking good. It's you know, it's I made it past the football I cared about. And so the season's over. I can go ahead and do what I want, you know, do what I want to do.

[00:33:46.180] – Allan
If I didn't have a good relationship with food, then as soon as something came up, something terrible happened or something great happened, I would end up reverting back to my old ways of eating my old ways of everything. So any change that you want to have in your life, any change, regardless, it's going to take you getting your head there first.

[00:34:07.990] – Allan
And one of the one of the things I like to share with that is this concept of a Be-Do-Have. I'll talk to my clients about this all the time. But when I learned this is like this was this is a great little easy tool to think about. OK, so if you want to have something, don't start with what you want to have. Start with what it's like to be that person. Okay? So if I say I want to be a runner, well, then I have to I mean, I want to have a running. I want to be able to go out and run. Then I want to just be like a runner. What a runners do. They joined a running club, they buy new sneakers, they get out and actually run. And then you do. And that's the point is like now you consider yourself a runner. And so now you do, you run. So the Be-Do-Have is like just acting like you are that person doing the things that they do and then doing it and then you'll have what they have.

[00:35:06.820] – Allan
So if you're excited about going maybe see a family member finish a 5K or a 10K or something longer, maybe even a marathon, you know, like, gee, I wish I could run a marathon. Well, what a marathoners do. I mean, how are they? Well, they tend to be a little bit thinner only because they don't want to carry a whole lot. I was and I was 195 pounds. They called me a Clydesdale. I looked like a linebacker against everybody else that I was running with.

[00:35:34.960] – Allan
You just consider yourself a runner. So I was running stores, buying running shoes and running shorts and then I was out on the weekends doing my long runs or, you know, in the gym, doing my four hour marathon training workouts. And then I had it. I got out there and I ran my first marathon and then another one and then another one because I had become a marathoner. Until I ran the ultra. And I said, okay, I'm done, I'm going home, I'm tired.

[00:36:04.870] – Rachel
What a powerful mindset. What a powerful change and perspective.

[00:36:09.520] – Allan
Yeah. So you got to get your head right first. If you want a lifestyle change to stick, otherwise you're going to fall back on those bad habits because the crutches that are things that carry and we talked about that at Abby Langer, you know, it's really important for you to get your head right. And then the thing we talked about with Dr. Smith that I thought was really important was kind of a new way of thinking about goals.

[00:36:31.450] – Rachel
Yes, of course, he he mentioned the very smart goals and very was a new acronym I had not heard of either.

[00:36:39.070] – Allan
Well, he made it up. So..

[00:36:40.150] – Rachel
That's pretty cool.

[00:36:40.900] – Allan
Yeah, that's what happend. Okay, good. That's why I didn't know this before. Yeah. So do you want to go over very with them again.

[00:36:48.310] – Rachel
Yeah. So V stands for varied as and having different types of metrics to monitor. E is very effective, R is very responsible and Y is for yours. But varied, the V is really what caught my attention.

[00:37:02.680] – Allan
Yeah. And I'll say this, we talked to I mean I guess it was a week or so ago we talked about the, the different health measures. And so that's kind of the thing is if you're looking at your A1C and you're looking at how fast you can walk a mile and you're looking at how many times per week you're able to exercise and what you're keeping your macros are. Your calories that depending on how you want to approach your nutrition, then those are different goals. And so one of them, when things move, moving here and nothing's moving there, if you're tracking those different things, it's a little easier.

[00:37:41.990]
But I wanted to circle back around because we didn't really talk about SMART in the podcast. And so some people might not have heard of SMART goals. But a smart goal is basically specific, meaning you want to do a specific thing. So it's something that's tangible. The next is measurable. So you have to be able to measure it or you don't know that you're doing it. It has to be attainable. So if you set a goal saying I want to be an NFL football player, well, I would say if your listeners podcast probably not going to be able to attain that goal, you might want something a little bit more in line of what's possible to you. And then relevant meaning, OK, it applies to you, you know, so something that would be relevant would be, I want to eat better so I can improve my health and lose weight. Okay, so that's relevant. And then timely. So timely would be how often by when those types of things.

[00:38:42.050] – Allan
Now a lot of people will set a goal and they'll say, I want to lose 30 pounds in the next six months. And and it ticks all those general boxes. Is it specific, 30 pounds? Sure. It's measurable because you could step on the scale each day. It's attainable. I think someone who really puts their mind to it could lose 30 pounds in six months. It's relevant to them because if the doctors told them, lower your weight so you can lower your A1C and maybe get off the high blood pressure medicine, all those different things. And then it's timely. So you've set your six month goal. The problem with that is that that's something you also don't have control over.

[00:39:23.750] – Allan
So I'd love to be able to figure out another way to put another A in there, and that would be for action oriented. So instead of saying you want to lose 30 pounds, what are the actions that are necessary for you to be the person that weighs thirty pounds less? And you would think okay, well, a person who weighs thirty pounds less is more active. OK, so define that. OK, I want to exercise five times per week or six times per week. Okay? And you can be a little bit more specific to say I want to lift weights twice a week, I want to do mobility work twice a week and I want to do some cardiovascular work twice a week.

[00:40:05.690] – Allan
And that's that's your goals. Did you do your cardiovascular work twice this week? Yes or no. And it's within a week's time. So there you go. You know that's what you're supposed to have done. You could even take it out to a month and say, OK, I want nine strength training sessions per month. I want nine cardio sessions per month, and I want nine mobility's sessions. Now, don't wait until the last week.

[00:40:30.050] – Rachel
To get it all in a once?

[00:40:30.750] – Allan
And I try to do 18 workouts in seven days. You want to be careful with that and you do want it from a timeliness perspective to be something relatively soon. So not five years from now, I want to be six inches taller, you know, something that you can actually accomplish and something that's action oriented. So I know I need to work out or I know that I need to eat healthier and I'm going to define that in my terms of eating keto, someone else might say I need more vegetables. So I want to make sure that I have at least two to three servings of vegetables every day.

[00:41:08.690] – Allan
And that's initially that's attainable. And then they're like, Okay, that's pretty good. Now maybe I want to cut back on my starches and my pastas and my breads and just to lower my calories. And I'm not going to measure calories, but I'm just going to say I'm only going to have something white potato, starch, pasta or bread. I'm only going to have that twice a week.

[00:41:33.140] – Rachel
Sure.

[00:41:33.650] – Allan
One serving twice a week. And so that cuts down significantly maybe on what you were eating and now you're eating more vegetables. And if you listen to Abby Langer, you're putting more protein on your plate. And so now your whole macros and calories set is very, very different than the way you were eating before. But it's attainable. You've taken those bridge gaps and you say, okay, this is my goal.

[00:41:57.050] – Allan
Make it something you actually control and you'll be much more effective. I guess maybe that would slide into his effective thing, but an effective goal because you could do all of these things and your hormones are out of whack and you're like, I don't understand it. I'm eating 1200 calories a day. I'm drinking eight glasses of water and I'm walking 10,000 steps every day and the scales not moving. That's not in your control.

[00:42:22.850] – Rachel
Right.

[00:42:23.420] – Allan
But the walking was in your control. The water was in your control. And eating more healthy, all those things were in your control. You were doing the right things, so just stick with it. I'm right now, I'm starting my famine season. And so, you know, my first day of this is okay, how do I how do I control this? OK, well, I've got to keep my carbs low. I've got to watch my electrolytes. And so to go to the gym, I basically boiled a dozen eggs. I got my tuna and my Himalayan sea salt.

[00:42:58.390] – Rachel
Oh, there you go.

[00:42:59.950] – Allan
And so, it's just what is what's in my control. Those are those are actions. Have the food I need to set myself up and and then just charge on.

[00:43:09.640] – Rachel
I think that's great. Yeah. Being actionable and having the intention to be actionable is you're right. It's something that should be added to our goal setting for sure. And maybe even working with a trainer, Allan, because you have a lot of information and your podcast and there's a lot of articles out there and some people may not really think about all these little details.

[00:43:31.450] – Allan
Yeah, I would love to say that I was a provider of information outside of the podcast or whatever I do to an extent. A client will ask me a question about a certain thing and I'll give him or her my opinion on it. That happens all the time. But there's not a lack of information out there. The Internet is just chock full of stuff. Now, it could get very confusing because there's there's all this contrast out there. If someone believes that, someone's doing that. I go on you know, I go on to my fitness pal to check in on things and it's still the same conversation. Just just cut your calories. Just cut your calories.

[00:44:10.970] – Allan
And I'm like, okay, but they've done that, you know, they've done that. And it's not working for them. So you can't just say just cut your calories.

[00:44:17.860] – Rachel
Right.

[00:44:18.760] – Allan
It's almost a slap in the face for some people that have cut their calories to keep saying that when it's not working for them. So. You know, with with my 12-week program, the things that we're really focused on first and foremost is mindset, you know, and then and then beyond that, it's just those kind of simple, subtle change things that are in your control.

[00:44:41.190] – Allan
We can control this. So where do you want to set your line? Where do you want to start this this journey? And then we put that in place. And so it's all custom to them. And then it's like, okay, how much movement can you do? What equipment do you have in your house? Rachel, here, you've got a great little home set up and I just opened up the gym, so I've got a nice little set up. Not everybody has that.

[00:45:05.220] – Allan
Sometimes they have resistance bands, sometimes they have the human body, sometimes they're traveling, sometimes they're home, sometimes… So we all have our own little circumstances. And so, you know, what I'm there to do is basically just help them first, get the mindset and then get the lifestyle.

[00:45:23.040] – Rachel
Yep, that sounds great. Just move that needle.

[00:45:25.710] – Allan
And you're doing similar stuff with your running. You're saying, OK, if you're a runner and you know, you want to stay healthy and you know, you want to do your virtual 5K, 10K or 50 miler in the upcoming months, you've got to train your running. That's that's for certain. And there's a myriads of information out there about running. So you can find a program and you can follow a program. It's free on the Internet, but you still got to get your mindset right. And you've got to get that balance. So you have a program that helps runners maintain their strength and that's going help them stay healthy. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

[00:46:07.500] – Rachel
On my website strong-soles.com I have a runners' workout that you could download for free. It's bodyweight movements so you don't need any equipment. It goes through all the different planes of motions. It's all the main muscle groups that runners need to keep strong. And it's a great overall body, short activity that you could do a couple of times a week, which is a great place to get started.

[00:46:30.300] – Allan
Yeah. So if you're a runner or you want to be a runner and you want to do it the right way, go check out Rachel site. And someone who wants to lose some some fat, you know, and feel better and get a little bit more fit. You should message me or email me allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com and I'll give you some information. I'm going to be closing up the pre-launch on this pretty soon here because I've gotten… I'm getting close to my number of the cap number people. I didn't want to run too many people through the pre-launch because I wanted to make sure I had all of it in place. And the results have been just off the charts.

[00:47:07.560] – Rachel
Wonderful!

[00:47:07.580] – Allan
I am so excited! In an average of just a little over two weeks, seven of us so far have lost a cumulative 42 pounds.

[00:47:17.280] – Rachel
Oh, my gosh, that's incredible.

[00:47:20.340] – Allan
Yeah. So I've got some I've got some outliers. I got some guys that are really doing well and I've got some people that are, they're pulling in behind, but everybody's everybody's losing weight. They're feeling good. And, you know, they're just pretty excited about it. They're moving more. They're eating better. And it's just a really good, positive vibe in the group. So I'm really, really excited about what's going on here. And then again, I'll close it and then I'll do the actual kind of the launch thing sometime in March, either the first or the middle of March. But if you're interested in this, don't don't delay. Go ahead. Get on that. Email me and I'll get in.

[00:47:56.520] – Rachel
Excellent!

[00:47:57.240] – Allan
All right. So, Rachel, anything else you want to talk about before we say goodbye?

[00:48:01.380] – Rachel
Nope. That was a great interview, Allan, thanks so much.

[00:48:04.020] – Allan
Thank you. I'll talk to you next week.

[00:48:05.898] – Rachel
Bye now.

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Another episode you may enjoy

Less...

Reduce body fat for better performance with Dr. Fedewa and Dr. Esco

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In your effort to lose weight over 40, it is a good idea to capture more data than just your weight (easy). But up until now, getting an accurate fix on body fat percentage was either expensive and time-consuming, or inaccurate. Today we meet Dr. Mike Fedewa and Dr. Mike Esco to discuss body fat, body fat measurement, and their new app, Made Health.

Transcript

Let's Say Hello

00:01:34.740] – Allan
Raz, how are you doing this week?

[00:01:36.960] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:01:39.150] – Allan
I'm tired.

[00:01:42.510] – Rachel
OK

[00:01:44.020] – Allan
It's a busy week. We're on the verge of opening the gym. We have a health inspection coming on Thursday. So we went there today to meet with them at the hospital. And they gave us some general guidance of things they would expect to see when they get here. So I had to have a pest control guy come out and I've got to make a few phone calls, make sure everything's in order, print a bunch of signs so everybody knows two meters, wear your mask, clean your equipment, please.

[00:02:15.600] – Rachel
Yes.

[00:02:17.080] – Allan
And my employees have their rules. And so they'll know exactly what to do and they'll be checklists. And so it changes pretty much everything on how we used to run a gym. We've got to kind of rewrite and redo the entire way everything works. So I've been on that since first thing this morning. And then it's all kind of problematic from perspective of over this weekend. I lost my phone.

[00:02:44.400] – Rachel
Oh, boy.

[00:02:45.510] – Allan
We were out having dinner with some friends and on the way back and I knew I was wearing swim trunks. And so I knew that that pocket was a little loose. And so if you think you can drop your phone riding in a golf cart in the jungle, you will.

[00:03:03.822] – Rachel
Oh no!

[00:03:04.470] – Allan
And then other cars and trucks will run over it and then we'll get a heavy rain because it's Panama.

[00:03:10.500] – Rachel
Right?

[00:03:10.990] – Allan
So you get the phone back two days later and it's toast.

[00:03:16.200] – Rachel
What a pain.

[00:03:18.180] – Allan
There's no way to really buy an iPhone here on the island. And I'm kind of Apple-centric with my skill sets these days. And I really don't want to learn anything new as far as equipment. So I'll have to wait a few days before someone can bring me an iPhone from the city.

[00:03:34.680] – Rachel
Wow. My goodness, that's such a hassle.

[00:03:39.180] – Allan
Yeah. So, things that could have just done on, we use WhatsApp down here, so could have gotten on WhatsApp and take care like five or six different things like, OK, now I've got to get on my wife's phone and try to make this phone call and then try to use her WhatsApp and message someone. It's been an interesting week, but we're hopeful. Thursday will get here, we'll have an opportunity to get that inspection. I intend to pass the inspection. I really only have one thing that's outside my control. And I'm hopeful that I can get the people that are responsible for that to play nice for at least a day.

[00:04:17.360] – Rachel
Oh, goodness.

[00:04:18.890] – Allan
And then we'll see what'll happen.

[00:04:21.110] – Rachel
Good. My fingers are crossed for you. And I'm sure all your clients are anxious to get back to the gym.

[00:04:27.110] – Allan
Tammy and I get asked and my employees get asked every single day, when are you open? When are you opening? When you opening? February 1st is my my go live day. That's the date I have in my heart that I want to reopen this because we closed March 14th of last year. I don't quite want to go the whole year but…

[00:04:48.660] – Rachel
Yeah. Well, fingers crossed everything goes smoothly.

[00:04:52.670] – Allan
Yeah. We're close. We're really, really close.

[00:04:55.220] – Rachel
Oh good.

[00:04:56.330] – Allan
How are things up there.

[00:04:57.920] – Rachel
Snowy. Snowy and cold.

[00:05:01.920] – Allan
Is that part of the song, “And the weather outside is frightful.”?

[00:05:07.580] – Rachel
Yes, it is! But it is pretty. I figure if it's going to be cold it might as well be snow and make it look all pretty. So, it's good getting still getting my runs and, and the treadmill when it's icy and sketchy but outside on the trails when I can so it's still good.

[00:05:25.670] – Allan
Good.

[00:05:26.600] – Rachel
Yeah.

[00:05:27.470] – Allan
All right. We're going to have an interesting conversation, I'll admit straight up. Yeah. We talk about iPhones and losing iPhones and realizing actually how much I use them because I didn't actually think I used them that much because the iPhone will send you a message each week to tell you your usage. And my daily usage on my phone is typically less than an hour. And I do most of the things I need to do for my work and everything else on a computer. I do very little on it on a phone. But that one hour is important stuff.

[00:06:03.320] – Rachel
Yeah, for sure.

[00:06:04.910] – Allan
And so I'll admit, I love getting a new gadget, a new iPhone app, and I'll play with it for a little period of time and then I kind of get bored with stuff like that. But this one is one that I could see myself using for myself. I could see myself using it with my clients because it's going to give us data that is a better health marker than we would get by stepping on the scale. I am a fan of data and this phone app will help collect that data. So, I think you're going to like this conversation.

[00:06:36.410] – Rachel
All right.

Interview

[00:06:53.880] – Allan
Dr. Fedewa, Dr. Esco, welcome to 40 +Fitness.

[00:06:57.540] – Dr. Fedewa
Thank you for having us. We're excited to be here.

[00:06:59.910] – Dr. Esco
Appreciate the opportunity.

[00:07:01.380] – Allan
Now, you reached out to me and you have an app. And I'm a big fan of tools that give us information, tools that help us be successful. There's a lot of fitness apps out there, there's a lot of health apps out there and some of them are really, really good and some of them are not so good. But I looked around at your app and did a lot of deep diving into how the app worked, what you guys are doing, some of the research that you've done. And I really like the Made Health and Fitness App and what it's able to do for people that are looking to lose body fat and get healthy.

[00:07:37.530] – Dr. Fedewa
Thanks. We like it, too. We've been in the tech world, I guess, for about a year and a half through development and beta testing in our launch in October. So it's been a wild ride and I think we're a little bit different than some of the other app companies. We really want to deliver a tool that has research grade accuracy. And I think that that puts us in a unique position where we're we're very concerned that the numbers that are coming from the app and from our system are as accurate or comparable to what you would get in a clinic or in a lab. So that's where we want to be. So that means a lot to us. Thank you.

[00:08:12.960] – Allan
Most of the time I'm sitting there and a client will either come into my gym here in Bocas or they'll contact me online. And the thing that will come up will be, I want to lose weight. And I'm like, OK, how much weight do you think you want to lose and why do you want to lose it? And we go we start getting into those types of things. And I really wish we had never used weight as a measurement because what they what they want is they want to be a particular size.

[00:08:44.780] – Allan
That's what they really want. They want to fit into a particular size dress or jeans. And I tell them, if you weighed seven hundred pounds, which would you really care, if you were in a size two and they say, no. I saw this meme the other day that said, you know, if you were two hundred pounds on Earth and you went to Mars, you'd weigh seventy-six pounds. So, you don't have a weight problem. You've got a planet problem.

[00:09:10.590] – Dr. Fedewa
Right there. You got to move.

[00:09:14.940] – Allan
Now, there's a very particular reason why human beings have body fat. Can we kind of go through some of the things that actually are good about body fat?

[00:09:24.480] – Dr. Fedewa
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you if you want to go all the way back to caveman to prehistoric days and in body fat as a very essential function. It's a storage site for extra calories. And so that is good. It's always good to have extra calories around when you don't know when your next meal is coming from. So where during times where food is readily available and we we can eat to our fullness and store some extra calories maybe during times when the next meal is inconsistent or you don't know where it's coming from, you have that extra reserve of calories that you can fall back on so that you don't starve and you don't die. Tthat's that's a really good function of fat.

[00:10:03.270] – Dr. Fedewa
The other really good function of fat, if you think from an evolutionary perspective is temperature regulation. That's really good, right? I mean, now we have houses and homes that are climate controlled and you have clothes that can keep us warm. And probably most of us hang out somewhere between sixty five and seventy five degreescin the house or in the car. And so, if we didn't have that luxury, we would need that extra layer of insulation to help keep us warm.

[00:10:28.170] – Dr. Fedewa
And so those are two really, really good, very essential functions to survival and it provides extra padding around all of our vital organs. That's really good. Fat adipose tissue physiologically has a number of functions that actually you create a ton of hormones and different cells signaling on a molecular level that have very important purposes physiologically. So fat is not just an inert, inactive storage site for extra calories. It actually does have a physiological purpose to keep us alive and keep us functioning the way we should.

[00:11:02.420] – Dr. Esco
Suffice it to say that without that, we wouldn't be here, we wouldn't be able to sustain life, multiple important physiological purposes for fat.

[00:11:12.410]
Now, as you mentioned, Dr. Fedewa, a lot of times we're in an environment where we're climate controlled. We have an abundant access to food. So I don't have to go hunting or I don't have to wait because I know where this goes live, it's February 8th. And I would dare say if you walked outside in most of North America, you're not going to find fruit or vegetables just lying around. Most of what's going to be around is animals and maybe some roots, if you can dig them off the ground, not frozen, which is not in Alabama at this point, probably.

[00:11:49.610] – Allan
But you still you're not going to find much veg out there today and you're going to have to go hunt for it. And sometimes that means traveling a long distance, having the energy to do that and then having the energy to actually take down a beast and then carry it back to wherever we're hanging out that night. But today, some day, we don't have those things. So we don't need to build up a huge amount of extra fuel and warmth and all of those types of things.

[00:12:15.350] – Allan
So from your perspective, what would be a good level of body fat and does that change based on how old we are, how active we are, or just other functions like how long we want to live?

[00:12:29.390] – Dr. Esco
The recommendations for what would be healthy body fat percentage anywhere within the range of 8 to mid 20% in men and upper teens, low 20s to mid 30s for women. But really and truly, what really good body fat or healthy body fat or appropriate body fat percentage would be is dependent upon the individual, right? We work with a lot of athletes and obviously when we think of athletes, athletes are typically lean and have a low percent body fat.

[00:13:05.360] – Dr. Esco
But even in the realm of athletics, the range of body fat is really should be to support optimal performance, because this drive for thinness that we've created in our society is really not the best approach, because too little body fat percentage can have a numerous negative consequences as too much body fat percentage. So there is a range and that range would really depend on where a person is, what their lifestyle is, how old they are. Yes, we tend to gain body fat as we age, but some of that increase is necessary.

[00:13:47.660] – Dr. Esco
That increase can actually be a good thing if it's too much. That's that's obviously not ideal because too much body fat is obviously linked to obesity related disorders like heart disease and some forms of cancer. But there's body fat. But what's really more important than that is fat free mass. Right? So a part of fat free mass is skeletal muscle and bone density. And those things can decrease as well with aging.

[00:14:15.590] – Dr. Esco
There's an age associated decrease in muscle mass and strength, and that's labeled as sarcopenia. And that's not ideal. Exercise is important for preventing that or decreasing the effects of it. Then there's osteoporosis. Those things are actually linked also to low body weight and also low body fat percentage. Physical activity obviously is going to impact the body composition of an individual and it will help to keep fat to fat free mass ratio at an appropriate healthy level.

[00:15:01.490] – Dr. Fedewa
So what if I just rocked your world? Check the check this out. What have we said that it's not actually body fat that's the issue. It's actually your fat free mass or your muscle mass. So when we say your body fat percentage is too high, what we're saying is that for for the amount of weight that you have, the percentage of that body weight that is fat is relatively too much or is relatively higher than probably what we would want. When we kind of put that in real terms, your body fat percentage will never be zero. The percentage of you that's fat will never be zero. You'll always have some. It will never be one hundred. And so most of us probably stick somewhere around the teens to 20s and 30s, maybe into the 40s or 50s, 50 percent fat.

[00:15:46.280] – Dr. Fedewa
But I think what Dr. Esco is kind of getting at is that the fat free mass is really important. Some people would argue in our field that if you compare collegiate elite level athletes, especially in women, the body fat level, the body fat amounts that they have in pounds or kilograms might not be different than non athletes. The biggest difference is the fat free mass is the muscle mass. And so that makes the percentage of their weight that is fat relatively lower. But the total amount of fat that they have might not be that might not actually be that different.

[00:16:19.250] – Dr. Fedewa
So if we shifted the perspective and said rather than focus on you losing fat because it'll never go down to zero percent fat, what if we just focused on building up that fat free mass and and preserving the bone health like Dr. Esco talked about and preserving or maintaining or increasing the muscle mass, which would, again, drive down the percentage of you that's adipose tissue or body fat. And so that's kind of a cool perspective that I think gets lost a lot of times we just focus on losing weight and losing fat. It's like this primary marker in health.

[00:16:53.400] – Dr. Esco
To add to that, another important point is. Performance, how body composition relates to performance. Let me give you an example, the largest individual that I've ever evaluated, body composition on weight. Six hundred and fifty pounds. So it's very large, 50 percent of his body was fat. So three hundred twenty five pounds of fat.

[00:17:15.060] – Dr. Esco
But he also had three hundred twenty five pounds of fat free mass as well. But it could not do one push up. So is that muscle quality aspect is very important, but on the other hand, the leanest individual. Way less than 10 percent, but barely over 100 pounds, right? So very little body fat percentage, but as a consequence of an unhealthy body composition, very little fat free mass, also muscle quality was very low.

[00:17:44.110] – Allan
Yeah, you answered one question that comes up so many times when I'm on the Facebook forums, or should I try to lose the weight first and then start exercising to gain muscle? And my answer is, well, if you're over 35, no! Absolutely not! Because you're missing an opportunity. And every year that you don't do something, sarcopenia is biting you in the butt. So start lifting straight away. And that again kind of takes them into that. Well, what if I gain weight, which you may if you're lifting weights and you're somewhat restricting what you're eating to a point where your body is trying to shed body fat, you could be doing both and either remain the same weight or maybe a little more.

[00:18:30.340] – Allan
But that ratio that you're talking about of lean mass to body fat is moving in the direction you want to you want to move, which is why, again, this Made Health and Fitness App is actually really cool because it's going to give us some of that data, particularly if we use it consistently and look for trends.

[00:18:48.130] – Allan
Now, one of the other things that comes up a lot and what happens if a woman goes into menopause, her hormones shift and then she starts shifting where she's storing body fat men almost always start to store the body fat on their belly before they gain it elsewhere. But people have genetic differences and it goes to different places for different reasons. Why is it important where we store fat and what that means for our health or performance?

[00:19:15.910] – Dr. Fedewa
We have to two primary distribution patterns so people usually store extra weight or extra fat in two regions. One of them is the Android region. And this pattern is usually more common in men. And we think of this as the apple shape. So if you store a lot of extra body fat around your midsection, around your belly of beer belly would kind of be what we just kind of jokingly call it. But we store more extra fat around the midsection that carries a little bit higher risk for high blood pressure than having more of a pear shaped distribution pattern. If we store relatively more body fat kind of in that area, it doesn't carry the same, some people would argue it doesn't carry the same increased risk that fat stores around our midsection does. So that's actually one of the cool things about the app, is that because we're marketing regionally where people store more adipose tissue or more body fat, we can tell when somebody is storing more of that fat around the midsection, which could potentially put them at a higher risk of certain diseases.

[00:20:14.890] – Dr. Fedewa
And we can tell if somebody's storing more of that body fat kind of around their their lower body, their legs, hips, and thighs. And to your point that you kind of just mentioned about losing weight or losing losing fat and whether I should exercise to lose the weight first or add the muscle, we jokingly said the other day that we would we would almost hope people start exercising as part of the New Year's resolution and not see any weight change. Like exercise lifting weights. And I hope, honestly, that you don't lose any weight because that would tell us know we're possibly adding more muscle, which you could track and we're possibly losing more relatively more fat, but independent of any weight or composition changes. Eating a healthy diet and exercising and being physically active and physically active carries so many health benefits outside of those composition changes.

[00:21:10.030] – Allan
Being that I'm 5′ 11″ and then my little brother, one of my brothers is 5′ 4″, it's not a cool thing when the two of us weigh the same. And so the term there is not so much just the weight, it's it's the BMI. So the BMI is a term that's basically meant to adjust for the height of the individual. But even with that, I could tell you that with my muscle mass, relative to what I'm supposed to weigh at 5′ 11″, I'm not a 170 pounds. I'm closer to about 205. But, you know, my BMI is as a function of that puts me right in the right into the obese category. And I stay there all year round. And because I keep muscle mass and I don't lose the body fat, I kind of look at BMI as is valuable, but not also valuable, that it would be the only thing that I would look at because it's a number, it's a piece of data. And quite frankly, it's not the best piece of data. Like you said, knowing what our body fat percentage is, knowing what our lean mass is, that those are better. There are a lot of tools out on the market, some better than others. Could you talk about the various ways that someone can get their numbers and the pros and cons of each?

[00:22:31.360] – Dr. Esco
Yeah, sure. Within body fat, like how to how to measure body fat percentage and all of that's important. Body fat is just a component of body composition. So body composition is the relative proportion of fat and fat free mass that make up one's body weight. So the body weight kind of gets a bad rap. We don't want to focus too much on the scale, but it is important. It's an important value. And you're right, if someone shorter than you typically if there's the same weight, well, that may not be ideal for the other person, because BMI is the most popular body composition assessment tool. It's one of the simplest before before our app. I think our app is even simpler. But what that is, is just a ratio of height to weight. So it gives us an idea of ideal weight to one's height. So BMI is used to classify obesity by major organizations like World Health Organization.

[00:23:40.300] – Dr. Esco
And typically obesity is considered with a BMI of 30 or greater. But what BMI does not do, it does not evaluate body fat percentage. So the BMI of 30 does not equate to 30 percent body fat like a lot of people may think. It's actually the units are kilograms of body weight over height in meters squared. So even though a BMI may be 30 or greater, doesn't necessarily mean that person has high body fat percentage. So if we have somebody that we assess BMI on and they're sedentary and their BMI is greater than 30, typically that person is highly likely that they're also obese.

[00:24:20.180] – Dr. Esco
However, if we take BMI of our competitive football team, you know, and the running back and running backs or whatnot, the athletes typically have higher BMI. That technically would be considered obese, but they're quite lean because they have a lot of muscle mass that makes their body their body weight greater. So to get more accurate, we would measure body fat percentage and fat free mass. We would actually evaluate those body composition parameters.

[00:24:49.220] – Dr. Esco
And the only way to do that is with techniques that we have available in our lab, which is typically like imaging DEXA. DEXA is a considered a gold standard as an X-ray device that will measure and scan the body and measure body fat percentage and muscle mass. It's the gold standard for measuring bone mineral density as well. There's underwater weighing technique where a person gets in a tank of water and how much water they displace is related to their body fat percentage. And those techniques are typically found in the laboratory and they're accurate and sophisticated. They're very expensive to have the equipment and they requires a technician to know how to use those and deliver those as well. So they're not easily accessible.

[00:25:38.300] – Dr. Esco
There are field methods like the pinch-an-inch. It's the skinful technique, which is a very popular technique to measure body fat in the fitness community. The problem with that is it requires a period of time to be trained to know how to do that appropriately. And there's not good agreement across technicians as well. There's the bioimpedance technique, which is there are many different bioimpedance devices. There's the old handheld, hand-to-hand by devices, and then there's the fancier scales that we can see in some retail stores where the foot to foot and then there's more sophisticated bioimpedance devices and is typically have a range of error that can get really accurate the more expensive and sophisticated they are, but usually the more common ones are not very accurate.

[00:26:28.280] – Dr. Esco
And then there's, of course, our tool that we that we have recently created that measures body fat percentage and body composition from a single the picture.

[00:26:39.440] – Dr. Fedewa
I'll actually follow up to just to say that I think it's a very valuable tool We measure body mass index on every research participant that comes in. It's just an it's a measure. It's a tool. It's a marker that we can use to identify people who may be at risk for additional obesity related, unfavorable health consequences. I don't think for population trends that it should just be completely thrown out. We've seen in the States, we've seen about a 25 to 30 pound increase in the average body weight since 1960. We've seen about a half a kilogram per meter squared increase in BMI at the population level since the 70s and 80s. And so, if you look back over the past 60 or some odd years, we are getting heavier. And I think that that data are so valuable to track population trends, to show us that as a as a global society worldwide, we're not going in a very favorable direction. And there are certain groups that are maybe disproportionately affected by obesity and a lot of the health related consequences.

[00:27:47.430] – Dr. Fedewa
So I don't think that it should just be completely thrown out. But to your point, measuring the individual progress and finding the differences between two people, that may be the same height and the same weight, but different genders, same height, same weight, but different races, same height, same weight, but different ages. I think BMI to measure and account for those individual differences, I think misses that.

[00:28:11.600] – Dr. Fedewa
And so I think our technique and the app, I think the individual just deserves better. I think that there's a more accurate way now with the advances in technology to measure and track changes in composition rather than relying solely on weight on a scale, because I think some of the improvements that we see are just missed.

[00:28:31.620] – Allan
Yeah. Next week, I'm going to have Dr. Ian Smith on to talk about his book, Mind Over Weight. And he has a pretty neat spin on goal setting. And one of the things that he talks about with goal setting is to focus on more than. One goal, you know, you may want weight to be one of your goals, you may want to be able to fit in a certain pair of jeans or a certain dress, and that's all good.

[00:28:58.360] – Allan
But I actually think knowing your body composition is another core measurement that would be really good for you to track if getting lighter, if losing some body fat is what you're after and making sure you're maintaining your muscle mass. There are a lot of tools out there. The Dexascan is going to run you at least $100, maybe $150, depending on where you go. There are little places popping up here and there where you can go pay for a plan and they'll do a Dexascan once a quarter, once every six months, whatever, whatever you choose.

[00:29:29.440] – Allan
And you can see that trend in the water. I've never actually done the water test, the submersion test before. And I can tell you, having worked with calipers and trying to do the seven skinful locations and do it the same every time and get the same result is it's not fun. Bioimpedance does have this huge error rate, depending on how hydrated you are or the time of day that you're doing it. So what I like about your tool is it's in my hand because it's on my phone and it adds just one more tool in there for me to have some data quickly and easily, as quickly and easily as is taking a picture of myself.

[00:30:14.620] – Allan
Now, someone's going to take a picture of me because it can't just be a selfie with the duck lips and all of that. But there's a certain way I have to pose. And so someone's going have to take the picture. I'm have to dress a certain way. But can you tell me a little bit about how the Made Health and Fitness App is used and what it does for us?

[00:30:34.900] – Dr. Fedewa
Yeah, absolutely. You you actually can take a selfie. It's just a different type of selfie. So the image is scanned and we analyze total body composition. So the image itself down the app, you set up your profile. We're going to ask you some basic information about your height and your weight and your your age and race and gender that allows us to create a measure of body composition that's tailored directly to you, that can account for the small kind of age related changes in composition that we usually see.

[00:31:07.780] – Dr. Fedewa
The small differences between different race and ethnic groups, small differences between men and women. It kind of allows us to create a really accurate number that's tailored specifically to you based on your image. Once your profile is set up, the image can be scanned and analyzed in about 15 or 20 seconds. We have a few checks when a person is taking a scan just to make sure that it has the best quality and the most accurate results.

[00:31:29.920] – Dr. Fedewa
So the image has to be from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. If part of you is missing or cut off is the image is being scanned for the landmarks that we need. Some of them could potentially be missing. And so the numbers will get will be a little bit inaccurate. Feet together, arms out. A lot of the landmarks that we're scanning for on the image are on the trunk. And so some of them we need we need to pinpoint the narrowest part of your waist and the widest point of your hips. So potentially, if your arms are too close to your midsection, we might miss those landmarks and accidentally misclassify. Snugly fitting athletic clothing like a like an Under Armour shirt or compression shirt. If you feel comfortable in sports bra going shirtless, that's completely fine. Leggings, yoga pants, compression shorts, boxer briefs, those are completely fine. Also, what we really need to, again, since we want to find the most accurate kind of picture of you that shows your true body shape, anything with baggy clothing that might kind of misrepresent what your true figure looks like would potentially introduce some error.

[00:32:29.710] – Dr. Fedewa
Other than that, I mean, the image scanning itself is pretty straightforward. We I usually take my phone honestly and set it up on a coffee table and pop it up against a coffee cup and making sure that every image and every scan that I take is at the same height. It's in the same room. It's with the same lighting. If you don't have access to a research lab like most of us don't at home, you can you can just kind of use whatever you have around the house to take the image.

[00:32:55.300] – Dr. Fedewa
I set my phone for a ten second timer and take a selfie that way. So I have a record of the image saved on my phone. Once it's uploaded to the app, it takes about 10 to 15 seconds to scan and analyze and you get your results instantly. From there you can send them to a trainer. If you're working remotely, you can export them to an email or to a text message. The image goes completely away so it's not stored in the app. We don't keep the images in a database. We wanted to do that for privacy and confidentiality reasons. So you don't need to worry about any images of you in your underwear getting out on the Internet, they go completely away. The only place that they would ever exist would be on your own personal phone if you saved it to your camera roll or to your device. The only thing that we see in the database are your numbers.

[00:33:41.170] – Dr. Fedewa
We use that again, one of the reasons why we ask your age and your race, we want the app to be used to create the biggest database of normative values that has ever been created. And so we want somebody who's 45, female, and Hispanic. We want to have the most accurate, normed data to show them to say here, this is what you should be or this is what somebody your age. This is kind of where most of the people in the population are. This is kind of healthier. This is kind of not so healthy. This is where most people who look and act and behave just like you, that have all the same characteristics. And I think all of those data because we're not limited to the issues with transportation or cost or scheduling and access to the different techniques, I think that we definitely are positioned to do that. I think we can make a big difference on shaping and reshaping some of our norms and expectations of what healthy actually is. And then I'll actually let Esco jump in a little bit more and talk about kind of the functions of the app and how it works.

[00:34:44.680] – Dr. Esco
Yeah. So, like Dr. Fedewa said, it's the simplest device on the market now for measuring body composition. All this requires just a picture of a person standing, which is which is easy to do. We don't have to worry about being trained to do skin forward or trained to use a DECA or anything else. And a person can do it right in the privacy of their own home. And there's a lot of barriers associated with going into a fitness center or related facility and having your body composition measured and having to let a fit professional in on how much you weigh. And all very personal number as well. With this there's no need to even worry about any of that person can do it right themselves and again in their home.

[00:35:37.090] – Dr. Esco
But it's also very accurate. Dr. Fedewa and I, this is our area, we've been doing research and body composition for years. We have PhDs in physiology and this is what we decided to focus our career on is body composition and in discovering techniques that are accurate and user-friendly and this what we've we've created.

[00:35:57.940] – Dr. Esco
We've shown that it's in near perfect agreement with underwater weighing and DEXA and those other laboratory measures that we talked about. So even if somebody were to go and have routine Dexascans, they can still use our device for more routine or weekly or frequent scans for body composition. So they don't have to wait months and years down the road to see if there's actual changes in body composition. They can make decisions earlier by using our app, in addition to some of those more sophisticated measures is if they choose to do so. It's the most user-friendly technique and of the field of tools that are out there, it's one of the more accurate methods.

[00:36:47.420] – Dr. Fedewa
We wanted to have something to, Esco mentioned tracking trends. We wanted to have something that you can use on your phone that you had access to all the time, that you can do it for less than a cup of coffee. And so when every every time that you would normally weigh in to track progress, we would we say, hey, man, why don't you take a picture also, right? So you can put some context around those changes that are happening on the scale.

[00:37:09.770] – Dr. Fedewa
Over the holidays, we were as a group of of the co-founders, jokingly tracking all of our changes in composition. And we were seeing ups and downs and swings in body weight. We would be up five pounds one day. We would be down six pounds the next day. And most of that is just due to water weight. It's just a fluid retention. Alcohol, really salty foods, different types of foods will cause you to hold more water weight or less water weight. Menstrual cycle for female users. We have changes in body weight. Most of that is is fluid. And so the cool thing about the app is that with a single picture, if you weigh yourself, you say, oh, my gosh, I'm six pounds heavier than I was yesterday, what the heck is going on?

[00:37:50.710] – Dr. Fedewa
You can take a picture and do a scan and see that about ninety five percent of that is fluid. It's fat free mass. And so that puts context around the changes in the scale that you're seeing. You can go, oh man, I gained six pounds, but that's OK, because most of it is fluid. And we can account for some of those ups and downs from day to day when we're looking at the big trends over time where if you're just relying on two measurements with a DEXA every six months, those small changes and those small improvements, a lot of times are overlooked.

[00:38:19.870] – Dr. Fedewa
You can be up or down on a given day and scan with the DEXA and maybe not show any progress. But we can show this really small changes over time to get a better idea of what's working, maybe and maybe what's not. If you're working with a trainer.

[00:38:32.350] – Allan
Information is powerful. Data is powerful, especially if you act on it.

[00:38:38.569] – Dr. Fedewa
It is.

[00:38:39.730] – Dr. Esco
Especially from a distance, too. So for a professional like yourself, Allan, working with clients that live in different parts of the world. This device is useful for tracking changes and the clients that you're working with. We wanted it to be for individual use, but also for professionals like yourself, practitioners, as well as in the lab and research.

[00:39:03.330] – Dr. Fedewa
Yeah, we wanted it to be, we never wanted to replace the trainer. We don't want to replace the practitioner with the app. So we were very specific with the way that it was designed. So we don't give any dietary recommendations in the app. We don't provide any exercise programming or prescriptions within the app. We want this to be a tool like you mentioned and like you'll talk about next week on the program is that, the more data you have, the more accurately you can track progress.

[00:39:27.810] – Dr. Fedewa
And sometimes from week to week, you may not see any progress if you're just focusing on one specific metric. So what what can we look at if we're if we're not seeing weight loss? Did we see changes in fat free mass or do we see changes in fat mass? It may be did we see changes in Android or glenoid fat? Do we see an improvement there if our total body fat percentage didn't change? Did we did we hit our water goal that we had our steps goal that we had our sleep goal?

[00:39:51.060] – Dr. Fedewa
I mean, you guys is the practitioners and the experts who are kind of out there doing this in the field. The more information that you can get your hands on to coach and train and kind of guide your clients through through their fitness journey, I think the better. And so we we just want to be one of the assessment tools for you to kind of track your progress and your users and then your clients. And so I think we want to let the coaching be done by the coaches. We want to let the training be done by the trainers. And we just want to be there to kind of help.

[00:40:20.070] – Allan
Dr. Esco. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:40:28.980] – Dr. Esco
Well, one is to be intentional, living a healthy lifestyle, right? Eating an appropriate diet. You know, staying active and exercising. Working towards staying positive, all those things require work, they're not just given to somebody you all right? So it takes it takes work to establish those habits and the person has to be intentional making that happen.

[00:40:54.570] – Dr. Esco
You mention making goals. So the second point is to make goals very important, to have something to strive for, but not being so focused on on one specific goal related to like body composition. It's very important to have an appropriate goal for what's healthy in terms of fat, fat free mass and healthy body weight. But more but more important than that is his overall performance. Have another fitness related goals running a 5K or or having some sort of other fitness related feat. Those things are very important. So we have something that we can strive for.

[00:41:32.400] – Dr. Esco
And then and then the third thing I think is the most important of all is to be patient, especially in the world of body composition, where the scale is so easily accessible and our app is very accessible. We're tempted to make frequent assessments. We want to see changes immediately, which doesn't really work that way. We have to be patient. If we're doing the right things, we're eating appropriately. We're being physically active. The goals will be achieved, but it's going to take some time.

[00:42:02.610] – Allan
Thank you. Dr. Fedewa, I'll ask you the same question. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay?

[00:42:13.140] – Dr. Fedewa
Well, yeah, I think those are the more advice that you can get and the better. Probably the most important one that Esco didn't mention and I guess as the team had put this in number four is to remember that you probably will fail and you will see setbacks. And it's okay to have those, especially if you are focusing on on starting a new exercise program or changing the way that you're eating or focusing on losing weight. There will be huge improvements and there will also be some some pretty big setbacks. And so to remember that it's a long journey if you focus on losing fat, it didn't all happen and come on overnight. So it won't disappear overnight either. There will be ups and downs and twists and turns and to just be patient. So remember that it's okay to have setbacks and you just get up the next day and and start all of them and knock it out.

[00:43:04.560] – Dr. Fedewa
I think the second most important thing that I used on my own journey was to think like a healthy person and act like a healthy person. I don't think starvation or completely cutting out food groups is is healthy. I don't think exercising seven hours a day is necessarily healthy. But if you you start asking yourself, is it okay to eat a cookie? Yes. It's OK to eat a cookie. A healthy person to eat a cookie. A cookie is fine. Probably not OK to eat an entire box of cookies. Cool. Right. Is it okay to have a beer or a glass of wine every now and then? Yeah, absolutely. Is it OK to have ten? No, probably not. A healthy person may not do that. And so I think that that allows you a little bit of flexibility and a little bit of wiggle room because healthy people are not perfect people. They just tend to make healthier decisions more often than not. And so I think that flexibility helps. And I think tracking is is one of the most important things that you can do. And we've seen with some of our research participants just just the act of tracking the number of steps per day that you take is enough to increase your physical activity level by about 10 percent just because you're monitoring it and you're constantly aware of the same thing with calories or or sugar or water intake. It's about a ten percent change. Just if you're watching it and you're thinking about it and you're tracking it, it's enough to restrict energy intake or calorie intake or increase your water intake. And it's about a 10 percent swing. So, if you're not tracking, you can't see change. So get a baseline, measure, monitor and then kind of see what happens over time. And the more data that you collect, the better you can gauge your progress and figure out what's working for you.

[00:44:44.490] – Allan
Thank you. If someone wanted to learn more about the Made Health and Fitness App or the things you guys are doing over there at the University of Alabama, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:44:55.530] – Dr. Esco
Our website for the app is mymadeapp.com. And then to find us in the Google Play and Apple app stores search the phrase “made health and fitness.” So in terms of our work with the University of Alabama, we would encourage anyone to check our personal websites out by searching our names, either Michael Esco or Michael Fedewa, the University of Alabama. And we work in the Department of Kinesiology.

[00:45:28.580] – Dr. Fedewa
We have all of our research papers are up on our on our faculty websites. We have links to our research papers on social media for the app. You guys want to check those out? It's Made Health and Fitness on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter, too. As more research comes out of the lab, as we have conference abstracts and presentations and new research papers are published and presented, we will post those. We also have links to all that research within the app. There's a button says, see the science behind the app. We want to we want the users to be completely confident that the numbers that they're getting are research grade. And so we want to get the research data out there. We want to get the accuracy out there so people can be confident with how they're tracking and what they're measuring.

[00:46:08.600] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/472, and I'll be sure to have those links there. So, Dr. Esco, Dr. Fedewa, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:46:19.580] – Dr. Esco
Thank you.

[00:46:20.720] – Dr. Fedewa
Thanks for having us. I can't wait to come back.

[00:46:22.550] – Dr. Esco
Absolutely.


Post Show/Recap

[00:46:28.000] – Allan
Welcome back, Raz.

[00:46:29.260] – Rachel
Hey, hold on one second while I download this app real quick.

[00:46:32.140] – Allan
The app's called Made Health App. And,there's a lot of benefits to this to this thing. I am a big fan of data, and I'm not I'm not a huge fan of apps, as I mentioned earlier. But data is a big thing. And the thing that they've come up with, they've got two studies that that I read and both of them showed improvements in performance when people lose body fat.

[00:46:55.570] – Allan
Now they're talking about athletes in college, female athletes in particular. But but still, the women lost somebody fat and they performed better. They had more power and they had more stamina. So if you're a runner or someone who wants to play better tennis, this is something if you lose a little bit of body fat, even if you don't have much to lose, there can be some performance improvement. And then, of course, for the vast majority of us that do want to just get rid of some body fat, this is a good way to track that you're being successful. And it's a lot cheaper than almost all of the other alternatives out there because it's free.

[00:47:38.050] – Rachel
Yeah, absolutely. And and there's other metrics. I mean, it sounds like they capture a lot of data in their app.

[00:47:44.660] – Allan
They do. I mean, you know, what they're doing basically is you're supposed to stand and allow them to take you take a full frontal picture. They call it the anatomically correct, although they don't have their thumbs pointing in the right direction. But that doesn't matter. I'm just the personal trainer. They just determine like, that's not well, Okay, but whatever. They just basically want your arm slightly away from your body. So it's not messing with measurements.

[00:48:11.830] – Allan
And then they're just looking at those those measurements as far as how wide we are going from top to bottom. And then the other data that they have is your height, your age and your ethnicity. And that gives them an opportunity then to put that all into an algorithm and calculate a number. And based on the data that they show, they're really close to the water water submersion test. So you know the bipod uses air. There's a water dunking, a version that basically looks at your body mass. And it's how much water you offset in both of those are reasonably good, particularly if you're looking at trends.

[00:48:48.790] – Allan
The lesser good ones are the caliper tests, which, you know, if you go into a personal trainer, a lot of them will do that to try to measure your some body fat. But those are subject to human error. Very subject to human error. And they're hard to do without a ton and ton of practice. And then there's the the bio impedance, like the scales or the handhelds, and they tend to flaw significantly. If you're dehydrated or the next day you are hydrated. That can swing things crazy. And if you're heavier than they think you should be, again, they they they error on the side of saying it's body fat because most people that are using them are trying to get rid of body fat. So, all these things are good. If you're looking at general trends, they get better. The gold standard is the Dexascan, because the Dexa scan is going to measure bone density. It's going to measure water. It's going to measure muscle mass. It's going to measure fat. It doesn't back into a calculation, you know. So it's not a calculation. It's it's literally it's basically calculus or cutting little swipes through you just then looking at the density and various parts of your body to give you an idea. And while it Dexascan can tell you exactly how much body fat you have in each part of your body, this is just going to give you a general idea of where you carry most of your body fat.

[00:50:10.930] – Rachel
That's helpful. That's very helpful information.

[00:50:13.420] – Allan
It is. It's good for trendss. Now, I'm not a fan of weight, but I know that everybody's going to be stepping on the scale because it's it's a cost effective way to know that at least if you're losing body fat, you're probably losing weight. So it gives you an indication that what you're doing is working, but it also also measures other things like water, muscle, bone, brain, you know, things like that that you kind of need and you don't want to just get rid of because, you know, the brain weighs a kilogram and a half, you know, just want to get rid of that just to weight less.

[00:50:51.550] – Rachel
Yes,

[00:50:52.270] – Allan
There's my five pounds. So this app measures. But I actually did a little guide years ago, but I'll rerelease that. If you go to the show notes, I'll have a link. And it's called the 7 Health and Fitness Measures That Matter. Basically, there's just other things that if you're really concerned and doing for your health, you should also be paying attention to this data.

[00:51:17.710] – Allan
Okay, and I don't think I actually put body fat on that guide. And the only reason I probably didn't put body fat on there is because there is a cost up, kind of a more a bigger cost. Go down to a you know, get a Dexascan or maybe go to a university where they would have one of those submersion tanks or a pod pod which uses air. So, you know, there are these other ways that you can do it.

[00:51:41.530]
This is going to be a cheap and easy way for you to measure an approximation, your body fat where you're carrying it. And then, these other health and fitness measures that I'll put in this guide are just kind of other things for you to consider as you're monitoring your health and fitness, because one of the things that I found is, you know, maybe you have a week where your body weight didn't go down. But your A1C did or your blood sugar, your fasting blood sugar. In the morning, you wake up and it's finally below a 100. That kind of thing matters a lot more than a pound less on the scale. And so these are these are the kind of things that I think you really should be focused on as you're going through this. And, yes, you can also do weight because it's just easy.

[00:52:29.410] – Allan
But if you want that guide, just go to the show notes, 40plusfitnesspodcasts.com/472. And I'll be sure to have that link there. The Made Health App is free. It's supposed to be free. When I actually did the interview, it wasn't quite free back then, but it's supposed to be free now. And they're concerned about privacy. So they're very clear with you up front. They're not going to keep the pictures that you're taking to to do this measurement. They're going to take the data from the picture that they need. They're going to wipe the picture and they never even hits their database. And then they're just going to get the data and you're going to get the results.

[00:53:07.510] – Rachel
That sounds awesome.

[00:53:09.790] – Allan
I think the only other thing that I'll put out there is your probably reading a lot in the press lately because things come around and go around and we'll go through a cycle of fat shaming. People say, okay, you can't fat shame it's okay to be the size that you are. And I adamantly agree with that. There's no reason to feel shame for where you are. You can't recover if you don't forgive yourself. So everything that's good in your life, if you're going to move away from something bad, you have to forgive yourself for being in that situation so you can look hopeful into the future. And so I agree fat shaming is a problem, but the articles that are coming out now are scientific-based and they're clear if you're carrying extra body fat, it's not healthy.

[00:53:56.380] – Rachel
Mm hmm.

[00:53:57.490] – Allan
There is no healthy fat. There is no fit fat. If you're carrying extra body weight, it's not good for your health. And, in a lot of cases, it's also not good for you in general because it's you know, it's wearing on your joints. A lot of times that extra weight is also at a cost of inflammation.

[00:54:16.240] – Rachel
Yes.

[00:54:16.720] – Allan
So there's other things going on in your body physically beyond just your heart health and your risk of stroke and risk of diabetes and those types of things. So if you are dealing with excess body fat, this is the tool, this Made Health App is a tool. You should check it out.

[00:54:36.640] – Rachel
That sounds great. Yeah, I as a former weight obsessed, or scale obsessed person, I like that there's other metrics to follow. The scale is not the most important measurement of health. And just like you said, and I'm sure in your guidebook that you'll share, I go to the doctor, I have my blood drawn cholesterol, A1C, there's a lot going on inside that doesn't reflect necessarily what my outside looks like. So there's a lot of other indicators of health.

[00:55:07.030] – Allan
Yes. Yes there are.

[00:55:08.200] – Rachel
That are much more important.

[00:55:10.000] – Allan
All right. Well, Rachel, it's been a good week. I hope to talk to you next week.

[00:55:14.540] – Rachel
Yes, take care.

[00:55:16.000] – Allan
You, too.

[00:55:16.990] – Rachel
Thanks.

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